Our minds might be intelligent but our bodies are still cavemen/women.
Your body is amazing but it doesn’t speak English, if it needs something it can only tell you what it needs by making you crave it.
Low in water and your body will tell you it needs it by making you thirsty. Pregnant women low in iron have been known to crave coal. Low in sodium after a night of heavy drinking, where you’ve been urinating so much that you’ve flushed out your minerals and your body will crave something salty. Ever craved a fry up after a heavy night drinking and you’ll know what I mean.
Your body will crave what it needs. If you have low blood sugar, your body will crave sugar, to get you to bring it back to an acceptable level. We’ve all been there, you get an uncontrollable urge to eat chocolate, bread, sweets, ice-cream, chips etc… It is an uncontrollable instinct sometimes and if you are sensitive to low blood sugar it will be uncontrollable every time you let your blood sugar drop. Those lucky enough not to be sensitive to low blood sugar will have little understanding of this and usually take the line of “fat people should just stop eating chips etc”. Everyone knows if you were to eat salads, fruit and veg, you’d be skinny, but if it were that simple people would just eat salad, fruit and veg and be skinny.
If you’re on a diet or trying to eat healthily, you know eating that bar of chocolate, white roll or chips etc.. is going to stop you losing weight or mean you will gain weight. You know you’re going to feel bad after it. You know you’re destroying all the progress you’ve made that day. You know you’re going to give out to yourself afterwards. You might even punish yourself with exercise afterwards in the forlorn hope of catching up. However if your blood sugar is low and you are sensitive to it, that craving will be an uncontrollable instinct and there’s a good chance you’ll give in to that craving eventually.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, will power only lasts a while, if you don’t stabilize your blood sugar levels, eventually that will power runs out. You might be able to resist the craving for a few hours, days or maybe even a few weeks but eventually you give in, unstable blood sugars are a big factor why people yo yo diet. Emotional stresses play a huge part for sure but with stable blood sugar levels even if stressed emotionally, it is possible to resist that craving.
When you’ve low blood sugar you don’t crave protein. Have you ever craved a chicken breast or salmon? Have you ever though, ‘I’d love an egg with this cup of tea?’ You might crave a burger but it’s really the bread bun, the chips and the ketchup you’re craving. Your body is just reminding you what sugar is nice with, so you’re motivated to go get it.
You’ll also find your energy levels will fluctuate as your blood sugar swings wildly throughout the day. Ever start nodding off an hour after lunch? Most people then try to compensate with caffeine. Similarly in the evening, do you crave something sweet? You’ve just eaten your dinner of pasta, rice or potatoes etc… so cant be hungry. It’s a craving. Hunger is a physical pain in your stomach to eat anything, craving is a desire to eat something specific – almost always with sugar.
So many people start their day with sugar filled cereals, then have white bread sandwiches for lunch, onto white pastas or potatoes for dinner. They then snack on chocolate, crisps, sugary drinks or rice cakes in between, going from one sugar spike to the next, to the next. Mood, energy and motivation levels swing wildly in conjunction with the spikes and troughs. Sugar leads to more sugar, to more sugar to more and more.
A bar of chocolate has only 350kcals on average, that’s not going to make you fat, but the cravings it leads to and its then giving in to those cravings and over consuming calories, is what could make you gain weight.
Craving alcohol or caffeine is very different but has similar symptoms.
I discovered some time ago that controlling sugar cravings is the key to getting and staying in shape and that’s what I teach my clients. I try to show clients how to lose weight by stabilizing their blood sugar levels and therefore their cravings. You might still want that bar of chocolate but with stable blood sugar cravings you want to be slim first, can ignore the craving and it doesn’t become an uncontrollable urge to eat sugar.
Learn to control your cravings or they will always control you… I’ll have a new article coming soon with my tips on how to balance your blood sugar levels to help control your cravings. Follow me on Facebook to be kept updated and if you need help with emotional eating click here.