Updated: Jul 6
Indulging in your favorite foods every so often is no big deal. You should get to eat what you want, without guilt and without problems.
That does not always work in practice though. If you have #autoimmune problems, or you are serious about losing weight, you have to be a little more diligent than than the average Jane.
Most women eat fine during the day, but around 4:30 pm or 8:30 pm, the #cravings monster creeps around the corner, quietly pulls up a kitchen chair, and stares deep into your soul until you stare back and give in.
You seriously only keep Girl Scout Cookies and Mint Chip Ice Cream in the house for the #children (and your #husband, let's be honest), but somehow you keep finding your way into the freezer, plowing your way through 1000 calories, and feeling #bloated, #guilty, and #anxious afterward.
I have a few tips for you that will make you cravings-resistant. Cravings-bulletproof. Here is the thing, though. You have to use the tips. Practice them. They will help- you are not powerless against your cravings, I promise.
1) Eat enough protein.
Oh, come on! Are you really not doing this already? Eating enough #protein is the easiest way to resist cravings. Sugar cravings are the first sign that your body is deficient in protein. Protein is needed to stabilize blood sugar, and wonky blood sugar levels tell your brain to make your body seek out sugar, its primary fuel source.
How does one eat enough protein?
Use the rule of palm.
Eat a palm sized-serving of meat (or #plant protein, if you swing that way) three times a day, at regular intervals. That is so easy! If you have no time to cook, you can buy a rotisserie chicken, or pre-cooked grassfed sirloin from Trader Joe's, or even lunchmeat from Walmart. I don't care- just get your protein in. You do not have to make it super complicated, or stress over the fact that you are a crappy cook. No cooking is necessary to get in your protein.
Yes, even breakfast.
If you are not hungry for breakfast, we have a problem. Biologically, you should be hungry for breakfast. You have just expended a great amount of calories during the night as your body repaired and grew itself. If you do not wake up with an appetite, your cortisol levels are off, or your stomach acid levels are off.
If you like to cook, prepare some yummy vittles the day before and pop them in the toaster oven while you get everyone ready for the day. Here are two of my favorites:
If cooking ain't your thing, into the toaster oven can go some chicken apple sausages, or pork sausages, or tri tip from last night's dinner. Historically, humans have not eaten sweet things for breakfast. Now we in western nations- and those nations being "westernized- routinely eat sweet things for breakfast, and we are the fattest and unhealthiest nations on earth. Eat meat.
2) Rest and Reflect
I am nobody, really, but I do see a lot of women in my office and online. Many of them struggle deeply with anxiety and depression. Many of them are Type-A overachievers who push, push, push, and never rest. Many of them do not "unplug" during the day at all, and then lie awake at night, overthinking and overstressing.
As we start working together, I encourage them to spend 30 minutes a day- every day, non-negotiable- in quiet.
We don't like to be alone with our thoughts. We try everything possible to not be alone with our thoughts. We do not want to contemplate our own guilt, shortcomings, anxieties, and shortcomings. It is way easier to keep going, to fill our days with distractions and screens and fake relationships and busy-ness. Then we don't have to think about the fact that we are finite creatures in a finite world and that we are sinful and broken.
Look, we say. I can do it! By myself! All of it.
Until you can't. And your body breaks. And then your mind begins to break.
Pre-empt this, people. Work hard to care for yourself so you can care for others. This means taking care of your mental health. You simply cannot push at the rate you are pushing without negative consequences.
Here is what I have my clients do.
Find a quiet place
Bring a journal
Re-discover an old love- drawing, painting, reading, knitting, writing. Nothing electronic.
Spend 30 minutes doing this activity with your journal nearby
Allow your thoughts to wander
When interesting thoughts, or anxious thoughts, or angry thoughts, or confusing thoughts come to mind, write them down. Spend some time chewing on them. Work through your problems.
If you don't do this as a practice, your thoughts will consume you when you finally are forced to slow down, like when you are trying to go to bed at night. Or at 3 am.
Feel free to spend more than 30 minutes on this practice. This what people call "mindfulness" or "being present". Those terms have weird New-Agey connotations but they just mean that one should be ok with thinking and being instead of always being physically and mentally primed to sprint off to the next thing.
3) Use my Hot Chocolate Recipe
Cravings will sometimes pop up even when you are protein-full and you have already knitted and journaled for an hour. That's ok. It is a good time to ask yourself why you are craving things. Are you tired? Angry? Lonely? Now would be a good time to think and reflect and even write about it.
But that craving still may be there, so now would be the time to pull out your secret chocolate weapon as you work through everything else.
Here is the deal. You still probably need a little bit of protein and some fat, if you are craving something. So meet that craving with said protein and fat. Also some chocolate.
Have this a few times a day if you want. You can have it at 10 am and also 10 pm and also 2 pm.
The collagen provides protein and amino acids. The ghee stabilizes your blood sugar and satiates you. The cinnamon also regulates your blood sugar- so as you are drinking it, you are reducing cravings on a physical and physiological level. Yay!