Day 5 of no dairy, sugar or flour. For me that includes sweeteners both natural and artificial. The reward center of the brain, especially the nucleus accumbens, releases dopamine when we eat these foods. Those of us who are particularly susceptible can become addicted to those foods. Why? It's the same area of the brain, the same neural network, that lights up (is activated) by cocaine, heroin, and opiate drugs.
Geek that I am, I've been reading a lot of research about 'food' addiction, especially sugar. When mice are addicted to cocaine or heroin and are given a choice of sugar water or their next dosed water of heroin or cocaine fix, the mice chose the sugar water.
What blew my mind is that the mice also chose artificial sweetener water over cocaine or heroin. Research repeatedly show that artificial sweeteners act exactly like sugar in the brain. The dopamine is released as soon as the taste buds taste an intense sweet flavor. This includes, but is not limited to, alcohol sugars (xylitol), honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, rice syrup and barley syrup.
I've been unknowingly feeding my sugar-addicted brain sweeteners that are low on the Glycemic Index thinking that my sugar cravings were driven by spiked blood sugar levels alone. And let me tell you, my brain has been screaming for a sweet fix even though I've been off sugar for a month.
Good news is that the uncontrollable hunger drive that drove me to binge, overeat or eat off plan is gone. Thankful does not even begin to express my emotional state--I am over the moon happy!
There is bad news. Daily I'm changing my thoughts about food especially when cravings hit me. Those cravings are not as intense and are less frequent than Days 1-4. But I still have them. It will take time to form the new habit of no sugar, dairy or flour when cravings for bread, pasta, sweets, etc hit me.
For me this is one day at a time. I'm eating whole foods as close to their natural state as possible; feeling full on less food and feeling good about how healthy my food and therefore my body feels. I woke up this morning with energy for the first time in decades!
I'm not trying to convert anyone so please don't feel defensive and say negative things to me. I'm sharing because in just 5 days there's been a major shift in me and I want to shout it from the rooftop! I am so relieved, happy, satisfied and I deserve to feel this good. My inflammation, all of the joint pain is reduced and some places it's completely gone. I've lost 8 pounds that most likely is water.
I know how hard I struggled to get the first 50 pounds off this year. I hope that the scales keep moving down easily for this next 100 pounds I have left to get to my goal weight.
Thanks for letting me bend your ear and share my new found freedom. I'm thrilled.