Controlling your inner screaming toddler

Ever wonder where cravings come from? Or question why you ate that cake in the afternoon, or drank an extra glass of wine and ordered dessert at dinner? Then you have met your screaming toddler, also known as the reward center of the brain. When this reward center is over stimulated, it responds much like a toddler who throws a tantrum to get what it wants. The human body needs to be fed about every 3 hours, at which point, energy provided by the last meal has been utilized. The body then tells you its time to refuel with feelings of hunger. If the previous meal was a healthy one and its only been about 3 hours, hunger is usually manageable. But if too much time elapses or you allowed your blood sugar to spike and then
crash, enter the screaming toddler. When blood sugar dips, so does serotonin and other brain chemicals that balance the mood. To get what it needs, the toddler increases your desire for carbohydrate which is a
fast way to raise serotonin levels. If you give in and reinforce this with less healthy foods, you condition your reward center to be more and more demanding. If you make healthy choices at meals: whole grains, veggies, fresh fruit, healthy fats and lean protein, you reinforce the reward center with lower but longer lasting levels of
blood sugar and healthy brain chemistry. Additionally, the more frequently you make healthy choices, the better controlled blood sugar becomes. This in turn, reduces weight gain, plaque formation in the arteries, the risk of cancer and diabetes. Brain health improves making moods more stable, increasing the ability to focus on tasks, and improving cognition.
By focusing on improving or including an afternoon snack, you can improve blood sugar management and keep that screaming toddler at bay. You will be a little less hungry for dinner, and that can mean big calorie savings and a happier, leaner you!

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