Is Your Carb Addiction Driving You Crazy? What You Can DO to Stop It
Intense cravings for potatoes, sugar, bread and chocolate can sabotage even the most determined dieters.
Sugar and carb addiction is a very real thing that shares similarities to drug addiction, where pleasure centers in the brain are constantly seeking their next “high” or feel good moment.
You know the lengths Heroin and Crack addicts will go to to get their next fix. It is NO different with food. When you feel like crawling up walls to get your next fix of chocolates, donuts, chips or cheesecake, think of those drug addicts. The big difference is you don’t have to steal, prostitute yourself, mug someone or even murder them to get your next fix … all you have to do is head to the nearest convenience store.
If you are experiencing mood swings and out of control cravings, the good news is that you can kick the carb (sugar) habit and get rid of the NEED for high carb foods.
Here are some tips that will help.
If you have gone cold-turkey on carbs and sugar you may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These are REAL, your body is reacting the same way it reacts to stopping smoking. While some people do well on cold-turkey and are able to gut it out for the seven to ten days it takes to detox your body, others simply can’t do it.
If you are struggling, my advice is to add back some “sweet tasting” carbs. Have a small bowl of blueberries smothered with heavy cream. Many of the “berry” fruits have loads of fiber which cancels out some of the carbs. Layer thin slices of apple with no sugar peanut or almond butter. Microwave up a bowl of peas or carrots (sweet tasting veggies) and put on a heaping spoon of butter. The added carbs will help curb the cravings. The added fat will help keep you feeling full and satiated.
While the choices I’ve listed above still have carbs, they are NOT as bad as potatoes, rice or sugar-laden baked goods.
Adding these back into your diet for two weeks to a month will help your body adjust as you slowly ween yourself off flour products and high carb fruits and veggies.
You don’t have to aim for “perfect” overnight!
Here are a few MORE tips that will help curb the cravings and keep you heading in the right direction.
Don’t let yourself get HUNGRY (real or imagined)
I am absolutely a fan of both Fasting and Intermittent Fasting BUT when you are first starting a low-carb lifestyle, your first order of business is to reduce the carb cravings and stay on track.
Sometimes, the difference between a craving and true hunger is confusing. In general, if you hear or feel your tummy “rumbling” you’re hungry.
At other times, no signals are being sent from your tummy but you think you’re hungry.
THINKING you are hungry comes from four different sources.
1. Mouth hunger. You are used to having something in your mouth … the TASTE of sweet, the CRUNCH of foods such as potato chips or SAVORING foods like chocolate. Mouth hunger has nothing to DO with real hunger.
2. Habit hunger. You look at the clock and it is “dinner time.” You may have just eaten, but the clock makes you think you are hungry. You sit down with friends … out comes the snacks, sugary drinks, alcohol. Somewhere in the back of your brain Friends = Food.
3. Emotional hunger. Feeling sad may trigger the need for comfort and to YOU comfort means high-carb foods. On the opposite side of the coin, feeling happy may trigger the need to celebrate. How about a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Sounds good to me!
4. Thirst Hunger. When you do not drink enough water, your body reacts by sending messages that can be interpreted as hunger. Dehydration causes you to think you need to eat when all you really need is some water. Try this. If you start “feeling” hungry. Drink a glass of water, wait five minutes and see if your hunger pangs disappear.
The best way to prevent this?
Eat regular meals. If you find waiting 4+ hours between meals isn’t quite working for you, eat a hand full of raw nuts at the two hour point.
Drink water regularly.
Make sure ALL your meals, including snacks are rich in protein and quality fat, as they are both very filling and will shut down your desires for sweets and starches. FAT is good for you. It fills you up, and keeps you feeling full for hours, so don’t avoid it.
Ever hear of fat bombs? Try one and see what a difference it can make!
When you start getting hungry, pay attention. When did you last eat? What did you eat? Are these cravings or feeling of hunger triggered by mouth hunger, habit hunger or emotional hunger?
IF they are … here’s another trick that will help:
Keep Your HANDS and FEET Busy
Watching TV or reading a book can trigger binge eating. Eating without thinking. Eating without being CONSCIOUS of eating.
Binging on carbs offers a short time fix for feelings of boredom or inactivity.
Keep yourself engaged in activities that not only distract your mind from mindless snacking, but that make it difficult or almost impossible to stuff your face.
Knitting keeps your hands busy while watching TV. Aim at something easy but ongoing. I have a friend who knits dish cloths. A male friend knits long, long winter scarves. He has given so many to friends (who love and appreciate them) that he now knits for women and kids in women’s shelters.
You probably won’t snack if you are sewing, woodworking, walking, running or doing several rounds of Kettlebells.
Please add YOUR favorite hand and feet activities to the comments below!
Promise Yourself You CAN In JUST Ten Minutes
Become a master at procrastination. When you find yourself heading toward the pantry or fridge, STOP. Go back to what you were doing and promise you can get “IT” in ten minutes. Do this as many times as you can … you’ll find the cravings simply fade away. If they don’t then make the CONSCIOUS decision to eat.
Sit at your table or kitchen counter and eat. Don’t read, don’t poke away on your phone … just eat and enjoy every single bite.
Another version of putting it off, is to promise yourself you can have “IT” after you have finished one cup of tea or coffee. Then another one … then wait ten minutes.
The key here is if you can put it off long enough the cravings may just go away. Rejoice!
Do the Dance of Joy.
Learn To Cook Really GREAT Low Carb Goodies
I am a lover of Ice Cream. I used to be totally addicted to it, to the point where BING did not begin to describe my ice cream habits.
I remember once listening to a friend who described eating a whole PINT of Hagen Daas as if it was the worst thing in the world. I kept my mouth firmly shut because I didn’t want ANYONE to know that a pint would be only the beginning for me. There were days when I simply could not stop.
Learning how to make NO-sugar ice cream became a project for me. I have dozens of wonderful recipes that take advantage of seasonal fruits, but especially nuts and DARK chocolate. What I find fascinating is that I no longer come even near binging. I can have a small bowl and be totally satisfied.
One of the reasons for feeling satisfied faster is because home made ice cream is made of pure heavy cream. It is filled with fat. Fat fills you up and keeps you happy for hours.
Many of the ice cream recipes in the link below fits even Keto Diets. Over several years I have even cut down on the amount of sugar substitutes I use because I no longer crave the taste of sweet-sweet.
You can learn how to bake low-carb bread, cookies, cakes and crackers. There are low-carb substitutes for pasta and rice.
Figuring out how to make your favorite high-carb favorite, into a low-carb version that tastes great, can be immensely satisfying … both to your psyche and to your stomach!
And by making it yourself, you are keeping your hands and feet involved!
Love desserts? Here are some Sugar Free Desserts That Will Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!
Chocolate can be a major diet breaker. These chocolate bars have no sugar and are very low carb.
Be Kind To Yourself
If you go off track, be kind to yourself.
DO NOT beat yourself up or call yourself nasty names.
That only makes you feel worse.
It does not matter how many times you start … eventually you will stick for longer and then even longer.
Whether you decide to go the cold-turkey route or take a slower path to low-carb, the key to staying on track is NOT in controlling your cravings, but in REDUCING and maybe, some day totally getting rid of them.
NOTE: I still get occasional cravings but not nearly as often as before. Since I know what is happening, and since I have the tools … I almost never go completely off track. When I do … I just START again. Just so you know … sugar-free ice cream and sugar-free cheesecake have kept me from binging time after time after time!
I would LOVE to hear about your “hands and feet” activities as well as any tricks YOU use to dissipate or conquer cravings.
Originally posted on sugar-free-zone.com
Melanie Rockett has been a freelance writer for over 40 years. About 15 years ago she was diagnosed with Diabetes — and began a long journey of discovery. Today she lives a sugar-free life and has lost 120 pounds. Her website Sugar-Free-Zone.com is all about living sugar-free and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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