Change your life for the better…Set your intenetion to be conscious of your thoughts and feelings and of everything that you put in your mouth. Ask youself, before you eat anything, if this is what you are REALLY wanting.
When you are honest with yourself and honor your personal values, it becomes easier to make a new choice such as to engage in physical activity, take a warm bath, or call a friend until the undesirable urge passes.
Equally as important as addressing the emotional, psychological and spiritual longins that lead to food cravings is looking at how the compulsion to eat simple carbs and/or sweets is reinforced biologically when these foods remain in your system.
So, what are complex carbs?
Carbs are considered to be either Simple or Complex depending on how many molecules it consists of. Simple Carbs (sugar/white flour products) have fewer molecules and requre minimal digestion, which means they are absorbed into the bloodstream VERY quickly. This rapid rate at which the sugar enters the blood actually makes it like a drug. Almost all processed foods are made of simple carbs. When we eat simple carbs or sugar, glucose is released into the bloodstream immediately and causes harmful side effects. The process of refining sugar or flour is done by taking away the active ingredient from the plant rather than maintaining the plant in its natural state. For instance, a whole food (complex carb) would be grains of wheat, barley, or rye with the husk intact as opposed to white flour (simple carb) where the bran has been removed. When whole grains are refind, they are stripped of fiber and nutrients which slows down the rate of digestion and absorption. The food inststry perpually strips the husk from grains and adds refined sugar to most food products because it preserves their shelf life. On the other hand, Complex carbs are starches in whole grains, legumes, and potatoes that are made of 3 or more molecules, therefore it takes the digestive system more time to break them down into sugar. When these carbs are combined with a healthy fat and protein, they provide the body with a slow, steady supply of sugar and our health improves. Even complex carbs, in excess, can affect your blood sugar. Be sure to balance your blood sugar by including high-quality protein, omega 3 healthy fat such as olive oil, water rich foods such as vegetables and complex carbs in your meals. When we are out of balance we just keep craving more carbs in an attempt to self-correct.
The important thing to consider is the effect on your body and your quality of life once you become consumed with cravings.
Sugar: honey, maple syrup, glucose, lactose, furctose, maltose (anything ending in -ose), sorbitol, alcohol (such as white wine), and corn syrup. Even sugar substitutes can cause the same blood sugar reaction that refined sugar does.
Learn to trust yourself around food–NOTICE your reactions and honor them. Once we find new ways to fill the very real needs that we have–such as finding peace and love within ourselves–and change our internal state from feeling overwhelmed or sad to feeling happy–we CAN put an end to any destructive relationship with food we may have had in the past.
Learn to love yourself. You may be hard on yourself because you have an unrealistic image of perfection that you are trying tin vain to live up to. Because that image is unrealistic and unattainable, you may often find yourself giving up and swinging to the other extreme where you engage in behaviors that you know are harmful and counterproductive to what you wish to achieve. You may think that if you had more willpower you would be able to eliminate unhealthy, fattening, empty-calorie foods from your diet, however, the secret is Not having more willpower. Instead, it is believing in yourself in attaning this goal and believing you are worthy to be free from food addiction. Most of us learned the habit of emotional eating when we made the connection as small children that ice cream or a lollipop made us feel better when we were hurt–these quickly helped us forget about our “boo-boo’s.” And although we are now adults, you know that if you eat as a way to cope with any challenge in life-boredom, frustration, depression- the initial problem is only going to get worse. (The subconcious is telling you to eat to make yourself feel better-this is controlling your life) You need to install a NEW program. Remember, how you feel about yourself is determined by what aspects of yourself you are focused on.
Understand that your relationship around food is not an idication that you are a weak person or not diciplined. It simply means that in this area of your life, your behavior does not match your desire to be healthy and experience a deeper level of happiness. In our own time, we become educated about making connections basing our decisions on the outcomes of our discoveries. For instance, when we eat too much, we end up feeling lethargic or short tempered–use this information to make a new choice and instead learn that when I reach for vegetables and whole grains and fruits, I have more energy, feel lighter, and am more likely to exerciese and feel happier—knowing this will lead me to make necessary changes in my life.
Do you find yourself Emotionally Eating? If so, what are the needs that you have been trying to meet by overeating or selecting the wrong foods over and over again? What is behind this anger? Sit with the anger for a few moments and notice where the sensation is in your body. No matter how strong it is, remind yourself that the sensation WILL pass and that it is not who you are. Remind yourself to resist the temptation to try to meet your “needs” with food- remind yourself of the painful experience of eating such food and the way it makes you feel–how the foods impact your body (your temple)–exhausted, sick, stomach pains, headaches. Ask yourself, “What am I needing?” Affirm to yourself, “I am in control-everything I am seeking is already inside of me–it is simply not accessible at the level in which I have been looking—I need to look deeper.”
The more we engage in mindless eating and giving into our cravings, the greater the likelihood that we will make those same choices over and over again- we are creatures of habit. Therefore, the more we reach for healthier foods and eat in a simpler way by selecting whole foods in their natural state as much as possible, the more likely we are to free ourselves from the endless cycle of cravings.
If you suffer from incessant food cravings, the foods to eat regularly are mostly dark greens and other vegetables, mixed with animal protein, healthy fats, and smaller amounts of complex carbohydrates. Also remember to eat in a balanced way, avoid excessive fruits, drink water, exercise, eat breakfast daily, eat regularly, snack smartly, satisfy your sweet tooth with nuts or dried fruits, experiment with salads and learn to marinate meats (instead of buying processed lunch meats).
It is best to select foods that are low in natural sugar and high in fiber, which slows down the release of sugar, such as fresh green vegetables and sweet veggies. Sweet vegetables such as carrots and beets can be very sweet tasting as well as detoxifying, so again be careful and pay attention to the effect of the foods you are eating on your body.
Remember, complex carbs and fat are not bad…they are necessary in our diets. For instance, at breakfast, have half a whole-grain bagel drizzled with a dash of olive oil, with your spinach omlet. The oil will help to decrease the glycemic value of the bagel, causing it to be burned up slowly as fuel, avoiding triggering a low blood sugar reaction.
Most importantly, to combat your cravings…look inside yourself and feel love-the love you are seeking may not be apparent in your life at this time but remember it will not be found through food or drink. Love can only be accessed when you are willing to feel where your feelings originated and find where your thoughts are forming deep inside of yourself.
Tips for When the Cravings Strike
- Recognize that you are not having too much salt in your diet
- Eat more vegetables
- Try brown rice to keep your blood sugar and moods stable
- Have fruit for dessert-try Mejool dates and other dried fruits
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep-being tired makes you reach for more food/sweets for energy when you are not hungry
- Take time to reflect on yourself-focus on your Primary Foods-is there something in your life that is causing you stress? Something that you are numbing out with sugar?
- Relax and enjoy life. Take a deep breath and nurture yourself- remember, your body is a temple…