How to Overcome Craving Carbs
Carbohydrate rich foods have such a bad reputation! Why is that?
I'll give you reasons why and ways to overcome it.
First of all, what type of carbs am I talking about? I'm talking about pasta, bread, cakes, cookies, basically anything made with flour and sugar.
Did you know fruits and vegetables are carbs?! Yes! Except, most are lower in carbs than others such as berries compared to potatoes but are still lower in carbs than your loaf of bread or bowl of pasta. So don't be afraid of fruits and vegetables!!
Probably the main reason why carbs are so bad is because we can't just have ONE SERVING of pasta or ONE SERVING of cereal. It tastes good but mainly because we add a bunch of butter and sugar to make it delicious.
Will you have a bowl of elbow macaroni plain? Yeah, didn't think so. It's all the crap we add to it on top of the large portions.
STRESS is one of many reasons why we crave carbohydrates so much and it can lead to weight gain.
WHY? Long, complicated, scientific-y terms aside, when your brain perceives stress, it signals hormones to be released. This triggers the "fight or flight" response in the body. This built up energy doesn't get used because you aren't actually fighting or fleeing. Instead, you are sitting and stressing.
The hormones released will cause you to crave simple carbohydrates to quickly replenish the energy you used up from fighting or fleeing. But again, you didn't fight or flee yet you still eat the excess calories in the form of simple carbohydrates. This is why you crave ice cream after a break up, chocolate after a rough day at work, pastries at bedtime, etc. Notice NO ONE craves an apple after a stressful event!
For more research, look up: "stress and weight gain"
WHAT TO DO? Managing stress is critical to your success in weight loss. Click HERE for my list of 35 stress relieving ideas!
DEPRESSION can cause use to crave carbs. We are down and out and a sweet pastry will make you feel better! However, this is temporarily and not without consequences.
WHY? High carb foods have been proven to release the feel-good hormone serotonin. Yet, this is a cycle that just keeps repeating itself.
WHAT TO DO? Instead of self medicating with food, treat your depression or the root cause of your mood to help break this cycle. Choosing healthy foods such as fruit can help, reducing your portion size, and/or practicing mindful eating can help. Also, find other methods to help you feel better that doesn't involve food such as a video game, gardening, shopping, reading, etc. or see a doctor.
LOW BLOOD SUGAR is another reason why we crave sweets or carb heavy foods.
WHY? Well, it's a great way to help pick up your blood sugar to a normal level, problem is, we tend to eat TOO much carbs which can later drop your blood sugar low again. (Does sugar crash ring a bell?)
WHAT DO TO? Eating a balanced meal, eating healthy fats, not skipping meals, portion control, all are great ways to help manage this issue if you don't have any medical issues that require specific solutions.
HABIT is next on the list. Do you eat a high carb food every day for dinner? How about every day after work? Force of habit.
I usually eat a snack when I get in my car after work. Well, one day I had my snack already AT work right before I got off. As soon as I got in my car, I reached for my snack but...I already had it! My brain just automatically reached for it like I didn't JUST eat it!
WHY? You may have literally trained yourself to eat a specific kind of food during a specific time or event.
WHAT TO DO? Obviously try to break that habit which is not always easy. Some ideas can be to switch up your food choices but keep the time/event the same, replace one habit for another, distract yourself, or just cut cold turkey.
Hopefully these reasons and solutions can help you manage your carb craving habits better! As always, talk to your primary care provider with any issues you may have and you can always do your own research from reputable or .org websites!