Dreaming of Carbs?

 Have you ever dreamed about things you can’t have? One of my clients had an experience when she first started her weight loss program with me. Here is our conversation.

She wrote:
Last night I dreamt of rice pilaf, buttermilk biscuits, and pancakes. Is that normal? I know I miss eating carbohydrates, but I’d hope to have a reprieve from that longing when I sleep. Any ideas of what might be going on? Could there be a chemical deficiency making me crave carbohydrates? I know there are obvious psychological needs. I find those foods comforting, but could there be a supplement I could take that would release the same comfort chemicals in my brain that carbohydrates do?

My response:
It is very common to dream or think about things that you feel you “can’t” eat, drink, or have while changing a possibly addictive behavior. The “forbidden food syndrome” I call it. It becomes more of a mental/emotional “weaning off” process. In many ways you are actually satisfying this particular craving while in your dream state. However, taking a serotonin balancing formula such as 5 HTP or GABA might be a good thing to add. When you say these foods are providing comfort, what is it that you need comfort for at this time? Are you exhausted, anxious, or unhappy about something? If we can pinpoint it, then I could make the best recommendation for you.

Her response:
Good to know it’s not unusual to dream about food. I thought only starving people in third world countries would do that; however, I get that my mind is just offloading old behavior. I think the comfort the food and specifically the carbs provide is certainty. I’ve been searching for a new home lately, which of course requires a lot of energy and can be a bit stressful. Today, I put in an offer on a house and now we are starting the negotiation process—more uncertainty. Even though some part of me knows it will all work out, I’m still feeling anxiety. I think it can be common to seek comfort when you are fearful, scared, or uncertain. Nothing unusual.

My response:
Yes, maybe common to seek comfort; however, it doesn’t necessarily have to come from food or having a drink. You can take other comforting activities, thoughts, and actions, so you feel nurtured, comforted, and loved. How about a hot bath, a massage or foot rub (yes, go ahead and ask your husband), or maybe a funny movie or a good book. How about writing down your thoughts and feelings in your private and sacred journal, or calling a friend to share, laugh, and cry. We often go towards food when we are feeling lonely, sad, or anxious. Whatever you can do to stop your addictive pattern the better. Instead of going to the fridge or raiding the cupboard, how about a nice cup of tea and curling up in your bed and read that satisfying novel you’ve been wanting to start. Break it up and do something new.

I wanted to share this with you this week. I believe many of you have been faced with similar issues in the past and I thought my conversation with this particular client could help.

Stay cool and stay well!

(c) Monika Klein, B.S., C.N. is an award winning clinical nutritionist and weight loss expert. Monika is the “Compassionate and Practical Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach.” Her company, Coaching For Health, offers life transforming weight loss and wellness programs, classes and products throughout the world. To learn more about Monika’s services and programs, visit www.coachingforhealth.com.

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