4 tips to help combat cravings
Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter
Women who email us asking about cravings, tend to follow low carb, low calorie and low essential fat diets. They top it off spending hours in the gym every week on the cross trainer or treadmill. Their blood sugar levels are all over the place, stress levels are through the roof and sleep is non-existent. This is the perfect environment for cravings!
For some women cravings are down to hormonal fluctuations around the menstrual cycle. If cravings happen, they usually come around the beginning of the cycle. This ties in with what's happening hormonally.
The first phase is the FOLLICULAR phase where estrogen levels are higher and your body will be more efficient at fat burning, and less prone to fat storage (increased insulin sensitivity). When your body is slightly more insulin sensitive it can handle a few more carbs, it will function better with some in the tank, and it'll also ask you for some (the cravings). In the second phase (LUTEAL phase), you're slightly more resistant to fat burning and more prone to fat storage. You're also less likely to get the cravings, as you're less insulin sensitive. This more than the first phase, is where you'd ideally want to be more careful with your sugar intake (I didn't say none at all).
Hopefully you'll understand that there is a logical reason for your cravings.
Here are some of my top tips to follow:
- Include essential fats with your meals: Use avocados, nuts, seeds, oils - fats help stabilise your blood sugar and often the blood sugar fluctuations cause cravings.
- Include carbs in your post workout meal: Not only to help stabilise blood sugar levels, but also to replenish glycogen stores.
- Eat carbs with your last meal of the day. Not only will you look forward to this carb meal, but slow releasing carbohydrates raise your levels of serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter), which helps you relax and unwind.
- Have a couple of squares of dark chocolate in the evening: This might seem a very strange one to you but the health benefits of dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa solids) really shouldn't be overlooked. Dark chocolate is loaded with minerals such as magnesium and iron, and it’s rich in antioxidants.
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