Connie Bennett is the bestselling author of Sugar Shock (Berkley Books) and Beyond Sugar Shock (Hay House), which have been praised by Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman and many others. Connie is now finishing her next book, Crush Your Cravings On the Go™ and the companion Crush Your Cravings Virtual Bootcamp. Connie's newest expertise grew out of her own Crazy Cravings™, which attacked the sugar and carb expert after she endured a grueling year of watching her Mom lose the battle to a vicious cancer. Now slimmed down and the Master of her Cravings, Connie is now dedicated to sharing fast, super-simple, science-based secrets to Crush Your Cravings.
But, let’s face it, most of us probably won’t change our unhealthy tech habits once the sun sets. For my part, my bad habit (or babit™, as I call it)—which, I’ve almost broken—is that I write blog posts or books into the wee hours.
What about you? Do you, too, have any of these popular 21st-century bad electronic habits?
Tired of having aggravating cravings for processed, sugary, salty, fatty sort-of foods or processed carbs? To get to the other side of your huge cravings, the first thing you need to do is listen to them, because your cravings can be your teachers.
You may be thinking, “Huh? Why would I want to listen to my cravings? They’ve only taken me down a dark path to bingeing desserts and processed carbs.”
But here’s the thing: To get to the other side of your cravings, you need to give them both the respect and attention that they deserve.
Here’s what’s interesting about cravings. They’re often smart—that is, if they’re not activated by environmental cues such as a brightly lit, enticing fast food restaurant, donut shop or fresh popcorn at the movie theater.
These days, I’ve come to respect my cravings now that my unhealthy cravings for processed carbs have vanished. (My sugar cravings have been long gone.)
Nowadays, the cravings I get are healthy so I listen to them. And that’s what I want for you, too. For instance:
Sometimes I eat at strange times. For instance, today, I craved a lunch-like snack at 10 am. (My body evidently needed lunch early.)
Then, from time to time, when I’m at Whole Foods, I crave Mom’s Chicken Soup—that’s actually the name—but I want no other foods. No salads. No vegetables. All I want is the soup. (I’ve come to respect this craving which I’ve gotten a lot since losing my mother. Clearly, this is a huge emotional craving, which strike around various holidays or birthdays.)
In addition, sometimes I really crave free-range, organic meats. Or I may crave the reverse—I want is a nutritious vegetarian shake with half an avocado, protein powder, chia seeds, carob powder, cinnamon and no fruits. (That was my strange dinner tonight. Well, that and a sugar-free turkey stick.)
So here are 3 Easy Ways to Listen to Your Cravings and to determine if they’re unhealthy or healthy.
First, when you get a craving, ask yourself: “Is this a real bodily craving or an unhealthy, environmentally activated craving?” If it’s the former, then you can act on it. But often, especially if you’re out and about in our junk-food jungle, you’re just being triggered by seeing candies, cookies or chips, then you’re having an unhealthy craving.
Next, consider the consequences of acting on your cravings. Ask yourself, “Will eating this [fill in the name of the food] nourish and energize me or diminish and deplete me?” Then go a little further. Ask your inner guide, “Will eating those chips, crackers or candies make me angry or upset with myself?” You’re smart. You know exactly what will happen if you let your dangerous cravings rule you.
Now’s the time to act on your craving, but in a good way. Ask yourself, “What do I really crave?” Your inner guide is smart. It knows. So ask yourself, “Do I crave a walk outside near nature? Do I crave a conversation with a good friend? Do I crave sleep because I’m tired?”
First, every Thursday and some Mondays (for Your Motivating Monday or Cravings-Crushing Monday), you’ll get a motivating Shareable Quote or a Clever Cartoon on my blog. See one of my favorite cartoons, Sugar Killing You? (It illustrates Sweets in a Coffin!)
Plus, at any time, visit the Shareable Images and Cartoons section on my blog to see motivating quotes from gurus (both living and long gone) about how to overcome your obstacles. See your challenges as stepping stones to a better place and embrace vibrant health. You’ll also find my quotes on how to Crush Your Cravings. And you’ll get provocative Sugar Shock Cartoons from cartoonist Isabella Bannerman. Then spread the image love to your friends, colleagues and loved ones.
Of course, images, especially in this day and age, grab us like nothing else. In fact, did you know that our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? No wonder we say that a picture is worth 1,000 words. (It’s actually worth more than that.)
Ultimately, I became intrigued by how humor could help people chuckle, rise above their challenges and improve their health. So I then began to scout out laugh-out-loud quotes from well-known comedians and humorists.
So now the time has come to motivate, encourage you and spur you to humor, self-reflection and positive transformation using the image-sharing revolution, which I can do now, thanks to valuable members of my team.
It’s time to be dramatic. This cartoon dishes the facts — admittedly, bluntly — that sweets and processed carbs, including licorice, cookies, chocolate cake, ice cream, popcorn, soda and French fries can, in fact, send you to an early grave.
Think I’m exaggerating in this cartoon from the talented Isabella Bannerman?
Unfortunately, I’m not.
When you eat too many candies, soft drinks, and processed carbs, you could get:
Does your diet look like the question mark to your left or the one to your right?
Now, take a guess… What percentage of your diet do you think comes from processed breads, pizza, donuts, buns or chips?
So what’s your processed foods figure?
If you’re like most Americans, more than half of your diet comes from ultra-processed foods. So found a study in the peer-reviewed medical journal, BMJ during which 9317 were surveyed, more than half of people’s foods (57.9 percent) are “ultra-processed.”
The researchers, who were from the University of São Paulo in Brazil and Tufts University in Boston, defined “ultra-processed” foods as: “Industrial formulations of several ingredients, which besides salt, sugar, oils and fats, include substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations.”
Why is it so troubling that 57.9 percent of your diet comes from ultra-processed foods?
First, ultra-processed foods account for almost all added sugars that Americans eat—almost 90 percent.
Second, as this study points out, ultra-processed foods “displace more nutrient-dense foods” — meaning, bye-bye, real foods such as cucumbers, celery and avocados, hello, nutrient-poor, unreal junk foods.
Third, ultra-processed foods make you “overfed and undernourished,” as the study observes. That’s not a recipe for good health.
Then, all those processed carbs you’re eating quickly metabolize into sugar so you’re getting far more sugar than you realize.
Then, your high intake of both sweeteners and sugars from processed foods can — as I shared in my books, Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock — increase your risk of weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes; higher serum triglycerides, high blood cholesterol; higher blood pressure; stroke; coronary heart disease; cancer; and much more.
Now for less-obvious conclusions, which come from my new insights into cravings:
The more processed foods you consume, the more you’ll get cravings for sugar, carbs, fat and salt.
Then, you’ll eat more processed junk foods.
And you’ll gain more weight….
The alarming result: Hello, disease, bye-bye, good health.
So what’s the big takeaway?
Eliminate or drastically cut out processed foods, and you’ll cut your cravings, take back your power and peel off your excess weight.