Food cravings can wreck your eating plan when you’re trying to lose weight. The logic behind the Atkins diet is that by limiting carbohydrates, your body will burn its fat for fuel. However, while your body is adjusting to the change, you’ll probably have bouts of cravings to deal with.
Understanding why you have food cravings is the first step to putting a stop to them.
Perhaps you were rewarded with food as a child and as a result, you celebrate your milestones with ice cream, or comfort your broken heart with cookies. You know you shouldn’t eat those potato chips, but having a bowl of broccoli instead isn’t going to cut it.
When you eat sugar, it triggers the production of serotonin—the happy hormone. Part of the reason you want sweets when you’re feeling down is because serotonin makes you feel good. Even if you aren’t a person who craves pie, but prefer French bread or potato chips, the result is the same. Your body turns any kind of refined carbohydrate to sugar.
Low Blood Sugar
If your diet consists mainly of refined carbohydrates (baked goods with white flour, low-fiber foods and white sugar), your blood sugar and insulin levels yo-yo, making you crave more. Having a snack that stabilizes blood sugar will stop the craving.
Now that you’re armed with information, here’s how to stop the cravings.
1. Keep a Journal
It may not seem like keeping a journal could make a difference, but try it. Writing in a journal is a useful weight loss tool because it helps you find patterns in how and why you eat. Write down how you feel when you’re having a craving, or draw a picture. Look back at what you’ve written each day and see how much you learn.
2. Have a Beverage
Thirst sometimes masquerades as craving. Try drinking a glass of water or zero-calorie flavored seltzer. You can also drink an Atkins shake. If you like herb tea, choose a flavor that feels like an indulgence, add a packet of zero-carb sweetener if you’d like. If salt cravings are your downfall, savor a cup of hot broth.
3. Eat a Bit of Fat
Mix a pat of real butter with a teaspoon of cream cheese. Add a drop of Stevia, or zero-carb sweetener, and mix well. Try it, it’s delicious.
4. Do Something that Makes You Happy
Remove yourself from the place where you’re reminded of cravings. If you know there’s something to eat in the refrigerator, it’s harder to avoid it when you’re ten steps away. Try getting out and doing something that makes you feel good. Get a manicure, see a free concert in the park, take your dog for a walk or volunteer for your favorite cause.
5. Avoid Triggers
Stay away from food television, ignore your baking cookbooks and ignore the food court when you’re shopping.
6. Have Something to Eat
Eat a cube or two of cheese. One serving of cheese is about the equivalent of a pair of medium-sized dice. Have a serving of a sugar-free gelatin dessert. Dip a hard-boiled egg in a bit of seasoned salt and enjoy!