Let me start by saying to everyone of you who feel controlled by food cravings of one type or another - I get it.
I used to feel like my food cravings controlled me, and although I liked sweets, it wasn’t always sugary foods that I craved. It was things like muffins, bagels and pizza. I didn’t realize at the time that those foods actually turn into sugar in the body, so even though they didn’t always necessarily have sugar on the label, they were having the same effect on my body because they were turning into sugar.
My Typical Day
I would usually start my day with what I felt was a pretty healthy cereal (because it said so right on the box - that would definitely mean it was healthy, right?) or maybe some whole wheat toast or a bagel with honey or jam. I would feel pretty good for a bit but then by mid-morning, I was starving and would need a mid morning pick me up a short while later (maybe a muffin from the coffee shop.)
I would then have a sandwich (whole wheat bread with a cheese slice was a favourite for years) or a simple salad for lunch with a lite dressing.
By mid-afternoon, I would crash. Like, wanting to crawl under my desk for a nap type of crash. I had trouble concentrating, felt tired and even moody and needed something to eat to help me feel better. If anyone was passing treats around the office, you bet I would grab one (or two!) and would temporarily feel better again.
This would continue day after day and by the time I picked my son up from daycare it took everything in me to make dinner and clean up so we could spend time together before he went to bed. Usually, by the time I tucked him in to bed I was so tired that I fell asleep with him.
Can anyone else relate to this?
I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong because I thought I was eating healthy enough. I was buying foods that said “light,” “low fat,” “low calorie” or “healthy” on the package because that’s what I had grown up believing. I really was trying to make healthy choices.
Little did I realize, the way I was eating was creating the perfect storm for a blood sugar imbalance.
I was cutting out the very foods that would keep me fuller, longer and instead, focusing on foods that would spike my blood sugar and then crash again shortly afterwards.
The foods that I started my day with at breakfast were setting me up for a blood sugar imbalance all day long - and lunch was no better. No wonder I was exhausted and had out of control cravings by evening!
Since becoming a nutritionist, I’ve learned that almost always, cravings for carbs indicate a blood sugar imbalance. I hadn’t realized that when I was buying foods that were marketed as “diet foods” or “healthy foods” I was missing out on some much-needed nutrients and my body was letting me know by signalling cravings.
Many times when we experience that afternoon energy crash, it’s because of what we ate at breakfast and lunch. When simple carbohydrates are eaten on their own it can quickly satisfy your hunger and give you an energy boost, but both are only temporary, and it leaves you craving more simple carbs when energy drops a few hours later.
And then you’re on a blood-sugar rollercoaster, and the cycle continues over and over. This cycle will ultimately lead to weight gain, as well as a lot of other health issues, because many diseases actually begin with blood sugar issues.
Willpower vs. Blood Sugar
And, if you team willpower up against blood sugar issues, the willpower will lose every time. As I learned firsthand, and is true for you as well, your lack of willpower is not your fault.
Once you eat in a way that balances your blood sugar, you stay fuller, longer and the cravings subside. Your mood is better balanced and you have energy that lasts throughout the day (with energy to spare for a family walk in the evening.)
When I finally started having energy to go for a walk in the evening again, it’s like life started opening back up for me. When I purposefully started eating in a way that would balance my blood sugar, it made all the difference. And, it wasn’t even that hard to do - I just needed to know where the problem lay, so I could do something about it.
The solution is to balance your blood sugar, which as I’ve learned for myself, will go a long way towards getting rid of those cravings and increasing your willpower.
5 Tips To Balance Your Blood Sugar And Overcome Cravings
Let's Do This Together!
Want to tackle your cravings together? Join me for a FREE 5-DAY SUGAR-FREE CHALLENGE! We’re going to run through it together in my private Facebook group “Nutrition And Lifestyle Strategies For Women” starting November 12th (it’s always more fun when we do it together and accountability and support never hurt, right?)
Simply sign up HERE ahead of time, so you’ll have everything you need when we get started on Nov 12th!
Until next time,
Let's talk about diet food, and why it’s keeping people overweight, tired and moody. Now before I get started I want to tell you that I used to fall for the diet food trap as well. I used to look for products that said “diet, lite, zero percent fat or low-fat.”
(Don't feel like reading? Watch the video above - it contains the same information)
In the past, you would never catch me buying full-fat anything! All my salad dressing were lite, my cheese slices, my yogourt was zero percent fat. When I had a salad I would have all veggies and no protein or fat because in my mind, that would make me fat.
I had believed that this would help me to maintain my weight or help me to lose a few pounds when I had gained a bit.
What I couldn’t figure out at the time was why I was so tired all the time I was moody, irritable and anxious and by the time the evening rolled around I was cravings carbs and junk food. I wanted chips, candy, pizza, cookies, you name it, I craved it.
I was constantly relying on willpower to resist eating more, and ultimately the willpower would fail and I would feel like I was just not strong enough. Every afternoon around 2 o'clock, I felt like crawling my desk and taking a nap.
By the time I left work and picked my son up from daycare and made dinner, I was usually too tired to do anything else. And then I would feel guilty because I hadn’t spent any time having fun with my son. And when I did force myself anyway, I really had to drag my butt to do it.
Years later, after studying nutrition, I realized why everything I was doing was not working for me, and that eating these ‘diet’ foods, was setting me up to fail and creating a blood sugar imbalance.
Diet foods are usually highly processed and mostly simple carbohydrate based and almost always sugar is added to compensate for the fat being taken away, because it would taste horrible otherwise!
High carbs and low fat are a bad combination when it to weight loss and your health. It’s impossible to feel good, have energy and a balanced mood when you’re relying on diet foods.
It’s no wonder my willpower could not win against this. I was fighting against blood sugar issues caused by eating mostly simple carbohydrates, and not enough healthy fats and protein.
When you team willpower against a blood sugar imbalance, willpower will lose every single time.
I realized that my lack of willpower was not all my fault.
And if you’re stuck in a cycle of craving carbs and feeling like it’s just too hard to make the food choices you want to make and that you’re not strong enough, it’s not your fault either.
There’s a good chance that you’re fighting against blood sugar issues as well, caused by eating too many simple carbohydrates.
I really had thought I was making good choices when I would have just lettuce and veggies with a light salad dressing for my lunch, however, I wasn’t getting the proper balance of nutrients my body needed and always felt hungry shortly afterwards.
And then of course the energy crash a few hours later, the resulting cravings for more carbs, and ultimately giving in to grabbing a muffin or a bagel or something sweet to pick me up.
Getting off the blood sugar roller coaster and making sure that that every meal and snack that I eat has a balance of protein, fats and carbs was a game-changer for me, and when I don’t, my body will let me know with either cravings, tiredness or feeling irritable.
So I encourage you to ditch the diet foods, and instead reach for foods that are real, whole foods as close to nature as possible.
Include healthy fats and proteins with every meal, so you can easily say no to the foods that are keeping you stuck in yo-yo dieting, have more energy, and a more balanced mood.
One of the biggest challenges for most of, is trying to eat healthy when you’re on the go. When you’re playing chauffeur for your kids many activities, after you’ve been working all day.
To help you out, I’ve created a guide to make it easier to still eat healthy when you’re the go, so you don’t have to rely on fast food that will keep you keep you from your goals.
Download your FREE HEALTHY EATING ON THE GO GUIDE HERE.
Until next time,
May Anne xo
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, May Anne's passion is working with women who have lost themselves in the busyness of life and don't feel comfortable in their skin anymore. She uses a step-by-step program that includes nutrition and lifestyle strategies, along with coaching and support, leading them to feeling vibrant, energetic and confident in their skin, without dieting or spending hours in the kitchen.