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The Itch You Can’t Scratch And Why You Can’t Lose Weight

October 10th, 2016 by Audrey Weidman

why you can't lose weight

Do you just LOVE sweets? What about bread? Pasta anyone? I myself have to admit, I never met a salty snack I didn’t like. Even though bread, pasta and chips aren’t sweet – they are simple carbs that are readily converted into sugar once inside your body. If these foods are the Achilles’ heel in your diet, chances are you may have sugar sensitivity – and some of us are more sensitive than others.

What Is “The Itch We Can’t Scratch”?

Many of us (up to 70% of adults and 40% of children)* have an addictive hunger for carbohydrates. Chronic exposure to processed high glycemic packaged foods have hijacked our brain’s reward centers. And the result is that we create the itch we can’t scratch with our body’s biochemistry and that is why we can’t lose weight.

Let me explain. Our brain releases endorphins, the good mood hormones, when we do something that makes us feel better. Because of the chronic exposure to these highly processed carbs and our culture associates special (high glycemic) foods with holidays and celebrations, we strongly associate food with love. In fact, I can recall once when my youngest daughter skinned her knee when she was little. We were at a friend’s home and the first question to my daughter was if she wanted a chocolate chip cookie! At the time that was the last thing she wanted, but if that had happened over and over again …

Why You Can’t Lose Weight – The Viscous Cycle

This itch we can’t scratch isn’t our fault. Being pre-disposed to sugar addiction can be part of our genetic makeup and is the reason we why we can’t lose weight.  Sugar cravings create a viscous cycle: we crave carbs, we feel good (for just a bit), we experience the crash that leaves us fatigued and overweight, and then we start to crave more carbs.

If you are overcome by carbohydrate cravings, then get depressed because you don’t feel like you have self-control, are lazy or lack will power, you have sugar addiction. I would ask that you take a look at this simple questionnaire developed by Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons, the author of Potatoes not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity.

Ask yourself these questions. The more you answer with a yes, the more sensitive you are.

  • I really like sweet foods.
  • I eat a lot of sweet foods.
  • I love bread, cereal, cracker, chips and popcorn.
  • I have or had a problem with alcohol or drugs.
  • I have parents or relatives that are alcoholics.
  • I have family members that love sweets.
  • I am overweight and don’t seem to easily lose extra pounds.
  • I continue to be depressed no matter what I do.
  • I often find myself over-reacting to stress.

Serotonin – The Good Mood Hormone

If you’re like me, you want to know the science of how this works so I will break it down for you.  People with sugar sensitivity, tend to have low serotonin levels. You’ve probably heard about serotonin – it is the good mood neurotransmitter. It helps us concentrate, think clearly, and sleep well.

When our serotonin levels are normal, we don’t have carb cravings and the subsequent crashes

When our serotonin levels are normal, we don’t have carb cravings and the subsequent crashes Click To Tweet.

And one of the most powerful triggers for serotonin production is our food choices. But the food we need to chose would include a combination of protein and complex carbs in every meal  for your body to make the right level of serotonin throughout the day.

A combo of protein & complex carbs in every meal lets your body to make serotonin Click To Tweet

The Runt Of The Litter And Why We Want It

It turns out that the amino acid tryptophan is required to make serotonin. To get tryptophan, you need to eat protein. When you eat protein, all the amino acids come into the body as well. But tryptophan is the “runt” – meaning it is the smallest and weakest- of all the amino acids.   To make serotonin tryptophan has to get through the blood brain barrier. But the bigger amino acids want to get there first.

By eating complex carbohydrates with your protein, insulin takes the amino acids and diverts them to the muscles. But insulin doesn’t want tryptophan because it is the “runt”.  This enables tryptophan, which no longer has competition from the other amino acids, to cross the blood brain barrier and make serotonin. Therefore when you eat protein and complex carbs with every meal and snack your mood will be better, you will sleep better, your concentration will be enhanced, and your quality of life improves.

So the right balance of complex carbohydrates and protein in the food you eat will help you to create the serotonin you need.  This balance isn’t part of a “Diet”.  It has to become your new healthy lifestyle so you will curb the cravings and become happier.

Shifting Into ShapeWhy you Can't Lose Weight

So I have a solution for you. A light at the end of the tunnel.  You can free yourself from the viscous cycle of “The Itch You Can’t Scratch” and participate in the Shifting Into Shape Program. If we eat the right foods at the right time, we can balance our biochemistry and enhance our serotonin levels.

Here is what you will get:

A Food Plan – with the right type of protein with complex carbohydrates and good fat in every meal and snack, a suggested menu plan and shopping lists

Besides the food there are other ways to increase serotonin naturally and it is all part of the Shifting Into Shape program to get your life back into balance.

Supplements – the highest quality vitamins to build up your body’s reserves and supply you with the nutrients you need to feel vibrant

Creating the Proper Mindset – you will have access to Self Hypnosis audios to create your perfect body with your subconscious mind leading the way

An Exercise Plan – we have a program that can do anywhere without equipment

A Support System – an environment where Self-care and Stress Management is encouraged with a group of coaches and supportive group of fellow health seekers cheering you on

Shift Your Habits.  Shift Your Health. Shift Into Shape.

Shift Your Habits. Shift Your Health. Shift Into Shape. Click To Tweet

To learn more, click here.


Dr. Karen Wolfe – Is Your Lifestyle Killing You?

Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons, Potatoes not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity.

*The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 26, 2013.


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