If you are anything like me, you love food and love to eat, especially during PMS week. I literally write in my calendar that on or near days 19-21 of my cycle, I am going to crave starchy carbohydrates and more food, in general. The complication I have now is that I’m over 40 and am becoming more insulin resistant (which leads to higher circulating blood sugar levels and potentially more fat storage). Thus, I have to keep my starchy carb intake in-check, regardless of my hormonal cravings. So what do I do? Typically, I give myself permission to eat heavier carbohydrate meals (which can honestly turn into a full day L) once a month. Yes, only once do I go carb heavy, unless I’ve really trained hard in the gym. The last thing I want is to set my fat-storing hormones into action on a regular basis.
Below I’ve shared how I eat my favorite carb indulging meals and avoid gaining fat and creating a cascade of unwanted hormonal reactions (e.g. cravings, hunger and mood swings).
1. Avoid eating carbs alone
Eat carbs with other foods at meals or during your post workout window (around an hour). Eat sour fruits if you want to eat a carb by itself.
2. Add healthy fats and proteins
They stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full.
3. Add an Acid
Include vinegar, tomato juice, lemon or pickling brine from fermented veggies into your meals. Acids slow digestion and lowers the glycemic load, which means you become fuller faster, longer and increase your fat-burning potential. Try squeezing fresh lemon over al dente gluten free pasta or rice. Both of these lowers the meal’s glycemic load.
4. Combine with fiber
Think veggies or soluble fiber supplements (best taken shortly pre-meal). For example, adding ground flax or chia to a salad, or pair wild grain rice with broccoli.
5. Eat juicy foods 1st
These foods are high in water content. Salads, fruits and raw vegetables are excellent examples. But like grains, starches are a concentrated food. If you eat juicy foods first, you will not crave or have the room in your stomach to hold as many carbs.
All these tips help lower the potentially negative hormonal response of eating a high carbohydrate meal. Try them and you will worry less about spikes in sugar taking you out of fat-burning mode! Plus, you’ll keep your hunger hormones (cortisol, leptin and ghrelin) in balance too!
Author: Dr. Siobhan Kealy
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