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cookies, timing and brain/blood chemistry

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Author Topic: cookies, timing and brain/blood chemistry  (Read 3923 times)

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terryv

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cookies, timing and brain/blood chemistry
« on: April 12, 2013, 01:14:45 PM »

Hello, SLD community, new members and old...It's been years since I've posted anything, but I've made a rather odd, though serendipitous discovery over the past couple of weeks that I wanted to share.  This might belong in another forum but I wanted to address the theory behind the phenomenon, so here goes...I've found that eating a small cookie or something else sweet - just a little, 50-100 calories - immediately before lunch, not after, enhances AS and virtually eliminates sugar cravings for the rest of the day. 

I'm familiar with the idea that indulging in a small treat earlier in the day is preferable to doing this at night, as one tends to be satisfied with a smaller portion and any cravings later in the day are subdued.  But even though I've tried this approach and it does help to an extent, the key seems to be the timing - having my sweet before rather than as "dessert" after lunch.  The difference is like night and day; it's odd.

I bought and read Seth's book several years ago, and have been following SLD for years now, so I was already experiencing some AS from my daily oil doses.  However over the past several months, until recently, I had been less disciplined in taking my two doses every day, many days only working in one and even missing both altogether.  Some weeks ago I realized that my appetite was reasserting itself and I returned to a more disciplined regimen.  I point this out to acknowledge the possibility that what I am experiencing is simply the resurgence of AS since getting both feet back on the wagon.  However, until last week I would still feel compelled to munch in the afternoons, and often I would be so hungry by bedtime that I couldn't resist going to the cupboards - and this is the worst time of day for me to eat.  I have undone many a disciplined day with evening munching, and I knew that this period between supper and bedtime was where I needed to take a hard look.  Discipline alone just wasn't doing it. 

I'm not sure exactly how it was that I happened to grab a cookie before lunch one day.  I had done a bit of online research on late-night eating to see if I could gain some insight on whether this really causes weight gain and if so, why?  And what changes could I make to head off these late-night cravings?  I didn't come across any new information, but the next day was a Friday, and knowing that that evening would be a challenge I decided - perhaps on a whim - to have my "pre-emptive" cookie before lunch rather than after.  I think lunch - likely a salad or some cottage cheese with fruit - tasted a little better.  And that night, puttering about the kitchen while my husband was eating ice cream, I had a craving for...chicken salad.  Really??  I never "crave" chicken salad.  Granted, any calories consumed at that hour tend to overstay their welcome, but craving something savory, i.e., low GI and without all the associated water weight, was a start.     

I've eaten a before-lunch cookie every day for a couple of weeks now, and something has definitely been happening.  My husband and I went to a fondue restaurant four nights ago for our anniversary; and instead of having 2 weeks of make-up work ahead of me as I had expected, my middle is smaller than it's been in recent memory.  I can actually tell that my legs and waist have shrunk.  And I feel like I haven't been working all that hard.  My routine hasn't change otherwise - cardio for an hour six days a week, weights on two of those days, walk the dog every day, sensible meal portions, minimal sugar.  But with the before-lunch cookie thrown in, I no longer care to munch while I'm cooking dinner because my palate is geared more toward the aforementioned "savory" items and I'd rather wait and enjoy my supper.  Later in the evening if I do get hungry/munchy, it's again a bit of cheese or small spoon of peanut butter I want.  Most evenings I'm not even thinking about food. 

While again this could be at least partially the result of more regular oil-dosing; but I really think there's something else going on here.  It does have to be lunch, not supper - until recently, a favorite (though not frequent) pastime of mine was standing at the stove and munching on cookies/chocolate while cooking dinner, yet I was always game for dessert later that evening.  But why does the timing make such a difference?  Does this seemingly small detail cause a shift in brain or blood chemistry that affects appetite and food choices for the rest of the day?  Or is it a digestive matter?  Apparently practitioners of aryuveda  recommend beginning a meal with something sweet, as this facilitates the breakdown of foods eaten afterward.    I wouldn't know how to begin researching this question online (Googling "cookie before lunch" didn't yield much), so perhaps Seth and other experts could chime in.

My best guess is that this is something akin to the theory upon which SLD is based, in that I'm throwing my body a "curve ball" by eating something it doesn't expect (or even really want) at that time of day.  If this is the case, it could be that my system will become "accustomed" to the sugar intake at that time of day, the effect will fade, and I'll have to come up with a new strategy.  But I'm going to ride this wave while it lasts, and I'll try to post again in a few weeks. 
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Morex

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Re: cookies, timing and brain/blood chemistry
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2013, 04:20:36 AM »

Hi!

I have noticed something similar but not with cookies. With peanuts!

Before SLD my big time favorite snack were salted or roasted peanuts. I love them. But when AS kicked in in this very strong way (been like that for almost 4 months now) I stopped eating peanuts like a madman. The cravings simply went away.

The other day I remembered how much I loved peanuts, so I went to get me a small bag (think of a plane packet size of peanuts). I munched only a few (half the packet) right before lunch. And AS was even stronger!

I also noticed that my cravings for sweets in the evening were gone. I do have a tablespoon of honey every day. Not because of cravings, but because my mouth tastes sour after not eating for hours.

So yes, having a mini snack before meals gives me the same result.

Could it be the brain preventing you from overeating because it thinks food is scarce (because of the flavorless calories)?
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terryv

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Re: cookies, timing and brain/blood chemistry
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2013, 03:56:51 PM »

Hi back - thanks for the two cents...

I wonder from your experience if it has more to do with what we typically crave - sweets in my case, peanuts in yours - and when, than with sugar per se.  It could also be that the period just before lunch is when that craving is lowest, and that we are in effect sabotaging the gradual "rise" as the day passes, which would normally peak in the evenings.  It might be interesting to get some feedback from folks whose craving "schedule" is shifted earlier or later so that they desire their favorite foods the most strongly at a time other than in the evening, and alternately the least, at a different time of the day.   
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terryv

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Re: cookies, timing and brain/blood chemistry
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 05:15:29 PM »

Well "a few weeks" has turned into a few months, and this is still working.  It's not "the" answer as other factors (e.g. stress) have their effect, and I still get hungrier if I miss too many SLD doses.  But even when I do get hungry it's the savory foods I crave more than the sweet; and this is definitely different for me.

I don't own a scale so I don't know how much I've "lost" per se; but I have noticed an overall narrowing/streamlining and less beefiness in the arms and shoulders (which I would expect to see first as I am female).  And for the most part it has seemed effortless.  Even on the weekends when I'm cutting myself more slack in my eating, as long as I have that small pre-lunch "sweet" I do not desire the chocolate and desserts nearly as much later in the day.  Thus even on the "splurge" days I don't lose as much ground as I have in the past.

I had hoped others would chime in with their experiences in the interim; I think I'll post this on a different thread and see what pops up...
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