One of the most common complaints I hear from weight loss clients is that they are experiencing carb cravings, so I thought it would be helpful to give you a very brief explanation of some of the reasons this could be happening to you and suggest some ways to deal with them.
My first step is to be sure you are eating enough food in general. It’s counter-intuitive but not eating enough can stall weight loss too. You’d be surprised at how common it is that people are not eating enough and can’t figure out why they are struggling with fatigue and not losing weight.
The next thing is to be sure you are eating balanced meals that include adequate protein, healthy fats and fiber from non-starchy veggies which will keep you full and satisfied and also stabilize blood sugar. Of course if you have any other underlying health issues, you should seek to address those with your health care practitioner.
Often we reach for a simple carb like a cookie, candy or crackers when we are beginning to get hungry or need a quick energy boost. This is where being well prepared with a better alternative will pay huge dividends for you. Keep hard boiled eggs ready to grab in the fridge. A small handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans or pistachios is a great, high protein and healthy fat alternative that will fill the bill nicely without feeding that carb craving. A pasture-raised beef stick or turkey stick like one of these from Paleo Valley is another wonderful protein choice you can easily keep in your purse, backpack or pocket.
Sometimes protein just doesn’t cut it and you want something sweet. Choosing a low sugar fruit like berries or Granny Smith apples is a great choice. Choosing a healthier carb option is also a good strategy. I always like making healthier substitutions. Keeping roasted veggies that are well seasoned can stop a carb craving in its tracks. Roasted sweet potatoes seasoned with Himalayan crystal salt, pepper and Ceylon cinnamon is very comforting, satisfying and a much healthier option. So are roasted cauliflower, broccoli or Butternut squash. Beans and legumes are also a good substitute for simple carbs. Biena makes roasted chickpea snack you can enjoy occasionally that provides protein, fiber and crunch.
The point is to substitute a better quality of carb or replace it with a healthy protein.
It’s also important to realize that if you have been regularly indulging in simple carbs it will take some time to break that addiction. Do not overlook the emotional component. Often when a carb craving strikes, you are in the midst of some strong emotional reaction. Try to stop and analyze what’s happening mentally and emotionally before giving in to the craving. It’s very possible you are just seeking comfort and there are better, more effective ways to get it than eating simple carbs.
This is exactly why the Today is Still the Day Plan addresses spirit and soul issues and not just physical nutrition and detoxification. You must pay attention to your mental, emotional and spiritual condition and take them into consideration when dealing with weight loss and overall health.
What triggers carb cravings for you and how do you handle them?
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Ann, thank you for these very practical ideas. Who would have thought that not eating enough can hinder weight loss? Though I do realize it can lower matabolism. Thanks again.
Thank you Debbie. Yes, it seems odd but that was the issue one of my very first clients was experiencing with not being able to lose weight. When I went over her food logs, it was clear she was not eating enough and it was stalling her efforts.
What triggers carb cravings? Mostly processed carbs or junk. But a lot of times healthy meals that are spicy make me crave something sweet. Some fruit or a few nuts work well but tea is another great option. This time of year I’m obsessed with Trader Joes Harvest Tea. There are other companies that make a similar spicy soothing cinnamon blend.
You are absolutely right Holly! Those processed carbs and junk food are engineered to cause cravings! But we are each unique and as you share even some healthy foods can affect us that way. I love your tea suggestion. I don’t have a Trader Joe’s near me but that sounds delicious. I find tea is a great way to break that connection and satisfy the craving too. Thanks for sharing!
What great tips Ms. Ann. As a diabetic, I sometimes suffer hypoglycemia. where activity or stress causes my blood sugar to drop too low. While important to get my blood sugar stabilized, it’s also important not to cause the pendulum to swing too far in the opposite direction. That’s where fruits and nuts come in for me. I apply the 5-5-5 rule, and a good way to do that is use these carb-smart choices like you’ve identified. Thanks for sharing ma’am.
That’s definitely a challenge, Jim, to stay in balance. Sounds like you are doing an excellent job of it!