Hi, I’m Health Coach Tara. I’ve been helping clients overcome sugar and carb cravings for a decade and today I’m going to share my top tips for busting through the sugar and carb cravings cycle.
If you’re tired of fighting cravings and feeling deprived all the time, you’re in the right place. These tips, when applied daily, are powerful at busting the cravings cycle and put you on the fast track to getting the results you want.
At the end of this blog, I'll share some incredibly valuable pointers for you.
To make this happen, we need to begin with our mindset. Right now, I ask you to forget everything you know about cravings... Get curious. Think of yourself as a scientist or a detective searching for clues.
Sugar and carb cravings often have more than just one root because and it takes persistence and determination to overcome them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to sugar and carb cravings. What works for some people, doesn’t work for others. So, open yourself to investigating this problem in a new way.
How Bad Do You Want Change
Above all, take the time to absorb this information without pushing it aside and skipping to easier advice. Be willing to challenge yourself and do something difficult. Ask yourself “How badly do I want results? Am I willing to do something challenging to get there?”
Here’s the thing - achieving a big goal like losing weight, restoring your wellness & vitality, or overcoming cravings means you must take uncomfortable action and be willing to do hard things.
You are the only one who lives inside your body. Only you know how that feels and only you can do the work to make the changes that are necessary to improve how you feel inside your body. Only you can create a life and body you love to live in, but you must be willing to open yourself up, take uncomfortable action, and change how you think about failure.
Get Help To Break The Cravings Cycle
If this is something you’re struggling with, if you find yourself stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage, I invite you to learn about my 90 Day Keto Challenge that focuses on breaking the cycle of self-sabotage, emotional eating, and feeling trapped inside a body that seems to refuse to be healthy.
I get it because I’ve had that kind of a body my entire life, it took over 20 years to get the first diagnosis that made any sense.
Okay, now that you’re ready to tackle your sugar and carb cravings with your detective hat on, let’s talk about a few of the causes of cravings.
Sugar & Carb Craving Causes
Sugar and carb cravings can have multiple causes. Candida overgrowth, fungal overgrowth, allergies, or food sensitivities are just a few for starters. There's also fatigue due to lack of sleep or poor quality sleep, high stress, especially chronic high stress because the byproducts of stress (adrenaline and cortisol) can drive hunger up.
Other causes of sugar and carb cravings are hormone imbalances, menopause, lack of movement/exercise, underlying conditions, inflammation in the body, you’re sick or getting sick, or even when you’re just feeling run down.
Sugar withdrawal can also be a cause for cravings. The addictive properties of sugar cause what is referred to as sugar withdrawal and contribute to cravings for more sugar and other carbs.
The inflammatory properties of gluten - vital wheat gluten is in many keto bread products labeled as low-carb or keto-friendly. Gluten, in all forms, contains a protein called gliadin which helps form the gluten network that is so desirable in our bread and baked goods.
What is important to understand here is that gliadin along with intestinal bacteria creates a protein called Zonulin. The presence of Zonulin leads to intestinal permeability by opening the tight junctions between our intestinal cells. When these junctions open, things that shouldn’t be able to get in between our intestinal cell walls now can get in.
This leads to an immune response and a cascade of symptoms known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is often another contributor to cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.
Habits also often result in sugar and carb cravings. For example, it’s your birthday and you’ve always celebrated with cake or a special dessert. So, leading up to your birthday you have intense cravings. This is actually a habit you learned from a parent or from society. Human beings tend to celebrate with food and our birthdays are no exception.
Think for a moment about other things we celebrate and how food is a part of the celebration ritual. This is a deeply ingrained habit, an automated behavior, and it will take time to change. This was true for me and is why I created The Keto Cupcake Cookbook. Now my family always has a delicious way to celebrate and stay on track. Here's the link if you’d like to get a copy of the cookbook too.
Have you ever referred to yourself as an emotional eater? Stress, the feeling of overwhelm, bad news, or other cues can trigger a strong emotional response that has you reaching for the nearest comfort food.
Have you ever heard the statement “we become like the people we hang out the most with?”. Well, this is because of our mirror neurons and they can also trigger sugar and carb cravings. For example, you’re watching your favorite TV show and they are eating one of your favorite foods and you’re suddenly craving that food. This is your mirror neurons in action. We tend to mimic what others are doing (or eating) around us. This is true of those living in your household, your co-workers, or anyone you spend time with.
When we’re dealing with any of these issues, our mind and body crave carbohydrates because it knows that carbohydrates are a rapid source of short-term energy. So, what do we do about these sugar and carb cravings?
What To Do About The Cravings
The first step is building awareness which you’re already doing!
Next is to create a list of reasons that sugar and carb cravings might be a problem for you right now. Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so, once you finish reading through this blog, go over the points again and write down all the causes of sugar and carb cravings that may apply to you. Then, you’ll have a list of things to investigate and work on.
Third, we need to challenge our mindset and our habits. When we’re struggling, our body often throws up carb cravings. But, fueling our body with sugar and carbohydrates is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The best case is you feel better for a few moments while you're enjoying the food, the worse case is that giving in to the craving feeds the underlying condition and makes the carb craving cycle even worse.
Sugar & Carb Craving Example
For example, let’s say I’m up later than usual for a class I’m taking, which happens regularly. I get only 5 hours of sleep instead of my normal 7-8 hours. Additionally, I step into a high-stress day and have a lot on my mind. Inside my body, I’m struggling with a leaky gut which has compromised my immune function and contributed to inflammation.
As a result, my endometriosis has flared up. As I sip on my coffee, I feel hungry right away. Since I usually fast 14-18 hours, eating this early isn’t part of my daily routine. My body feels tired throughout the day and carb cravings become intense. All I can think about are those tortilla chips and salsa in the pantry our teens brought home. I spend thirty minutes on uber eats looking at all the food I could have delivered to my door quickly.
Let’s say I give in and order something. I enjoy eating the food. It feels indulgent and highly pleasurable. But, after I’ve eaten… how do I feel? Do I feel energized? Am I ready to take on the day now that I’ve given in to the craving to fuel with carbohydrates?
Write It Down
How do you feel after you do something like this? Pause here and writing down how you feel after you give in to temptation. This step is important to help you break the cycle of giving into cravings.
Instead of letting those negative thoughts creep in, spend ten minutes journaling about how you feel physically and emotionally. Think of the “cheat meal” as a scientific experiment and become an observer of what happens in your body.
Our hypothesis in my example is “Will giving in to a craving actually provide the energy my mind and body thinks it will?” Another question you can ask is “How does giving into a craving make me feel in the following 24 hours both mentally and emotionally?”. Building awareness around the consequences of giving in to cravings is the first step to changing the behavior.
Write A Letter
I often assign my clients to write their future selves a letter after a cheat. Then, they place the letter in an envelope and write their name on it and “next time you want to give in to cravings, read this first”. One of my clients even took a photo of this letter and used it as her screen saver! Brilliant!
Improve Your Habits
Do you remember earlier when I asked you to become curious and open-minded? This is where it comes into play. Often, we’ll hear advice like this and immediately move on without trying it. We tell ourselves “Oh, that won’t work for me”.
In this situation, practice pausing your thoughts and raise a mental red flag. Take a deep centering breath or two and then ask yourself a tough love question. “Wait a minute, have I actually TRIED this? What do I have to lose by giving this a chance? Could it be the thing that makes all the difference and finally gets me out of the cycle?”
Here’s the thing -- cravings will always be a part of your life. But, we can improve our habits and behaviors with enough knowledge, practice, and determination.
Create A Craving Cause List
Now it’s time for you to go back through the causes of sugar and carb cravings and create your to-investigate list. Once you’ve written down all the things you need to work on, pick the easiest thing and start there.
As you work through your investigative list, you’ll build confidence and will pick up momentum as you continue to work forward. When something doesn’t work, instead of quitting and accepting the status quo, put that detective hat back on and ask yourself the hard questions.
If this has been helpful for you, share it with a friend who is also struggling with sugar and carb cravings. Be sure you’ve subscribed to my email list and YouTube channel, Tara’s Keto Kitchen, where I post videos like this regularly. And, if you take the time to comment or ask a question - I read those! This video was inspired by comments on our social media channels.
Thank you so much for being here and supporting this channel. Until next time, this is Health Coach Tara wishing you the very best of health.
Gliadin In Vital Wheat Gluten
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