Cravings… One glance at that gooey brownie and you're doomed. The brownie has been elevated to a status far beyond its worth and you're comin' for it. Why is it so hard to say no to the brownie?
Because just the smell and taste of sugar on the tongue release chemicals in our brains that make it hard to move on with the day and forget about the brownie once inhaled. Dopamine is the brain chemical that takes us from cue to urge, that causes us to eat dessert after dinner even when we don’t feel hungry.
Sugar activates a release of dopamine, which is why we turn to sweets during stressful periods, activating opiate receptors in the body just like a drug. Thus a glance at the brownie causes dopamine and opiate neurons to fire, and indulgence seems inevitable.
What Can You Do to Cope with Cravings?
1. Eat foods that naturally support the release of dopamine
A few examples: almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, Lima beans, bananas, dairy, fermented cod liver oil. (yes, really!)
2. Crowd Out
Bring in healthy foods like vegetables, lean meats and low glycemic treats, which will keep you satisfied and less in need of a sugar treat.
3. Be Prepared
Bring your own healthy treat to a party so you know you'll have something sweet to nosh on; having passed on those temptations.
4. Lights Out
Getting a good nights sleep is a sure way to help the body heal and achieve physiological balance, especially with relation to blood sugar. Lack of sleep reduces insulin sensitivity, which results in our cells decreased ability to accept blood sugar for fuel. This causes cortisol levels to increase, stimulates the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and simultaneously decreases the satiety hormone lectin. With less sleep, you are more hungry and it is harder to recognize when you have had your fill.
Also, the time you get to sleep is important. Between the hours of 10 pm and 1 am, the body is in it's best state of repair and the liver can do the most detoxification
5. Throw Out or Give Away
If you don't want to be tempted, get sweets out of sight!