Your diet is going great, but you are still bothered by those junk food cravings. In this post, I share four practical ways for you to stop craving carbs.
Stop Craving Carbs Highlights
- It is natural to want to eat refined carbohydrates (i.e., junk foods) because they are addictive. So, don’t beat yourself up for liking them.
- How you talk to yourself matters. It can give you the power to pass on dessert or give you no choice but to eat it.
- By choosing foods that contain healthy fats and fiber, you stabilize your blood sugar and naturally curb cravings.
- Before eating something, make sure it meets two criteria. You want the food to taste good and leave you feeling good after you eat it.
How to Stop Craving Carbs [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Why your body craves carbs.
- How self awareness can help with cravings.
- Tips on both mental and physical approaches to curbing cravings.
Carb Are Addictive – Craving them is Natural
First of all, don’t beat yourself up if you are experiencing cravings for junk food. Because sugar is addictive, wanting to eat sugary or refined carbs is a perfectly natural biological event that nobody is immune to.
When you eat a refined carbohydrate (i.e., the three Cs: cookies, cakes, and candies), their refined ingredients are absorbed into your system quickly. That quick absorption sends a signal to the pleasure center of your brain, mentally linking junk food with pleasure.
You are up against some challenges when you try to stop craving carbs. However, that does not mean that you are powerless. There are quite a few things that you can do to get in control. One strategy is to watch your internal dialogue.
Tune into Your Internal Dialogue
When I help someone who is working to create a healthy, low-carb diet, one of the things I listen for is what they are saying to themselves.
If they’re saying things like, “I just cannot give up junk food.” or “I want to be healthy, but I just can’t resist ice cream,” I encourage them to tune into the words they are using. If you are constantly telling yourself that you can’t succeed, then you are creating that reality for yourself, and, essentially, giving power to that treat.
For instance, if a cupcake is sitting in front of you. It doesn’t have any power unless you give it power through your thoughts.
The takeaway: Be aware of your internal dialogue or how you’re talking to yourself, and you’ll take power away from food and put it back in your hands where it belongs.
Eat to Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
It helps to get your body and your brain on the same page. The way to get your body on board is by stabilizing your blood sugar. When you have a dip in your blood sugar, your body feels uncomfortable, and you experience intense and immediate hunger.
To feel better, cravings are triggered to encourage you to eat something that will quickly raise your blood sugar. Cookies, cakes, and candies are the refined foods that absorb quickly and boost blood sugar fast, so those are the types of foods that you crave.
To stop craving carbs for good, the best thing you can do is make good food choices that stabilize your blood sugar. Two nutrients that stabilize your blood sugar are healthy fats and fiber. Healthy fats are found in high-quality meats, fish, and dairy foods. Some plant foods contain both healthy fats and fiber, like nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say that you have an event coming up and you know that there will be a lot of tempting treats around. To get control of your cravings, try eating a salad before you go.
You can fill a bowl with a couple of cups of leafy greens topped with nuts and seeds and full-fat salad dressing. The fiber and fat from that small meal will slowly digest, resulting in a gentle increase in energy as you drive to the event.
When you arrive, you’ll feel good and be in control of your cravings. This feeling of contentment will allow you to shift your focus away from the food being served so you can enjoy the activities and guests.
Focus on How You Feel
To put a stop to carb cravings, it is helpful to clarify how you feel when you’re eating junk food.
I have a friend who was struggling with eating a healthy diet. She mentioned that she loves junk food, but it doesn’t love her because when she eats it, she spends the rest of the afternoon in the bathroom. We often find ourselves making statements like this one, but rarely stop to evaluate the meaning behind them.
If you’re eating something and it’s making you spend the next three hours in the bathroom, are you really enjoying that food?
I like to say that if I’m going to eat something, I want it not only to taste good but also leave me feeling good after I’ve eaten it. If the food doesn’t meet those two criteria, it’s not worth it.
You can stop craving carbs, but it requires a mental and physical approach. Understand that refined carbs are addictive, so there is no shame in wanting to eat them. Work on eating more healthy fats and fiber to stabilize your blood sugar, and tune into how you talk to yourself and how you feel, and you’ll get control of cravings.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.