Can My Client's 3 Screw-ups Help You?
by Joan Kent, PhD
As most of us have discovered, mistakes can be valuable if we learn from them. Here are a few mistakes a recent client made that may help you.
Getting Back On Track vs. Cutting Calories
What do you do after a 'lapse' in eating one day (or night)? The best thing is to go right back to your healthful eating program — but that's not always what happens.
Recently, I worked with a client who would skip eating the next day to make up for the previous day's binge. No matter how many times I told her not to, she kept doing it.
Of course, we should back up a little to look at what was happening. Her binges typically started with eating sugar because she "wanted it." That statement was always made with a smile on her face, as if wanting sugar was an automatic reason to eat it.
She would eat some sugar 2 days in a row, then binge the next night. Because her binge often included non-sugary items too, she didn't think it was related to wanting sugar.
Then she'd skip eating to make up for the binge. Obviously, she was thinking about calories — but brain chemicals, glucose and hormones actually figured into the situation strongly.
By fasting the next day, she was essentially letting her now "unstable" brain and glucose run the next day's meals and food preferences.
She could (and should) have started the day early with a solid, stabilizing meal — or, at the very least, some protein. The rest of the day should have looked just like her "good" days, with no compensation for the lapse.
How Do I Know It's a Craving?
The same client used to tell me she didn't have cravings. But she didn't recognize "wanting sugar" as a craving.
I did ask her to explain what a craving felt like or looked like in her mind. She described thinking about the food over and over, and even feeling as if she could already taste it in her mouth.
Yes, that seems like a craving, and a strong one. But wanting a food that's not on your food plan and eating it just because you want it, regardless of consequences? That also sounds like a craving.
This client needed to expand her definition of "craving" so she'd be more aware of the next one.
FWIW, she had already purchased liquid B-complex to handle cravings, but never used it. Why not? She didn't think she had cravings.
[For those not aware of the nutritional magic of liquid B-complex, it can take away a craving within a few minutes. It gives the brain the B vitamins it needs. Those vitamins serve as co-factors (catalysts) in the formation of the brain chemicals that will stop the craving and prevent its return, usually for quite some time.]
If she had used liquid B when she wanted sugar instead of eating some, that would probably have prevented the binges.
There's Junk, and Then There's ... Junk?
Finally, this client used to worry about what she called "things" in her food. She avoided foods with guar gum and other additives. No criticism there — staying away from junk is always a smart idea.
But I had to wonder why she didn't apply that strict standard to sugar. Eating sugar is trouble on many levels.
It's linked with diseases and directly compromises the immune system.
It can trigger cravings — for more sugar or for other kinds of junk food.
And it can shift our food preferences away from healthful foods — like vegetables! — and toward foods loaded with sugar or not-so-good fats. That's all because of the brain chemicals triggered by sugar — and the junk they makes us want.
She could and should have avoided all junk on food labels — guar gum, MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, and of course, sugar.
This client's mistakes were persistent and sabotaged her progress for a long time. The good news: with my coaching, she learned from the mistakes and changed her behaviors. She did make excellent progress, but could have made it sooner without the mistakes.
Please benefit from these mistakes. And if I can help you with these or other food issues, I'd love to help. Just visit www.FoodAddictionSolutions.com/Coaching for your free Last Resort Nutrition® Consult. Find out how easy it can be to make simple tweaks that solve big problems.