Many of us go on a diet and exercise program with plenty of determination, only to be blown off course when the Easter bunny arrives and we find ourselves inexplicably unable to eat just one chocolate egg.
As I explained in my book, Healing Depression, many of us have hidden food sensitivities that affect our moods. At first, the foods to which we are sensitive make us feel great. After years of overeating common food culprits like wheat, dairy, or chocolate, however, we may end up feeling exhausted and depressed .
What’s even less well known is that research now shows that those who are able to identify and eliminate these food sensitivities are often able to lose weight much more easily.
Researchers are now finding that some susceptible individuals respond to carbohydrates in the same way alcoholics respond to alcohol – the more carbs they eat, the more they crave.
Although carbohydrates are a healthy part of a balanced diet, for these people, eating high-carbohydrate foods stimulates the release of more insulin than is necessary, which in turn leads to even less satisfaction, so the urge to eat sets in again.
According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing and The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, if you feel hungry again soon after eating, keep a food diary to identify your hidden triggers. Ask me for a questionnaire if you want more information.
Eat Low on the Glycemic Index
Even if you do not have food addictions, you will feel happier if you control the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain.
How do you do that? Keep your blood sugar balanced. When your blood sugar drops, your serotonin level does too. If you eat the Standard American Diet (referred to by many nutritionists as SAD for the sad state of affairs in the way we eat), you may find yourself with roller coaster moods, constant cravings, and a Dr. Jeckyl-Mr. Hyde personality.
When you go to plan your next meal, ask yourself what you will be doing for the three hours afterwards. Opt for complex carbohydrates low on the Glycemic Index at your regular meals. If you are engaged in high intensity exercise, choose quick energy foods just before your workouts.
Rapid Inducers of Insulin Secretion
80-90% Carrots, honey, corn flakes
70-79% Whole-grain bread, white rice, potatoes, millet, Weetabix cereal
Moderate Inducers of Insulin Secretion
60-69% Bananas, brown rice, white bread, Shredded wheat cereal, raisins, Mars Bars, beets
50-59% Peas, spaghetti, potato chips
40-49% Oatmeal, sweet potatoes, oranges
Slow Inducers of Insulin Secretion
30-39% Butter beans, haricot beans, black-eyed peas, apples, ice cream, milk, yogurt
20-29% Kidney beans, lentils, fructose
10-19% Soybeans, peanuts
Source: Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance
Touch for Health, Brain Gym and Blood Sugar
Although all exercise can stabilize blood sugar levels to some extent, ask me to demonstrate these specific techniques:
Neurolymphatic Stimulation. There is a point on the left side of the body, on the rib cage, about two-fingers-width below the breast, that will balance the spleen meridian and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Inner earlobe. Squeezing the flap of the inner ear stimulates an acupuncture point believed to help control the appetite.
The Rocker. Sit on the floor and cross your legs. Supporting yourself with your hands behind your back, rub your tailbone. This Brain Gym exercise improves your ability to focus mentally, stimulates the cerebrospinal fluid, and may help to even out your leg length as well as balance your blood sugar. This is one of my favorites – I always joke that the only thing the Rocker won’t do is make you better looking!
Tapping Procedure to Control Overeating. This is a multi-step acupressure procedure that I have used successfully to help clients stop smoking, give up foods to which they were addicted, and lose weight. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete.