Understanding Food Cravings
For the past [almost] 3 weeks I’ve talked about participating in Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation as a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador. I’m loving this program! I’ve been trying to figure out what makes the 12WBT different from the other programs I’ve done over the past year. They all have had their strengths and most of them I will do again but there is something about this program that makes it stand out from all the rest. It could be the fact that I’m seeing progress and change. That is always a motivator! It could be the preplanned menus. That’s definitely a convenience. All of that is great [and necessary] but what what makes this program stand out is the 12 Week Body Transformation TOTAL BODY approach to health and fitness.
Physical + Nutrition + Mind Set = Total Body
Specifically, including MINDSET in the program makes it a total body approach to health and fitness. Throughout the 12 weeks a variety of informational videos and short “Snip Tips” are provided. Topics like portion size, the motivation myth, digestion and food cravings. For the most part, the information in the videos hasn’t been anything new to me. It’s simply back to the basics of smart health, fitness and nutrition. It’s the small day to day details that can make or break health and fitness but I rarely think about them. Yesterday morning I watched a few of the videos while running on the treadmill and one of the topics was Coping with Cravings. Several of the things that Michelle said in the video had me thinking “That’s me!” or “I do that!” Another topic that was a great reminder…Body Image. In the beginning of the video I thought “duh” and by the end I asked myself “why do you do that to yourself?” See, it’s the small details that I should keep in mind but I don’t.
Anyway, back to one of the videos I watched yesterday, Coping with Food Cravings. Great information and reminders along with tips on how to avoid totally derailing your health and fitness efforts. After I watched the video I wanted to know a little more about why we crave certain foods and more importantly why cravings feel so much stronger during your period.
In case you’re curious this is what I found out.
Hormones are to blame! I assumed that was the case but what I didn’t know was as estrogen levels fluctuate, so do levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The body wants to keep these levels even causing us to crave carbohydrates and fat. Bring on the ice cream and potato chips. But there’s another reason; serotonin. Serotonin is the brain chemical that increases feelings of contentment. Foods can trigger serotonin. If cortisol, the stress hormone is high, and serotonin is low, we’ll crave simple carbohydrates and fats. These simple carbs will up our serotonin fast. If cortisol is elevated, but serotonin is normal, we’ll crave carbs and fat, but not necessarily that sugary treat.
Based on this information I have seriously elevated cortisol during my period. Hmmm…stress much? I occasionally crave sweets but mostly salty carbs. The cravings during my period sometimes feel uncontrollable. It’s interesting. I’m curious to see if “now that I know” will make a difference.
Want to know more? Check out The Facts About Food Cravings at Web MD.
One more thing. Have you started thinking about goals for 2014? I have a challenge for you! Click the image below for the details!