Emotions and Carbs

We have been having a very wet spring and summer in my part of the world, which makes me, and others I know, get a bit grumpy and antsy with the desire to be out and about; especially when you want to be at the YMCA pool as my grandchildren do.

It is no accident that when we feel low, stressed, unhappy, angry, and all such negative emotions, our bodies–the brain specifically–crave carbohydrate foods–sugar, starch, usually  bound together with loads of fat (not always the good fats).

As mentioned before, we are operating from an ancient evolutionary system. In those ancient days our stressors were most likely to be dangerous critters, or famine;  either way food was apt to be the most comforting and necessary adjunct to life. Now we have such concentrated calories that many of us (read older and/or sedentary) could easily live off one serving per day of some foods.

While it won’t always keep us from indulging in foods we have problems with, the knowledge of what is driving the cravings can help in avoiding the worst of the worst.

I was on vacation in Washington, DC this past Independence Day week with grandchildren, and it was crowded, hot, and tempers got short when we couldn’t find the right bus/subway stop and walked a lot more in the heat than we are accustomed. Not surprisingly, there were a few meals where I deliberately made a choice to indulge in something like a light beer, or chocolate ice cream, accounting it as part of my 10% free eating.

Being in charge, rather than eating mindlessly is always the best option. When we eat purposefully, we eat a serving; when we eat mindlessly or with guilt, we eat wildly and far too much, such as sneak-eating a whole bag of sweets.

My most recent goal is to eat only when truly hungry, and to eat with intention anything I do eat. I am still working on this, but it seems to me the best way to function.

Yours in good and bad times,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

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