Why Am I Craving Carbs and Sugar?

If you find yourself frustrated, asking yourself “Why am I craving carbs and sugar,” you can learn why and make peace with food through the process of Intuitive Eating.

But first, let’s talk about some root causes.

Have you tried to solve your “problem” by restricting carbs and sugar completely?

Or perhaps you’ve tried a 30-day sugar detox or a “healthy lifestyle” eating plan “to fix” your cravings for carbs and sweets. And maybe it felt like it “worked” but then after, your cravings returned. 😬

And consider your relationship with simple carbs like breads and cookies. What feelings come up? Maybe you feel guilty, ashamed, stressed, or worried when you eat foods that diet culture labels as “bad.”

I too once had a fraught relationship with carbs and sugar stemming from the low carb trend that said bread and sugar are “bad.”

I used to follow a “healthy lifestyle diet” that restricted grains, added sugar and even the amount of natural sugars in whole foods.

  • I avoided sandwiches and was “good” when I had a salad instead. And if I had a sandwich, I would avoid other carbs that day.
  • I viewed sweets as “bad.” ( I mean everybody knows this is true, right?)
  • I could have berries but not a banana (because some sneaky diets out there say they’re too high in sugar and don’t care if your banana contains fiber that slows down how you metabolize the sugar.) Yikes.

I was “so good,” until I ended up overeating them and even bingeing on them, eating an entire bread basket and six-pack of cupcakes. Then I felt horrible both physically and emotionally – beating myself up, worrying about my health (and if I’m honest – my weight).

But after working for over a decade in nutrition, eating psychology, Intuitive Eating and body image, I learned that if healthy eating doesn’t include a healthy relationship with food, where all foods could fit, it wasn’t truly healthy eating.

healthy relationship with food

Here are four reasons why you may crave carbs, sugars and the solutions so you can finally have a healthy relationship with all foods and your body.

4 Reasons you crave carbs and sugar and what to do about it

# 1 You crave carbs and sugar because you’re restricting food.

One of the number one reasons we crave carbs and sugar of diet culture.

You’re body tells you what it needs, but diets teach us not to listen.

Simply put, if you’re not honoring your unique biological hunger needs, your body will drive you to eat.

And guess what it will drive you to eat more? Yup, you guessed it – carbohydrates and sugars. Carbohydrates such as sugars give you quick energy but like kindling on a fire, also burn out just a quick.  So it might feel like just can’t stop eating sugar if you’re stuck in this cycle.

Have you heard of Neuropeptide Y?

Neuropeptide Y is a chemical produced by the brain that triggers your drive to eat carbohydrates, the body’s primary and preferred source of energy. NPY production is increased by food deprivation, under-eating and during stress. Eating carbohydrates produces serotonin which turns off production of NPY.

And did you know…

When your body is not getting enough of its preferred fuel source (glucose), it will break down protein mainly from muscle to convert it to glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. This process comes at a high cost, as protein is then used as expensive fuel source instead of what it’s supposed to be used for: repair, maintains and builds muscle, hormones, enzymes and cells in the body.

It’s like using batteries in your toaster instead of plugging it in to use electricity – not efficient and potentially harmful.

When people lose weight on low carb diets it can be caused by losing muscle tissue – which is NOT what we want to be doing. Muscle tissue is your most metabolically active tissue (calorie burning tissue)!

KEY POINT: The more you deny your true hunger and fight your natural biology, the stronger and more intense food cravings and obsessions become. Furthermore, honoring hunger is foundational to being able to honor comfortable fullness (yes, read that again if you feel like you’re an over-eater).

Barriers to honoring hunger include:

✅ Diet culture rules: it’s not time (intermittent fasting), skipping meals to “save” calories, not eating after __ pm (even if you’re biologically hungry), diet plan says you can only eat __ calories, certain portion sizes, restricts carbs – so you feel hungry. You ignore hunger or at least try to using your “willpower.”

✅ Chaotic life: you’re too busy, over-scheduled. You can’t (your job doesn’t allow you to) or won’t stop and give yourself the gift of time to nourish yourself. Then by time you eat, you’re ravenous, hangry and might even feel “out of control” with your eating, or beat yourself up for craving sugar.

💡THE SOLUTION: Make sure you’re biologically fed with adequate energy and yes, carbohydrates. Ditch the diet mentality and its rules that take you further away from being able to tune and honor your true biological needs (Principle 1 of Intuitive Eating). Practice honoring your hunger when it’s gentle so that you can make conscious eating decisions and avoid triggering a primal drive to overeat (what you learn and practice in Principle 2 of Intuitive Eating).

# 2 You crave carbs when you’re feeling emotional, stressed.

First, nothing will make you feel more emotional than not getting your energy needs met (read that again). Thus dieting, restricting food (both physically and mentally!) is a stress on the body and can feel very much like emotional eating.

Also recall from above, that when you’re struggling with stress of any kind, such as an out of balance life, your body will produce Neuropeptide Y and trigger your drive to eat carbohydrates: your body’s primary fuel source.

Third, we are all emotional eaters to some degree because we’ve learned to equate food with love and comfort since infancy when we were held, loved and fed.

Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger may only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion. – Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch – Intuitive Eating

💡 THE SOLUTION: Cope with your emotions with kindness. These are skills that you will learn and practice in Principle 7 of Intuitive Eating.

# 3 You crave carbs and sugars because you have food rules that forbid them.

Humans don’t like to be told what to do period and that includes with food. We want autonomy over our food choices and nothing amplifies a craving like restriction. If we make something “off limits” – we will want it even more.

Nothing amplifies a craving like restriction

For example if you tell a toddler that he can’t have a special toy that his friend his playing with, guess what, he’ll want that special toy even if other toys are available.

Thus because of dieting, restricting or forbidding foods (physically or mentally not allowing them due to food rules) you’ve made certain foods “special” or off-limits.

A non-dieter that allows all foods in her diet has a completely different relationship with a pan of brownies. She may eat one or more and move on versus a dieter who is fixated on the plate of brownies and feels like he can’t have them in the house as he’ll eat the whole pan. Restriction and food rules cause the physical and or mental seeking – the obsession with forbidden foods.

And let me ask you, when you eat your “forbidden” foods, do you eat them consciously, slowly, truly savoring them? Or do you eat this food fast and distracted, trying to “get rid of the evidence?” In order to feel fully satisfied with any food, we need to slow down and bring presence to our plates. So many of my clients don’t really eat the brownie when eating the brownie. Satisfaction is a key piece of your nourishment.

💡 THE SOLUTION: You learn to make peace with food through a science-backed strategy called habituation and challenge the food police (Principles 3 and 4) by practicing removing all or nothing thinking (such as it’s either 100% bad or good) about carbs, sugars. Do you remember a time when eating an ice cream cone or having a sandwich with 2 slices a bread wasn’t surrounded by the food police? You can return!

# 4 You crave carbs because your meals and snacks are unbalanced.

Like I mentioned above, carbohydrates give you quick energy. But also like kindling on a fire, the energy we get from them burns out quickly.

💡THE SOLUTION: Build meals and snacks, in general, by including all three macronutrients – protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates. There’s no need for perfection – as that’s black and white thinking and, it’s not necessary to be healthy. Read more about building balanced “campfire meals” here.

And remember that carbohydrates include whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans!

It will take time to re-establish a rational relationship with carbs, sugars or your forbidden foods. But with consistent practice, over time, your body will learn to trust that you’re not going to put it on another self-imposed famine and/or forbid certain foods, either physically or mentally. Bagels and sweets will just be another food – nothing special.

Don’t let diet culture steal your life. Life is too short to waste another day struggling with food and your body.

So my friend, I’ll be 100% honest with you. I’ve been teaching Intuitive Eating for years and have found that sure you can read the book, but if you would ♡ to get to where you want to go much easier and much faster, reach out for private coaching or join my next group coaching class!

P.S. Like what you’re reading? Join my community to receive my free newsletter, Redefining Wellness! ♡ Tanya

Balance Your Blood Sugar to Beat Cravings, Boost Your Metabolism, Energy and Mood

Having unbalanced blood sugar can lead to poor health because —- it’s so dang stressful on the body.

When you’re, day-in-day-out, eating meals that are “unbalanced” – this causes high blood sugar which eventually crashes, known as low blood sugar, and leads your body to try and boost it back up as quickly as it can.

And guess what foods your body craves?
Sugars and simple carbohydrates because they boost energy levels up quickly.

The great news is that you can get off the “blood sugar roller coaster” and boost your metabolism and energy levels, beat cravings and banish those bad moods.

Beat Blood Sugar Crashes in three easy steps

Blood sugar (glucose) is the fuel for every single cell in your body. Eating balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day is the most important thing we can do to keep our fuel supply stable. In order to know how to balance a meal, it is necessary to understand how different foods burn. I like to use a simple campfire analogy to explain this concept. Food burns a lot like a nice campfire.

Quality FATS…

are like the big log in the fire that burns for a long time. Fats are slow-burning fuels that help to stabilize blood sugar and allow you to go between meals without feeling so hungry. Fats also send a signal to your brain to tell you when you’re satisfied, so you know when to stop eating. This explains why people on low-fat diets are so hungry all the time. Eating fats at every meal helps to control your appetite. Good fats should be included with every meal.

Quality PROTEIN…

is like the teepee, which provides the support and structure for the campfire. Protein is the building block for every single cell in the body. It’s what the body uses to heal and repair. Protein also supplies the body with amino acids, which help to stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings for carbohydrates.


are quick burning fuels, which are like the kindling in the campfire. Carbohydrates that are high in fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains burn a little slower, like little twigs. Carbohydrates like white bread, sugared cereals, candy, cakes, cookies, crackers, pasta, and bagels burn up more quickly, like leaves and paper.

What would happen if you threw a bunch of twigs, leaves, and paper in a pile and lit them on fire? You’d get a huge blaze and then it would burn out quickly. The same thing happens when you eat a meal of nothing but carbohydrates, even the quality natural ones like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

To keep your blood sugar stable, build a campfire at each meal.

  1. Start with your protein “teepee.”
  2. Add some carbohydrate (fiber) “kindling.”
  3. And include your fat “log” to keep your fire burning long and strong!

Here are four examples to get your started:

  • Breakfast: Steel cut oats with raw almonds, chia, flax and hemp seeds (to boost protein and fat) with berries and cinnamon.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken sandwich (protein) on whole grain bread or mixed greens + veggies (carbohydrates) + avocado (fat).
  • Dinner: Salmon (protein), baked sweet potato + steamed broccoli (carbohydrates) topped with butter (fat).
  • Snack: Raw nuts with Apple (protein and fat in nuts, apple for carbohydrate).

Of course, it’s important to remember, there’s no need for perfection as healthy eating isn’t perfect eating. Instead ask yourself – am I building balanced meals for the most part? If so, I bet you’ll notice feeling like your energy lasts throughout the day!

If you need help creating campfires out of your favorite meals and snacks, reach out. I’d love to hear from you.

To your happiness and health,

  • Tanya

Try this New Year’s resolution: Ditch the Diet

This is the season when holiday festivities — and “diet talk” — are in full swing.

“I feel so fat.”

“Just skip lunch so you can indulge tonight.”

“I’ll burn 500 calories at the gym to earn my food.”

“I’m bringing the gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free cheesecake” … despite having no medical reason to and, if we’re honest, you really prefer the real thing.

And the most common diet talk: “Oh, screw it, I’m going to eat whatever I want. I’ve already lost control over my holiday eating. I’ll just ‘be good’ on Whole 30, Paleo, Keto (whatever) beginning next week.”

The language we use transitions from indulging in December to restricting in January.

Even though we’ve heard that diets don’t work, we continue to pursue them year after year.

Why? Because diets do “work,” just not long term.

We continue to be enticed by diet culture promises because most of us do lose weight, experience health improvements and feel better on a diet, albeit, more often than not, temporarily.

“It is well established that dieters are able to lose weight in the short run, but tend to regain it back over time,” said Traci Mann, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and author of “Secrets from the Eating Lab.”

Thus, for many of us, dieting could be part of the “health epidemic problem” instead of the solution.

This “obsession with thinness is driving us crazy,” said Glenn Mackintosh, principle psychologist at Weight Management Psychology. “And the only tangible result most of us see from endlessly battling our bodies is the number on the scales rising over time. Even the few who achieve the ‘ideal’ aren’t immune to the madness and live in fear of weight gain.”

And don’t be fooled into thinking your next food plan or “watching what you eat” in the name of health isn’t just a diet in disguise. To diet, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is to “restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.”

As we start a new decade, give yourself a long-lasting gift: a way out of diet culture and its defining, controlling characteristics of willpower and restriction. Reliance on these strategies is why diets don’t really work.

Willpower is not the problem

Do you rely on willpower to be “good” and avoid the refined sugar dessert but end up sneaking back into the kitchen for a slice?

Do you opt for a “healthified” version of dessert but find yourself full but still dissatisfied?

Or do you white-knuckle it to avoid carbohydrates all day and then crave them and feel out of control to the point where you overeat them at night?

Resisting your favorite foods lasts only so long. Why?

First, it’s not because you are a willpower weakling.

We don’t have an endless supply of willpower, defined as restraint or self-control. It’s limited. We start with a full tank of willpower in the morning and then use it up throughout the day making decisions and choices. Notice when we usually give in: later in the afternoon and evening, or on the weekends after a week of being “good.”

And what are you using willpower for? To restrict “forbidden” foods.

Nothing amplifies a craving like restriction.

It’s human nature to want something even more when we’re told we can’t have it, said Barbara J. Rolls, Guthrie chair of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in a2018 article in Shape magazine.

It feels like self-punishment. Restriction just says “No, you can’t have it, or just one.”

Perhaps you label yourself “addicted” to sugar but wonder why the plate of holiday cookies on the kitchen counter just isn’t a big deal for your husband?

He eats some. And moves on. It seems unfair.

“Non-dieters’ brains seem to remain relatively unfazed by sugar,” Christy Harrison, registered dietitian nutritionist, wrote in her New York Times article, “Go Ahead. Eat Your Holiday Feelings.”

Little evidence is found to support sugar addiction in humans, researchers Westwater, Fletcher and Ziauddeen’s found in their study “Sugar Addiction: The State of the Science.”It appears that the bingeing, the addictive-like behavior, occurred due to intermittent access to sugar.

Restriction breeds obsession.

Still not convinced that restriction isn’t the way to wellness?

Let’s look at the Minnesota Starvation Experiment of 1945, a study of the physical and psychological effects of prolonged semi starvation on healthy men and how to rehabilitate them.

Conducted by the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene at the University of Minnesota, the study illuminated the problem with restrictive eating.

Researchers selected 36 men who were deemed in good physical and mental health for a nearly yearlong study that was broken into four parts. The first three months the men were fed a normal diet of 3,200 calories, and the next six months they were fed a semi starvation diet of 1,570 calories; During the next three months, the rehabilitation phase, the men were fed between 2,000 and 3,200 calories, and in the last eight weeks they were given unrestricted access to food.

What did the researchers learn by measuring the physiological and psychological changes?

Mainly, the men became obsessed with food.

They fantasized about food and read cookbooks and looked up recipes. Their lives became food-centered. They reported feeling depressed, fatigued, irritable and apathetic on a 1,500-calorie diet. A few men sneaked food and were removed from the study … because they failed.

Sound familiar?

It’s how we feel and act after a few weeks on a diet, yet we still engage in restrictive eating 75 years later.

Upon Googling 1,500 calorie diets, I found a list of current nutritionist-designed programs touting the benefit of such a program, though we know that semi-starvation — the class which this was labeled in the study — doesn’t work.

Food deprivation, no matter how diet culture labels it, is distressing. Period.

So when your friends, family members and social media influencers engage in diet talk, trying to convince you to jump on the latest “healthy eating plan,” my No. 1 tip is: Don’t.

If no diet, then what?

In the second part of this two-part topic, Tanya Mark offers ideas for readers interested in becoming a diet dropout — but are unsure what to do next.

(This article was first published in the Jackson Hole News and Guide, December 31, 2019 addition).

Fall In Love With Eating… Again

I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with food over my lifetime of almost 50 years. I’ve been all over the place with my eating: from dipping pizza in blue cheese at 2:00am with my sorority sisters and chasing it the next morning with a Big Gulp of Coke and bagel with cream cheese to removing all gluten, dairy, caffeine, chocolate, nightshades, processed sugar, non-organic, GMO, etc. etc. etc.

I went from eating with wild abandonment with a focus on fun to the exact opposite, eating with restriction, stress, fear and self-judgment (and with a little martyrdom thrown in for when I felt like I was “doing great.”)

Yet now, after working for years in holistic nutrition, dynamic eating psychology and body image, I’ve learned that my relationship to food and eating is one of the single most important relationships to nurture because it’s one I will have for a lifetime, and it will impact me every, single, day.

Because I am writing this post on Valentine’s Day, I want to gift you my 9 Tips to Fall in Love 💗 with Eating because eating is meant to be a pleasurable experience, not one filled with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.” These tips are meant to help you honor your whole health, mentally, physically and emotionally.

How I Learned to Fall in Love with Eating (again)…

  1. I explore how different foods made me feel.

    Yes, you do need to learn to listen to your unique body. This one can be difficult for so many of us who are unconscious distracted eaters because we just don’t notice. For example, avocados might make you feel amaaaazing and for others, not so much. Just because avocados are considered a “health” food doesn’t mean your body loves them. I know you are disappointed that maybe those pretty little avocado toasts aren’t the best for you.

    How about dairy? Some of us do great with dairy, while for others, it makes other bodies constipated. And, if you are a junk food junkie, this is for you too, how do the foods you choose make you feel? Maybe awesome in the moment, but afterward?

  2. I don’t have strict rules about ANY food.

    Yes, I mean it, anything. Yes, even the foods that don’t make you feel good (except of course if you have a diagnosed food allergy). And yes, that goes for the fake colored, Gods know what number dye peanut butter crackers that I used to avoid purely because they were processed. I would have rather starved than eaten those delicious orange crackers. But no more, because my body was like “what the hell – I am hungry dang it, a package of processed crackers isn’t going to kill me, so get over your neurotic nutritionist nonsense.”

    This is the most important tip of all and the one that has allowed me to return to normal eating that yes indeed does honor my health (so don’t worry). It’s critical because restriction is the number one reason we crave. Restriction actually intensifies cravings for your forbidden or “bad” foods.

    Ok, so this one might make you freak out and feel like abandoning reading the rest of this email because there’s just no way you can eat without a set of rules.

    Relax. I promise you if you immerse yourself in the process of falling in love with eating again, you will be rewarded with a happy and healthy relationship with food. So no, you won’t just sit on the couch, day after day, eating bag after bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (do they even make those anymore)?

  3. I no longer make moral judgments about food (and place them on myself, the person making the choices).


  4. So this comic may seem ridiculous, but that’s the point. Diet talk is ridiculous. When you don’t eat “clean,” you are not “dirty”. You are not a bad person for eating cake. Look how ridiculous we’ve become by making certain foods morally better than others. Detach morality from food. Period.
  5. I learned to honor my hunger instead of going by food rules that tell me when I should or should not be eating.

    Somedays I am simply hungrier than others. Why? A multitude of reasons. Some days I sit at my desk for hours and don’t get a lot of movement in, and perhaps I simply want something light to eat. And the next day? Well I got up early and did a yoga class, went for a hike, and, um, yes, I ate more because I was hungrier.

    I no longer fear hunger and now my body freakin’ trusts me to feed it when it’s hungry.

    We don’t need to fear hunger anymore. If we just learn to honor it, and our body’s human need for food when it needs it, we can honor our whole health. Honor and trust.

    Which leads me to another super important tip…

  6. I honor my fullness.

    I had to practice this one because I came from a clean your plate family. I was also the youngest of three siblings and every meal time felt like a fastest eating contest to get the leftovers. I had this fear of not getting enough. I lost my fullness meter at a very young age. How did I learn to honor my fullness? Well I just noticed when I no longer felt hungry anymore. Did you get that? I wasn’t asking myself if I felt full but instead I asked myself if I was no longer hungry. Big difference. It’s been a fascinating experiment and one in which I noticed that I was consistently eating just to eat or because it tasted good (which incidentally naturally wears off as we eat).

  7. I understand the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.

    And that being said, I haven’t made eating for emotional reasons bad, because it’s not. We all do it. Humans were designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. We were born, held, fed and loved; thus we naturally equate food with feeling good. I just notice if I start to seek certain foods habitually and then I ask myself, what am I actually hungering for? The food is often just a substitute for something that I am seeking to fill up with or numb out from. So I dig deeper.

  8. I value pleasure in my eating but also prioritize it in my whole life.

    I’ve stopped putting so much pressure on my food to make me feel the way I desire and instead I put it back where it belongs, on me. I am responsible for my own happiness. Not my spouse. Not my family. Not my friends. Thus I am the only one that can get in my body (known as embodiment) and know what it wants physically, mentally and emotionally, and I then I nourish those aspects of my life.

    That being said, eating is meant to be pleasurable. We must find satisfaction in our food choices or we will continue to seek it, and often continue to eat until we receive it or feel too stuffed to continue. And of course, eating healthy foods can be pleasurable. Make yourself a list right now of all the foods that you love and enjoy that you consider healthy.

  9. I make eating part of my self-care, self-nourishment.

    Instead of rushing around, ignoring my hunger, and then feeling like I want to eat my arm, which then leads me to grab whatever sounds good which is usually something carby or sugary because they boost my blood sugar levels quickly but then burn quickly. This leads me to want more and more food to satiate the hunger that I had been ignoring, which I then eat quickly and mindlessly.

    This was the old scenario. Feeding myself is no longer something to get over with or mindlessly do while I watch my favorite Netflix show and surf on my Iphone. If I tell myself I don’t have time, I remind myself this is bullsh*t and that if I don’t have time, to figure it out. And if that means reaching out for help on how to create space in my life, I do it. Because…

    We are worthy of receiving nourishment from our meals, not just nutrients or fuel. We must learn that what we eat is only part of good nutrition, so whether we are eating kale or cake, let’s take a few extra minutes to breath, sit down and enjoy it. We’re not machines, we are human beings.

  10. I practice gentle nutrition.

    I put together all of the above and I honor my whole health.

    What’s gentle nutrition? Making food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well. Gentle nutrition allows us to relax and make peace with nutrition and food and achieve authentic health.

    Remember healthy eating is having a healthy balance of foods while having a heathy relationship with food.

    So I am not telling you this is easy, because it’s not. But nothing worthwhile ever comes from pushing the easy button. Just think how worth it it is to nourish your relationships with people. Food and eating is no different.

Would you like to fall in love with food and eating all over again?

You can. Remember that you actually do know how to care for your own body and you can trust yourself with food. Most of us have just forgotten how due to all the outside noise from the $70 billion dollar “diet” and “wellness” industry and the zillion different nutrition philosophies that tend to confuse the heck out of us. You can regain this personal autonomy over your food preferences.The key to making this happen is that you actually have to prioritize exploring this one very important relationship…with food and eating.

What’s your relationship with food right now? What has it been like in the past? And most importantly, what would you like your relationship to food to feel like for the rest of your life and why?

Eating isn’t supposed to be that difficult or a struggle.

  • Charles Eisenstein, author, The Yoga of Eating

Have a comment, question? I would love to hear from you!

You are more than what you eat + [what you think and feel about it matters more]

Metabolism and the Mind

The satiated man and the hungry man do not see the same thing when they look upon a loaf of bread.

  • The great poet Rumi

It’s true. We all come to the table with different perspectives and life stories. I like to think of this as a direct reflection of how everybody’s metabolism functions differently. No two people will metabolize a slice of pizza in the same way. One person may see the pizza as a delicious treat while another who struggles with how she feels about food and her body may look at it with fear and guilt. The former will metabolize the food completely while the latter’s body will struggle to process it.

The brain doesn’t distinguish between a real stressor or an imagined one…Any guilt about food, shame about the body, or judgment about health are considered stressors by the brain and are immediately transduced into their electrochemical equivalents in the body. You could eat the healthiest meal on the planet, but if you’re thinking toxic thoughts the digestion of your food goes down. Likewise, you could be eating a nutritionally challenged meal, but if your head and heart are in the right place, the nutritive power of your food will be increased.”

The Power Belongs to Our Minds

In my studies to become an Eating PsychologyCoach, I learned about a fascinating medical study that took place in 1983 to test a new chemotherapy treatment. One group of cancer patients were given the actual drug while another group was given a placebo, a standard way to test whether a drug is effective or not.

About 75% of the patients lost their hair. This wasn’t a big surprise to the researchers. What WAS a big surprise was the fact that 31% of the patients who received a placebo ALSO lost their hair. Why? Because they expected to lose their hair. Like many, they associated chemotherapy with hair loss.

So, how healthy is your mindset? Are you empowering your metabolism or putting strain on it?

The New Metabolism:

the sum total of all the chemical reactions in the body, _plus the sum total of all our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences

Toss aside that old saying “you are what you eat”.

My work as an eating psychology coach emphasizes exploring your unique thoughts, feelings and beliefs about food and your body. Often we need to re-train our brains to have a happy and healthy relationship with food. And when we make a commitment to improve this relationship, we can feel relaxed around food and our bodies and re-purpose this energy to give our unique gifts to the world!

It’s liberating.

I’d love to hear about your unique beliefs about food and body and how they’ve impacted your life.

  • Tanya

Eating Psychology Coaching for Everyone Who Eats

Do you or someone you love struggle with health, self-esteem or body image?

Perhaps this has gone on for years and you (or, they) have finally had enough of feeling anything less than fantastic.

I encounter this every day! People are fed up with feeling sick and tired, and they’re ready to enjoy life to the fullest and overcome their struggles with food, health and body. They’ve tried everything – the diets, clean eating challenges, cleanses, detoxes, supplements, teas and exercise programs all promising major results.

It’s time for a new approach.

5 Reasons Dynamic Eating Psychology Coaching could be for you

  1. You’re tired of the same old same old health and wellness strategies eat better, exercise more – punishing your body at the gym or depriving yourself any longer.

The problem with all of the diet and exercise programs on the market is that the two supposed magical strategies of eating well and exercising only make up half your calorie burning potential. Yup, you heard me correctly…HALF. Metabolism is SO much more than just what you eat and the amount of calories you burn. When I learned that, my whole outlook on health and weight shifted completely! I was finally able to serve my community in effective, sustainable ways.

Dynamic Eating Psychology is the most holistic approach you can take to feeling good and reaching your goals. It brings together nutrition and mindset while taking into account your lifestyle, goals and, most importantly, YOU. No two clients are the same. You are uniquely YOU. I customize my coaching for every client based on who they are and how they live. 2. You have stubborn eating challenges that have plagued you for far too long.

You just want to be free from these challenges. They are creating a huge energy suck and they’re holding you back from being your best self. As an eating psychology coach, I know that unwanted food habits like overeating, emotional eating and binge eating are behaviors that are driven from a much bigger cause. They’re often not the problem itself. Instead, they’re symptoms asking us to look deeper. I help clients explore these challenges to find answers in a safe and supportive environment. 3. You know in your gut that your challenges stem from something deeper than surface problems like cravings.

Did you know that these gut feelings are actually coming from a second brain in your belly? The Enteric Nervous System is that internal voice that gives rise to your intuition. When you sense that something isn’t right or that you don’t have the complete story, your Enteric Nervous System is what’s sending you those signals. And it’s extremely important to listen! When your body is telling you that something is off kilter, an eating psychology coach will help you tune in to those signals to figure out how to best nourish your body and meet its needs. And this nourishment may have nothing to do with eating better or exercising more. 4. You want to improve your relationship with food, your body and yourself.

An eating psychology coach helps facilitate this more harmonious relationship by helping you learn to treat yourself with unconditional love and respect. Undoing decades of harmful thought patterns takes a trained professional with the right tools to get to the root. It’s so common for women and men to be in a battle with how their body looks for a reason. Culture and media tells us we’re not enough unless we are a certain size, shape, or weight. Your body isn’t the problem. It’s the messages from media that are the problem. It’s time to re-train your brain. 5. You’re tired of your inner voice dictating how you feel about yourself.

How you talk to yourself matters. Many of us spend years being too dang hard on ourselves and telling ourselves that we’re not good enough. I help my clients transform that inner dialogue to one that empowers and supports them. Yes, this often starts with how we feel about our appearance but you will learn that you are far more than your body and how it looks. Explore what this means for you.

QUIZ: Is Dynamic Eating Psychology for you?

  • You eat well and exercise but still don’t feel the way you desire. You’re doing everything “right” so why the heck aren’t you seeing results? You’re frustrated. You may be dealing with health concerns such as digestion, immunity, energy, mood challenges or dissatisfaction with body weight.
  • You know what you are “supposed to do” to get healthier but can’t make it happen. It’s just too dang hard. You don’t have the time or energy to make it happen.
  • You’ve had success with improving your health through eating better and/or moving more, but you haven’t been able to sustain it. You feel like you need more “willpower.”

If you answered YES to any one of these 3 questions and you’re looking for a fresh, new approach to your health and well-being, reach out.

I am going to be fully upfront with you. This isn’t “magic pill” work.

Coaching is for you if you’re ready to take your relationship to food, body and your whole self to the next level. This work is for you if you’re open to new ideas, tired of feeling stuck, and you want an approach that’s positive and up-lifting.

Dynamic Eating Psychology Coaching is valuable for anyone who eats (yes, I know that’s everyone!) who wants a more harmonious relationship with food, body and self. Why are these strategies so important? Because life is too dang short. It’s time for a new approach.

  • Tanya

Sugar Isn’t Evil

Sugar and Its Effects

So many of my clients ask me “How can I eat less sugar?”

It seems like sugar-bashing is all the rage lately. Sugar-less diets and detoxes are everywhere, but I want to tell you something: Sugar isn’t evil. And trying to quit it 100% by using willpower can be super stressful and actually…isn’t necessary.

Phew! Right?

Having said that, let’s look deeper at sugar and its effects on our bodies.

Consuming excessive sugar, natural or not, is not good for your health. Yet we have a taste bud for sweet so we were designed for sweet things. What happens, though, is that you may find yourself eating far too much sugar. So what it boils down to is: how much matters.

The American Heart Association recommends 32 g or less for men, and 24 g or less for women of added sugars. If you look at coconut water (something that depending on the brand can be quite healthy), you’ll see that one can contain 24 g of added sugar! If you were to drink that entire can, you’d have reached your daily allotment of sugar already. Sugar can be sneaky so it is best that you’re informed.

Instead of white-knuckling it to quit sugar, these are my favorite tips to answer your question “How can I eat less sugar” AND have a better relationship with sweet.

Five tips to reduce sugar intake

  1. Read food labels. How much added sugar does this product contain per a serving and how many servings are you consuming? Be aware.
  2. Build Campfire Meals to balance your blood sugar levels and help prevent physical sugar cravings.
  3. Avoid artificial sugars. Artificial sweeteners can actually cause you to crave even more sugar and cause a cascade of negative metabolic effects in your body.
  4. Look Deeper. What’s going on when you crave certain foods?
    Is there an emotional need you’re trying to fill? Notice if you crave sugar when you need more “sweetness” in your life. Next time you find yourself in the midst of a sugar craving, pause for a moment and bring more awareness to this craving. What are you feeling? What was going on in your day before this craving hit? TO DO: Practice the “pause strategy” to help you gain insight and begin to break the emotional need for sugar. My ultimate goal with clients is to find new ways to fulfill this emotion besides food, drink, excess shopping or whatever you tend to lean on. We all need a variety of coping mechanisms in our toolbox.
  5. Feeling badly about eating sugar and 100% restricting it is not the answer for 99% of us. In fact, it could be causing your cravings. Nothing intensifies a craving like restriction. When we practice the above tools, and re-learn how to Eat Intuitively, by listening to the physical sensations coming from our body instead of outside diet culture rules, we can have a healthy and happy relationship with food and our bodies.

The “How can I eat less sugar” main takeaways

  • In general, be aware of the recommended levels of sugar for adults. Eat balanced meals and snacks in which something sweet can absolutely be included!
  • It’s completely OK and natural to enjoy dessert. Remember that sometimes restriction can make us want it more. And stressing about sugar can be worse for our health than anything on our plates.
  • We were designed with a sweet taste bud and we’re meant to have sweetness in our lives. Ask yourself: Are you getting enough sweetness out of life that has nothing to do with food?
  • You’re human (and life is too dang short) to avoid sweets completely. Relax, slow down, savor your ice cream cone, your birthday cake! All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Healthy eating isn’t “perfect” eating. It’s about what you eat for the most part, over time.

The key is to be mindful of the amount and quality of of sugars you’re generally consuming and how food choices or emotions may be driving your cravings.

Have a question about sugar, need help getting to the root cause of your sugar cravings? Reach out!

  • Tanya

Curb Your Cravings with Campfire Meals

Fatigue. Cravings. Mood swings.

These are three common complaints that can be avoided by building healthy balanced meals. One of the most important strategies to improve your nutritional and overall health is to learn how to create meals that stabilize your blood sugar.

When Your Blood Sugar is Stable:

  • You feel stable.
  • You will feel more energized.
  • You will feel mentally grounded.
  • And your cravings will diminish.

Many of us gravitate towards meals that are mostly carbohydrate and sugar dense with minimal healthy protein and healthy fat, especially at breakfast. When we start our days with this type of meal, we put ourselves on the blood sugar roller coaster of energy, mood and craving highs and lows.

Curb your carvings

Curb Your Cravings With Campfire Meals

Let me explain how protein, fats and carbohydrates work in the body to create a steady fuel source throughout the day. Making stabilizing meals is like building a campfire:


Quality protein provides the structure of your meal. It’s like the teepee at your campfire. Each meal should include enough protein to create satiety, that feeling of fullness. To learn more about protein timing and to calculate your individual needs per a meal, read my blog post, The Truth About Protein.


Quality healthy fats provide sustainable energy. It’s the log on your campfire. How do logs burn? Slowly and for long periods of time.


Carbohydrates provide quick energy. Quick energy is perfect for when you need it but it burns out quickly, like kindling on the fire. It gets your energy revved up, but doesn’t last long. If you eat a breakfast that’s mostly refined carbohydrates and sugars, you may find yourself craving more food within a few hours because your blood sugar has crashed and along with it your energy and mood.

So focus on adding in fiber-filled foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Building balanced campfire meals with protein, fat and fiber is important to stabilize your mood, energy and cravings.

Like what you’re reading? Join my community to receive my free weekly newsletter, Redefining Wellness, sent directly to your inbox. Tanya

Healthy Snacks Made Easy

“Grumble grumble grumble”

Uh oh… You’re hungry and didn’t bring a healthy snack! All you see around you are chips, cookies, candy, crackers, soda… And even if you do make it through the afternoon, you know you’re going be tempted by the instant gratification of fast food joints you’ll pass on the ride home.

We set ourselves up for these moments of temptation by:

  • Skipping breakfast or filling up on low quality carbs (ie, sugary cereals)
  • Not making time for lunch
  • Not eating enough protein in the morning and lunch
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not planning ahead

What a Food Emergency?

[w]hen your blood sugar starts to drop, you are hard-wired to eat anything (and everything) in sight. To think you can use willpower to control your hunger or cravings contradicts the science of how your brain controls your behavior. The more willpower you use, the more it backfires, eventually. You find yourself automatically overeating and bingeing or just eating whatever happens to be in front of you.

  • Dr. Mark Hyman

Avoid these potential #foodfails!

I want to help you pack your food emergency preparedness kit! At the start of each week, grab a bunch of Ziplock bags or small containers and prep a bunch of healthy, satisfying snack packs to grab on the go. They will keep you from craving foods that don’t make you feel good and have little nutritional value.

Some craving-fighting snacks to include in your kit are:

  • Jerky, homemade or store-bought (Paleo), preferably turkey, salmon, bison or grass-fed beef
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Whole food or raw food snack bars like Larabars (look for higher protein, watch the sugar content and consider them as a “dessert” snack)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Canned tuna (low mercury) or salmon
  • Nut or seed crackers
  • Couple dried figs and dates
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Apple slices with nut butter
  • Hummus with veggie sticks
  • Roasted chickpeas

Protein with Love ❤️

Remember it’s important to make protein your main ingredient in each snack pack because it helps control your appetite by balancing your blood sugar over a longer period of time.<

Whether you’re at the office, out shopping, driving in your car, there will be temptation so having these handy emergency snack kits in your purse or glove compartment will help you stay on track with your nutrition goals!

Here’s a quick video on how I make Healthy Snacking Easy

If you liked this article or have any questions, I’d love to here from you!

  • Tanya