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Why Can't I Stop Eating?

Hacking Your Hormones

Why Can't I Stop Eating?

A Review of Davinia Taylor's, Hack Your Hormones

Do you remember your glorious 20s when all you had to do was fast for 12 hours to drop a dress size? Sob.

Partaking in a cheese and pate board with the girls every Friday and Saturday night, followed by one of those giant size Fruit and Nut Dairy Milk bars and 17 bottles of red wasn’t anything to lose sleep over; you would burn it all off with the power of your mind. It was some kind of voodoo magic. I miss the magic.  You could eat what you wanted and the dreaded bloat was only for those poor folk who suffered with IBS, Chrones or some other food induced hell. Perhaps your 30s and beyond have left you feeling guilty or anxious every time you eat something. The frantic calorie counting and hard time you give yourself every time you exceed your self inflicted limit is just no way to live. Hack your Hormones explores how your, perhaps toxic, relationship with the thing that you need the most to function and to stay alive can be reframed and how you can let all that guilt dissipate and disappear for good. Yes please!

How to Hack Your Hormones

If Hack your Hormones does anything for you, it will give you permission to guiltlessly enjoy food again, to nourish your body with good fats and gut goodness and to get ahead of those cravings that have the power to completely derail your diet. Begone low fat substitutes and supposedly high in Cholesterol sustenance! Hack your Hormones is the cheapest therapy and well researched food education on the market.  Here’s some of the easiest Hacks to implement from Davinia Taylor’s (DT) chapter: Why Can’t I Stop Eating.

The Hunger Hormones

Before we begin in our myth busting blog, here are some of the hormones that DT highlights that control what, why and when we eat: 

  • Ghrelin - the hunger hormone, which tells our brain when it’s time to eat. Ghrelin can be triggered by yummy smells, low blood sugar levels and your body clock.
  • Leptin - the satisfaction hormone. Leptin stops you from eating too much. 
  • Insulin - the hormone that regulates our blood sugar.

Food Companies and their Hidden Agenda

Your first, OMG! moment in Hack Your Hormone’s chapter: ‘Why Can’t I Stop Eating?’ is DT’s anecdotal explanation of why, when we think we’re eating healthily, we are constantly hungry, desperately trying to stave off the crave and living in a permanent state of self loathing, confusion and failure.  Ultimately, the blame lies with the food industry and the garden path it leads us down. DT highlights that just ten companies own around 90% of food products that we buy, and they, therefore, have the power to manipulate what we load our plates high with.  These ten companies hire ‘ingredientologists’ (whatever the hell they are) to make their food as addictive and palatable as possible. Can you imagine if they were so honest, they let the mask slip just enough, and they confessed to wanting and needing you to have hormonally driven blood sugar lows so that you keep reaching for their processed fare. Unfortunately, this is exactly what they count on, how they drive their sales up and how they trap you in a cycle of eating excessive carbs, inflammatory oils and hidden sugars.  These are their favourite ways to get you hooked and wanting more. DT is keen to highlight that it’s not your willpower, you are not weak or rubbish at sticking to a healthy regime.  In fact, it’s a case of the body snatchers, and big food companies have taken control of yours!  What’s more, not only are they making you addicted to their products, their overly processed foods are destroying your Leptin receptors, meaning, they are actually deliberately and knowingly hurting you and making you overeat. That’s just not okay!

What Highly Processed Foods do to your Body

High carb and processed diets all convert to sugars in our bloodstream, which produces insulin spikes, which is your body’s way of trying to bring your blood sugar levels down to a safe level. This drop in blood sugar triggers Ghrelin, which tells your brain you need to eat again. The likelihood is you will reach for those processed treats again (because who has time to be that prepared?) and it all starts again. The excess glucose that you don’t need, converts and is stored as fat. Great! 

DT dispels the myths about ‘normal eating’ advice and explains that if you’re treating yourself with ultra processed foods, you’re triggering addictive eating and doing exactly what the big food companies rely on you doing. Your hormones will simply make you want to eat more. If you follow a calorie controlled diet, the likelihood is you’re packing your diet with nutrient poor calories, which will impact the efficacy of your good hormones, which equals you feeling like crap!  The symphony of your groaning gut and those painful pangs of hunger is simply a recipe for disaster.  You’re more likely to grab a “low fat” food boost, which is probably full of sugar, inflammatory vegetable oils (which, DT explains, was used to clean farming equipment with, so imagine what it’s doing to your innards!) will spike your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling famished AGAIN!

Low fat alternatives are the biggest lie there is. Fat is replaced with chemicals and sugars that play havoc with your gut and which throw your hormones completely out of whack, resulting in you feeling rubbish and probably reaching for that comfy, happy place, processed joy.

Ingredients to look out for and ones to avoid:

Vegetable oils - strips essential gut mucus, causing Leptin receptors to retract so our brain has no idea when our tummy is full. Once you pop, you can’t stop, so just don’t start. 

Emulsifiers - these bind ingredients together - they make things look creamy and delicious.  Basically it’s food glue (vom).  Look out for things like soy lecithin, carrageenan, mono and diglycerides in ingredient lists and avoid them like the plague.  Emulsifiers inhibit the gut’s ability to detect what’s in your food, which stops your gut from releasing Leptin by shutting down a hormone called Cholecystokinin (CCK) which triggers Leptin. You might not realise it, but you will find yourself subconsciously seeking food and find yourself always just a little bit peckish. 

Sugars and its sneaky disguises in supposedly low fat, “healthy” alternatives:

  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Any syrup or rice syrup
  • Barley malt
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Sucrose
  • Agave nectar
  • Dates
  • Honey

There are about 200 words for sugar, but the above are all worth memorising so you can immediately spot them when you’re checking labels, something that should become a bit of a hobby.

Myth Busting

Hack Your Hormones dispels some of the Myths around supposed “Healthy Eating Habits”, and DT explains what to avoid and how to hack your way to a full tum. 

Eating little and often is the way to shed those pesky pounds! Um…is it though? DT explains that constantly spiking our blood sugar makes you hungrier.  Our bodies cannot convert all this energy that we are giving it when we are constantly snacking. Instead, all that extra energy converts to fat, which we store and don’t burn off.  As a result, our brains get foggy and we get back on our search for our next fix. 

When you’re feeling low, you’re more likely to have higher cortisol (stress) levels and low (satisfied) serotonin, meaning you will be reaching out for those carbs and processed quick fixes. All of which convert to sugar, and yes, you’ve got it, spikes your blood sugar, making you feel hungry again quickly, resulting in a cyclical nightmare.  All you have to do is break the cycle and Hack Your Hormones can help.  Thank God! 

Dopamine makes us feel good, but it’s also the hormone that is the source of addictive behaviour. Changing our Dopamine hits from food to nutrient dense food, or something else entirely, is a great way to control those cravings. Figure out how you trigger your Dopamine highs, but make sure you keep your body guessing.  If you seek your Dopamine high from the same thing, at the same time, all the time, the effects will wear off.  Have you ever been so absorbed in a box set that you hope it never ends? Then one day, after committing to the binge, you reach episode 167 and you’re like, meh. That’s your body's way of telling you that this no longer gives you that same Dopamine buzz.  The moral of the story is you need to highlight what brings you joy, what gets you going so that you can weave these things into your diet or routine randomly. Keep your Dopamine boosts fresh!

Intermittent fasting encourages autophagy, which is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells so that new ones can regenerate. Toxic proteins can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers and cancers, which is one more reason why pushing back your eating window can really support with your overall health and well-being. If you’re constantly digesting, the body and brain cannot regenerate and replenish as effectively. 

Another “DT” hack is changing the order in which you eat things: eating veggies, proteins and fats first will blunt the impact of those glucose spikes and help you to achieve satisfaction much faster. By eating veggies first, you create a mesh in your gut which slows down the insulin spike.  

I think this is my favourite: fat is good for you. Yey! Good fats give you fuel and if we don’t consume enough fat, we will store the fat we do consume.  If we consume it, we burn it. Simple.  If you’re loading up with the nutrient dense food that your body will tell you it needs, you experience that fullness your body craves, and your Leptin response will tell you to stop.  If your body isn’t being fed the nutrients, or the fats it's crying out for, you will likely overeat and snack throughout the day to reach full satisfaction. 

Oils You Should Embrace

Our bodies are hard wired to meet nutritional targets (a combo of amino and fatty acids) and if we don’t meet them, we reach for more food. DT highlights some glorious fats and nutrient dense foods that you shouldn’t be afraid of, or feel guilty for enjoying: 

  • MCT Oil
  • Olive oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Fish oil
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Eggs
  • Olives
  • Oysters (I realise this might be a stretch!)
  • Avocado
  • Fish
  • Steak
  • Beef liver
  • Greek yoghurt (and other full fat dairy)
  • Almonds
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Collagen peptides

A Bit of Supplementation Help

Finally, DT dispels the myth that Cholesterol is the Devil and will immediately kill you if it’s too high. There are two types of cholesterol: High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). To keep it simple, HDL is good and LDL is bad.  You can pretty much guarantee that all processed foods are LDL, so just another reason to steer clear. It’s worth highlighting that HDL is essential for producing vitamin D, Oestrogen and Progesterone.  It also supports your liver to absorb excess fats during digestion, so spread that butter and back away from the marg! Since the publication of Hack Your Hormones, DT believes that the NHS will soon admit that what has been spun about cholesterol will be retracted and the focus will shift to insulin resistance. 

Ultimately, if you have the time to prepare and get yourself “food” organised, you will prevail! Hack Your Hormones offers accessible advice on how to go about doing this, so what are you waiting for?  Get hacking!  

Supplement with...

If you’re not quite ready to completely overhaul your diet, Hack your Hormones really is the gift that keeps on giving.  Here are some of the DT’s natural ways to keep those cravings at bay:

L-Glutamine - dampens down sugar cravings

MCT Oil - full of good fats that sate your appetite.

MCT Powder -staves the crave 

Collagen - contains so many of those amino acids that our bodies crave

Support Your Appetite Further

Calm - reduces appetite 

SPICE - promotes weight loss, reduces fat tissue growth, curbs weight regain, and enhances your sensitivity to the hormone insulin

Berberine (DT’s new fave) - reduces the secretion of leptin, reduces blood sugar levels, and brings your insulin response right down. It decreases insulin resistance, helps your body to break down sugars, decreases sugar production in the liver, slows down the breakdown of carbs and increases the good microbes in our gut. Ultimately, it will stop you from over indulging. Studies show that it is effective in helping people shift those pesky pounds, but also help to reverse their type 2 diabetes. 

Korean Ginseng - improves glucose and insulin regulation.

Holy Basil - can support in combating stress and promote blood sugar stability. 

A Bit More Help...

Brain Powder includes Taurine, which plays an essential role in metabolism and digestion. In addition, Brain Powder includes Mucuna Pruriens, which suppress cravings and stop you from binge eating. 

Insulin Support Precursor supports those blood sugar spikes and helps you to control those super annoying, calorie ladened cravings. 

Apple cider vinegar - wakes up your digestive enzymes, slows down the breakdown of carbs in the gut and dampens down your insulin response, supporting your blood glucose levels.