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,
May Anne Jordens-LaFlamme is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the owner of "Wellness with May Anne." She is passionate about helping women look and feel their best, so they can live a more fulfilling life - without dieting, deprivation, relying on willpower or cooking separate meals for the family.