I am a big believer in listening to your body and trusting your gut instincts. But, there is an instance where the body can play a very clever trick on you. It is not being cruel on purpose, it is all with the intention of survival, but sometimes we need to outsmart our survival instincts.
Sounds strange, but consider this….
As I have mentioned many times, our bodies are constantly in flux questioning whether we are safe or are we in trouble? Are we starving in the desert? Or are we cozy at home with food in the fridge?
If the body thinks it is in trouble, a cascade of reactions will occur to keep us alive. One of those, is to fire up our craving for sugar. Yes, sugar. Why you ask? Sugar is the nutrient the brain needs to keep going. It is the ultimate key to our survival.
The catch is that when our body thinks it is starving in the desert, we are typically not in the desert starving, but rather living on the go in the busy city. So when that sugar craving comes, we have at our disposal a lot of treats and sweets at our fingertips. And that craving overcomes us and we indulge.
We think we are having a sugar craving, but the truth is the body simply needs a balanced plate. Fuel! Not simple sugar. We actually need the opposite of just a bite of sugar. We need a balanced, savory plate of protein, vegetables, fats and whole starches to fuel the body and provide it with all the nutrients it needs rather than simply a quick fix of a sugar rush to keep itchugging along in stress mode in the desert.
These moments catch us when we are on the go. Mid-afternoon, we are busy at work, sitting in traffic or just got home with the kids and are rushing and we crave sugar and go for it. But what if you didn’t? What if you had a balanced plate of food accessible to you, even on the go?
- Turkey sandwich with whole grain bread, avocado, veggies
- Lentil salad (or quinoa, cous cous, farro) with veggies and protein/cheese
- Hard boiled egg, fruit, nuts
- Olives, nuts, sliced protein, vegetables, whole grain cracker
- Yogurt/cottage cheese, nuts, fruit
- Whole grain cracker, cheese, fruit
- Vegetables, hummus, cheese
- Overnight oats, nuts, fruit, yogurt, spices
- Beef jerky, vegetables, nuts, fruit
- Leftovers from dinner – protein, starch, vegetables
- Salad filled with vegetables, protein, nuts
- Sweet potato, protein/cheese, veggies
Start noticing when your sugar craving fires up and consider walking away from the sweet tooth and fueling yourself. If your sugar craving is strong after dinner, you likely have not eaten enough during the day so the body is still craving fuel. A not-sweet, balanced, night-time snack may get the job done.
Walk away from your instinct and fuel yourself. Listen to your body in a different way and see what happens.