I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year when the air starts to have a little more bite in the morning and evening. I feel inspired to use the oven more. And sleep more.
As we continue our transition into Fall, the season calls us to draw inward while life often demands more of our energy and time.
This opposition can lead to imbalance over time if we do not pepper in practices that help us stay centered and grounded. This sensitive gal has to be particularly mindful of grounding, getting adequate rest, and eating supportive foods.
As the air gets drier, our nervous systems can get aggravated which can result in problems with sleep, anxiety, or restlessness. This can lead us to reaching for food in an effort to ground ourselves.
The problem is, we may be reaching for foods that flatten us out or actually add to imbalance. Eating sugar or refined carbohydrates is common. So is overeating. In an unconscious effort to regulate our nervous system, this makes perfect sense.
Today, let’s explore sugar cravings and gain insight to whether craving for sweets is physiological, emotional, psychological, or a combination, with the intention of supporting ourselves fully this season.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself if you are experiencing “Sugar/Carb Attacks” now or any time of the year…
#1: Am I skipping breakfast or having only coffee and carbohydrates to start my day?
No? Nice work. Move on to the next question.
Yes? A nourishing breakfast that includes your favorite fat and protein sources is going to be a great ally in the morning. Breakfast aligns the body with the natural rhythms of the day, balances blood sugar (keeping sugar/caffeine cravings at bay), and helps you get a sense of what your natural appetite is throughout the day. One of my favorite breakfasts is some variation of eggs, greens, and fat like tahini, avocado, or coconut oil. A distant 2nd: A smoothie with a high-quality plant protein powder. I ease off on this one as the weather gets cooler, though.
#2: Am I under-eating?
No? Good for you. Trying to eat as little as possible in an effort to lose weight is so common for women. Move on to #3.
Yes? Going several hours without eating or eating a skimpy breakfast and lunch may very well lead to some wolf-like urges to eat around 3 or 4pm. Sugar and refined carbohydrates give the body energy very quickly as they spike raise insulin levels and spike blood sugar fairly quickly. Making sure you are eating enough food before 2pm is helpful to explore. Remember, eating in general is grounding – let’s just make it on your terms.
#3: Have I eliminated almost all sources of whole foods carbohydrates out of my diet and then indulge or binge on these foods?
No? Nice work. You have found the balance your body needs.
Yes? Many, in the effort to lose weight, reduce carbohydrates as much as possible. If you are experiencing a strong desire for sugar/flour then this may be a good time to consider whether adding more roots, fruit, vegetables, beans, or grains to your diet may help your body feel balanced and nourished. You don’t need to necessarily have grains or beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Experiment with adding these in to either breakfast or lunch, or increase the amount of vegetables in your diet. Soaking and/or sprouting beans and grains can help make them far more digestible as well. If that concept is new for you, check this out.
#4: Have I tried incorporating sweet vegetables into my diet?
Yes? Beautiful. This really is the season for it. Continue to #5.
No? Sweet vegetables include corn, carrots, onions, beets, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, and yams. Adding in naturally sweet foods can often take the edge off of cravings for sugar. You’ll also notice that many sweet vegetables are roots. Roots are energetically grounding which can be a far more pleasant experience than the spaciness or numbness people experience after processed sugar. Try this DELICIOUS sweet potato fry recipe.
#5: Do I allow myself pleasure with my food?
Yes? Hooray! For those that are unsure of this, pleasure means relaxing into eating food that tastes wonderful to you without internal judgment…
No? Beyond physiological needs of the body, craving or indulging in sugar often happens because a person believes that she cannot have it, that it will make her gain weight or lead to disease or poor health. I am certainly not advocating a high-sugar, high refined-flour diet, but I am suggesting you question whether your cravings are rooted in deprivation and if your indulgences are rooted in rebellion? Dietary permission is HUGE in reducing sugar cravings, believe it or not. Just make sure you are lined up with the first 4 questions first.
I’d love to know: What areas do you feel strong in? Less confident around?
To balanced bodies everywhere!