When the cravings come for you

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Cravings are caused by false appetite signals from the brain that are brought about through sugar intake, whether it’s added-sugar or carbs. Here are some ways to avoid cravings.

  • Eat more protein and vegetables. Make sure the veggies are lower-carb vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus.
  • Get more sleep. Sleeping helps reduce hunger as your body tries to acquire energy it didn’t replenish through sleep through increased calorie intake.
  • Don’t eat foods that spike your blood sugar.
  • Don’t keep sweets or sugary snacks around you. That includes fruit with high sugar content like bananas and pineapple.
  • Drink some tea or coffee.
  • Stay well hydrated. This also helps control cravings as your stomach stays fuller and can keep you from feeling hungry.

I don’t have to deal with this much anymore ever since I did my first Whole30, but I do remember what it was like. Before I kicked the sugar dragon, I’d get cravings within about 2 hours of eating. Then, I’d eat, and the cycle would repeat. Looking back, it’s as if I ate all day long (which actually, I pretty much did!). The worst part is that I thought I was sating an appetite by eating a snack in, in reality, I was feeding further appetite and more eating caused more cravings, and so on.

After starting my first Whole30, I remember how terrible I felt in those first three days. I’ve heard it described as flu-like symptoms. For me, it felt worse. I had no energy, I could barely think, and I felt angry. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I was pretty hungry, too. I snacked a few times on some almonds, but kept to the plan. This continued for the better part of two days. The third day wasn’t nearly as bad, and by the fourth day, I started feeling normal. What I didn’t expect was how much better I’d feel by week two.

Every now and then, I re-evaluate my diet, my health, and nutrition and adjust accordingly. Recently, I found that I was eating portion sizes that were too large and that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Once I fixed those two things, my health improved (yes, I actually felt better very soon after making the changes) and my weight began to drop back to a more comfortable level for me. Being more consistent in my running also added to my overall feeling of well-being.

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