Popular health advice makes cravings out to be your enemy. Fight, resist, and threat are all things used in conjunction with cravings to make them feel dangerous. While you may think more willpower is the answer, fighting cravings only makes them more intense. In reality, cravings are like low battery alerts from your body. With the right energy inputs, you’ll be able to effectively recharge your body and eliminate your 9-5 cravings.
Caffeine on an empty stomach generally short circuits your battery, frying your blood sugar control panel, which results in hunger and cravings shortly after. Having food in your stomach before caffeine enables your body to increase the energy voltage it can handle and level out that 10am slump.
The myth that fats makes you fat will kill your health and weight-loss dreams. Having a pasture-raised egg yolk with the egg white (like nature intended) or adding a nut butter to your smoothie is like having a brand new battery that keeps its charge until lunch. Without fat at breakfast, your battery loses energy quickly, like an old cellphone. With fat at breakfast, you can arrive at lunch motivated to make a healthy decision.
Digestion peaks at noon and lasts until about 1:30pm. When you miss this window, you’ve put your body on high alert, which is a starvation threat. Your cravings come roaring in shortly after to motivate you to find food - fast!
Cravings aren’t always about physical hunger. Your soul lives in your body; food often serves as a symbolic substitute for joy in a stressful or boring day - even if it’s only a momentary mouthful of colorful M&Ms. By eating lunch in a way that awakens all your senses, you will feel emotionally invigorated for the afternoon.
It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking. It makes you tired and moody, which are two big reasons for cravings. Set a reminder on your calendar or phone to dance, walk around the office, or get some fresh air. One client of mine would walk the stairs in her building with her iPod on each hour and discovered this was when her best ideas arose. Or, if you have to talk with someone, invite them on a walk. Movement is a secret creative and productivity tool.
Daytime cravings are like text messages from your body that your eating habits need attention. Embrace them like clues on an adventure to discover what foods work for your unique body.
Many people think skipping breakfast will save calories. But skipping breakfast lowers your metabolism and sets you up for chronic cravings during the day.
Eating the majority late at night interferes with sleep. Getting less than eight hours of interrupted sleep is one of the biggest reasons for cravings. Plus, you’ll wake up full and more likely to skip breakfast.
The wisest philosophical traditions in the world understand that what you resist, persists. Your inner rebel thrives on words like ‘discipline’ and ‘willpower’. Learn to build in the highest qualities of your favorite foods in a healthy way.
Afternoon and early evening cravings are more likely to be about the day wearing you down emotionally. Put on your Nancy Drew hat to figure out what’s underneath those afternoon cravings. For example, one of my clients hit her chocolate stash hard around 3pm She realized the caffeine and sugar from the chocolate gave her temporary stamina (her guilt short-circuited the surge). She experimented with a 15-minute nap a couple of days a week and found her cravings disappeared. And her productivity and work quality rose sharply afterwards.
Cravings are clues the body provides so that it can work better for you. It’s in your corner! To stabilize your body’s battery, eat meals with healthy fats at regular times and remember to feed your soul with pleasure and movement during the day.
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