Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"

Balance Kills Them Cravings

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My friends, I had forgotten to mention in my post last night, hello ice cream brain, that I had gotten the chance to work with another client! She was a great person to work with, open to new ideas, had the drive to change and work hard and really was a sponge when it came to nutrition and fitness information.

Clients who give you the look of intrigue and amazement when you are providing any form of knowledge is so rewarding. They are listening to you. They trust you and your opinions. I always feel so blessed to meet and and work with others and help them reach their goals.

Makes me feel as if I really have found my calling in life.

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Anywho, her story reminded me of a lil something. Something that I knew but it was truly amazing to see it played out in a real situation and help her out. Since it seemed to work so well for her, I wanted to share with you all this lil tip on craving control that is super straightforward and simple but something that is often overlooked by many.

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Balance.

I always say that you body is very smart. It knows what it wants and if you choose not to pay attention to it’s wants, it gets louder. It yells for a more efficient way of getting said need and, well, that is not often the most beneficial vessel of a given nutrient.

Imbalance Leads To Cravings.

Most of the time we think of cravings as the strong need to have something we label as ‘dirty’ or ‘unhealthy.’ Think chocolate, sweets, salty things, etc. Of course, some cravings are for wholesome foods, like steak for example, and yes I strongly believe that these too are signs and your body is telling you that you are lacking a certain nutrient (iron perhaps in the steaks case), but we are trying to control the sugary cravings so lets stick with that topic…

So yes, your body is smart. You restrict or ignore it and it yells back. So don’t try to tell yourself that you can out smart it because no matter how strong one persons will power is, your body will win in the end and you may just end up miserable.

Here’s a quick example:

Breakfast. You grab two hardboiled eggs on the fly to work

Snack. You nibble on some of those office candies. What? Not your fault, they are staring you down…

Lunch. Eat your packed salad topped with chicken for lunch.

Snack. Veggies and dip. I’m being super healthy eh? Yay go me…Somehow I don’t feel satisfied. Hmm, drink some water. 

Before Dinner Snack. Munch on some cheese….

Dinner. Baked chicken breast and good ol’ roasted veggies. Well that was yummy but I’m kinda still feeling like something…

….

Something sweet…

Oh hey there chocolate, how you doinnnnnnn?

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We shall leave the story at that.

Now this isn’t the most extreme of examples but I can use it to highlight a lack of balance in this persons dietary choices and how that can sabotage you in the end.

It’s actually very similar to my client actually. I took one look at their typical day of eating and noticed the lack of carbohydrates in their diet. No oats, no bread, no starchy vegetables even. In the case of my client, her gastrointestinal issues with wheat left her leaving them carbs out because she wasn’t sure what to eat otherwise, but for most cases these days, carbs appear to be cut to maintain their weight.

Carbs are not the enemy, but that’s another story…

My client found that she craved sweets like chocolate and cookies A LOT. Like these cravings were undeniable and they really took over her thoughts until she had one.

There’s your body chiming in. Hey you, I need energy. Since you’re not giving me any I need more energy now and I need it to be more efficient because you took too long, i.e. faster digesting forms of energy. Me want SUGAAAAARR. Rawr.

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Lets really break down that diet example and see what I’m talking about.

So you can see the eggs in the morning. Protein + fats

Energy crashing leads to temptations winning at work before lunch with the candies. Fast energy.

Lunch is unsatisfying. Once again, lacking carbohydrates.

Munching happens often because you just feel the need for something but don’t know what that something is.

Dinner has very lil carbs once again and now you have chocolate staring you down.

What are you going to do?

Most eat it.

Does this logic make sense?

You restrict, you crave that nutrient but often in a easier to digest form. Carbs tend to get the boot the most and that is often what contributes to cravings for sugar. Of course, I’m not claiming this to be scientific fact, it is just something I have noticed far too often.

I’m also aware that other mechanisms are most definitely involved in something like a craving, but I’m just trying to give you a big picture tip that can really benefit those that find their snacking is getting out of hand. 

So let me ask you, when you look at your meals, are they balanced? When you look at your plate, is there a fat, protein and carbohydrate source there? If not, this is something to try out if you find yourself dealing with cravings. Even if you’re not struggling with cravings and over-snacking, balance should be a goal.

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With my client, we changed the two eggs at breakfast (her pre-workout as well) to oatmeal with egg whites and some nut butter. The result: She went from feeling slightly dizzy to feeling full of energy.

Carbs to fuel her workout with some protein and fats to hold that energy to the end of her training. 

We changed her post workout snack to something with some wholesome protein and more carbohydrates (she was drinking a vegetarian shake)

Utilizing carbohydrates and protein here to re-fuel her muscles after weight lifting and prevent an energy dip due to not feeding herself. 

We made sure that she would have at least 2 of the macronutrients (protein/fat/carbs) in her snacks, with one being protein, and all three in her meals

And to be on the proactive side, I gave her some naturally sweetened alternatives to treat herself with if a craving just wouldn’t stop.

But, guess what happened?

When she started incorporating more carbohydrates and having more balanced meals, she stopped having cravings for sweets. She told me that she hasn’t had those strong chocolate and cookie cravings since because she has felt satisfied with her meals. It just doesn’t occur to her to want more of that ‘something extra or sweet.’

So, give your body adequate nutrition and it won’t yell at you for other things.

I hope that was helpful because it was something simple that I just really felt would be beneficial to tell you all. As a final set of tips to help keep yourself balanced and prevent unnecessary cravings, take a peak at this list:

~Try not to snack too much. Don’t become one of those snack plate meal kind of people. Have meals. I find that snackers often complain of weight gain and mindless munching. Again, snacking is generally when ONE macronutrient is picked at. A spoon of peanut butter here, a bowl of cereal there. None of these are anywhere near balanced and so you will find yourself feeling unsatisfied and wanting something else and taking trip number 10 to the kitchen…

~Have variety. Cravings can also happen if you’re eating the same damn thing all the time. That works for some, but most like a lil change of life.

~Keep a number of different things that are easy to grab on hand. Prepping things for if you’re on the go is so beneficial and saves you from buying out but if you just throw a handful of lettuce and chicken in a bowl and call it a meal, you’re not being balanced. Have some nuts/seeds, Pre-cooked meats if possible, batches of roasted vegetables (including starchier ones) and grains, etc on hand so that tossing together a meal is easy and will have the three big guys you need.

So there you go, my tip of this weekend. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Do you feel unsatisfied with snacks?

Do you make sure your meals are balanced?

Do you have cravings? Why do you think you have those cravings?

Happy Saturday Friends!

-Chelsea

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2 thoughts on “Balance Kills Them Cravings

  1. I don’t think I’m much of a snacker, although I do drink beverages with calories so I’m satisfying my potential to snack that way. I like big meals so that’s what I eat. I don’t claim to be balanced all the time (that’s no fun haha) but when I do feel out of whack, I know what things to do to get me back there. I was eating a lot of processed sugar, and ended up feeling really sick. So I’ve cut it out for a week or so, then I’ll try to be more mindful. I think I need to cut it out for a bit just so my body can “reset”. I think balance should be taken in terms of over the week, not the day. Some days you’ll eat more carbs, other days more protein. The body does not turn over in one day, so our eating habits do not have to be perfectly balanced each day either.
    Great post! Gave me a lot to think about 🙂

    • I don’t think of it more of a reset but more like if you feel as if you got ‘into a habit’ of just having it then maybe you need the time away to remind yourself that your body doesn’t need the sugar at that point. I agree that balance shouldn’t be seen as a day to day basis but what I was trying to portray was that your body recognizes imbalance in nutrients fairly quickly and it will definitely tell you about it via cravings. For those who tend to binge or have issues with cravings, ensuring that they begin with balance may help them in the long run try to break some of those negative habits with food.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it and I like it when a post makes people think 🙂

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