Can We Stop The Cravings?
As I sit at home in quarantine due to the Coronavirus, I decided to take this opportunity to write about a subject that is on everyone’s mind, weight, appetite and cravings control. All the posts on Facebook and all the funny photos circulating of people before and after quarantine show that our health and weight are on our minds. So, I have decided to share my personal story of how I lost 20 pounds before this whole nightmare started.
At the end of this past summer I got on the scale one morning as I usually do, and for some reason, that morning I was shocked by where the pointer on the scale shot up to. While it did not take seconds to get to this weight, in less than 2 seconds the arrow was many pounds above any weight I had ever been. I am going to be 65 this summer and I have never, and I mean never weighed so much. I felt discouraged because I didn’t think I looked good, I had stomach aches a lot because I felt my food choices were not agreeing with me, and I was winded by just walking up a flight of stairs. Up until that day, I had successfully ignored the monthly upward movement but for some reason that late summer morning it seemed like it was ENOUGH!
I scheduled an appointment with my internist for some sham of an excuse, hoping she would refer me to a nutritionist. Of course, she saw my vitals and immediately weighed in on the state of my size. I told her the truth, that I didn’t eat fattening food, that I always bought organic healthy products and that I don’t know how this happened. (Yeah right). In her doctorly way, she explained that weight gain almost always happens as a result of eating. Okay, I fessed up. I start my day with a swim and a healthy breakfast, but from that point on I nervous eat through the rest of the day. It starts like this, mid-morning I need a snack, so I grab one of the low carb, high protein salty snacks I hoard and keep in the pantry. I am not quite satisfied after one, (they are only 100 calories), so I grab a second one. About an hour later I need something sweet, so I repeat the above, but now with the low carb, high protein sweet snacks also in the pantry. In between, I drink lots of coffee with artificial sweeteners and have diet carbonated beverages to fill up the time.
I have always felt that my trigger for stomach aches is eating bread and overeating at meals. Smaller portions, more frequently, feel better. So, I had two new boundaries of my own and DR. gave me two new rules. She gave me a printed sheet of recommended food, referred me to a nutritionist and told me to come back in 6 months. I immediately tossed out the sheet of recommended foods, because by the time we get to 60 we know which foods are recommended, and I never needed to call the nutritionist because I started to see results almost immediately.
The two rules from the DR. plus my new rules about bread and portion control:
1. NO SUGAR or artificial sweeteners, only foods with natural sugar like fruit. DR said I could eat unlimited fruit with natural sugar.
2. DRINK ONLY WATER, tea or coffee (my personal non-negotiable).
My personal additions:
3. No Bread, crackers or carbs.
4. No potatoes, pasta or rice (This is an easy one for me because I don’t care for pasta or potatoes).
She explained that if I really cut out the added sugar…NONE…the cravings would stop in two to three weeks. It took exactly 3 weeks.
Her rules plus mine were simple enough that even I could follow them if I set my head to it. And they worked. I saw results very quickly. After about a month, I had almost no stomach aches and I was feeling better about myself because the upward movement of the scale stopped. The great news, I lost the 20 pounds in about 4 months. Best of all I did not have those crazy cravings that would start me on my daily downward eating spiral.
Coming soon: How I did it and what I learned.