It is not your imagination if you think you’re craving certain sugary foods. It is actually brain chemistry, a carb addiction that has a direct impact on long-term weight management.
This complex combination of physiology, genetics and habit in fact controls your nutritional cravings – but with a general understanding of its role, along with some powerful steps designed to break carb addiction, you can take charge of your nutritional choices. I’m not talking about willpower. I’m talking about creating new brain chemistry, and actually eliminating carb addiction that amount to lifelong sabotage of your ideal weight.
Consider that drugs, alcohol and sugar affect the same portion of the brain.
An MRI would demonstrate that smoking crack impacts the same portion of the brain that eating ice cream does. This validates what many of us have long suspected – that is, ice cream actually is crack. Well, kind of anyway, particularly to brain chemistry that is addicted to sugar.
Brain chemistry is significantly based on serotonin, which amounts to an endorphin push on the brain. Think of it like a cup that needs to be filled with a certain level of serotonin at all times in order to function normally. Addictive substances – like crack or ice cream – throw the levels out of balance by causing a rush of too much serotonin. This overload throws the natural, consistent flow of serotonin out of whack. A surge in fact taps out your serotonin reserves. Brain chemistry kicks in hard, and sends messages that it is imperative to rebuild those supplies of serotonin. That can drive tangible, physical feelings of withdrawal, moodiness and depression that translate directly to strong sugar cravings. Once the cravings are addressed, serotonin surges again and the whole cycle repeats without end.
For someone working hard to improve their health and weight management, it can feel like this is never going to change. “I just crave sugar!” And what’s worse, some of the most ridiculous diets claim to be the answer. That’s just not true and is even part of the problem. Just about any super-restrictive diet (grapefruit, cayenne pepper, all beets, whatever…) will indeed allow you to lose weight for some limited period of time – but brain chemistry catches on very quickly, and works aggressively to find serotonin.
Cravings become stronger than ever, and diets fail.
The answer is not to diet, but to get control with a structured fitness program designed to formally alter brain chemistry. The initial ten days of the program are essential, and require eating fruits, vegetables and lean meats combined with protein shakes. These foods deliver an ideal blend of nutrients including the right kind of carbohydrates to replenish serotonin reserves.
Remember, you are breaking an addiction and should consider the first five days a detox period.
Don’t be afraid of this period
While there may be some withdrawal symptoms, the shakes and regular meals significantly reduce sugar withdrawals. It is not a cold turkey challenge, and includes plenty of food and natural sugars to help mask the cravings. Stick with it, and after about five days, brain chemistry levels off and cravings subside.
Once brain chemistry is stabilized through this ten-day period, you’ve taken the first steps toward a lifetime of healthy weight management. Your individual Precision Fitness program will evolve from here, and will focus on repairing and maintaining a high performance metabolism with the right combination of nutrition and exercise – look for more on repairing your metabolism in our next installment.
Most importantly, breaking sugar and carb addiction is step one
Keep your brain chemistry stabilized and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to stay on track with your nutritional goals.