In this two-part series on cravings management, I want to infuse you with confidence that change is possible! As you journey through these changes, take one step at a time and don’t get discouraged if you hit a stumbling block. Just get back on your feet and try again. It took me years of trial and error to learn how to manage my cravings; and while I wish it didn’t take that long, I’m grateful for the persevering mindset that I can now pass on to you—without the added years of experimentation.
Below are the rest of my simple switches to guide you to your goal. Get ready because you’ll be dancing your way around cravings in no time!
In the morning, our stress hormone (known as cortisol) is at its highest. Cortisol is synchronized with our circadian rhythms, which helps the body wake up and get going at the start of the day. Alternatively, cortisol levels are at their lowest in the evening, when the sun is down and it’s time for sleep. The combination of cortisol and insulin, the body’s sugar-processing hormone, does not produce a good pairing—especially when it comes to cravings. By avoiding foods that provoke an insulin spike in the earlier part of the day (such as carbohydrates), the body’s natural hormonal rhythms are optimized as we wake and go about our daily lives.
Instead, save carbs for later in the day when cortisol levels have dropped. Then you can break your overnight fast by eating lots of goodfats first, such as avocado, which is one of my favorite breakfast foods. I’ve noticed that the most immediate change in cravings occurs when I start the day with my AvocaGlow. Come the evening, when I’m relaxed and preparing for a good night’s rest, I’ll enjoy healthy carbohydrates.
IF (Intermittent Fasting) is the practice of shifting between periods of unrestricted eating and restricted eating; in turn, it provides a restful period for your body to repair and heal. During the “fasting” time, the body’s cells enter a phase where they literally digest themselves in order to recycle the “good,” or useful material, and discard the “bad,” or toxic buildup. This is called autophagy (“self-eating”) and it can be activated by practicing IF to reset the system and curb cravings. Think about it: if you’re constantly eating — which is the case for many of us as we graze throughout the day — it doesn’t give your cells a chance to clean up the waste and toxins that have accumulated. Short periods of fasting allow your cells to take care of those tasks; as a result, you are less likely to graze on snacks, desserts, sweet drinks and refined, processed foods.
The other component that joins IF is protein cycling, where periods of normal and low intakes of protein are alternated to provide another opportunity for the cells to repair and detox the junk that causes the hormonal interference that leads to cravings. Alternating days of protein intake, with some days of very low protein and some days being higher, the body is encouraged to recycle biological proteins and rid itself of any toxic byproducts that not only increase cravings but provide an environment for physical disease to develop. It may be hard to imagine how periods of brief fasting and protein cycling can influence this biological process, but there is no better way to learn than to experience it for yourself. I highly recommend you experiment with this method and see the changes that occur. If you’d like some further guidance in following the IFPC program, my bestselling book Glow15 dives deeper into the details and benefits of this lifestyle.
It’s not always easy to make huge changes to your lifestyle so if this seems daunting, it may be wise to practice distraction when you first start out. For example, if it’s your normal routine to have a sweet coffee in the morning when you wake up then grab a granola bar or bagel an hour later, you’re probably going to need a great distraction. I know it can feel scary or overwhelming to go cold-turkey, so replacements are in order. For the first couple of weeks, replace your sugary coffee routine with a healthier alternative, such as coffee and a couple tablespoons of real heavy cream and a spoonful of raw cacao.
Even better, try my AutophaTea, made with polyphenol-packed green and earl grey teas, Ceylon cinnamon, and topped off with a spoonful of pure coconut oil. Dedicated followers of my plan tell me the taste reminds them of a warm cinnamon-bun. Moreover, it can help to carry some goodfats with you wherever you go, such as macadamia nuts or an avocado, or have some ready-made fat bombs at home in your fridge if you’re faced with an offer to eat an unhealthy food; this way you can quickly stomp out the “urge to splurge” by distracting your craving.
Make choices that position you as the victor in this battle. Because let’s face it—the current state of our food industry comes down to business. For the big companies, it’s all about their bottom line—not your health. While this is disheartening, the truth is that these corporations often use excessive sugar, refined grains, oxidized bad fats, genetically-modified foods, and an array of chemicals and additives without regard for the health consequences. In fact, the more these junky foods keep us addicted to them, the better off the corporations exist to be. Truly “put your money where your mouth is” and choose to spend your dollars on the ingredients that will nourish you wholly and deeply, from the inside out!
It’s not an overnight ride to freedom from cravings, so before you start out, it’s important to engage a healthy mental approach to your goals.
It’s not an overnight ride to freedom from cravings, so before you start out, it’s important to engage a healthy mental approach to your goals. Health is a journey with many bumps, twists, and turns; people get sick, go on vacations, celebrate holidays, have events, forget to plan, etc. We are only human. The best way to make these significant changes in your lifestyle is to carry yourself with grace and nourish yourself with loving-kindness. When things don’t go perfectly, what is your backup plan? Will you get frustrated and call the whole thing off? Will you feel like you’re the victim of unfortunate circumstances and that you have no control over your life? Or… will you take a deep breath, allow yourself the compassion to recover, then get back up and start again? No matter the circumstance, you will be faced with an opportunity to treat your body with self-care and to learn from your mistakes, or to give up and retreat.
Each time I hit an obstacle, it has become easier and easier to pick myself back up. And I know this is possible for you as well! Since we are all unique bodies, each of us will require an approach that is a little different from each other. But we are similar enough in that the basic principles of biology will always apply.
This means that if you stay the course, keep determined, eat goodfats first, ditch the unhealthy junk foods, and limit or remove all processed ingredients from your diet, you are bound to see results. It’s fully possible and I am here to guide you along the way!
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