By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
One of the biggest hurdles during a Reboot is cravings and hunger, which can cause even the most committed juicer to struggle, cave or completely give up. Cravings for all the wrong foods or food in general can make you think you are not cut out for a Reboot.
But the truth is that when we consume less food or only juices, it is natural for our body to stimulate our hunger center. When we are eating too frequently and consuming large portions, we stimulate hormones that drive our hunger. The more we eat the hungrier we get!
Think of a bear getting ready to hibernate for the winter. Hormones drive them to eat while food is plentiful before winter strikes. When food is readily available, it’s time to store, store, store.
When people who are dealing with obesity or excess weight issues say they are hungry all the time, they genuinely are hungry all the time, particularly when they eat highly processed foods. These types of foods stimulate the fat-storing and hunger hormones at a higher rate.
Processed foods also stimulate our palate to desire these types of foods excessively and can reduce our desire for healthy foods, which is why people come to believe that healthy food is boring or tasteless. They are accustomed to flavor enhancers, high sugar, high salt and highly processed fats and carbs.
As we gradually reduce our food intake, our hunger levels can really elevate, working against our health goals. But the appetite will naturally start to decline, when you consume less and the fat-burning metabolic hormones get stimulated to start burning fat. This process can take a few days, so it’s super important to work through cravings to get into the fat-burning zone while Rebooting.
Thankfully, there are many tricks to utilize that can help reduce these intense cravings and urges.
I know it sounds boring, but when we fill our stomachs with water, the receptors in our stomach cells communicates to the brain via a suppressed hormone called gherlin that we are full and don’t need food right now. As the fluid leaves our stomach quickly, unlike food, we then consume more fluid. Hunger is often masked as dehydration so keeping well hydrated keeps our hunger levels down. You can try these interesting water additions and making water more fun!
The extra nutrients, fluid and calories will absolutely reduce our hunger and keep cravings at bay! Keeping up with your juices is one of the most important keys to the success of the Reboot program. The recommendation is 4-6+ so don’t skimp out on your juices.
Too much sugar (even in the form of fruit) can increase our hunger hormones. Stick to the recommendation of 80% vegetable and 20% fruit to help keep the results coming in.
Many people eat out of emotion more than true hunger. Finding techniques for stress reduction and using rewards that aren’t about food is a good technique for controlling emotional eating. Emotional eating includes eating out of sadness, depression, boredom, anxiety, stress, frustration and even celebrating happy occasions. Learning the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger can be a very important step forward to relearn how to eat in a positive nourishing way. A Reboot is a perfect place to find other rewarding activities in place of food, such as hobbies, exercise, yoga, reading, massage and more.
Keep daily reminders around of why you are on this journey. You can use written affirmations or pictures to help remind you why you are making these changes. Being inspired is why you signed up for change, so keeping your reasons easily available and reminding yourself daily will ensure success.
A big fat NO can make us want something more, so delaying a craving can stop it in its tracks. Telling yourself you can have a treat tomorrow or even later in the day, may allow the craving to pass and you can then re-evaluate if you really want it again later.
Community is key. Having a community like ours ensures accountability, support, advice, coaching (with our Guided Reboots) and good recommendations. These factors can make all the difference in the world to a Rebooter’s success.
Add Protein or Healthy Fat
Both protein and healthy fats supports blood sugar regulation, hunger and cravings. We recommend adding in one serving of protein powder to your lunch juice and 2-3 tsp of a healthy cold-pressed oil to your dinner juice, when you feel the cravings coming on.
Pieces of Fruit or Veg
It’s ok to make a nibble plate of fruits and vegetables to chomp on, as it can really help to keep cravings and hunger at bay. Pre-cut apples, celery or carrots and have them ready to go!
Translate Cravings Into a Juice
Sounds weird I know, but use any herbs and spices, vegetables or other ingredients to remind you of foods you might miss. For example a basil, tomato, carrot juice with a little olive oil drizzled on top might become a “Pizza” juice. Use ingredients like thyme, rosemary, jalapeño, salt or celery and turn that meal craving into a juice. Even using nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and other warming spices in a dessert-based juice can be helpful and delicious.
Licorice, cinnamon, peppermint and other tasty teas can help regulate blood sugar and negate cravings.
Often we find ourselves getting so busy that we then skip on our water and juices and then we’re ready to eat anything and everything. Preparation makes it easy to stay on track. Here’s some important tips for storing your juice.
Very often, the strategies may not be what we feel like doing but they can negate the craving attacks and help us to stay on track! So keep at it and you will experience your health goals. You can do it!