I would like all the vitamins you have. Please understand– not a lot of vitamins– ALL THE VITAMINS YOU HAVE.

I’ve been craving. HARD. All the things. For about 2-3 weeks now.

Normally, food is the easier part of dieting for me, exercise the tougher aspect. Lately, though, I have been SO HUNGRY and for really specific things. I tried fighting through it, but they didn’t go away. So I tried indulging (in a healthful way) and they didn’t go away. So I tried indulging in an unhealthful-exactly-what-I-want way, and they went away for a minute—but came right back.

SO, okay. Something isn’t right.

I’m anemic, so a protein craving isn’t strange for me. And generally, being iron deficient can cause a red-meat specific craving, not terribly abnormal. I don’t eat much red meat—it’s not like a principals thing, I just like poultry and fewer calories, so I tend to default to things like chicken. Also, hormones have long influenced a true, legit NEED for chocolate some days.

Lately I’ve been craving cheese, chocolate, steak, potatoes, cilantro (which I actually hate), and simple carbs. Okay, totally normal desires when dieting, ammirite? Sure! Who DOESN’T jones for a plate of pasta? Who DOESN’T yearn for a slice of pizza to bury their face in? I don’t NOT eat potatoes or red meat when I diet, either, but I definitely make an effort to keep those things proportionately few and far between on the ol’ food rotation.

And sure, I always want some of those things sometimes when I’m being virtuous about food. But this is different. This is not the sort of craving you are strong through and then it diminishes—this is not the sort of craving that is cured by drinking more water (‘cause for reals, I drink a minimum of 3 litres of water every day. I could drink more, and sometimes I do, but it shouldn’t be a dehydration issue). I know many of us struggle with emotional eating, boredom eating, that sort of thing. I’m absolutely no exception– but this is different. Those emotional cravings I know, because I’m emotional. “I WILL NOT EAT MY FEELINGS!” has come out of my mouth in public on more than one occasion. But I can talk myself down from that. I can eat an apple/cheese combo and go for a walk and kill those cravings. This is different. This is bone deep. This is a gnawing, lasting hunger unsatiated by anything, sometimes even the craving. And I just don’t have time for that. My willpower is only so strong. I tried to talk my kid into talking ME into making brownies this week. HA. Luckily for me she’s ornery and likes to disagree with all my bright ideas on principal. Suddenly 3 year olds don’t even like brownies. LIAR!!!!!! But we didn’t make them, so I guess it’s fine.

And the straight up HUNGER. I’ve been HONGRAY. I’m fine till lunch, and then I am so hungry I can barely even concentrate on anything else. And my hunger is hunger, but follows the cravings. Just eating isn’t solving the problem.

So what I mean by this is, say I eat breffas. A perfectly acceptable breakfast, mind you. I’m not a big breakfast person, so I like to go with a smoothie because I don’t have to over think it and it’s nutritious and protein and fiber filled and I can just drink it at my desk and then it’s done. If I have the time to do breakfast for real, I want to cook delicious skillet hash with potatoes and veggies and sour cream and jalapenos and cheese and stuff. I try not to START my day like that. So a nice cup of spinach, protein powder, a banana, some frozen fruit or veggies, maybe lemon juice or coconut water as the mood takes me. Sometimes greek yogurt, sometimes some cottage cheese, sometimes whatever fresh fruit is going bad on the counter, fresh mint b/c that’s how I roll, whatever. (aside: I don’t drink the kale kool-aid. I hate kale. I’ve tried it all the ways, and it’s gross. It isn’t good. Not raw, not sautéed, not juiced, not shredded, not boiled, not baked into chips, not boiled into soups, NOTHING. No kale smoothies.)

A healthy, nutritious smoothie. A few hours later I may have a snack of some kind, like some veggies and hummus or fruit or something, I might not. Then it’s lunch, and I eat well again. A lean protein, some raw veggies, sometimes a soup or salad, maybe a tuna sandwich, some kind of lettuce wrap, etc. You get the idea.

One to two hours later, STARVING. And I’m starving for: carbs, sugar, cheese. So I say to myself this is clearly a blood-sugar drop (although it isn’t, b/c I check it and also eat protein with carbs so it should be stable to begin with). So I have a sensible snack. You know the “apple test” or the “broccoli test”? They say if you’re hungry enough to eat {broccoli, and apple}, then you’re hungry. If not, you’re bored. Well, I eat something healthy, drink a glass of water, and wait. And I’m still hungry. Repeat.

By the end of the day, pre-dinner, I’ve eaten over what I have allotted myself, so my dinner would be super sad, BUT I’M STILL STARVING. Plus, I’ve eaten all healthy stuff, so I should be full and content—not still craving things! I bumped my calorie intake up a little, figuring that maybe it was just too low for the activity level I’ve worked up to. A week passes, STILL HUNGRY.

I consulted Dr. Google.

Dr. Google says I need vitamins. Well, Dr. Google, I’m a little obsessed with vitamins, so I’m HAPPY to start taking whatever placebo vitamin you recommend! I’ve read the studies about how vitamins might actually be worse for you, and the ones about how I’m probably peeing most of it out, and the ones where it could be causing cancer—but whatever. I love vitamins. I want them all.

But here’s the interesting part—Dr. Google’s recommendations of vitamins actually made sense. As in, I usually take chromium, a practice I began when I read some crack-article about it being a holistic anxiety med as well as a blood-sugar regulator. (Now, I’m not diabetic, but I’m pretty terrified of diabetes and I did have gestational diabetes, so the odds are against me, long term, but diet and weight loss will surely improve my chances at NOT getting it—but I still check my blood sugar when I feel weird and I still pay attention to eating for steady blood sugar and stuff. I’m pro-active like that.) I ran out of my chromium about a month ago and I hadn’t gotten around to picking up some more. Chromium deficiency symptoms: rise in anxiety levels (check), lightheadedness (check), decrease in energy (super check), muscle weakness (check), mood swings (check). So I understand that all these symptoms are very vague and the symptoms of EVERYTHING, I do, I promise. But the time line works. And chromium is cheap.

Cheese: several internet diagnoses here. Obviously fat and salt. My diet is not sodium deficient, for sure. Fat deficient… maybe, but I doubt it. Another article said calcium. Hmm. Now that could be. I have cut back on my dairy consumption pretty drastically this year, which has to do with iron absorption rather than a dairy thing—I love dairy. I love milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, all of it. I eat dairy every day, but a serving or two, as opposed to a gazillion. I take a multivitamin and I eat calcium non-dairy foods, too, but.. I have been slacking. I’ve been burnt out on my broccoli and spinach, so I’m not plowing through as much as possible. So maybe.

Sugar cravings can imply deficiencies in Chromium, Zinc, Magnesium. Chocolate cravings are long-told to be magnesium based, etc. I already take magnesium, so I doubt it’s that. They say if you’re craving chocolate have a dark chocolate square, because it’s richer and stronger flavored, for your mental craving, and higher in magnesium for your physical craving. Yeah, I haven’t been able to stop at one square. Or two. Or three. Sometimes four. That’s 200 calories, just like that. And I’m NOT fulfilled. So it’s a waste.

All interesting things. Anyway, the point is that I bought 9 million dollars worth of vitamins yesterday, and fixed up my supplement stores. I’m interested to see if it has any effect on my ridiculous hunger and cravings. I added zinc, chromium, and calcium– I already took all the others. Well, I guess I re-added chromium.

This delicious picture of my after-breffas snack contains:

Potassium, a multi, iron, vitamin c (for iron absorption), chromium, zinc, calcium, B complex, D3, magnesium, and a sprig of mint for garnish.

Ihave a lot on my plate. Well, not literally of course.
I have a lot on my plate. Well, not literally of course.

I’ll let you know in a few weeks whether it’s fixed me issues. The next step is burning my new birth control– and equally plausible explanation for every single item on my list of complaints.

My pee is SO valuable.

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