Cutting carbs is a great way to lose weight. Common high-carb foods like bread, potatoes, rice, and pasta as well as breakfast cereals and processed foods are all very high in calories and will also elevate your blood glucose levels. High amounts of calories and carbs cause wildly fluctuating blood glucose levels which are a major causes of weight gain. Eliminate these problems and weight loss is virtually guaranteed.
You don’t have to cut these foods completely – just reduce your intake to a reasonable minimum. For example, instead of eating bread every day, only eat it twice a week.
Of course, cutting carbs can often lead to carb cravings. This is normal and is to be expected. After all, most of us eat a lot of carbs (60% or more) and cutting down on carbs could be a shock to the system.
Here are my favorite strategies for avoiding cravings when eating low carbs…
1. Distract yourself
Cravings are usually most powerful when you have nothing else on your mind but thoughts of food, for example when watching TV. One effective way to avoid this scenario is to occupy your mind with thoughts about things other than food. Good choices include:
- Play a video game
- Call up or visit friend
- Write an email or letter
- Go for a walk
- Do some cleaning
- Wash your car
- Do some exercise
- Play with your kids or dog
- Read a book
Anything that distracts your mind from food can help prevent carb cravings.
2. Chew sugar-free gum
Sugar-free gum is sweet, refreshing, and gives you something to do which is often enough to stop cravings in their tracks. If your cravings always hit after a meal and leave you dreaming of desserts, make sure you chew a piece of gum as soon as you have swallowed your last mouthful of food.
3. Enjoy a high quality treat
If your cravings are insatiable, you can indulge them with a high quality treat like an ounce of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is very low in sugar and carbs and the intense flavor means a little goes a long way. Let it melt in your mouth and see just how long you can make that one-ounce square last. A strong, black coffee can often work just as well.
4. Eat regularly
Cravings are often caused by hunger – pure and simple. Just because you are following a low carb diet does not mean you need to significantly reduce the quantity of food you are eating. In fact, that’s pretty much the point of a low carb diet – lose weight without starving yourself. Make sure you eat regularly to avoid hunger and make each meal filling and satisfying. Load of your plate with lots of satiating low carb-vegetables to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
5. Make your home a junk food-free zone
Even with great willpower, cravings can be hard to resist at times. To prevent temptation overpowering your willpower, make sure you have no high carb junk food in your home. That way, even if your willpower does cave, you do not have any way to indulge it.
6. Drink water
It’s very easy to confuse carb cravings with thirst. This is because many of us drink soda and other sweetened beverages in place of water. Subsequently, when you are thirsty, your body craves a sugary drink which is not exactly what it needs but is what it has become used to. The next time you have a carb craving, pour yourself a tall class of cool water. Sit down and drink your water almost as though you were having a meal. Make it last a few minutes as you sip your water and savor it. Have a couple of glasses. You should find your cravings quickly disappear.
7. Get enough sleep
Too little sleep is a leading cause of carb and sugar cravings. Why? Because too little sleep can leave you tired and when you are tired, your body seeks out alternative sources of energy. Avoiding sleep deprivation is a great way to stop carb cravings before they even start. Make sure you get a good nights’ sleep every night – 6-8 hours at least. This may mean you need to go to be earlier than normal but you’ll experience fewer nighttime and daytime cravings if you do.
Putting these tips into practice always helps me to defeat my cravings for carbs and they’ll help you too. Understand that carb cravings are normal and natural but also be prepared for them. Make sure you are able to put these tips into action so you know that, when you do have a carb craving, you have everything you need to stop it fast.