Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6 Tricks to Outsmart Period Cravings

Courtesy of

You just ate lunch, but 30 minutes later, you can't stop thinking about chocolate, so you eat it. Then 10 minutes after that, you want something salty and crunchy, so you down a few handfuls of pretzels. Then 10 minutes later, ice cream seems like the best idea you've ever had. What gives? Then you realize you're due for your period next week. Damn those PMS cravings!


Monday, August 12, 2013

7 Questions to Help Deconstruct Your Sugar or Carb Cravings

By Laura Thomas
Cravings aren’t fun, I know. They can dominate your thoughts, take over your day and make you restless. Getting the better of your sugar or carb cravings, starts with a bit of analysis and a number of thought provoking questions. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself when you find you would literally bend over backwards for that warm chocolate chip cookie.

1. Have you eaten in the last 4-5 hours?
If you haven’t eaten in a few hours, chances are the cravings could be linked to low blood sugar. Fill up on a meal or get hold of a protein rich snack. Nuts, cheese, carrots and hummus are all good choices.

2. Are you thirsty?
Dehydration can often cause cravings. Get a large glass of water down and wait 20 minutes to see if your body was in fact craving hydration.

3. Are you tired?
Lacking in the sleep department is a quick-fire way to bring about sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Ensuring you get enough sleep should be your number one health priority if you’re seriously trying to overcome your cravings and don’t want to be on the back foot before you even get out of bed. When I was dominated by sugar, a lack of sleep would nearly almost certainly have me craving hot chocolate at 10:00 am for that extra energy boost.

4. Are you bored?
If you aren’t tired or hungry, are you simply craving distraction? If you work at home or in an office, we often want a break from the computer. Visiting the cafeteria can often feel like the default response. First, rank your true hunger from 1-10 and then try doing something else for 20 minutes. Give someone a phone call, catch up on some social media sites or go for a walk outside.

5. Is it lifestyle imbalance?
Ask yourself if your emotions are driving your cravings? Has it been a bad day? Do you want something to make you feel good, a quick fix of happy hormones? If you’ve got used to relying on food as a quick emotional ‘pick me up’ then you may need to look at how you enhance more fundamental elements of your lifestyle to fill the void. Is there a new hobby you could take up? Is your relationship working? Do you need to make a change to your career or work?

6. Could it be hormonal?
Hormones can have very strong influences on cravings for some individuals. If you suspect this might be the case, start keeping a diary to track any patterns so you can improve your understanding and start to anticipate your strongest cravings. When you know they’re due, prepare substitutions and distractions in advance.

7. Do you really want ‘something’?
If your craving is still there with a vengeance, and a walk round the block isn’t doing it for you, you may just need to substitute. A cup of chai tea with extra cinnamon, some sweet cashew nuts or indulgent full fat natural yogurt are all things that got me through some of my most stubborn cravings. Find your own favorite substitutions, use them consistently and eventually you’ll start craving your healthier alternatives.

Laura Thomas is a holistic health coach who specializes in sugar addiction, helping individuals get control over their sugary habits so they can live in peace without the burden of daily cravings. A former sugar addict herself, Laura understands the emotional and social difficulties of re-wiring your sugar habits. Sign up to Happy Sugar Habits for a free low sugar snack guide and six months worth of weekly sugar-busting tips.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Curb Carb Cravings to Reduce Health Risks

Dr. Julian Whitaker
By Julian Whitaker MD
(courtesy of Citizens for Health)

Do you get intense carbohydrate cravings? Are there times when you just have to have a snack or can’t resist a cookie? These cravings are not just a road to an expanding waistline – they are also a warning sign. Carbohydrate cravings are often associated with insulin resistance, which in turn is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

In individuals who have insulin resistance, the beta cells in the pancreas make plenty of insulin – the hormone that moves glucose from the blood into the cells – but the cells are unresponsive to insulin’s actions, leading to a rise in blood sugar. The pancreas responds by churning out more insulin, but it may overshoot the mark, driving blood sugar too low and creating an immediate demand for more glucose. This often manifests as carbohydrate cravings.

Unfortunately, when you heed the call, a vicious cycle is set into motion. More glucose demands more insulin, and over time, your body’s blood sugar-regulating mechanisms cannot keep up and signs of insulin resistance become more prominent.

Part of the problem is that chronically elevated levels of insulin, which are characteristic of insulin resistance, promote weight gain. That’s because insulin is the body’s primary fat-storage hormone – it ushers fat as well as glucose into the cells. So the higher your insulin level, the greater your potential weight gain.

To make matters worse, obesity throws fuel on the fire. Adipose tissue (fat), especially in the abdominal area, releases fatty acids that impair beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity, as well as immune cells that lead to chronic, low-grade inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, increases insulin resistance and risk of diabetes.

The answer to the problem is to interrupt this insidious cycle as early as possible. Start with your diet. Sweets, potatoes, bread, pasta, and most everything made with sugar or refined grains – think white foods – have a high glycemic index and load. This means they rapidly drive up blood glucose but may be followed a couple of hours later by reactive hypoglycemia, a compensatory blood sugar dive that makes you tired, sluggish, and so hungry you feel like you could eat anything in sight.

To avoid this very common phenomenon, eat more fiber-rich vegetables and beans and include some protein with every meal. These foods are not only bulky, filling, and lower in calories, but because they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar, they’ll keep you going longer and are less apt to stimulate food cravings.

There are also some interesting supplements that can help control cravings. One of them is saffron, a bright yellow culinary spice that has been used in traditional medicine to tame inflammation and ease digestive woes. Saffron helps raise levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts mood, influences hunger and satiety, and helps put the brakes on food cravings – especially for carbohydrates. This makes saffron a real boon for people trying to lose weight.

Look for saffron supplements in your health food store. You can also purchase my Saffron Snack Stopper by visiting or by calling 800-722-8008. Aim for the study dosage of 90 mg twice a day with meals. Note: It can take up to four weeks to see results, so be patient.

Another supplement for carb cravings is 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). A direct precursor to serotonin, 5-HTP boosts levels of this important neurotransmitter and helps curb carb cravings. This supplement is particularly helpful for people with hormonal imbalances and those eating low-calorie diets, particularly low-protein diets, which may not provide enough of the amino acids required for serotonin production. The suggested dose is 50 to 100 mg, taken between meals. Do not take 5-HTP if you are on an SSRI antidepressant.

The most important tool for reversing insulin resistance (and potential diabetes) is weight loss, and reducing cravings is an important step toward that end. So stock up on fiber-rich foods, eat protein at every meal, and try supplemental saffron and 5-HTP, and you just may be able to keep carbohydrate binges at bay.

About Dr. Whitaker. Dr. Whitaker is Director of the Whitaker Wellness Institute and Editor of Health and Healing newsletter that provides important health advice for more than 500,000 people nationwide. Dr. Whitaker graduated from Dartmouth College in 1966 and received his MD in 1970 from Emory University Medical School. He completed his surgical internship at Grady Memorial Hospital in 1971, and continued at the University of California in San Francisco in orthopedic surgery. In 1974, Dr. Whitaker founded the California Orthomolecular Medical Society, along with four other physicians and the Nobel prize-winning scientist Dr. Linus Pauling. Dr. Whitaker is the author of several books including the best-selling Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Success in Health, Success in Life: Tips from Valerie Orsoni

Valerie Orsoni is from humble beginnings. She was an overweight teen, she overcame cancer and a brain tumor. Her business partner stole her idea when she first started her company. But that did not stop her. Valerie Orsoni is the founder and CEO of, the largest online personal health coaching program in the world, with over one million people currently following her advice.

If she can do it, so can you. Here's what she recommends when facing an obstacle:
  1. DON'T KILL THE BUZZ. Your gut and your desire is what will drive you. Do not listen to others who tell you that you cannot achieve your goal. And NEVER explain to them how you will do it or why. Just tell them "Trust me. I will make it happen." By feeling that you need to explain yourself, you are killing the momentum that you have created inside you and it provides the opportunity for self-doubt. You need to have conviction to succeed.
  2. BUY A BLUE WIG. Valerie uses this technique a lot with her clients. Fear is the biggest obstacle for people to reach their goals. If you wear a blue wig out in public for a day, you put it out there that you can do something out of the ordinary and be okay.  People will stare at you, maybe think weird things about you. But you realize "Who Cares!" Let them think what they want. This is also a fantastic tool for anyone suffering from extreme shyness. 
  3. STRETCH YOUR EMOTIONAL FABRIC. Society tells us to live in a box and have regular lives. But regular people do amazing things every  day . So can you. When you have doubts, keep Silly Putty and take it out and stretch it. If something so simple can stretch and grow, so can you. Plus, it's very therapeutic.
  4. VENDETTA TECHNIQUE . This is an amazing tool for any obstacle - job loss, relationship ending or heartbreak, health issue, etc. Valerie is French from Corsica, where the word "Vendetta" was created. It lives in the Corsican blood. Rather than get upset or down by something or someone, the Corsican people take action! They go after the "enemy" and get revenge - by being stronger and better. Valerie can walk you through the specific steps.
  5. BODY TOUCH.  When you are touched, the nerve endings create endorphins, which is the happiness hormone. It replenishes your energy source. Most people only get massages once in a while, as a special treat. Valerie recommends clients get massages often. There are great places that are inexpensive. You can also learn how to self-massage - your temples, your neck. It is not a treat, it is a survival tool.
One of Valerie's favorite sayings is from the cartoon GARFIELD. "These are only bugs on the windshield of my life." If you understand that each thing getting in your way is just a small, insignificant aspect compared to your big, ultimate goal, it will put things into proper perspective so you can get there.   

VALERIE ORSONI is an international health expert. As an overweight teen, she tried over 40 diets that all failed. This propelled her into the health industry, to find what works. After surviving a brain tumor that doctors said was terminal, Valerie decided to make it her goal to help others overcome their health obstacles. She launched an online coaching program,, which quickly became the leading online personalized coaching program in the world. She currently has over one million members. During this time, she also overcame cancer. Valerie knows the meaning of the word "Survivor." She is a Best-selling author, Celebrity coach, Nutritionist and Mom. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. For more information, go to

Monday, July 5, 2010

Curb Those Cravings (CTC) Interview With Celebrity Trainer Kathy Kaehler

CTC: I have read that your fitness and health philosophy builds awareness of “how simple daily choices about nutrition and fitness” promote a healthier and more productive lifestyle. Can you give a couple of examples of these choices and how this works?

Kathy Kaehler: Making good choices 90 percent of the time allows you to have fun and not feel guilty during the 10 percent of your time that you’re “just living life.”  Also, make exercise a priority that you can't let the sun go down without your exercise done. 

CTC: Your approach focuses on workable fitness solutions for today’s busy world. Can you give examples of this --- how do you help people find the time.
Kathy Kaehler: Knowing that you can have exercise in small increments and understand that those increments add up at the end of the day gives you more motivation to get up and take the stairs, do manual labor for the benefit of exercise, multi task home/work chores with physical activity. Dancing to your favorite song, playing tag with your children, washing windows, jumping rope or rearranging your furniture are fun ways to get in some exercise.
CTC: You’ve worked with a lot of celebrities, including celebrities who train (like Jane Fonda) and trainers who are fitness celebrities (like Jack La Lanne). What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from Jane Fonda or Jack LaLanne?

Kathy Kaehler: With Jane and Jack it was seeing first hand that age plays no role in fitness that you can start and continue with your fitness quests at any age. Their roles as fitness icons are what I rely on for motivation personally but also for those out there who remain skeptical.

CTC: What are the differences between training celebs and non-celebs? Can we (most of whom are not celebrities) learn something from this?
Kathy Kaehler: To be honest, there is no difference between training a celebrity versus a non-celebrity. Celebrities want the same things from fitness as anyone else. We all want to get in shape for weddings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and seasons. For celebrities they can add on movie roles but some non-celebs might have to be shape for their jobs. What people need to learn from this is that comparing yourself to a celebrity will not get you anywhere. It is time to learn that you must focus on yourself and be the best that you can be. 

CTC: Many people, especially women, suffer from carb cravings. What tips can you offer Curb Those Cravings! readers to help cope with, work with or combat those cravings?
Kathy Kaehler: It’s really important to find something that will satisfy your cravings. Cravings are natural and if you put them off and try to ignore them they will come back with a vengeance. Look for a treat or snack that is lower in calories and will give you the satisfaction you are looking for without blowing it. Smooth and Dreamy from Breyers is what I choose and I have a huge chocolate tooth. With the bars and sandwiches at 120-160 calories, I can have one, love it and then move on.

CTC: What is your Sunday Set-Up? sunday set-up capture
Kathy Kaehler: Sunday Set-Up is a simple food routine that is about stocking up on all your good food in the beginning of the week and prepping it so that you will have all your healthy staples to grab for snacks and meals all week long. Some great photos and examples from my shopping list is at under Sunday Set-Up.

mini workout capture CTC: Can you tell me about your Mini Workouts? Kathy Kaehler: I am constantly doing workouts featuring myself, my kids, celebrities and others. These workouts might be 1-30 minutes long, shot in numerous locations and focus on strength, cardio and stretch. They are free and easy to follow.  

CTC: One problem I have myself is motivation in sticking to a program. Can you offer some advice as to real-world motivation other than just fitting into that swimsuit or that pair of pants?
Kathy Kaehler: Your health should be the best motivation. Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, blood pressure are all risks that can be reduced with exercise. 

CTC: You live by your 90/10 rule, which encourages individuals to watch what they eat 90 percent of the time and indulge here and there during the other 10 percent. Is this do-able or too hard? What are ways people can indulge in that 10 percent which you recommend?
Kathy Kaehler: This is the easiest way to eat and live, as you can manage it easily. My 10% is satisfied with dark chocolate and sandwiches and red wine!

CTC: Any general suggestions especially for young girls (since teenage girls --- I have a teenage daughter myself --- are more prone to eating and body-image disorders than are boys) in terms of eating, exercise and body issues?
Kathy Kaehler: The time is NOW to get the routines and habits established. Eat well balanced foods, limit sugar and salt. Also, take part in physical activity on a daily basis. Find something you love to do and do it, as you will be so thankful you did.

About Kathy
A “Today Show" fitness expert, Kathy Kaehler is the author of the books Fit and Sexy for Life, Kathy Kaehler Celebrity Fitness and Real World Fitness with Kathy Kaehler. Her workout videos include “Kathy Kaehler Basics: Total Fitness Workout” and “Kathy Kaehler Basics: Workout Class.” Clients include celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Cindy Crawford and Samuel L. Jackson. Kathy’s website is:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In the land of (real) women

By James J. Gormley

Spring Break is fast approaching and many young women (not to mention, lots of men) are alternately looking at the calendar and peeking at the mirror, worried that they will not be able to fit into that swimsuit that’s two sizes too small that was bought as an “incentive” after New Year’s Eve.

Bikini Anxiety 101
What’s with all of this bikini anxiety? As I pointed out in 1999, in an article called “Giving Barbie the ‘Boot’ ”: (1) real women have different body types than do most fashion models, who are often emaciated and (2) typical diets don’t work. In addition,  the Barbie body-myth acculturation is now beginning in very young girls who should, arguably, be excited about many things -- such as science, math, sports, and jump-rope -- but not about losing weight!

ibd Rachel Caplin, author of I’m Beautiful, Dammit! Waging Your Own Curvolution and co-founder of Curvolution, a Calif.-based entertainment company that’s working to put real women, of all sizes, into the media, said in a 2006 interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “The fact that it’s bathing suit season doesn’t mean that this is the moment in time where you have to be what the season is telling you to be.”

Our society’s bathing suit obsession becomes even clearer when we look at a few stats on women, girls, and weight extracted from the book, The 7 Secrets of Slim People, by Vikki Hansen, M.S.W., and Shawn Goodman.

I learned from authors Hansen and Goodman that “young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, and losing their parents,” then it makes me more determined than ever to try to encourage my (trim) teenaged daughter to enjoy her summer and not get sucked into the dysfunctional body-type vortex that surrounds us.

stairmaster4000 Fitness Anxiety too?
Adding to bikini anxiety is its kissing cousin, fitness anxiety: Are we buff enough? Although we can sometimes feel stress as we unfairly judge ourselves by looking at the aerobics instructor next to us on the StairMaster®, we might not be aware that many everyday activities --- including shopping at the mall! --- really help us to be more fit and burn more calories each day.

For example, did you know that 25 minutes of brisk walking at the mall (the best way to avoid buying too much!) or 30 minutes of washing windows burn the same amount of calories as 20 minutes of medium aerobics or 20 minutes of tennis? Better yet: did you know that 30 minutes of mowing the lawn (although be careful in the heat) or 45 minutes of washing dishes offer the same calorie-burning as the aerobics? All true.  That’s what I call putting things in perspective.

So what if it gives us another excuse to go to the mall!