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Diet Day 887 - Science Diet

I've lost more than 60 pounds and kept it off for a couple of years, but I'm still overweight and I don't want to be. These last 30 pounds have obstinately resisted all my tricks.

The problem comes down to cravings. Starch cravings, to be specific. I'll be in fine shape all day and then bam! I get home from work and turn into a ravening pancake beast. No power in the 'verse can stop me. By the time I come to, I've added several hundred excess calories to my day. 1

Why do I keep falling into this trap?



Well guess what I found out: Eating starch instantly releases serotonin. Serotonin beats back excess cortisol after a stressful day. In short, the compulsion to eat starch is nature's way of saying, "Stand down. The saber-tooth tiger has gone." Or, "Chill out right now, before you have a stroke."

The body obeys. But those helpful carbs quickly lower my blood sugar, and that just causes more carb cravings. Pretty soon, what little serotonin I had left in my brain is depleted, and that's stressful.

How to break out of the vicious cycle? Once the pancake monster is awake, willpower is utterly worthless. (I know. I've tried it for 40 years.) Logic suggests that I prevent the cycle from starting in the first place. Obviously, decreasing my stress is a good first step, but since I still have modern urban life to contend with, I can't eliminate it entirely.

So can I make more serotonin? Can I limit cortisol release and recover from it faster? Can I minimize blood sugar fluctuations? In other words, can I help myself feel calm and centered pretty much all the time, so as to let sleeping pancake monsters lie?

Well, yes. 2:

To manage cortisol:
  • exercise
  • meditation
  • energy techniques like EFT and reiki
  • adequate sleep
  • eliminate caffeine there are some lines I'm not ready to cross
  • vitamin B6
  • gymnema sylvestre, ashwagandha and a heap of other herbs
To enhance serotonin
  • vitamin D
  • sunlight (well, we can hope)
  • L-tryptophan
  • estrogen
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • 5-HTP
To stabilize blood sugar
  • L-glutamine
  • gymnema sylvestre

I've added daily walks to my bike rides. I'm leaving the office on time. I've got vacation days planned. Any of those supplements I wasn't already taking, I've acquired. I've cut my budget elsewhere so I can afford the supplements. I've committed to actually taking the supplements.

It's too early for numbers, but I've had no pancake attacks for several days now. My calorie consumption has dropped to where I want it and the scale is delivering good news every morning. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Maybe those last 30 pounds are on their way out at last.

1. This has happened all along, but my caloric need has dropped with my weight, so those extra few hundred calories made less difference when I was fatter.

2. It goes without saying that this is my personal in-body experiment and not a suggestion for anyone else. One size does NOT fit all, Google is your friend, etc. Also, I'm not a doctor. And my own doctor has only prescribed about half of these things. I'm sure I'll mention the rest of them to him next visit. So. Caveat lector.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

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