Do you crave bread? Sugary sweets? Or any number of processed snack foods?
I know I sometimes do, and it will often happen when I haven’t been sleeping well or I am under some kind of stress. You know, when my “me time” has disappeared from my overscheduled calendar!
In particular, cravings hit me when I travel and I’m not on my usual routine and not eating my usual healthy foods! My circadian rhythm may be off when traveling across country.
That’s when I reach for the nearest carb!
But guess what?
I’ve got a secret recipe to curb your carb cravings!
I’ve used this little secret for years with patients, clients and in all of my women’s restorative health programs! It works!
Listen in to this short video and learn a very easy way to stop the craving!
Why does your body crave carbs in the first place?
Cravings are complicated. There are physical aspects to it as well as emotional…
Emotional aspects of craving carbs
Do you ever wonder why we so often crave “comfort foods”, like bread?
It is likely partly due to a habit we’ve developed throughout our lives….also called, “conditioning”. Carbs boost the “happy, calming hormone” serotonin… so when we’re stressed out we reach for carb-rich foods. This calming has worked before…so why not now?
This tendency to use certain foods (primarily carbs and unhealthy fats) as though they were mood-related drugs is a frequent cause of weight gain (1), and is seen in women with PMS, when under stress, as well as in menopause (2). It is also seen in people who are attempting to give up smoking. Think of nicotine in the same mindset as carbs, in that it increases brain serotonin secretion; and when a smoker tries to stop smoking the withdrawal has the opposite effect (3), and they really crave a cigarette!
Your mom may have inadvertently played a role in this “conditioning”… When you were little, and sad or depressed, or your best friend was being mean to you….did your mom immediately say, “Let’s bake some cookies” to cheer you up?
It’s referred to as, “emotional eating” and it is a very real phenomena. And it is made worse when we are under stress, not getting the right sleep, or when our hormones are just out of balance (so during peri-menopause and menopause, women may experience this when they previously didn’t!).
Physical aspects of craving carbs
There is also a physical aspect of craving carbs, which is tightly intertwined with the emotional component.
Did you know that your body actually craves the nutrients it isn’t getting?
No, I’m not saying we’re all craving chocolate donuts because our bodies need that!
What I’m saying is that when we’re not getting enough of a nutrient our bodies will start to crave that nutrient. A lot of the time we aren’t getting enough healthy fats, for example. Why? Because we’ve been told throughout our lives that fats are bad.
So our body is craving healthy fats…but because of our mental “conditioning”, we reach for our favorite “comfort” food! And that is usually not healthy fats! We crave foods we are likely trying to stay away from, like potato chips or mom’s chocolate chip cookies…(we may not even wait for the cookies to be baked! Cookie-dough anyone?)
Another reason we crave food is because we are dieting! Studies have shown that dieting generally increases the likelihood of food craving and that, “attempted restriction or deprivation of a particular food is associated with an increase in craving for the unavailable food.” (4)
Even if we know refined carbs are bad for us…and we TRY, TRY, TRY to remove them from our diet…guess what? We will likely CRAVE them unless we feed our bodies what it is really asking for (healthier, nutrient-dense meals…protein and healthy fats!).
So what do we need to do to decrease the cravings?
In the short-term, try my special carb craving elixir.
In the longer-term, focus on a diet and lifestyle that is designed to not only be the healthiest for your body, but that is proven to reduce cravings: eating the right foods…and also, eating at the right intervals.
That is why I recommend a ketogenic diet
A long-term cravings strategy (and fat burning, too!)
A ketogenic diet is all about eating a diet that controls your insulin levels, improves your metabolism and burns stored fat rather than glucose. Research has shown that low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets reduce hunger and lower food intake significantly more than medium-carbohydrate non-ketogenic diets. (6)
Ketogenic diets also have an intermittent fasting component to them. I recommend that people work their way up to go 13.5 to 15 hours between dinner and breakfast. The same research above, that showed that cravings increased when people were dieting, also showed that fasting makes cravings diminish.
Other things you can do to help curb your carb cravings
Along with “having an oil change to curb your cravings” and eating a ketogenic diet there are other things you can do to help curb your carb cravings:
- Drink more water! (replace your morning coffee with hot water and lemon!)
- Fasting is good for you as indicated above, but skipping meals is not. Additionally, eating lots of small meals on a continuous basis is not good for your blood sugar or insulin levels, and can result in cravings.
- Take a timeout! If you are stressed or tired…and find yourself thinking about mama’s cookies…time to give yourself a timeout! Go for a walk, call a friend, or do something that distracts you. Cravings usually have a timing element to them…if you can distract yourself for 15 minutes you may find the craving subsides.
- Eat more fiber to fill yourself up!
- Drink Mighty Maca® Plus – for adrenal support and energy (so you don’t reach for that donut!)
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – see my earlier Couch Talk interview at http://drannacabeca.com/emotional-freedom-technique/