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Breaking the Food Seduction, Chapter 9

Monday, January 07, 2019

Sorry for the delay in this post:

Chapter 9 – Step 4” Break the Craving Cycles
Seductions occur on a cycle. Break out of a cycle by recording what you eat for 3 days and include:
*time of day
*cooking Method
*Why Chosen? (hunger, need a pick up, taste, they were there, still there, to whiten coffee)
*Feeling Before (hungry, tired, fine)
*Feeling after (less hungry, full, overly full, more awake, fine, a bit sick)

For many, myself included, evening is binge time. I can eat fine all throughout the day, then binge at night. It then becomes a habit to snack after dinner,. These habits are not cued by hunger, but by time and our surroundings. Just like many associate popcorn and soda with the movie theatre, many associate evening eating with whatever activity they do after dinner.

Breaking Your Schedule
Change your routine. It can be easy to break any old habit as you replace it with doing other things. However, the old way of doing things will always be waiting for your return. It can be just as easy to slip back into the old way of doing things.

If that happens while you are in your “new” routine – change your schedule to keep your new routine new. Have healthy snacks and meals already planned for you and remember your “why”, the reason you want to eat better.

Tips for breaking your craving schedule
1. Eat a healthy breakfast. This will keep your blood sugar steady. And make sure that you eat an adequate amount of food.

2. Change the people and places in your life that tend to trigger your binges.

3. Break your schedule: make a new pattern, not only with food, but with time. If you have a tendency to eat because of a routine, then you will need to switch it up. Cravings often arrive right on schedule. It is important that you plan for competing activities, get enough sleep (go to bed earlier), and don’t seduce yourself (clean out the cupboards of the stuff you do not want to eat anymore).

Monthly Cycles and Hormone Swings
For women, estrogen is the most likely reason chocolate is craved a particular time of the month.

Using Food to Control Estrogen
Simple diet changes can tame estrogen’s effect. Studies have shown that a very low-fat diet can result in lower estrogen levels in the blood of women who eat fattier foods. A very low fat diet can also reduce breast cancer risk as well as reduce menstrual symptoms. Fat foods cause more estrogen to flow in the bood stream, but keeping your intake of fat low, then the estrogen levels will remain more steady throughout the month without the huge increase then decrease cycle.

The book gives an example of a woman who cut out animal products (thus no animal fat) and greatly minimized vegetable oils and had greatly reduced monthly symptoms. Thus, this is to show that you can tame those hormone driven cravings.

Using Food to Block Hormone Swings
There are two ways estrogen is influenced by diet:
1. Fat increases the amount of estrogen produces in the blood.
2. Fiber helps reduce the estrogen level.

Animal products have no fiber, so if you are not getting enough fiber (which will soak up excess estrogen after the liver filters it out and sends it to the intestinal tract where you will be able to eliminate it) the excess estrogen will go back into the bloodstream. So, eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes to get enough fiber to trap and carry away that extra estrogen.

The benefits of a low-fat, vegan diet are partially lost if you, even once in a while, eat cheese or fried foods. To see if a low fat whole food diet works for you, try it out for at least one month. Note: this will not work if you change your diet just for the last week before your period. You have to do it at least for the month to see if you will get any results. The reason for this is to keep the estrogen level steady throughout the month without the rise and fall that normally occurs in the female cycle.

If you need to make this change, try these steps:
• Begin the diet on the first day of your monthly cycle and be consistent for the month.
• Eliminate animal products and vegetable oils.
• During the last week, pay attention to your cravings, PMS symptoms and cramps.

Breaking Annual Cycles
You know what I am talking about, that winter gain that often starts with the fall season. Summer is over, the nights get longer and the holiday season starts. 195 people were weighed throughout the year and almost all gained weight in the second half of the year, October – December, in particular.

For many, with the start of autumn comes and increase in appetite and cravings. The good news is, if you can beat this season, you can be successful the rest of the year. [Nancy’s note; BUMMER, I am reading this too late in the year –lol)

For starters, don’t stop with your activities once the cooler weather sets in. Keep up with an exercise routine.

Secondly, be aware that any holiday gain is usually permanent. You can avoid this by staying with your normal eating routine. So, as you begin your new year resolutions this year, make it a point to stick with it throughout the year so you can beat this next holiday gain.

How to Beat Seasonal Depression
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or winter depression caused by the lower light levels. This happens at a time when you no longer have that high energy of the summer months and want to sleep and eat more.

Cravings are often for something sweet or starchy. High-carbohydrate foods cause the brain to produce serotonin. People with winter depression will find they get a mood boost eating high-carbohydrate foods in the winter.

It is wise to choose your carbohydrates carefully. Those candies, cookies, and pastries are also fat-laden, Instead get your carbohydrates by eating whole-grains, brown rice, pasta and fruit.

Another way to combat this seasonal depression is to get some daylight, especially in the morning hours. If not able to be outdoors, try one of those specialty lights that mimic daylight. However, caution is advised because if you use this light at the wrong time of day, you can reset your biological clock in the wrong direction and end up with a case of insomnia (or worsen it)

1. Focus on the type of food you eat to avoid cravings.
2. Maintain an exercise routine.
3. If you eat sugary, fatty foods to cope with those “winter blues”, watch the fat content of those foods
4. If you think you have SAD, consult a specialist to see of the light therapy is something you need.

Getting off the Merry-Go-Round
If you suffer from daily cravings, you will need to use all of the steps mentioned in part 2. Here is a reminder of those, so far I have covered the first 4--
The Seven keys:
1. Start with a healthy breakfast
2. Choose foods that hold your blood sugar steady
3. Boost appetite-taming leptin
4. Break craving cycles
5. Get regular exercise and rest
6. Call in the reinforcements
7. Use extra motivators if you need them

If you suffer from monthly cycle issues, use food to tame those cravings and symptoms. If you are having issues with that once a year gain that never seems to go away, then maintain and focus on the type, rather than the amount, of foods you eat throughout the year, stay active and beware of signs of winter depression.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. That book has is helping me with ideas about how we fall into the habits we do and how to change.

    I'm hopeful to lose holiday weight- and humans adapted to eat animal but don't have any need to and in fact thrive on the foods you posted about. We are indeed meant to eat plenty of fiber.
    Get the inner workings "moving" emoticon and the body moving and we are good to go emoticon
    512 days ago
    Interesting, but I have not wish to give up some animal products; I love butter and meat. It seems as if there is not diet guru for me, perhaps Michael Pollen - because I do eat foods my great grandmother would recognize. And generally, I am trying to eat mostly plants, but I crave red meat when I am low energy after a hard workout. Oh that lovely taste of umami.
    512 days ago
    512 days ago
    Excellent info. Winter blues and reluctance to be active outdoors during winter have held me back in the past but this year I am working on both; a lightbox is helping and feeling more confident about my balance has allowed me to continue walks outdoors almost every day.
    513 days ago
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