Aargh! Those Cravings!

20130205-160434.jpgSo, a month into my weight loss program and I have lost 4 lbs., which is right on track for my goal, when what strikes right out of the blue – the most powerful cravings for sweets! What’s going on? Why is my body rebelling? Oh calamity! What to do now? I know if I just give in I will be sabotaging all my efforts so far, and what a shame that would be.
Everyone is different, but I know that for me this is purely a psychological thing. I have been really good for a month, resisting all bad foods, cutting way back on alcohol and generally doing everything I’m supposed to be doing, so now my body is very sneakily ganging up on me. I know I can’t have that extra large piece of chocolate cheesecake if I want to eat anything else today because the calories in that dessert (which will only take 5 minutes to consume!) come pretty close to my calorie allowance for the day. But I want it really badly, simply because I can’t have it.
When I looked into the mechanisms of food cravings I was surprised to learn that cravings for sugar are closely linked to salt consumption. Continually over-salting your food can lead to desensitizing your taste buds, which leads to wanting more salt and more sugar in your diet. This is how fast-foods and junk foods have become so popular and addictive – both have large amounts of sugar and salt. Getting too much salt in your diet can be harmful, as can getting too little, but most North Americans fall into the first group. The dietetic guideline is 1500 mg of sodium per day, but it’s easy to get a lot more than that. When I checked the nutrients I’m consuming via the LoseIt App, I found that my daily average over the month of January is over 2000mg daily. Wow! Now how does that happen? I never eat fast food, rarely eat any processed or packaged food and I thought I was being responsible by using sea salt in my cooking, which has less sodium in it than table salt. Well, I guess not.
So now I’m cutting back on salt in my recipes and have taken the salt shaker off the table. It feels strange at first, but after only a couple of days, I feel my tastebuds coming back to life.
My other problem is that I have a real sweet tooth, honestly obtained by a childhood in England, where “ye can’t have yer pudding if ye don’t eat yer meat” was the mantra at home and at school dinners. I was such a picky eater that I believe my Mother was just trying to get calories into me by offering pudding (dessert) after pretty much every meal. Really bad for the teeth but also a very bad habit.
So, I have decided that the best thing for me to do is to stick to complex carbohydrates – wholegrain brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and limit my bread and pasta. Even though I eat strictly spelt bread and pasta, they’re made from de-branned spelt so are actually “white” even though they don’t look white. My bad. I already eat lots of vegetables – both raw and cooked, and plenty of good quality protein so my diet is pretty balanced and for my “puddings” I’m going to stick with either fruit or desserts sweetened with honey only. I looked into other sweeteners, even agave syrup and stevia and decided that they are not the answer as they’re too processed. But honey, especially if you buy raw, unpasteurized honey from a beekeeper, is an unprocessed food, and just about the best sweetener out there. I made these date squares using just a bit of honey and lots of fruit and they are definitely sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Next – can I make sugar-free brownies?
For a really good article on holistic weight loss check out this post

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