HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We would like to introduce you to a blog series on Intuitive Eating. This blog is written by Danielle Lithwick M.A., founder of Move Out Of Madness. With over a decade of combined education and experience in nutrition, yoga, psychology, addiction counselling, mindfulness, and personal training, she believes that how we move and how we eat should nourish not only our bodies but also our minds. Her mission is to teach people how to take the simpler and saner approach to exercise and eating using a personalized, skills-based, and compassionate approach to change. Her coaching services are rooted in non-diet and weight-neutral approaches to health and in the values of education, empowerment and enjoyment. She lives in Ottawa, ON Canada.
To read the series of blogs click the links below:
- Principle #1: Reject The Diet Mentality
- Principle #2: Honor Your Hunger
- Principle #3: Make Peace With Food
- Principle #4: Challenge The Food Police
- Principle #5: Feel Your Fullness
- Principle #6: Discover The Satisfaction Factor
- Principle #7: Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food
- Principle #8: Respect Your Body
- Principle #9: Exercise - Feel The Difference
- Principle #10: Honor Your Health With Gentle Nutrition
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
Food Cravings 101
Food cravings ... We've all had them.
Some people say that when you crave a specific food, that's your body telling you 'Hey missy, you're low on nutrient [X].' And the little voice in your head goes something like 'Chocolate and greasy fries! What do we want? Need? Chocolate and greasy fries!'.
It's kind of true - your body is probably low on something but we're often unable to ID exactly what it is that we need.
In my practice, if someone mentions a food craving, the 1st step we take is to find out why. As in what changed in your environment to cause that craving?
For example, every weekday at 3p.m, Jenny would become obsessed (her words) with the idea of digging her teeth in a Cinnabon cinnamon roll.
I advised her to keep a sleep - food - mood journal in which she would record:
- Her bedtime and sleep quality
- What she had for her 3 main meals
- How she felt (happy, anxious, irritated, sad, etc.) during the day, especially an hour before 'craving time'
After a week, Jenny realized that, during weekdays:
- She would be so tired after work that she'd usually have a high carb meal (like noodles, rice, pasta, and lots of it because she was starving by the time she got home) for dinner.
- She would sleep late (around 1 am) and slept poorly.
- Her mornings were always super frantic, so she grabbed a coffee or a smoothie and donut for breakfast.
- By 2pm, she'd usually feel either irritated or depressed.
Can you see how all these factors are contributing to her sugar craving?
In a nutshell:
- The high carb dinner caused Jenny's blood sugar to go sky-high and plummet during the night, causing restless sleep.
- Sleeping late stresses the body. And anything that stresses your body will cause (i) insulin resistance - yup, even just one night, and (ii) mess with your cortisol or stress hormone.
- Having lots of sugar (donut, smoothie) and/or black coffee for breakfast = Even more insulin resistance + cortisol issues.
- If you're insulin resistant, sugar won't go into your cells (because your insulin is the 'key' that 'opens' cells to allow the sugar to go in). And your cells will be starving for sugar. Now, if your stress hormones are going bonkers as well, your body will need more sugar. Because the body sees stress as something you've got to fight or flee from. And both choices require energy, or sugar.
- Factors that mess with your blood sugar balance can promote estrogen dominance, which can cause moodiness and irritability.
What this all means is that Jenny's craving for sweet foods stemmed from high blood sugar levels that quickly dropped.
So, imagine what happens when she has her cinnamon roll?
Yup, her blood sugar goes super high again. And then nose dives. That's a downward spiral, don't you think?
My point here is not that you stop eating those rolls. But that, if you want to resolve your cravings once and for all, you've got to go to the root.
So, what did Jenny decide to do to kick her cravings? I'll discuss this in the next article.
In the meantime, you could do the sleep - food - mood journaling exercise. And if you crave for something sweet, how about you reach for a fruit and some nuts to see if that satisfies your craving? I like these dates bars.
Quick Q: would you be interested in having a FB live during which I answer your questions live?
I'm now also on Instagram @autoimmuneandperiodhealth and would love to connect with you.
Submitted by: Shari
Feel free to post about your own journey with Health At Every Size, any questions you may have or suggestions for future topics on our Facebook page. Shari also has her own website https://thestrategicrd.com/ .