I have always had to wage war with my daily carb cravings. Truth be told I still do now but it is no longer daily, and when it happens I know what to do.
However, in the past I would just give in to it and eat whichever carb it was I wanted.
I have never really been one for sweet stuff. I used to love chocolate (got rid of that love with a visualisation that included worms and vomit!) but not crave it madly and I have never been a huge fan of biscuits or ice cream (too cold).
But carbs. Bread (all kinds), pizza, chips, pasta smothered in something white and creamy or tomato. These are the things that trip me up.
Childhood excuse again
My carb cravings were usually for something hot because it makes me feel warm and secure. Something to do with childhood. I always felt full, warm and secure when I ate and so I still associate those feelings with carbs in particular, even now.
I also get carb cravings when I am upset. If I allow myself to get annoyed I usually end up reaching for the oven chips or even better and 1000% tastier chip shop chips, especially Micky’s Fish Bar in Paddington (YUMMY!)
I am not lacking in something…
There is a popular belief that if you crave a certain food it is because your body is lacking in a particular mineral or vitamin that you should take instead. It is a myth I believed myself.
When my body had carb cravings I read that I needed selenium. Well I bought some and it worked. Psychological maybe, who knows.
According to web md.com this is a popular myth. There is no nutritional deficiency and my body isn’t wise enough to know what it needs. So they say.
So what does drive my craving for carbs? Apparently its mainly just habit, which makes it easier to overcome.
Overcoming my carb cravings
If you, like me, have carb cravings what are we meant to do to help ourselves?
It seems the more we eat the more we crave, so the answer is to eat it less. I have noticed when I give up bread that I am okay with not eating it, but as soon as I have a bagel my craving for it returns.
An innocent sandwich while I am out at a working lunch and I am back, hooked and wanting bread again. It can take me weeks, if not months, to give it up again.
This summer holiday is an example of that – I have been eating bread the whole summer and only recently put myself back on track to give it up.
What I had to learn to do was overcome the urge to eat whatever I was craving.
Yesterday while my youngest made two ham and cheese bagel sandwiches I ate salmon and salad. I SOOOOO wanted a bagel but I resisted and promised myself I would have one. Just one. Later in the day, which I did.
Trust me, a few months ago I would have eaten four in a day so this is a massive improvement.
It is never a good idea for me to restrict myself because that only makes the carb cravings worse. The idea is to just eat less of it.
I wish I could avoid temptation by not having it at home in the first place but why should my youngest miss out because I can’t eat it.
When I re-started my journey towards better health I promised myself I will do it with all the temptations swimming around me. It was up to me to want my health more than I wanted a bagel or a double chocolate muffin or a lovely hot juicy portion of chips.
Make a substitution
Another great way I found to help myself through my carb cravings was to substitute it for something healthier.
For example, when I craved bread I would eat almond nuts instead. Sometimes I might have an apple with peanut butter spread on it or celery with peanut butter.
Change my habits
In 2013 I managed to get myself into a bad habit. If I was up watching TV at 10pm (as I was every night that year) I would make myself a peanut butter and jam (jelly) sandwich and a cup of tea. Three slices of bread. The one in the middle was smothered in jam and the other two in peanut butter.
Every night. Without fail. Even if I wasn’t hungry, around 10pm the craving would hit me. Time for tea and my P&J. 🙂
To end that habit I just stopped watching TV at that time. I realised the carb cravings didn’t hit me when I was upstairs on my computer so that is where I put myself. Either on my computer or in my room reading.
As long as I was upstairs the craving never came.
Do something else
Going for a walk or bouncing on my rebounder also helped. These are two ways I still use to help me resist and overcome my carb cravings. Five minutes of bouncing and I have forgotten all about it… most of the time that really does work.
Playing some music and dancing helps too. I do something physical and it seems to help me work through my craving.
“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.”
So there you have it, what to do when you have a craving for carbs coursing through your body. Or at least what I do / used to do when the carb cravings hit me. I hope it is useful for you.
Is there anything you do that you want to share? Please leave a comment below.