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THE HORMONAL CONNECTION: HYPOGLYCEMIA

Having a "sweet tooth" or a habitual sugar craving is a good tip-off that something is wrong with your glucose metabolism. Another sign is that you get irritable, nervous, and shaky from eating just a little sugar. Even a small piece of fruit may be enough to trigger the symptoms.

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, seems to occur episodically. One day you feel all right; then the next day it suddenly hits you. The first indication is a dramatic drop in energy. You may find that you are so exhausted you have to stop and rest because you just can't function. Usually this occurs in the late afternoon, when the body's natural drop in blood sugar is exacerbated by the hypoglycemic condition. Because you are feeling so low, you may overeat at this time and indulge particularly in sugar snacks. Gradually, as your glucose levels begin to rise, you feel better until the symptoms finally disappear.

Most physicians dismiss these symptoms as psychosomatic. However, if a hypoglycemic person does not receive treatment through changes in diet and lifestyle, eventually the condition can develop into weight gain and then diabetes. Fat distribution often takes on a pattern in which the circumference of the waist becomes greater than that of the hips. In the healthy adult, the circumference of the waist is less than hip circumference.

Warning: Beware the Coffee Break Trap. To counter feelings of fatigue from low circulating blood sugar levels, a common response is to reach for coffee and an empty-calorie sugary snack. But such an attempt at feeling better is ultimately fruitless, as the initial energy jolt you get from the caffeine and sugar quickly evaporates and your energy level plummets. People who take coffee and pastry breaks throughout the day typically find themselves in a vicious cycle of overstimulation and exhaustion. Plus too many simple carbohydrates lead to B-vitamin deficiencies and extra poundage.

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PSYCHOLOGICAL REASONS WHY YOU BINGE: MOOD AND PERSONALITY – DIFFERENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS

THE HORMONAL CONNECTION: HYPOGLYCEMIA

GUIDELINES TO MAKE SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO MAINTENANCE WITH ROTATION DIET: EAT NATURALLY DIURETIC FOODS

WEIGH DOWN: HOW TO CONQUER EATING COMPULSIONS

A HUNGER SO WIDE AND SO DEEP: AN EXPANSIVE PROJECT