by Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. ©
Are you overweight and experiencing overwhelming cravings or puzzling fluctuations in your weight? Have you tried every diet coming down the pike with no success? Simple overeating or deep seated psychological issues may not be the real culprit of your problem. You may have undiagnosed allergies or sensitivities to foods or chemicals that you are not aware of.
Perfume, hair spray, fabric softener, car exhaust, pesticides, smog, wheat, sugar, the smell of coffee, a date with a smoker or many other foods or chemicals can all be triggers for cravings, binges and water retention, which can result in weight gain.
There are 4 different ways that allergens can stimulate weight gain:
Many people are overweight because they are actually addicted to certain foods. It’s usually one of your favorite foods and one that you eat quite frequently. When eaten it supplies you with a fix, an instant lift and relieves your allergic symptoms temporarily, then after the let down your craving returns and you need to eat this food again to feel better.
Any irritants that cause allergies can also cause intense hunger pangs. A craving can be for a specific food like ice cream or for a general family such as pasta.
3.The Appestat Switch-Off
Scientists have found that certain substances can go directly to the brain and shut off the appestat, or appetite control center. Normally it should tell you that you are full and it is time to stop eating, but if it does not shut off you never feel full and thus want to continue eating. This adverse reaction can be caused by anything –hugging a friend who is wearing perfume, dryer exhaust from your neighbor, or eating a wheat cookie. If you never feel full or hungry after a meal, your appestat may not be functioning properly. Once you can identify what substances are problematic for you then you can eliminate them and reactivate your hunger control center.
The most common form of allergic obesity is fluid retention. If you notice that you are heavier the day after you eat a particular food, your body is probably responding to an allergy.
Pay close attention to your eating habits, the air you breath and the chemicals and fragrances that you use. Look for possible connections between changes in your weight and the kinds of food you eat (instead of being focused on how much you eat) also take note of when and where cravings, uncontrollable hunger and binges occur.
Pay close attention to any changes you may have in mood or thought such as: anger, depression, crying, irritability, and inability to concentrate and think clearly. These same substances that cause weight gain and cravings can also create symptoms that appear to be psychological, but are really a result of a sensitivity to the food or chemical.
There are several other factors that may occur by themselves or they are frequently found in addition to allergies/sensitivities that may also contribute to weight gain, cravings, or intense hunger.
Low blood sugar is a common problem that many people are not aware of. It can create intense hunger and cravings. By finding a hypoglycemic diet that is appropriate for your body type it is possible to improve or correct your blood sugar imbalance and remove your intense hunger and cravings.
2. Thyroid Disorders
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid functioning) is a very common disorder and often goes undiagnosed. Conventional blood tests for thyroid often fail to detect a problem. Weight gain is one of many symptoms that may accompany hypothyroidism. The most accurate way to determine if your thyroid is functioning properly is through the Barnes Basal Temperature Test. ( Another very common symptom of Low Thyroid function is fatigue and depression.) For more details on Low Thyroid function and symptoms see my other article with that title.
3. Candida Albicans Overgrowth
Candida is a yeast that naturally occurs in all of our bodies. It is supposed to be there in balanced amounts. Due to factors such as a diet high in sugars and refined carbohydrates, chemicals in our environment, and the overuse of antibiotics this yeast can begin to grow in excess amounts and create numerous problems in our bodies. Intense cravings and hunger for sweets or carbohydrates is one of the most common symptoms.
4. Nutritional Deficiencies
Up to 50% of the population fails to ingest the recommended daily allowances of minerals and vitamins. Certain imbalances such as low levels of chromium can create hunger and cravings. Low chromium is also a factor in hypoglycemia.
Find a health care provider who is knowledgeable about the issues I mention in this article and work with them.
Read these great books: “It isn’t Your Fault You’re Fat” by Marshall Mandel and “Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat” by Rivera & Deutsch.