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The Surprising Truth About Why Women Over 40 Crave “Bad” Food…

Feb 20, 2023

And why they struggle to stick to their own eating plans



Imagine that you’re starting a new eating plan.  You load the fridge and cupboards up with the ‘right’ foods…. And you toss all the foods that typically tempt and derail you.

You feel great about it.  After all, you’ve planned out your meals - down to a science.  You’re determined.  And you’re convinced you’re set up for success.

But there’s a voice in the back of your head whispering… reminding you that you’ve been here before.  That this is not the first time you loaded up on wholesome food and discarded the bad.  That this is not the first time you felt determined and confident.

It reminds you that even though you felt great about this journey before, here we are again, starting over. 

So, your confidence begins to waver.

Now, instead, imagine that this time really is different.  This time you stick to your plan.  You make steady progress.  And eventually, you reach your goals.

No, you weren’t perfect… You had plenty of good days.  And a few bad ones.

But you never let cravings mess you up permanently.

Any slips you had… you were able to get right back on the horse.  Even better, you didn’t have to “white knuckle” it.

You just never really wanted the foods that used to throw you off.  Desserts never tempted you.  Pizza or cheeseburgers either.  Not even chips or wine.

This time, it was almost too easy…  

You never felt starved.  You never felt deprived.  And you never had to rely on sheer willpower alone.

Instead, you just stuck to your plan… felt great about… and have “arrived.”  Happy, healthy, and ready to take on the future.

Well, as you’re about to see, this is not something you have to just imagine.  This can be your reality.

Things can be easy.

All it takes is understanding the real reason we crave things we know we’d be better off without.  You see, cravings have very little to do with willpower.  

If you’ve ever given into the smell of chocolate… or the allure of donuts… or a big, greasy cheeseburger…

You’re not broken.  Just just human.

In fact - in a way - you were pre-programmed to give into cravings.

It’s NOT a weakness… It's physiology.


The Real Reason We Crave:  The Messenger of “More”


Let me tell you about the hormone I call “the messenger of more.”  And how it messes with your eating plans.

For a moment, allow me to talk to you about social media.  Yes, social media.  Assuming you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve probably had an experience like this…

You’re about to close the app and go about your day when you suddenly…

You get the red “1” badge pop up.  It’s a glaring notification.  And even though you were just about to do something better with your time, you can’t resist a peak.

Or you open your phone to look up the weather… or login to your banking app… only to be sucked in by the same little red “1” badge on a social app…

And the next thing you know it, you’re scrolling endlessly.

Maybe you’re not on social media.  Or you’re not so drawn to those notifications.  But even if you aren’t, you almost certainly know people who are.

Maybe you’re one of them.  Or maybe you feel a little too smug that you’re not one of them.

The question is…


Why Are People So Powerless to Resist Something So Simple?  


…so obvious?

And what does this have to do with cravings?  Believe it or not, they’re very similar.

Here’s how…

When those little red badges pop up, our brains are trained to anticipate a reward.

And when you anticipate a reward - even if you haven’t got the reward yet - your brain lights up!

It all happens in an area of your brain called the ventral striatum.  When promised a reward, this part of your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

You’ve likely heard of dopamine, but you may not know how it works…

As I said, dopamine is a neurotransmitter.  Which means it’s effectively a messenger.   It signals to your brain to get ready for a reward.

Which isn’t a mistake.  Or a coincidence.  Your brain was trained to do so.

Way back when you first got on social media… those little red “1s” came with a reward - a ‘like’ for instance.  Or maybe a comment on your post.  Or maybe a picture of a friend’s pet.

Over time what we see on social media has evolved.  And it’s not always a reward.

But it doesn’t matter.  Now your brain is trained.  When it sees the red badges, it expects a reward.  And you get a little dopamine dump.

Dopamine is pleasurable.  So you want more.  

(That’s why I call it the “messenger of more.”)

And every time you see that little social media notification badge, your brain lights up with dopamine.

It’s like we’re addicts.  And in a very real way, we are.

You’re probably starting to see what this has to do with cravings.

But before I explain fully…


Here’s Something Critical You Need to Understand


Dopamine isn’t triggered by the reward itself.  It’s triggered by the anticipation of reward.

So, even if what you get when you open that social media app is a let down… it doesn’t matter.  The fact that you anticipated something good is all that’s needed for your brain to get its fix.

Any time you see that little red 1… you anticipate a reward… and you get a hit of dopamine.  Which reinforces the behavior.  And the cycle goes on and on.

It’s no wonder people are addicted to social media!

And even if you’re not, can you see how this relates to cravings?


How Dopamine Affects Cravings


By now, you’ve probably guessed…  Food acts on your brain in much the same way as social media does.

If you’ve ever eaten a piece of cake… slice of pizza… or a cheeseburger - and found it actually pleasurable - then it’s almost certain you got a rush of dopamine in the process.

And your brain wants that rush again.  Sometimes so badly that - as hard as we try not to - we cave.  And we eat a whole bag of popcorn instead of just the handful we promised ourselves.

Especially for women over 40.  I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Anyway, when you eat the foods you crave, you get that rush of dopamine not on the reward itself…  but in anticipation of the reward.

That’s why seeing or smelling certain foods triggers cravings - it’s triggering the messenger of more.

And that’s why it’s so hard to resist.  Your brain is literally giving you a hit of dopamine and looking for more.

And every time you give in to the cravings, you reinforce the behavior.   Making it harder to resist the next time.

Here’s how the cycle works…


You can see that dopamine/cravings/reinforcement is a vicious cycle.

And it explains why many of us struggle with cravings so badly.  And why we give into them, wreck our diets, and usually gain even more weight.

We’re addicted to the messenger of more.  And for women, it’s even worse…


Why Women Crave Chocolate Some Days…
and Chips On Others


In 2016, researchers did a study on a group of women.  They wanted to understand why some women craved sugary foods.  And others craved salty snacks.

And what they discovered surprised them.

  • Estrogen was linked with cravings in salty snacks.
  • Progesterone was linked with cravings in sugary snacks.

So, what you crave is dependent on where your hormones are at.

Throughout a woman's menstrual cycle, both estrogen and progesterone can rise and fall.  Sometimes together (making you crave sugar and salt) and sometimes separately (making you crave one or the other.)

Here’s how the hormones rise and fall during the menstrual cycle…



So, if you still have your period - and you’re plagued with different cravings at different times of your cycle, you know why.

And when you approach menopause, the cravings can become even stronger.


Why Cravings Get Worse For Menopausal Women


As you know, when you go through menopause, your hormones go crazy.

Your estrogen and progesterone levels become erratic.  And typically settle out well below what they were during perimenopause.

By itself, that explains some of the cravings.

But when you factor in the power of dopamine?

It’s like we’re doomed to fail.  That’s because researchers at Yale University did a study on the effects of estrogen on dopamine.  And they found that… 

 "Without estrogen, more than 30 percent of all the dopamine neurons disappeared in a major area of the brain that produces the neurotransmitter, dopamine…”

Which means that during and after menopause, our bodies are usually low on estrogen AND dopamine.

It’s like a 1-2 punch for cravings.

And that’s exactly why those cravings become almost impossible to resist.  And why we often feel doomed to fail.

Fortunately, there’s good news…


How to Put an End to Cravings?


Now that you know the real reason you crave certain foods… and that it’s driven by dopamine, estrogen, progesterone… and other hormones like leptin, ghrelin and insulin…

It’s time to do something about it.  And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not very difficult.

All you have to do is reset your hormonal balance.

When you do, cravings can disappear.  Weight loss and maintenance become natural.  And you look better and feel better too.

So, how do you do it?


Here are 3 simple steps to begin balancing dopamine, estrogen, and hormones in the next 30 days…


STEP 1:  Load up on foods like berries, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

Foods like these have been shown to lower your triglycerides.  And lowering triglycerides can help leptin work more effectively.  Which is critical since leptin is the hormone that regulates hunger. 

STEP 2:  Take a high-quality Vitamin B supplement.  Vitamin B is a key component in both estrogen production and estrogen activation.  

And as you may remember, when you have low estrogen levels, dopamine levels can decrease too.  Which means you’ll likely suffer more cravings.

That’s why a good Vitamin B supplement is key.

WARNING:  If you take the wrong Vitamin B Supplement, you won’t get the full effect.  I tell you which ones to use when you download my FREE Hormone Reset Cheat Sheet.


STEP 3:  Reduce your added sugar intake.


Sugar messes with your hormones too.  

How so?

Well, you’ve likely heard about insulin resistance and how that can slow weight loss to a crawl.  

And you may have also heard about something called leptin resistance - which I’ll go into in another article. 

For now, just know that leptin is the hormone responsible for controlling hunger.  And  too much sugar will screw up your leptin too.

And it’s not just insulin and leptin.  You know by now that sugar can trigger a dopamine response as well.  

So, eat healthy, take a good B Vitamin, and reduce or eliminate sugar.  That might sound painful to you.  But it doesn’t have to be…


Where to Go From Here


If you’re a woman over 40, there’s much more to understand when it comes to how hormones can induce cravings… and how to keep those hormones in check.

I gave you a few solid tips, but there’s much more to tell you - too much for this article.

But don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging.

Are you ready to kick cravings to the curb for good?  And make permanent progress towards your goals?


Click here to download your FREE Hormone Reset Cheat Sheet Now.

Healthy food doesn’t have to taste awful!

Enter your name and email below and I’ll send you a FREE Hormone Reset Cheat Sheet. You’ll discover a list of great tasting foods that will help reset your hormones… keep you satisfied… and stop the cravings.