Sugar Cravings, Carbs and Preparing for Thanksgving


Thanksgiving is coming, and I'm thinking about you.  If you've got an eating disorder it's time to prepare for a day of food obsession, food love, food cooking, food leftovers and food conversation.  I rarely discuss specific foods on this site but the blog, "Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder?" caught my eye tonight, especially the article,  "Come back to carbs."

This article got me thinking, so it's the best kind of article for me.  Are you caught in an absurd situation where you restrict good carbs (like grains) only to crave and or actually binge on bad carbs (like sugar or fast sugar producing edibles)? 

The author, drstaceyny,  says she is a clinical psychologist, does not pretend to be a nutritionist and, as far as I could determine, doesn't give her name.  She talks in this particular post about a drastic avoidance of carbs in this country, or at least an attempt at a drastic of carbs.  

She says:

I wish that I had a dollar for every person I meet who complains of an inability to ward off mid-afternoon candy runs, or who shamefully confesses to late-night binges on chips, cookies, or cake, who, by the way, is also restricting her carbs. When she begins to reintroduce this necessary nutrient, she finds that her carbohydrate cravings remit.  It's her body's way of saying, "Thanks for giving me what I need."

If you have cravings for sweets, if you can't resist ice cream or cakes at night, if you must have sweet rolls or bread and butter during or outside of meals, are you restricting grains and vegetables?

If what drstaveyny says is valid then you restrict grains because you don't want the calories.  But if you restrict grains you don't get the nourishment you need.  Your body then develops a powerful craving that blasts away any intellectual plan you have for calorie restriction based on eating a low carb diet. You head straight for the sugar - the carbs that supply little or no nourishment at all - just calories.

She says, if you do restrict carbs and resist sugar cravings you will lose weight. But you are not getting the nutrients your body needs and the weight loss will be temporary.

I wonder if this applies to a long term period of restricting carbs or if the sugar craving can occur with just one day of restriction?

Thanksgiving certainly brings up emotional stress, but we can also look at the physicality of the day. If you have sugar cravings, do you have them every day or only on the days when you don't consume enough nutrients from nutrititious carbohydrates? If this is the case then one way to prepare for Thanksgiving is, starting now, to give yourself a daily food plan that balances nourishing carbohydrates and protein.  Then, when the Thanksgiving festivities begin you will at least have your body chemistry working for you.

What do you think?



0 # Holidays always make me freak out a littPTC 2011-11-14 08:16
Holidays always make me freak out a little. All of that food, like a ton of food because we tend to go a little bit overboard with the food. Hello Italian family :-) Lot's of leftovers. I always feel like I eat way too much and gain a million pounds, freak out and weigh myself, work out for longer and then restrict a bit more than usual until things are back to normal. Last year I remember weighing myself and being shocked that I didn't gain weight. I also spend the days worrying that someone is going to comment on my weight or if I'm eating enough. I hate that.

I stress out less now, but it's still stressful. I do like leftovers though. :-) That means that I don't have to cook for a few days.
0 # Oh me. Yes, I too have already begun tomylifex2 2011-11-14 18:50
Oh me. Yes, I too have already begun to obsess over how I will get through this day. I don't think I will overeat, because I just don't eat much period, but my hassle is my family making comments or looking at me or saying "you HAVE to eat".....sigh...I would almost rather stay home. But as far as good carbs are concerned, I am wondering what will be on the menu that would be described as a good carb...I helped arrange the menu (of course I did),but I am not sure if there are any...maybe sweet potatoes? I can say that in the past week I have been trying to incorporate carbs into my diet at dinner. I sometimes crave sugar but have noticed that I don't have as many cravings when I eat some rice or some potato with my dinner. I think that is the concept you are describing. And that word is something both scary and comforting in that word. Thank you for your support during this holiday season.
0 # Tracy, I strive to bring the word "nouripinkjoanna 2011-11-14 20:24
Tracy, I strive to bring the word "nourishing" into much of what I say about recovery.

Most of us know, even if we try to deny it, that our bodies need nourishment.

The concept goes beyond physical feeding. We nourish ourselves with food, water and rest. We nourish ourselves with beauty, love, internal peace and inspiration.

How can you nourish yourself starting today so that you will be well nourished on Thanksgiving and can care well for yourself?
0 # I am also not a nutritionist, although Irebecca 2011-12-24 07:58
I am also not a nutritionist, although I work with them daily in my role at a health publication and, from what I've learned, this is spot on physiologically. I'd add that the effect (of restricting/denying oneself required nourishment) - irresistible excess - is compounded by operating on the diet mentality. I liken the factors (the third being opportunity, or having access to the sugary carbs to which you refer) to burly men in a dark alley. If there are three of them, what hope do you have? Simply (although not always so simple) answering your needs for carbs... complex, whole grains so your body has access to its preferred source of fuel... removes one of those 'men'. Not buying/storing doughnuts removes another. Then you stand a chance of winning; of fending off the assailant. Re: planning to succeed on a food-oriented day, we don't do Thanksgiving in Aus (realise this post is old), but it's Christmas tomorrow and, despite my rule about not eating breakfast or lunch, especially with the alcohol calories, I know if I don't challenge that, excess at night is inevitable, making a mockery of the 500 or so calories 'saved'. (So true about various sources of nourishment which, we'd do well to remember, is not negotiable.) Good luck to all on Xmas Day.
0 # Dear Rebecca, Thank you from me and fpinkjoanna 2011-12-24 13:12
Dear Rebecca,

Thank you from me and from the readers who find your comment. You said what needs to be said so well!

And it needs to be said many times in countless ways to get past the obstacles the nimble and agile defense system of an eating disorder defends.

Thank you so much. Happiness and good luck to you too, on Christmas Day (and all the days.)


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