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Are carb cravings sabotaging your weight loss attempts? Read my tips on how to deal with them

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If so, you're not alone! Stress, lack of meal/snack planning and sleep deprivation can exacerbate carb cravings. I bet most of you busy moms can relate to this. Here are some tips to help you deal with the dreaded carb cravings:

1. Don't go too long without a meal or snack. This can lead to big time cravings later!

2. Busy schedules require planning meals and snacks ahead of time. Keep appropriate foods in your house, car, and pocketbook.

3. Keep food records. Try to identify patterns in your food cravings. Record any emotions that may be occurring prior to or right before the craving. This can help identify the cause of the craving. You may experience sugar cravings every afternoon at 4 pm. This could mean that you need to eat an appropriate snack at 3:30 pm. It could also mean that what you have had for lunch is not the best choice for you. Maybe you crave carbohydrates when you're stressed out.

4. Avoid very low calorie diets. Eating less than 1200 calories on a regular basis will likely lead to food cravings.

5. Limit refined carbs such as white bread and pasta and focus more on healthier carbs such as whole grain cereals, bread and crackers, fruit, legumes, brown rice, etc. Higher fiber carbs tend to keep you feeling full longer.  

6. The best meals or snacks to ward off cravings include protein, fat and a healthy carb. Recommeded snacks include:
- Greek yogurt (protein) and berries (carb)
- 1/2 of an apple (carb) with 2 tsp of peanut butter (protein/fat)
- Laughing Cow cheese wedge and 2 whole grain crackers

6. If you know you have a serious "trigger" food, avoid taking the first bite. For some people, taking the first bite of certain foods can open the floodgates to uncontrolled eating

7. Avoid keeping trigger foods in your house or office if possible. The less temptation you have, the better.

Once you have the craving:

1. If you really crave a food (ie. chocolate), you have 3 choices - avoid it totally, allow yourself a small portion when you feel the craving (ie. 2 Hershey's kisses a day) or find a substitute (ie. chocolate sorbet pop).

2. Try to wait 15 minutes before giving in to a craving. Try to engage in another activity such as taking a brief walk or making a phone call. Sometimes even a 5 minute distraction can help ward off the cravings.

3. If you do give into the craving and eat more than you would have liked, do not beat yourself up. Try to learn from the craving. What could you have done differently to have prevented the craving or how could you have dealt with it differently? Let it go - we are all human. Guilt is a very useless emotion when it comes to food - it only makes things worse!

Does anyone have carb cravings they'd like to share? Have you found any solutions on ways to deal with them?

Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE 

by on Jul. 5, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Replies (11-12):
by on Jul. 6, 2011 at 11:30 PM

Quoting M2EandB:

Great tips...thanks for sharing! # 6 so applies to me....that's why i try to avoid them at all costs! one bite and i just want more and more! lol

I agree ... chocolate is my vice (and not even the healthy kind!), therefore I try not to keep it around. Some people just have a hard time controlling their intake of certain foods. It doesn't mean you lack discipline ... but some foods trigger more eating. That's why it's best not to even start with these foods. Glad these tips helped you!

Martha McKittrick, R.D., C.D.E.

by on Jul. 6, 2011 at 11:37 PM

Quoting gmoton:

I have an uncontrollable craving for reeses cups..I cannot eat one without eating like 6! and for some reason, I associate them with soda, so then I go all the way in and drink a Pepsi! : (  started taking an herbal appetite suppresant and its cutting down the cravings, but its only been 1 week so Im worried.banging head into wall

Yikes... double whammy ... chocolate AND soda. Hopefully you aren't keeping reeses in your home. Are you eating healthy meals and snacks that include protein? Are you trying not to let too much time go by in between meals? These tips MAY help lessen cravings. When this chocolate craving hits full force, have you tried any other chocolately substitutes (i.e chocolate sorbet or low fat chocolate pudding)?

Hang in there!

Martha McKittrick, R.D., C.D.E.
Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

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