Everyone has food cravings. You've been there, yes? "I'm dying for Mexican food!" or "Is there anything salty in the house?" or the typical..."What I wouldn't give for a piece of chocolate!"
Have you ever driven to the store in the wee hours of the night to satisfy a food craving?
I used to live next door to a family that would do "grocery store runs" for ice cream, brownies, chocolate sauce and whipped cream after nine p.m. on a hot summer night. (Shaking my head in disbelief..)
Just recently I had a client pick up his phone to read a message from his wife asking him to stop on the way home for a "fast food" fix. Seriously? What happened to regular meals? And healthy snacks?
Food cravings mean that the body has its signals mixed up. When we are exhausted, sleep deprived, or blue, we have low blood sugar or even low serotonin, and the mind and body signal to the brain that it needs a quick fix. This signal starts the sugar and carb craving. I mention serotonin. What is that? I call it the "feel good hormone". If serotonin is low, we feel sad, lethargic and even depressed. Even hormonal imbalances can trigger the drop in serotonin. Eating simple sugars and empty (simple) carbohydrates release a short burst of serotonin. You'll feel good for a brief moment, but you'll soon return to the low serotonin state, then crave more sugar and more empty carbs. What a vicious cycle that becomes.
Thus the change we need to make in our diet. When I say "diet", I mean the WAY YOU EAT. Not a temporary fix.
So I will veer off slightly and address the low-fat diet. The worst of the bunch, in my humble opinion. Just hearing the words "low fat" or "non-fat" makes my upper lip tremble a bit. (Low-fat means HIGH carbohydrate, in most cases.)
Insulin resistance is what is responsible for the low-fat, high-carb eater. I believe that the low fat dieter, after years of eating a low-fat and HIGH carb diet (and let's not forget the fad dieters) have become, or partially become insulin resistant. Insulin is responsible for maintaining stable blood sugar levels by telling the body's cells when to absorb sugar (yes, glucose) from the bloodstream. Being insulin resistant means your body stops responding to insulin, and instead grabs every calorie it can - and then deposits it as fat. Really! No matter how much you eat, it will be deposited as fat. Essentially, it's feeding your fat cells. This keeps the cycle of persistent food cravings active as your cells cannot absorb the glucose they need, so they signal your brain that you need MORE carbohydrates and sugars. Brutal, isn't it?
Toss out the junk food and restock your refrigerator and pantry with almonds and other nuts, cheese, fruits and vegetables.
Purchase chicken, pork, beef, tuna, salmon, and keep plenty of meats in your freezer. Sometimes all it takes is one habit to change another habit, to create another habit, and so on.
What are you craving these days? It speaks volumes. Salty? Sugary? Is is about texture? Convenience?
Let's first start to separate whether it is a low-fat empty carb or a healthy "whole" food.