Weight Loss Support - I don't know how to control cravings




shannylove
02-17-2014, 11:37 PM
I'm having a serious hurdle in my weight loss right now. I have lost 50 lbs over the past year...but recently it has been so hard for me to stay on program recently. I gave in to cravings a few times and now I find it SOOO hard to control my cravings. I'll be doing good for a few days and then I'll get a craving for chipotle or pizza or especially pasta (carbs) and it's like all I can think about until I eat it.

I sometimes feel consumed by thoughts of food. I wish I could be one of those people who can take 1 small slice of pizza of control myself but I find it nearly impossible. :((

I would love some tips or people who have overcome something similar.


freelancemomma
02-18-2014, 12:00 AM
Hi there,

It sounds like you may need to figure out whether you're better off limiting your trigger foods or fully abstaining from them. Some people can learn to have just one slice of pizza, while others find it so challenging that it's easier to part ways with pizza altogether. Trial and error, combined with some soul searching, should point you in the right direction. Good luck and keep us posted.

Freelance

Valkyrie1
02-18-2014, 12:09 AM
If you can put together a streak of two or three days without simple carbs like flour or sugar it can help your cravings diminish. The first couple of days you will crave them, and then the cravings will lessen. Don't start eating the pizza, chipotle, etc. again, or the cravings will start again. Make yourself some healthy versions of those foods at home.


Arctic Mama
02-18-2014, 01:08 AM
Read Brain Over Binge. Seriously. And then read The End of Overeating.

Then practice.

http://www.amazon.com/Brain-over-Binge-Conventional-Recovered/dp/0984481702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392703489&sr=8-1&keywords=Brain+over+binge

http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Overeating-Insatiable-American/dp/1605294578/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392703541&sr=8-1&keywords=the+end+of+overeating

Many of us struggle in this area, but there's no magical solution. Sometimes the obvious - removing the hormonal food cues that trigger most of our voracious eating cycles - can solve 90% of the issue. That's the way it is for me, when I am low carb. It's freedom from so much of the head and physical food cravings I would get, and absolutely worth it.

The last 10%, though, is strategy, purposeful balance of treats with normal daily diet, and plain old exercising the mental 'no!'. There's nothing else for it, I've found.

Wannabeskinny
02-18-2014, 10:52 AM
I just think of cravings as a need for something other than food. Because I've tried to satisfy my cravings but they never go away. Which to me just means that they're not about food to begin with. So if I'm craving cookies and then my craving doesn't go away after I have a couple, and then I eat a bunch and feel "calm" but then the next day I'm craving them all over again. Sound familiar? I just figured out that it's not the cookie's fault. I'm just trying to supress a feeling that doesn't have anything to do with food. And ultimately restricting yourself for too long will make those cravings pretty intense.

Real hunger goes away once you give it food. If it doesn't go away or it comes back asking for the exact same thing then chances are it's not real hunger. I've been learning to sit with my feelings and have noticed that a bunch of feelings do come up when I'm supposedly "hungry" - like anger, loneliness, boredome, frustration, unhappiness etc. Once I do that letting go of the food has become easy - now on to the hard part and dealing with those actual feelings hehe.

mars735
02-18-2014, 11:00 AM
Read Brain Over Binge. Seriously. And then read The End of Overeating.

Then practice.

http://www.amazon.com/Brain-over-Binge-Conventional-Recovered/dp/0984481702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392703489&sr=8-1&keywords=Brain+over+binge

http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Overeating-Insatiable-American/dp/1605294578/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392703541&sr=8-1&keywords=the+end+of+overeating

Many of us struggle in this area, but there's no magical solution. Sometimes the obvious - removing the hormonal food cues that trigger most of our voracious eating cycles - can solve 90% of the issue. That's the way it is for me, when I am low carb. It's freedom from so much of the head and physical food cravings I would get, and absolutely worth it.

The last 10%, though, is strategy, purposeful balance of treats with normal daily diet, and plain old exercising the mental 'no!'. There's nothing else for it, I've found.

Bump.

Lunula
02-18-2014, 04:25 PM
Congrats on the 50 lbs gone, that's awesome! It's really fabulous, IMO, that you've done it over the course of a year - to me that means that you've been truly learning the skills to get you through the rest of your life.

Having said that, I've experienced the same thing during my journey. I started in January 2011 and for me, the best strategies have been to:


Change things up. At first, I used WW Online and weighed weekly to stay motivated, but when I felt like slipping, I would start weighing every day, or I'd stop weighing altogether and make my goal to work out 5x per week, or something else. This year, I canceled WW and started using MyFitnessPal (which tracks calories instead of points) and it has really helped me. Just having something "new" to do helps me a lot.
Give in, but only a little. I'm a binger, so when I just can't resist anymore, sometimes I just give in; but instead of my "old binges" I work to "lessen" the after-effects. So, I still buy "high-desire" food, just MUCH less of it. It's the difference between a 4,000 calorie binge and a 1,000 calorie binge. And NO GUILT afterwards, I gave myself permission. Can't kick myself about it later!
Work out a little more. Sounds silly, but it's the ultimate way for me to redirect my cravings. If I still feel a craving after a workout, then I'll give in (again, working to lessen it), but knowing that you just burned 500-600 calories makes the binges smaller, at least for me. Plus, it's way easier to forget about it afterwards because I worked out and burned extra calories already.
Just say no. I read an article about a scientific study regarding addiction that stated the ability to "just say no" actually strengthens over time, with more practice. Just knowing that helps me because I know the more often I can just resist, the easier it will become.

Hang in there! I read a lot of books, articles, etc. when I'm feeling like giving in, anything to strengthen my resolve. It won't "just happen" - I have to work hard at it, but it's really worth it.

diamondgeog
03-02-2014, 06:22 PM
I agree exercise can help.

Also do you have hidden carbs in sauces or condiments?

Are you eating enough fat? Sometimes low carbers don't eat enough fats. Coconut oil and grass fed butter are great.

Drink enough water. Going wheat free or grain free helps some with appetite.

Artificial sweeteners can hurt appetite.

Also everytime you have a processed food, there is a chance for a hidden trigger.

Waterbunny77
03-02-2014, 09:26 PM
If you can put together a streak of two or three days without simple carbs like flour or sugar it can help your cravings diminish. The first couple of days you will crave them, and then the cravings will lessen. Don't start eating the pizza, chipotle, etc. again, or the cravings will start again. Make yourself some healthy versions of those foods at home.

I attest to this. I once heard a nutritionist state that if you want to give up sugar then you have to forgo it for 3 days, but you will crave it for the 3 days. After that the cravings will disappear. Well I had to try this because I love sweets. It actually works, I guess once it's out of your system your body does not crave it any longer so it makes sense with the others foods like Chipolte as well. Good luck. :cool:

GlamourGirl827
03-02-2014, 10:11 PM
Many of us struggle in this area, but there's no magical solution. Sometimes the obvious - removing the hormonal food cues that trigger most of our voracious eating cycles - can solve 90% of the issue. That's the way it is for me, when I am low carb. It's freedom from so much of the head and physical food cravings I would get, and absolutely worth it.

The last 10%, though, is strategy, purposeful balance of treats with normal daily diet, and plain old exercising the mental 'no!'. There's nothing else for it, I've found.

^this^

I believe that sugar (and flour? maybe) come down to a physical addiction, just like drugs or alcohol. Alcoholics in recovery are supposed to practice complete abstinence. I believe that the same way some people can drink but never have an alcohol addiction, that others can eat sugar/flour products and never form an addiction. But just because I can drink, take it or leave it, no cravings, not alcohol abuse issue, that doesn't diminish the addictive quality of alcohol for some people. Same for sugar.

So I now treat it as an addiction. I am an addict and I must be careful. 90% of the time I am grain free, all grains and even fruits because I get cravings I have a hard time controlling. But 10% of the time, I eat "normal" stuff, like today went to a brunch and had a piece of bread. Sugar I try to stay away from 99% of the time. The white stuff, not fruits. (Those I treat like breads, like treats) Sugar I treat like my drug, and I try at all costs to avoid it because UNLIKE say oats, I will actually notice a lot effects from a sugar binge (depression, fatigue, sleepiness)...where as grains just cause an increase in cravings, but I'm ok afterwards. I save sugar treats for very special occasions. That's what works for me. Helps me keep craving away so far...

shcirerf
03-02-2014, 10:49 PM
This is a learning process.

What works for one, may not work for another.

I love fruit, but! It does not love me. So, I don't eat a lot of it.

But bring on the veg and protein.

As far as things like pizza, I experimented with food until I found, a recipe, that is tasty and healthy!

It took like 3 years, but so worth it!

mars735
03-02-2014, 11:05 PM
This is a learning process.

What works for one, may not work for another.

I love fruit, but! It does not love me. So, I don't eat a lot of it.

But bring on the veg and protein.

As far as things like pizza, I experimented with food until I found, a recipe, that is tasty and healthy!

It took like 3 years, but so worth it!

Would you be willing to share the recipe, or the principle of how to keep it healthy? Thanks!

Samantha18
03-03-2014, 05:42 AM
If you go the moderation route, I find it helpful to make sure your meals are balanced and find healthier alternatives. I love pizza and still have it weekly, but I never eat pasta or pizza on its own anymore. Instead of eating three pieces of pizza with sides like wings and bread sticks, I now eat two slices with a homemade salad beforehand. I also love to cook my own pizza at home on wheat tortillas, because one tortilla is equal to one slice of pizza from places like Pizza Hut, or even less calories, if you're careful with the cheese. The salad or veggies will take up room on your plate and give you more flavors to make the meal more satisfying on less (vs. just a big plate of the same pasta or pizza which taste the same every bite, the salad or other veggies help mix it up).

Wannabeskinny
03-03-2014, 07:48 AM
I attest to this. I once heard a nutritionist state that if you want to give up sugar then you have to forgo it for 3 days, but you will crave it for the 3 days. After that the cravings will disappear. Well I had to try this because I love sweets. It actually works, I guess once it's out of your system your body does not crave it any longer so it makes sense with the others foods like Chipolte as well. Good luck. :cool:

I wish it was as easy as 3 days. But it is not.

nelie
03-03-2014, 07:54 AM
I would ask a few questions
1) Are you eating enough?
2) Are you exercising?
3) Has your craving lasted longer than a couple days?

I think I have found that we will often overeat other things instead of eating what we crave. Maybe eating the pizza would solve the craving.

I have to say that in my initial 160 lb weight loss, I ate pizza nearly ever week during the last 100 lbs or so. My husband and I would go out to eat every weekend at a pizza parlor and order a large (most times vegetarian) pizza. Initially, I could eat 3 or 4 slices but eventually, I became satisfied with 2 slices as a meal. It was the only time during the week that I ate cheese. I eventually gave up dairy completely and we stopped going out for pizza.

Also, Chipotle can be a very diet friendly meal. My normal order at Chipotle is about 350 calories. I either go with the salad (no rice) or do a bowl with brown rice and eat half the bowl. Since I don't eat dairy, I skip the cheese and sour cream.

Kristeebee
03-03-2014, 09:14 AM
^this^

I believe that sugar (and flour? maybe) come down to a physical addiction, just like drugs or alcohol. Alcoholics in recovery are supposed to practice complete abstinence. I believe that the same way some people can drink but never have an alcohol addiction, that others can eat sugar/flour products and never form an addiction. But just because I can drink, take it or leave it, no cravings, not alcohol abuse issue, that doesn't diminish the addictive quality of alcohol for some people. Same for sugar.

So I now treat it as an addiction. I am an addict and I must be careful. 90% of the time I am grain free, all grains and even fruits because I get cravings I have a hard time controlling. But 10% of the time, I eat "normal" stuff, like today went to a brunch and had a piece of bread. Sugar I try to stay away from 99% of the time. The white stuff, not fruits. (Those I treat like breads, like treats) Sugar I treat like my drug, and I try at all costs to avoid it because UNLIKE say oats, I will actually notice a lot effects from a sugar binge (depression, fatigue, sleepiness)...where as grains just cause an increase in cravings, but I'm ok afterwards. I save sugar treats for very special occasions. That's what works for me. Helps me keep craving away so far...

I agree. I took out wheat and sugar and holy crap does it take the cravings away.

Wannabeskinny
03-03-2014, 09:27 AM
I would ask a few questions
1) Are you eating enough?
2) Are you exercising?
3) Has your craving lasted longer than a couple days?

I think I have found that we will often overeat other things instead of eating what we crave. Maybe eating the pizza would solve the craving.

I have to say that in my initial 160 lb weight loss, I ate pizza nearly ever week during the last 100 lbs or so. My husband and I would go out to eat every weekend at a pizza parlor and order a large (most times vegetarian) pizza. Initially, I could eat 3 or 4 slices but eventually, I became satisfied with 2 slices as a meal. It was the only time during the week that I ate cheese. I eventually gave up dairy completely and we stopped going out for pizza.

Also, Chipotle can be a very diet friendly meal. My normal order at Chipotle is about 350 calories. I either go with the salad (no rice) or do a bowl with brown rice and eat half the bowl. Since I don't eat dairy, I skip the cheese and sour cream.

Cravings are tricky indeed! Eventhough I'm doing IE I don't see a point in bringing in foods to the house that are too tempting for me. Cheetos and chips for example. If they're there I crave them. If they're not there I couldn't care less. If I'm really craving them I will go out and get some specifically for that occasion.

We have to be careful of cravings because innevitably we will reach for something even if it's the next big thing. So if someone is craving pizza for example, they might be swayed by a bagel or some crackers, or some cheese and then nibble away at all those things and feel guilty about it. Just have your slice of pizza and be done with it and then you won't try to be fooling yourself with other foods.

And I agree about Chipotle, it can be a very satisfying meal for me. I go for the salad with the spicy chicken, no cheese, no sour cream, a bit of pico de gallo and a dollop of guac. Extremely satisfying.

krampus
03-03-2014, 10:26 AM
If I'm on a caloric deficit/cutting I need to be really attentive to my macros and basically stuff myself with protein and voluminous roughage until I'm almost sick - or else I'll just fantasize about eating carbs until the cows come home, then give in and eat a huge carby meal and feel satisfied, not stuffed.

If weight loss and a long term deficit is your goal, you can't always trust what your body wants, and it may be a fool's errand to try to moderate something as moreish as pizza. I don't enjoy pizza unless I can eat it until I'm sick of it!

diamondgeog
03-03-2014, 01:15 PM
I attest to this. I once heard a nutritionist state that if you want to give up sugar then you have to forgo it for 3 days, but you will crave it for the 3 days. After that the cravings will disappear. Well I had to try this because I love sweets. It actually works, I guess once it's out of your system your body does not crave it any longer so it makes sense with the others foods like Chipolte as well. Good luck. :cool:

I heard the explanation for this from the head of the Duke University weight loss program. Your body is 'adapted' to run on glucose but it can also be 'fat adapted'.

But it actually takes your cells/organs/metabolism some time to switch over. That is why you feel so bad on the first few days of low carbs, your body is kind of in between.

So he personally suggests low carb because he sees so much success. But he says it is bad to switch back and forth back and forth.

One of the nice things about low carb for me is that my body really has been burning off its stored fat like nothing I've ever done before. I don't even count calories. I am much more full on low carb and my body has just become adapted to using and burning fat.

Munchy
03-03-2014, 01:44 PM
I like to satisfy my cravings by having the same flavor profile that I'm looking for in a way that fits my meal plan.

For example, I may crave pizza, but all I really want is the pizza toppings, marinara, and cheese. A pizza quesadilla filled with plenty of veggies, marinara and cheese on a corn tortilla probably would fit the bill.

Similarly, I love buffalo wings. It's not the buffalo wing itself, but the combination of hot sauce and blue cheese. I'll make lettuce wraps with shredded chicken in buffalo sauce, blue cheese, carrots and celery or buffalo cauliflower dipped in blue cheese dressing.

If I want to eat a burger, I get my lean meat, whatever toppings I want, and wrap it in lettuce. It's not the bread for me that makes the meal, it's the combination of meat and condiments.

Of course, it's much easier to do with savory foods than sweet, but you get a general idea of the approach.

Koshka
03-03-2014, 02:13 PM
It depends on the food for me. For some foods, what works best is not to have the food easily available to me. So, don't have chips (or pasta or pizza or whatever the problem food is) in the house. And, for things that are severe enough don't go to the restaurant. There are some restaurants where I love certain things that it is just easier for me if I don't go to them.

So avoidance of foods being craved often works the best for me. For some foods I can sometimes eat them if in a situation where I can control the portion. I can have a single bag of chips at Panera's for example and that doesn't cause me to go buy a big bag of chips. If it did, I wouldn't eat them at all.

magical
03-03-2014, 04:04 PM
The more I satisfy my cravings, the less I get them.

For me, weight loss and weight management needs to be as simple as possible. No special diet, no fuss and no worries about what to eat at restaurants or with others. Just moderation.

That said, of course, I do consciously avoid junk since they're high in calories and low in nutrients but this action is probably what every other person on the street is doing.

Thousandsunny
03-03-2014, 05:51 PM
I've seen people suggest treating yourself to a small piece of what you're craving. I've seen this work and honestly it's something I wish I were better at. I go crazy with cravings at times and it's not good; psychologically or physically.

@magical you mentioned making weightloss as simple as possible and I think that's a really cool way to look at it. I make stuff waaaaay to hard for myself sometimes.

Tilly5
03-06-2014, 04:18 PM
This is a learning process. What works for one, may not work for another...As far as things like pizza, I experimented with food until I found, a recipe, that is tasty and healthy!

Would you be willing to share the recipe, or the principle of how to keep it healthy? Thanks!

There is an article today in CNN Health that gave an example of a gluten free pizza that used dough made primarily from cauliflower. Lots of brussel sprouts and other vegies. Not sure if it is any good, but it is interesting to experiment with healthier options.

Arwen17
03-06-2014, 04:33 PM
I'm the type of person who can settle my thoughts if I allow myself to have a tiny piece. But I have other friends who must abstain completely or they can't control themselves. You have to figure out which strategy works for you.

I drink lots of water all day. Then at mealtimes I eat lots of low calorie veggies etc and finish it with a small piece of "dessert" aka the bad food I'm craving. At that point, I'm full of veggies, so the small piece of evilness is nothing.

Also, don't try to change your entire diet at once. Try eliminating just one item from your diet. I was a cheese-aholic. So the last item I eliminated was cheese. I first started just trying to eat more veggies intermixed with all my favorite stuff. Months later I found I had the strength of will to go fully vegan. Which is something I wouldn't have ever believed to be possible when I first started improving my diet with baby steps.

Paulitens
03-07-2014, 04:50 PM
Constant protein intake keeps my cravings at bay. Also proper nutrition, making sure I'm getting all the vitamins I need.

Hamoco350
03-08-2014, 12:44 PM
Honestly, I struggle with serious sugar cravings. I have figured out the best thing for me to do is create something sweet daily that is low cal and actually healthy. I've tried it all lately - from chocolate avocado mousse to coconut oil fudge, etc. Then once a week, usually Saturday, I create a more decadent dessert and make sure to share it with family so I only get a smidge of it. I have sweet things in moderation, I substitute ingredients and trick my brain into thinking I'm having the things I used to eat. By doing this, I have finally seen the scale move after a long period of nothingness.

For the longest time I was seeing a therapist weekly over my BED (binge eating disorder) trying to find the root cause and figure out how I could eliminate sweets forever. I have discovered that by just letting myself have it, in healthier ways, I am happy. I don't feel like I need to binge when I don't feel restricted.

My advice is to keep healthy foods in the house at all times. Find healthier versions of foods you love. For me, a pizza craving gets zucchini pizza boats. A chocolate craving gets the aforementioned coconut oil fudge. An ice-cream craving gets frozen banana "faux cream." A craving for potato latkes gets cauliflower latkes. It's basically the best way I can have things I enjoy without feeling deprived and like I need to binge. Just letting myself have variations of the good stuff has propelled me in the right direction and changed my perspective on this whole thing to a - doing things healthier mindset instead of just a "NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT NOW" mindset.

madelinerose94
03-09-2014, 05:38 PM
Recently, I watched the documentary 'Hungry For Change' (I really recommend that if you have the time you should watch it - one of the best documentaries ever!). A woman on there said this:

Instead of saying 'I can't have that', say 'I can have that, but I don't want it'. I have been saying this to myself ever since and it makes me feel in control and even a little bit empowered. :)

mars735
03-09-2014, 11:01 PM
There is an article today in CNN Health that gave an example of a gluten free pizza that used dough made primarily from cauliflower. Lots of brussel sprouts and other vegies. Not sure if it is any good, but it is interesting to experiment with healthier options.

Thanks!