Tuesday, October 28, 2008

7 Simple Strategies to Kill Carb Cravings

By Dr. Leslie Van Romer

1. Satisfy Your Hunger Drive 
A cultural myth that many people believe is that you must control your hunger drive to lose and maintain ideal weight. Delete that myth from your brain! Your hunger drive cannot be controlled. It is a natural instinct, and like all human instincts, it keeps you alive.

When you’re thirsty, you drink. When you’re sleepy, you sleep. When you’re hungry, guess what? You should eat. Simply fill up on the right foods that satisfy your hunger drive.

Cravings, triggered by hunger, can be crushed, if you stop waging war with your hunger drive and start satisfying it by filling up on the best-for-you foods.

2. Fill Up on Good-Guy Carbs
For all the carbohydrate confusion, there is one glaring fact. All carbs are not created equal. The good-guy carbohydrates, sourced by whole, fresh fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains (brown rice, not breads) and legumes, satisfy your hunger drive, thereby calming cravings. When a bad carb craving hits, fill up on nature’s best-for-you foods first and the craving will fade.

Hint: For cravings to disappear, you must eat enough of the best-for-you foods to really and truly fill you up.

3. Ditch Bad-Boy Carbs
Bad boy carbs incite cravings so steer clear of them. The more refined sugar, desserts, baked goods, breads, salty snacks, and chocolate you eat, the more hooked you get. If they are out of sight, they are much easier to avoid.

The natural sugars and sodium in fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, and legumes, are your biggest allies to successfully fight and conquer carbohydrate cravings. When cravings call, be sure to first load up on these foods, especially whole fruits and vegetables, to render those sabotaging urges powerless.

4. Graze on Fruit for Breakfast
Fresh fruit expedites your freedom from cravings. The challenge is eating enough fruit when traditional food faves demand attention. Rather than feasting on the typical bad-boy carbs which trigger cravings (dry cereal from a box, quick oats, brown-colored white toast, pancakes, pastries), fat-laden bacon and eggs, or just a cup of coffee, why not fill your morning with nature’s best craving crushers – fresh fruits?

Pay attention to your hunger drive and eat enough whole fruits, approximately four to ten, to fill you up and satisfy you. Grazing on whole, fresh fruits until noon helps shut the gate before the cravings get out, gain momentum and sneak attack later in the day. Try it. See how many whole fresh fruits fill you up and behold your incredible shrinking cravings!

5. Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
Whether at home, work, or on the go, think ahead and keep healthy snacks with you at all times – cut-up veggies, fruit, and raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. That way, when cravings start, your fortifications will stop them dead in their tracks.

6. Stop the Diet-go-Round – Forever
Sure diets work, for a while – until they don’t. But they are excellent at one thing – adding red-hot fuel to your cravings.

First, diets deprive you of your food faves - until you can’t stand it, give in, and sneak them back into your life. Second, diets restrict calories and portions, leaving you hungry, making you crave more, and building that food frenzy to a height that consumes your thoughts and your life until … you give in. Third, diets often limit the major nutrient, carbohydrates. With a shortage of good-guy carbs, cravings take control and you grab the first bad-guy carb in sight. The result: you feel like a hopeless failure one more time.

7. Add and Wiggle!
Okay. Let’s face it right now. You’re not perfect. You will never be perfect. Nor do you have to be perfect to finally be free from food cravings. So give yourself some wiggle room. Instead of proclaiming that you’re never ever going to be seduced by one of your food friends again, try a new strategy.

Think addition, not subtraction. In other words, instead of trapping yourself in a restrictive food-box of “can’t haves,” think about which foods you “get to” add to your day that will give you the most nutrition for your calorie buck. These are the very same foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes – that will stop those cravings.

Then, follow the 80/20 Rule. Eighty percent of the time when meals and snacks are routine without holidays, birthdays or get-togethers, add and fill up first on those best-for-you foods. The other twenty percent of the time, don’t worry about it and wiggle! Just beware you don’t wiggle too much.

No matter how diligent you are at incorporating these strategies in your daily life, if you are a mere mortal, there will be times when things go awry. No worries, with persistent mindfulness, time, and patience, you can free yourself from cravings and build your body-dream-come-true.

With years of experience, and a thriving private prac-tice, Dr. Leslie Van Romer helps her clients with the prevention of diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, fatigue and premature aging through healthy and conscious lifestyle and diet choices. Her new book, Getting Into Your Pants, empowers readers to lose weight and boost self-esteem, energy and health with do-able food and life-style choices. For more information, visit www.gettingintoyourpants.com or call 1-888-375-3754.

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