The Path to Food Freedom
As a lifelong sugar addict, I get it! Cravings are insidious.
We all get them.
Some cravings are like clockwork, like that 2-3 p.m. lull when you can no longer say no to the sweets you’ve passed over all day, or that Diet Coke that’s screaming your name, or the 5 p.m. glass or two (or three) of wine that makes your dinner routine a piece of cake, or the chocolate you can’t stop eating before your period. Ugh!
But what if I told you that these cravings aren’t rooted in a lack of willpower or self-control? Now you don’t have to feel bad about yourself, It’s not your lack of will power, it’s your biochemistry!
Sure, the food industry spends billions on copious combinations of hyper-palatable foods & addictive beverages that hijack our willpower and ability to say no, however, why can some people say no or eat and drink in moderation, while others just can’t say no at all?
As it turns out, it has nothing to do with your lack of willpower and emotions, and everything to do with your biochemistry, how present you are when you are eating, and your microbiome (all the bugs in your gut).
Cravings tend to be our body’s simple way of alerting us that something is imbalanced and needs to be supported and corrected.
In other words, if your body needs more energy, more endorphins, or a boost in blood sugar, it will seek external substances like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, drugs & sex for the momentary boost it’s unable to provide on its own.
Here’s the good news. I’m going to help you decode your cravings and teach you 5 ways to rebalance your body so that your cravings vanish.
Imagine – no more cravings for sugar, alcohol, coffee, chocolate or bread.
Below you will learn how to stop craving in its tracks and permanently let go of your vices with ease.
Finally, you will learn what it feels like to be back in control and discover lasting, sustainable freedom from cravings.
1) Sugar, Starch & Alcohol
They are inherently addictive, horribly overpowering, incredibly pervasive, yet unbelievably delicious. As a lifelong sugar addict, I know how powerless, ashamed, and frustrating food addictions can be!
Sugar, carbs & alcohol cravings are, hands-down, the most common struggle and the most common reasons why my clients break their clean-eating commitment and become derailed from a healthy lifestyle.
As I mentioned above, cravings & addiction aren’t about willpower, self-discipline, or self-control, or even about simply cutting it out.
Cravings are about hormonal, nutritional, and chemical imbalances that override our impulse control which renders us unable to say no.
Two Neurotransmitters that drive cravings and addiction, and what you can to do balance them.
Transitioning to a healthy diet and lifestyle is not always easy. It can be especially difficult if you experience mood swings, cravings for refined carbohydrates or cigarettes, poor sleep, or reduced energy levels. These symptoms can be the result of deficiencies or imbalances in neurotransmitters, which are chemicals your brain needs for mood stability, appetite regulation, and a healthy response to stress.
Dopamine and Serotonin are two of these neurotransmitters. The lower your dopamine levels, the more you will seek pleasure at all costs. Low Serotonin will drive emotional eating and the need for substances that help you to unwind and calm anxiety.
Below are some steps you can take to boost these, balance your hormones which is also playing a major role in your cravings & finally find food freedom.
Step 1: Balance your blood sugar.
Balancing your blood sugar means insulin and glucagon, your primary glucose (sugar) metabolism hormones are balanced. When this happens your cravings remain at bay.
Read my previous blog on how to Balance Blood Sugar
Step 2: Eat More Protein
Protein provides the building blocks your brain needs to naturally enhance your serotonin and dopamine levels and protein tells your body to burn fat for fuel rather than store fat, which is what sugar does.
Protein is the precursor for both serotonin and dopamine. 20 grams of protein (3-5 ounces) in at least 2 meals daily should do the trick. Here’s my 20 grams of protein 20 grams of protein cheat sheet>.
A good rule of thumb is to make the amount of protein you eat equivalent to the size and thickness of your palm for each meal.
Foods highest in serotonin and dopamine:
Doopaboost is one of my favorite ways to crush cravings, feel focused & get low dopamine levels back into balance, fast. Low dopamine & serotonin can cause anxiety.
Cravearrest is another amazing natural, mood-boosting, craving-crushing supplement. (Please note that these supplements are contraindicated if you’re taking an SSRI anti-depressant.)
Step 3: Remove and Replace
Once you have your safety net in place – balanced blood sugar & adequate protein intake – this last step will likely be super easy…and will likely happen automatically…begin removing sugar, processed carbohydrates, and/or alcohol from your diet for 3 days and replace them with protein snack, nut snacks, fruit or low glycemic load snacks (snacks which don’t spike your blood sugar as simple sugars do), and/or flavored drinks and herbal teas.
It usually takes 3 days to overcome withdrawal symptoms. After that, your cravings should diminish or vanish altogether.
Abstinence isn’t a sustainable long-term solution when you don’t have these first two steps down. You have to continue to bring your body into balance so that when you’re confronted with alcohol, sugar, and starch, you can say no with ease and won’t crave them anymore.
Step 4: Talk to Yourself
Yup, that’s right, I said it, talk to yourself.
Cravings are most commonly driven by 3 imbalances. When you find yourself craving sugar, carbs or alcohol, ask yourself these questions to help identity what you truly need.
“Am I hungry?”
If you’ve just eaten and are still craving something sweet, your blood sugar is most likely unbalanced.
This means your last meal wasn’t balanced. Did you have enough protein? Did you skip the fat? This feeling of being hungry too soon after your last meal means the proportions of fat, carbohydrates, and protein in your last meal were not sufficient to balance your hormones and blood sugar. So now you know in your next meal you’ll want to include a little more fat or a little more protein.
You can also support yourself with blood-sugar-balancing spices and supplements.
- Chromium plays an important role in insulin’s regulation of blood glucose, cravings, and energy production. Chromium also prevents the spikes and dips of blood sugar. Take 200 mcg, 3 times per day at the start of any meal. It will prevent the sugar surges that often leave you reaching for more sugar later. Chromium Synergy – is what finally got me off sugar after 20 years of addiction.
- Ceylon Cinnamon – sprinkle it on smoothies, coffee, tea, almond milk, cereal, etc.
- Glucose Supreme – is a unique, synergistic formula consisting of herbs and other botanicals that are shown to support healthy blood sugar through various mechanisms. This is has been really powerful for many of my clients who suffer from adrenal fatigue or blood sugar issues.
- Dark Chocolate – Yes! You read that right, I’m authorizing you to feel good about a small square of dark chocolate! It’s a good thing to suck on when you’re craving something sweet. The Fx line of dark chocolate by designs for health means you get all the benefits but none of the guilt!
“Am I tired AF?”
If you are, can you take a nap instead? Or go meditate? What can you grab instead of sugar or what activity can you engage in to instantly boost your energy?
Think about how you can replace the usual habit with a new habit that is sustainable and will lead to your long term success.
- 20 minutes of HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) has been shown to naturally boost cortisol/energy levels. Ever try Tabata?
- Check out my colleague’s 31-Day Tabata Challenge. Great for anyone, even beginners. Only 4 minutes per day. Follow her at Train.for.Life_with_lvk on Facebook. It’s FREE.
- Matcha green tea – It’s loaded with antioxidants and naturally boosts energy levels.
- JIng Soda is one of my favorite drinks right now! 0 sugar, 0 carbs 100% organic and 100% delicious! A couple of droppers full in your mineral water, refreshing!! I have so much more mental focus when I use this.
- Ashwaganda. This is an ancient adaptagenic herb that helps bring the body back into balance. It can help to balance cortisol levels, boost energy levels and even lessen joint pain. This is the blend of adaptagenic herbs I use with my clients.
“Am I upset or anxious?”
Many of us eat when we feel alone, overwhelmed & disconnected from the world. Here’s a wonderful activity to try. Cut a piece of paper into 20 pieces, and write down an activity you want to do on each scrap of paper. Also, use scraps of paper to write down the names of close friends. Stick all of them into a mason jar. The next time you feel a craving hit, reach into your “sanity saver” jar and grab a piece of paper. You can either do the activity or call the friend. Your “sanity saver” jar helps you reconnect with people and yourself, filling the void with what you actually need instead of unnecessary food and beverages. Best of all, it doesn’t involve a single calorie or an ounce of guilt!
Here are some examples of activities you could use to ground yourself, unwind and feel better.
- Take a walk around the block or go for a hike
- Connect with a friend
- Listen to uplifting music
- Soak in the tub
- Meditate or practice breathing techniques. Here are 2 great apps I use: Buddhify & Pranayama breathing app.
- Read a book
- Sit outside in nature, feel the sun on your skin.
What other activities truly fills you up, makes you happy, satisfied and joyful?
Step 5: Be Mindful
Become mindful of when your brain is making you believe that something will make you feel amazing. You know from the 10,000 other times before that it will actually leave you feeling guilt, shame, anxiety, and wanting more.
Let’s talk about shame and guilt for a moment…much of the time when we eat we aren’t being truly present. Our minds are wandering off and therefore we end up mindlessly eating. Eventually, we may start to notice that our body is getting uncomfortable, it’s getting really full. But because we weren’t being present, we missed the onset of this and now we are really full and feeling ashamed and guilty.
What if we allowed ourselves to truly experience the deliciousness of the food. Savored every bite, would we overeat? If we slowed down, became aware of the taste, really savored each bite, I promise you, it is highly unlikely we would over eat. We’d consume less and perhaps even save the rest for another time.
What is your vice, or what do you crave? Head over to Facebook and share. I’d love to hear how you’ve successfully broken free you’re your cravings.
Ready for a RESET and to finally discover freedom from cravings? Join us>>>