PCOS/Insulin Resistance Support - Overcoming Sugar Cravings/Emotional Eating

01-26-2013, 11:46 AM
I'm new to this site and forums in general, but I felt like this would be a way to find support for PCOS. I have people who support me, but no one understands what I'm going through. I know I just seem crazy to other people and even to myself at times, but i hope this is where I'll be able to find a group of people who understand. I was diagnosed with PCOS 2 years ago but wasn't given any advice or medication to treat it. They put me on birth control but that only made things worse. Now I'm in the process of getting a new bc pill and will be put on metformin. Has anyone had any success stories with metformin that they would like to share? I'm desperate to kick my sugar cravings and get back to my old life after 2 years of a constant day to day struggle to stay away from sugar. I've never had a problem controling my weight and use to be a competitive athlete but this has truly taken over my life and I feel like a completely different person. I need advice and support and I would greatly appreciate anyone will to help!

01-26-2013, 11:59 AM
Well, I've been on metformin for a few years. Has it helped, I would say it gives you a Edge, but I don't think it magically takes anything off. Though this is only my personal experience. What has worked for me has been the following: meditation, the insulin resistance diet, not passing into your hunger threshold, and it has to be constant. If I don't do it, I simply gain it back. So, metformin is no magic pill for me. I used to think I'd lose it and that would be it. Now I realize I will either take care of my body and mind everyday or face the inevitable joy of diabetes. Talk about a reality check.

01-26-2013, 12:48 PM
Thanks so much for your response! What do you do when you get a sudden sugar craving? I feel like I've tried everything I know how not to give in and sometimes I'm successfull but most of the time I'm not. Has there anything specifically that works for you in those moments?

01-26-2013, 01:54 PM
I just started metformin this week. I didn't want to. The title of your thread says it all, for me. I have a longstanding love affair with comfort food- and have learned the hard way that, for me, it is the devil incarnate.
I also learned today that diabetes goes further back in my family than I knew. I treated myself pretty badly through my twenties and thirties, and have struggled with health issues through my forties.

The only way I know to reduce the cravings is to very nearly eliminate what causes them. And what I do have, I have with either a meal or at least a decent, clean source of protein. Shove them off til dinner, so I won't be eating them all day. Want a peppermint? Okay, have a handful of nuts with it. The more sweets or starches I have, traditionally, the more I want. It's that much harder when you don't feel good.

Now that I'm on this medicine, I may have to reassess things and figure out what works from here on out.

01-26-2013, 03:58 PM
Thanks so much for your response! What do you do when you get a sudden sugar craving? I feel like I've tried everything I know how not to give in and sometimes I'm successfull but most of the time I'm not. Has there anything specifically that works for you in those moments?

I eventually found out that my cravings for sweet stuff was also a craving for fresh fruits and veggies (not frozen, not canned).

You may want to try grapes, strawberries, bananas, as a substitute when you have a craving. It also teaches your body/mind that you're not going to give it a chocolate bar or a cookie when you have that craving.

01-26-2013, 06:43 PM
Thank ya'll again for your responses! And I so know what you mean when you say it's even harder to stay away from sugar when you're feeling bad! The good news is that I am now able to differentiate between physical cravings and emotional cravings. Now I just have to learn to say "no" to the emotional part. Somehow I end up convincing myself that for one reason or another it will be ok if I give in this once..I always regret that, but in the moment it makes all the sense in the world! I'm also writing in another column and have a similar conversation going and would like to post my response from that one into this reply so I could get a few more opinions.......

Thank you Last year I was also diagnosed with candida albicans which is a yeast overgrowth in your intestines and is fueled by sugar and carbs. Because of that and my background as an athlete, my typical day to day diet already consists of zero sugar or carbs (atleast refined sugar/processed carbs) in it. I actually stick very closely to the paleo diet and on "good" days this is very easy for me to do. However, I will still get sugar cravings about twice a week regardless and they are seemingly out of the blue. At the same time, I know about the time in reference to the craving before when I should be expecting it because this has been happening for so long (I know that got super confusing). I'm only 20 years old and not what you would call overweight but it takes way too much effort to stay at a weight that I'm still not happy with and I know I can be better. Because my usual diet is already consistent with the insulin resistant diet, do you think that going on metformin will help me have less frequent/ less intense cravings? Also, will the addition of a BCP (which is suppose to give me a period) help regulate my hormones and consequently reduce cravings? I'm sorry for the book I just wrote. I'm just really excited about talking to people who can relate to me not just empathize with me.

01-26-2013, 08:31 PM
I find that telling myself "later" works better than telling myself "no". I've never been good at restriction- I grow to resent it, but if I tell myself I can have that later, more often than not, I forget about it.

01-26-2013, 09:47 PM
Hmmm, now I'm thinking. I'll respond to my personal experience with metformin. Has it helped with cravings. I don't feel that it has any effect on it. I have had The best
Success with cravings with eating more meals. Statistically I think they say eating a minimum of five times helps keep weight off. I believe this has thus far been the most effective theory thus far. If I pass into the hungry zone it's all over, and I'm highly attracted to binge eating and bad carbs.

01-27-2013, 10:14 AM
OK those all sound like good things to try! Basically, should we follow the same diet and eating pattern as hypoglycemics?

01-27-2013, 08:31 PM
I think you should start on the plan you would like to keep, maintain, and love for the rest of your life. I guess as you have likely gleened from this site we don't always have the same answer. I personally have poycystic ovaries, though my blood test never showed that. Many doctors later it was found via ultra sound.

I'm a mood eater, I have to eat more often to control my blood sugar and to prevent binges, and mood swings due to low of a sugar. I take metformin, and meditate because of my emotional issues that culminate in obesity issues. I do follow and like the insulin resistance diet and if I follow it losing weight is no problem. It does help with cravings. I eat every two hours, when I'm doing that it's a cinch and the weight just comes off. But...life being life some days hours and hours pass and I'm starving which usually results in a weight spike.

01-28-2013, 10:47 AM
OK those all sound like good things to try! Basically, should we follow the same diet and eating pattern as hypoglycemics?

Yes and no.

You are eating Paleo, as well as you can, and that limits your amount of crappy carbs. But you may need as often as Phoenix4 does or you may find that your insulin response is better when you don't eat at all.

I hate to say, it's going to have to be an experiment to figure out what works for you.

01-31-2013, 06:36 AM
Carbs increase the production of serotonin - the "feel good" chemical - in the brain. So a lot of times a sugar craving is your body's way of alerting you that your serotonin is low because you've taught it that carbs are the best way to remedy this. So, basically, you have to retrain your brain.

Tryptophan, found in protein sources, also convert to serotonin, though it happens more slowly than with carbs. Often when you're eating a lot of pasta/bread/rice/sweets, you're not eating as much protein as you need. Try cutting back on the carbs and increasing your protein and see if that helps the cravings.

Exercise is also very important for brain chemistry. Exercise stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine (another "feel good" chemical) in the brain. More exercise = more happy chemicals = less sugar cravings.

HTH! :)

02-13-2013, 11:29 AM
Hi there!

I was on Metformin for over ten years to help control my PCOS and IR, but I didn't really notice that it helped curb my sugar cravings. I've always had a major sweet tooth, and was hopelessly addicted to carbs.

When I got pregnant with my daughter in September of 2011, I was not "allowed" to continue taking Metformin after my first trimester. Once off of the Met, I was (not surprisingly) diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to use a low-carb diet and insulin to control my blood sugar.

Anyway, the way I learned to eat while pregnant really helped me kick the sugar habit. I was forced to eat six small meals a day and plenty of high-quality protein. This really helped curb the physical carb cravings, as my blood sugar was stable throughout the day and I didn't have the dreaded "MUST HAVE CARBS NOW" response to a hypoglycemic dip. Emotionally, I still wanted the sweets like mad, but even that eventually went away. I know that I had a HUGE motivating factor -- an unborn child whose health was linked to my own -- but even now I get a huge benefit from eating something small every few hours.

As a rule, I don't eat sugar or refined carbs, but I've reached the point where I can indulge in a dessert once in a blue moon and it doesn't send me into a sugar spiral. This is not something that was possible for me in the past, as even one tiny diet misstep tended to completely derail my efforts.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to let you know that it is possible to overcome those cravings. A good mantra to follow is "eat light, eat often." Also, I think others mentioned this: when you start wanting sugar, have some protein instead. It's helped me. If that doesn't work, and you're just craving them from an emotional level, try working out to get those good old endorphins flowing. :)