Its Friday night and you’re watching your favorite Netflix show and a thought pops into your head! “Ice cream would be really good right now!”
You’re at work, its midafternoon and your start to feel like you’re going to fall asleep at your desk. “I should go to the vending machine and get a sugar coffee!”
Finally, a night out with friends, I need this! I am going to eat 2 buckets of free chips and salsa with my 3 margaritas and 45 tacos!
Ok maybe its 3 tacos but you get the point. We all having cravings. You’re not weird for having them. Our brains get all sorts of clues that it’s time to eat! Why is it we don’t crave green beans, broccoli, and chicken?
Those healthy foods just aren’t packed with the fat, sugar, and chemicals that scream at your brain to GIVE ME MORE! Food companies know what they are doing, how else would they stay in business? You crave what is most desirable to your brain, NOT your body! Your body would choose grilled chicken over breaded chicken wings drenched in sugar sauce any day. Too bad our brains make the decisions.
Fortunately, there ARE ways to bust the cravings. It just takes a little planning and mindfulness.
Substitute: The next time you get hit with a sweet craving, try eating your favorite fruit. Salt and crunchy craving? Try eating unbuttered popcorn. Chocolate attack?
Swap out chocolate for dark chocolate. It’s better for you and has less sugar. When you want ice cream try a dairy free frozen fruit smoothie. You can even freeze it so it has the ice cream taste. The point is to try to pack the most nutrition into your cravings. Your body will thank you.
Distract yourself: Surely you love all sorts of things besides food. What is one thing you enjoy that has nothing to do with food? Do you like to take long bubble baths? Internet surfing, video games, reading, listening to your favorite jams? This will be specific to you. When you feel a craving hit and you know you’re not truly hungry, then force yourself to do something else you love. If when you are done, the craving is still there, allow yourself a small portion and congratulate yourself for not eating a huge bowl of ice cream.
Eat! You might be having a craving, because you are actually hungry for a satisfying, healthy meal. Your brain is saying eat the candy bar, your body really means give me a big chicken salad. What time is it? When is the last time you eat? If you are having a craving for a treat but you really need to eat healthy substantial food, eat the meal first and then see how you feel.
Eat before you go out to eat: This seems counterproductive but it works. When you are planning on going out to eat or attending a Holiday event eat a protein snack before you go. The worst thing is to show up starving and have no self-control. Try eating some hard-boiled eggs, nuts, or cottage cheese. Whatever you like that is high in protein. Protein is one of the most hunger satisfying nutrients and will help curb your appetite to make better choices.
Plan Ahead: Bring healthy snacks to work and keep them in your car. You don’t want to be left with a massive craving with no food anywhere near except the vending machine filled with candy and chips.
Visualize your goals and mediate on your motivation: Once you are clear on your motivation for wanting to lose weight, write it down. Put it on your fridge or in your pantry. Make it your screen saver on your phone or computer. Look at this goal every day. We are terribly forgetful as humans! We can feel totally ready to make a change and then a few days later we forget as the busyness of life gets to us. Make sure you can’t forget!
You are worth this! You are bigger than your cravings! Your goals matter.
Giving into cravings can sabotage all your weight loss efforts, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can plan ahead and beat them. Next week you won’t even remember the fast food meal, the snickers bar, or the cheese fries. What you will remember is what the scale told you earlier this morning. It’s just not worth it. You will look back in a few months and you will be proud of your accomplishment, your weight loss, and your better health.
You got this!
Fake Fat Sucks
You step on the scale with anticipation.
It’s your weekly weigh in day. You have been following your calorie plan all week.
Gasp! You see a 2-pound weight GAIN. You think “WTH! I give up! …and go eat a donut”.
Not so fast! You might have actually lost 1 pound of real fat and gained 2 pounds of fake fat.
What the heck is fake fat?
It looks real, you can see it on your body and on the scale. It’s not fat though, its inflammation. Think back over your diet for the week. Were you eating dairy, corn, fake sugars, or wheat? Even when you calorie restrict, these foods are known to cause a silent intolerant reaction. Silent meaning you don’t break out in hives itch and feel horrible when you ingest them immediately like an allergic reaction. The reactions you are having are subtle and can take up to 24 hours to show up.
You might find you look “pudgy”.
Your stomach is a bit bloated.
Your face and legs are puffy.
Your rings are harder to get on in the morning.
You are waking up with a slightly stuffy nose or a headache in the morning.
You have a hard time getting to sleep at night.
You struggle with mild anxiety.
These are all very subtle signs that you are eating something your body is intolerant to. The top offenders are wheat, dairy, sugar, fake sugars, corn, and eggs. In all reality though you can be intolerant to anything. Its up to you to figure out what you have been eating a lot of lately that might be the offender.
When you eat these foods, your body will hold on to more water and create inflammation to help “heal” the offended area. Many of us have a leaky gut from these food intolerances.
Large undigested particles will pass into your bloodstream instead of getting digested, and you will feel uncomfortable as a result and see a weight increase on the scale. The weight gain is not the worst of it. Long-term exposure to foods you are intolerant to can increase your chance of intestinal illness and autoimmune conditions. This was a big part of how I ended up getting sick with Interstitial Cystitis.
To figure out if you are having problems with foods the cheapest way is to do an elimination diet. Eat only meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and rice for a week and then introduce the offending food to note any reactions. I happen to be intolerant to white rice and you might find even on the “safe” diet you are still having issues. You have to be your own detective.
Once you figure it out and abstain from the offending foods you will be blessed with water weight loss, more energy, better sleep, less headaches and colds, and less blaoting. Your anticipation to step on the scale after all your hard work will be rewarded and your health will thank you!
Whole foods are awesome, but yes calories DO matter to weight loss!
Weight loss can seem like an elusive topic these days. Everyone has a theory. Low carb, high carb, whole 30, vegan, low calorie. They ALL promise results. Every one one of these special diets have something right. Reminds of me all the world religions. If we would all get on the same page and put it all together we might be on to something. Let’s discuss the top three.
A low carb diet can be as simple as eliminating all grains, legumes, and sugars to as hard as counting every single macro and making sure your “net carbs” are under 20 grams a day while peeing on sticks to check for a purple color representing ketones. Carbs have a bad name in the recent years, and for good reason. As a society, we tend to eat way too many of them. Not the healthy kind like berries and sweet potatoes, but the refined crap like French fries, potato chips, and crackers. If you haven’t heard by now, these foods don’t satisfy. They cause cravings in the brain for MORE. So, you eat MORE, and you get BIGGER. What a concept. How many times have you sat down to eat a sweet potato and ended up binging on them? Probably not often unless it came in a bag and was labeled “sweet potato chips”.
Low carb diets theorize the body turns into fat burning mode and uses up your fatty acids for energy instead of the sugar you normally feed yourself. Whether this is true or not, people tend to lose weight on a low carb plan. At first you will lose a substantial amount because most of it is water. This can be exciting until one “cheat” and all the weight comes back overnight. The jury is still out if you are actually losing weight because of less calories or because of the ketones. You can find blog battles about this all over the internet.
A benefit to a low carb dieting is many find they lose their appetite after a week or two, so it is much easier to stick to the diet! Without cravings, it’s much easier to eat green veges and protein every night. I have done this diet many times and I can attest to the fact that you will lose weight. The problem for me was that no matter how much my appetite was curbed I still ended up wanting something “off” the diet list after a few weeks and it would throw my body out of ketosis. I would have to start the whole thing again. Getting your body into ketosis can be quite uncomfortable. Ketosis diets are used by doctors for people with epilepsy and brain cancer. My brain feels much clearer while following this diet after a few weeks but its not sustainable for me. I still use this diet if I feel like my brain is getting a bit to foggy and I have been eating to many carbs after the holidays.
One downfall is for those prone to mental health issues. Depression and anxiety can get out of control on the low carb diet. Especially women. This happens to me big time! I actually shake inside the first few days on it. My husband can tell the first day I am on it. It's kind of a joke in our house, "Um honey are you low carb again?". I have read it could be due to women needing more carbs to make serotonin or the fact that your stress hormones are elevated. I have to rely on taking 5-HTP especially at the beginning of this program. Not everyone has this issue. Some people even report it cures their mental health problems. If you are someone who already struggles with depression I would not try this diet without being under your doctor’s care.
The Whole 30 Diet has been made popular by a woman named Melissa Hartwig. She has an inspiring story and has overcome many challenges in her life. I have a lot of respect for her. Without knowing it I had been following the “Whole 30 Diet” for many years. Before it was called The Whole 30 Diet. I did this to calm my autoimmune reactions while I was sick with Interstitial Cystitis. You eliminate dairy, all grains and legumes, added sugars, soy, alcohol, and anything processed for a full 30 days. This is not advertised as a weight loss diet, but the secret is out many people loose substantial amount of weight while doing it. It is not uncommon for people to stay on it for many months to continue the weight loss. The first week on this diet can be really tough. You will most likely have major sugar cravings and feel many different detox symptoms. This is a good thing, but it feels terrible. My sister did this diet and felt amazing from day 1, so not everyone experiences this. I am not so lucky. I get headaches, bloating, fatigue, anxiety, and massive cravings when I go on it for the first week. I think our individual gut bacteria plays a major role in how we will respond.
A benefit to Whole 30, much like low carb, is there is no calorie counting. You just eat healthy foods and rely on your body to give you the cues to stop eating. When you eat only whole foods your leptin hormone signals for hunger get balanced and you can trust your body. You are also getting a huge dose of vitamins and minerals, which is never a bad thing!
One downfall to this plan is when you get to your last 10-20 pounds it may not work anymore. At the beginning if you have a lot of weight to lose you will naturally be consuming less calories. Once your energy needs lower with weight loss you will need to watch your calories to lose the last bit of weight. I think the whole 30 diet is awesome for so many reasons but if weight loss is your goal, you might need to also log your intake. I needed to log again to loose my holiday weight gain. I am a woman of average 5’5 height and for me to lose the last 10 I can’t eat more than 1200-1300 calories a day if I am not regularly working out. On whole 30 you might be eating a lot of nuts, butter, and healthy fats which can pack in the calories and prevent you from losing the last 10 pounds. So just be mindful!
Low Calorie Diet
Here we come to one of the most time proven ways to lose weight. The calorie restricted diet. This is still the top way to lose weight in my opinion, science still agrees. No matter what special diet you are doing, it is most likely because of the restricted calories that you are actually losing weight. After I had my children and had 60 pounds to lose, this is the way I did it. I had no idea in my 20s about the low carb diet or any special type of diet. I just used my fitness pal to log all my calories and I did lose all my weight within 8 months. It was not easy all the time due to my sugar eating habits, but I did it. After I got sick with IC is when I started researching all these other diets to help me get out of pain and saw their benefits as well.
You can lose weight eating 1200 calories a day of sugar and crap food. This is not advisable and would be VERY hard to do because of the continuous cravings you would be having due to consuming low nutrient dense food and chemicals. Using a combo of the whole foods diet and low-calorie diet will most likely get you to your goal. People tell me all the time, “But Melissa I am NOT losing weight on this 1200 calorie diet of whole foods”. Then I make them seriously log everything they eat for a week with a food scale and find out they are actually eating about 1800-2000 calories a day. Every bite counts when you are a shorter woman! Often, they don't measure the oil they put in their salad and don’t realize how many calories oil and butter have. The couple of nuts they eat here and there added another few hundred! Eating whole foods (nothing from a package) and staying away from refined sugar while also counting calories with a food scale will not only curb your cravings but you will be feeding your body nutrient dense food and nourishing your body while losing. Allowing yourself a weekly cheat meal not more than 300 calories over your normal daily calories will keep you sane. Just make sure you know your limits. If you are a sugar addict like me, I would keep sugar out of your cheat meals if it has the ability to completely throw you off. I like to use red wine as my cheat. I justify its feeding my good bacteria:)
We are all different when it comes to food preferences and losing weight should not make you crazy! If something isn’t working don’t fight it, try another way. Wellness is not about following a ridged lifestyle of a specific diet and supplement routine, it’s about finding what works for your body and mind! Hiring a coach to keep you on tract and hold you accountable can be the missing piece. Let me help you with your weight loss goals!
I have been 206 pounds, granted I was 9 months pregnant, but I only went down to 186 after I had him. It took over a year to get the weight off until I had another child and the cycle continued.
I have also been 105 pounds, 120 pounds, 148 pounds, and 165 pounds. I have gone up and down like a roller coaster throughout the years until I was forced to learn how to properly eat for my body type while healing my disease.
I still will gain weight quickly if I eat a few days of refined sugar or grains.
When I got to 105 (6 pounds underweight according to my BMI) is when I felt the most disgusted and not beautiful. It's ironic because in my teens and younger years I always thought if I could just get as skinny as the models then I would be happy with my body.
I could not eat most foods at the time because eating was the cause of my bladder pain. I was forced to only eat eggs, meat, and broccoli because every other food caused me issues. When you have IC you have open sores in your bladder, chemicals from food in your urine cause the pain to be worse. Its like pouring substances on an open wound. OUCH!
During this time in my life I was angry. I was fearful. I was closed off to the rest of the world. I hated myself. I felt ugly no matter how skinny I was.
People would find out I was sick and their first words would be, "But you look so great, look how skinny you are now!"
Please people, DO NOT comment on someones looks when they tell you they are chronically ill.
I could not understand why I had to be sick and I felt like God was cursing me.
I did not care about my weight anymore. I just wanted to be out of pain.
Even though I was skinny, I was not feeling beautiful because my soul was not free. I believed lies. Beauty is in the soul, and only in the soul. If you believe by loosing 25 pounds you will be more beautiful, you are wrong. You will be thinner. You will be able to wear a smaller size of clothing. You may feel sexier with your clothes off but If you hate your body at 150 pounds, you might be disappointed to find out you don't like it at 115 pounds.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the motivations for wanting to be thinner and having more energy. Feeling like you look hot is a great thing, just make sure you love yourself at each weight and look deep inside to see your soul beauty. We all have it. I had it when I was 105 and feeling bad for myself. I just could not see it.
No one is perfect. Not one. We all have a life of regrets, guilt, and choices we wish we had not made. We also have joy, love, and amazing experiences we created! Its all relative and all part of our beautiful story here. What good movie have you ever seen with absolutely no hardship? Every great story has suffering.
Look in the mirror every morning and look at your amazing God given body no matter what the scale says. Think of all your body has been through and it's still working for you! Every mark, dot, and dimple is amazingly beautiful. Now look into your eyes. Eyes have said to be the window to the soul. Can you see yourself? Can you see into your heart?
You are wonderfully and magnificently made!
You are BEAUTIFUL! Believe it! If you don't believe it now, keep repeating it over and over until you do! Once you believe it you will feel free no matter how much your scale number moves or doesn't move.
Melissa is the Author of Healing Through the Pain How I overcame Interstitial Cystitis. She writes about health (physical, emotional and spiritual) from a vulnerable place, after overcoming Interstitial Cystitis and still battling emotional illness. She is passionate about helping women realize their ability to make changes and move forward from difficult situations in their lives.
If you have any poetry you would like to submit do so to the email below.