Managing Sugar Cravings with PCOS
There are only two kinds of problems in life. There are mindset problems and there are logistical problems.
When you’re dealing with sugar cravings you usually want the logistical solutions. You want a supplement, a food, a meditation, a trick that will stop the sugar craving so you can move on. But the mindset problems are what usually get in the way when it comes to sugar!
I’ve written a few articles so far about the causes of PCOS and how insulin resistance is the most common cause of PCOS. Step #1 for healing insulin resistance is cutting out sugar. It must be done. I have never heard of someone healing insulin resistance while continuing to eat sugar and refined carbohydrates!
Let’s set the stage:
Here’s the problem. If you went up to a random person on the street and asked What is the least healthy food you eat. There’s a good chance they’d say sugar. We all know it’s not good for us.
But then if you go up to a friend and say I’m going to stop eating sugar, they look at you in shock and berate you with a million questions.
Why would you do that?
What are you talking about?
No sugar at all?
Are muffins ok, and bread, and cookies, you’re still going to eat those right?
What about birthday cake - are you never going to celebrate your birthday again!!??
People freak out!
Truthfully, their response has much more to do with them and their reliance on sugar than it has to do with you.
But what happens is the part of your brain in charge of keeping you alive, this primal, ancient part of your brain, your basal ganglia, it freaks out too!
Your brain spins out with all kinds of negative thoughts and self doubt
If we do this we’re going to be ostracized
We’re never going to be invited to things
People will think we’re weird
We can’t participate in celebrations
This is terrible idea. Don’t do it!
Now you have to put effort to use your rational brain to respond.
Well actually according to the scientific literature…
You have to talk yourself back into a decision you’ve already made.
Sugar Cravings are your body’s mini temper tantrums
So now you’ve actually stopped eating the sugar, and your body freaks out!
It’s so used to this constant stream of glucose that when you stop eating it, you will have sugar cravings.
Cravings are one way your body communicates.
Think of it like this. Imagine being a kid and you got a really awesome allowance from your parents, every day they gave you $100.
You don’t actually need that much when you’re a kid and so you spend what you need and put the rest in your piggy bank. A really big piggy bank.
If your parents stop giving you an allowance, you’re going to kick and scream, and be confused and indignant, and mourn over your empty wallet. And you’re going to do all of that before it ever occurs to you to use the money in your piggy bank.
Even though you have thousands of dollars in your piggy bank by now, we don’t want to dip into savings, we want to use what’s in our wallet.
Your body is the same way with sugar!
Our body fat isn’t just fat, it’s energy reserves. It’s your metabolic savings account. When you stop eating sugar, your body is going to have a temper tantrum before it starts pulling energy from savings - your body fat. What does a temper tantrum look like? Sugar cravings.
Sugar cravings do not mean something has gone wrong
This is the mindset problem. We get sugar cravings and think it’s a sign that something is wrong and we fight it.
This is why your sugar cravings are hard to manage, your fighting it. But it’s your own body so you’re just fighting yourself. And then you’re in this argument with your own body that it wants sugar but you don’t want it to want sugar and feel bad about wanting sugar and spiral into Oh my gosh this is so hard, I can’t do it.
Mindset Problem - Mindset Solution
What if instead, each time you got a sugar craving, you just observed it. Sit back into your body and be with your body as it’s have this sugar craving.
You just observe and say Hm, this is what a sugar craving feels like. And then name how it feels. What does your body feel like. What are the sensations in your legs, your gut, your chest, your mouth, your brain. What does it feel like to have a sugar craving.
I guarantee, when you just allow the sugar craving to be there, it will pass so quickly.
The logistics of sugar cravings:
Sugar cravings last 20 minutes at most. And I think that’s on the longer side, if you’re fighting your own cravings. If you allow them to be and just observe your body in the moment, they pass much faster.
Trust Your Body
No one ever died from lack of sugar. Now, obviously if you are hypoglycemic or diabetic, you should be monitoring your blood sugar and making sure you eat when you need to. But the danger in these illnesses is from low blood sugar - not lack of dietary sugar and refined carbohydrates. You need to be eating and taking care of yourself, but it doesn’t have to be a chocolate croissant.
Nutrients help manage sugar cravings. Magnesium, chromium, all of the b vitamins including inositol will help your body mobilize and process its own energy reserves. A number of studies have been done on inositol and it’s effect on reducing insulin resistance. The micronutrients are easy to skip over but your body really does need all of them in order to function properly, a deficiency in any nutrient can cause problems all over your body.
If you’re having a hard time allowing your cravings and you need something to get you through, drink a cup of bone broth. It’s full of minerals and amino acids that are easy to digest and will provide your body with a quick burst of nutrition. Because remember, your body is learning new habits too and cravings are a way for your body to communicate with you. So it’s asking for quick energy, and you can respond with real nourishment to help your body heal and recover from years of being sugar dependent.
Learn to distinguish between sugar cravings and real hunger. If you’re unsure, ask yourself, Would I eat meat and vegetables right now? If no, you’re having a sugar craving. If yes, you’re hungry, have some food!
And if you’ve been working to figure out your nutrition for PCOS on your own and would like some help, book a free call with me and I can help you try to figure this out.