Carolyn Phillips: Conquering Your Cravings

Fit-inista Carolyn Phillips– our on air personal trainer– is back with more tips to get you in shape and what you need to do to stay that way!

We all deal with cravings, and a lot of these come from our brains.  For people who are overweight and obese, their frontal lobe– which handles a lot of the decision making process– is smaller than people who are healthier.  Experts have also discovered that in people who are overweight and obese, they have brains which are 8 to 16 years older than a healthy person’s, the same age!

We want to take a look at some of the neurotransmitters in our brains, which are very affected by the food we eat and which make us have cravings.  With a little understanding, we can make better choices once we realize our brain is really affecting those cravings.  Here’s some of those neurotransmitters, and what they do:

1. Dopamine

This is the “feel good” hormone.”  When you have sugar, salt and fatty foods, it causes lots of dopamine to hit, which gives you a high and sparks cravings.  These are good hormones, but when they are being affected by bad food it starts to set up an addictive pattern.

2.  Ghrelin

This is the hunger hormone.  When you have a lot of cravings and your dopamine level is way up, and your frontal lobe isn’t working for you, you start to get the ghrelin going, which tells your body “I’m not full, I need more food.”

So how can you control these hormones?  Create a balanced day.  Keep your blood sugar stabilized, decrease the use of artificial sweeteners, manage your stress, identify environmental trigger for unhealthy eating, find out about unknown food allergies, get moving, get adequate sleep and eliminate processed foods and sugars.

For more from Carolyn Phillips, check out, or for all things stretching, life, love and happiness, go to Carolyn’s blog at


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