Today we’re dealing with the delightful hurdle that is the ‘c’ word: CRAVINGS.
Remember, you’ve cut out what has up until now been a staple of your diet: your body is going to be missing it, especially if you’ve got a sweet tooth. I found that I was fine for the first month or two; very few cravings to speak of, weight running off me like nothing before, and no major stalling – even with Christmas and New Years in the mix. I found that I wasn’t tempted to try bits of the cakes and cookies I bake at the Cafe and all I had to do if I was remotely tempted was tell myself:
“You don’t need it. You’re doing great. Stay with it!”
That worked pretty great for a while, and then, I became a victim of ‘carb creep’.
Carb creep is what happens when you’re losing weight so well you start allowing yourself a little treat here and there, you’re no longer so strict with yourself because hey! You’re losing the weight so good, that extra bit of pumpkin isn’t going to hurt right? You can make it up tomorrow. Sure, you can make it up tomorrow, but remember, this isn’t just about weight loss and gain: this is also about keeping your bloodsugars level so you don’t start feeling dizzy or sick again. We’ve got it tough, us LC-ers: we’re trying to regulate our insulin levels right along with our weight. I know some of us aren’t doing that consciously, but that is one of the great side effects of a LC diet – the level blood sugar I mean – it’s better for your health and ups your metabolism, which is what we’re after here.
The problem when you start to sneak in those extra treats is that you’re allowing your blood sugar that extra spike, whether it’s a sharp spike or a gentle one doesn’t matter: you’ve upset the steady rhythm you’ve been working on so hard over the last couple of months: you’re body’s gone “Oh! Carbs I remember these, I like these!” and has tried to revert to form. When you then don’t have those extra treats again the next day: wham! Cravings. Which is fine if you’re ready to be strong the next day and not give into the cravings.
Now, ladies, you in particular will know what I’m talking about when I talk about hormonal cravings, but this counts for the guys as well! While we’re busy not stuffing our faces with whatever comes across our path, our bodies are still going through their natural hormonal cycles which change our appetites. Women often experience severe cravings for carb foods during their monthly bleeds, and it’s really up to you whether you want to give into those cravings or fight them. 99% of the time, I ignore them as best as I can, occasionally treating myself to a piece of 80% dark chocolate – I’m afraid milk chocolate really is off the menu, people, sorry – and run through the mantra again:
“You don’t need it. You’re doing great. Stay with it! You’re doing so well!”
There are some days, however, that you have to write off for whatever reason. You’re only human, if you’re having the worse day in history and you just can’t fight anymore just give in. It’s okay, tomorrow’s another day. Whatever you do don’t let days like that become a regular occurrence: once in a while it’s okay to give in, but you can’t just let your cravings rule you, you’re stronger than that. Make up your own mantra, go for a run/swim/walk, dance around the house, look at yourself in the mirror and see how great you’re looking, play a video game that requires both hands, eat a handful of almonds or walnuts, knit, do whatever you have to do to not give into those cravings!
My favourite way of not giving into cravings is by giving into my newest vice, one I’m quite proud of, does me no harm and keeps my mouth and hands occupied – I’d really love to say sex, but I’d be joking, though hey, also a good option if your partner’s willing! – which is herbal teas.
Yup, herbal teas. Lots and lots of herbal teas. I must have increased my stash of teas by 300%. My preferences at the moment are peppermint, ginger, rooibos, hibiscus, spearmint, and fennel teas. I’ve been lucky enough to find a brand called Higher Living of teas that do beautiful blends. So when I start craving something I pop the kettle on and go through the variety of tea that I’ve got and pick what I think might be best suited combat that current craving. Not only does the tea keep me from eating something I shouldn’t, but it also helps me get through my water allotment for the day as I drink large mugs of the stuff. It is not unheard of for me to drink ten mugs of tea a day, sometimes more depending on the type of day. If the craving is strong enough, especially for sweets, I’ll do a green tea or a green mate: while the caffeine in both of these may spike my bloodsugar a little bit, it also stops me from wanting the sugar.
I highly recommend you find something similar, develop a harmless vice that you can safely allow yourself to become addicted to so you can keep yourself out of trouble. Whatever you choose, if it’s something you’re drinking or eating, just double check if it’s got any hidden carbs in it, and avoid too much caffeine if you can help it at all.