Why Do I Get Cravings?
Cravings (specifically for carbs and sugar), are often caused by a lack of adequate energy stores in the body. Your body needs those nutrients to function, and if your reserves are low you’re going to get “hangry.”
When we eat those simple, processed carb foods, it causes our blood sugar to spike, and our metabolism eventually gets used to the short bursts of sudden energy those foods deliver. But just as quickly as that energy arrives, it disappears, and when our blood sugar takes the inevitable crash, our bodies start frantically searching for the next hit. That’s when you experience cravings and often times mood swings, too. If you find that you constantly get cravings, check in with your food intake. Are you eating enough protein (see my previous posts on protein)? Enough fiber-rich greens? How about healthy fat (new post on fat coming soon)? Those nutrients are very satisfying, and deliver a slow, lasting energy to the body just like complex whole-food carbohydrates do. Don’t skip those vital nutrients. Skipping meals and going low carb or no carb day after day can wreck your metabolism, prevent you from shedding unwanted body fat and cause uncontrollable cravings. Curb these by eating the RIGHT carbs at the RIGHT time.
When Should I Eat Carbs?
So on days you workout, you can generally eat a higher amount of carbs than you eat on your rest or active recovery days. Strategically eating carbs to match your energy output for the day ensures you’ll have adequate reserves and stable energy. Eating this way will keep your metabolism working efficiently to burn fat, provide you with energy and keep you in a peak state.
If your goal is to GET AND STAY LEAN, the best times to eat optimal carbs are:
1: Before your workout (within 1 hour before your workout)
Your body needs some energy to burn and use during the workout so that you perform awesomely and have a killer workout! Plus this insures the sugars are used up as fuel and not stored as fat.
2: Post workout (within 1 hour after your workout)
You deplete your muscle’s stored glycogen when you train hard, so be sure to replenish it with carbs after your workout. Carbs help deliver glucose to the muscle cells, which speeds up the delivery of other nutrients like protein to the broken down muscle tissue.
Don’t skip eating your post-workout carbs if you want to see the results of your workout sessions. Remember, after a hard workout, your body is like a sponge, soaking up the energy those carbs provide!
3: Carbs in the evening: One of the most common fat loss myths is that you should eat your carbs in the morning so you have all day to burn them off. That is not true.
When fat loss is the goal and we start the day with carbohydrates, like bagel, cereal, pancakes, etc we set ourselves up to prevent fat burning and trigger extreme hunger, constant cravings and low energy. This is true because of the unique hormonal environment in the body after an overnight fast. Upon waking your blood sugar and insulin levels will be low. This makes the morning the time of day when we will have the most exaggerated insulin response to consuming carbohydrates.
Why does that impair fat burning? Because you cannot burn fat when insulin is high. Insulin is a storage hormone. A fuel delivery hormone. The presence of insulin tells the body, “Hey! We’ve got fuel! We’re in storage mode now!” and that message prevents the breakdown of body fat for energy.
On the flip side, when we don’t send our blood sugar soaring in the morning, we will be in prime fat burning mode! Also as the day goes on, as we eat throughout the morning and afternoon, our hormones shift with the normal daily cycles and we become less sensitive to those spikes in blood sugar and insulin.
Check back tomorrow for more on shifting Carbs evening.
If you found this info helpful give me a 👍🏻 in the comments. Tag a friend and keep a look out for info on my next Little Black Dress 8 week Body Transformation Challenge starting April 1st!!!