You probably know that weight loss requires balancing how many calories you burn and how many calories you eat. What you might not know is how much the cravings for carbohydrates can get in the way and that these cravings will quickly derail your diet. You might feel depressed or anxious before a carb craving and happy or relaxed once you give in -- making the battle even more difficult. You don't have to suffer at the hands of your cravings -- arm yourself with a plan to kill your carb cravings so that you can stay on track with your diet.
Exercise Is Key
Regular exercise not only burns calories and promotes health, it can curb your cravings, as well. Engage in 45 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise each morning, which will help reduce your cravings for the day. Exercise won't completely eliminate carb cravings, of course, but you'll have an easier time managing the cravings. In addition, when you experience a craving, you can go for a walk or engage in light exercise to fight the desire to indulge. Even if it's only a walk around the block, exercise will enable you to have an easier time reducing your wish to indulge in carb-laden foods. Fighting cravings with exercise burns additional calories and boosts your weight loss, as well.
Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Adjust your diet to eliminate the cravings that a sudden drop in blood sugar often causes. Eat three meals a day and fit in a snack between each meal, even if you're not hungry. Long periods between eating can enable your blood sugar to drop, triggering cravings. In addition, balance your meals and snacks by ensuring that each meal has protein, carbohydrates and fat, as balanced meals take longer to digest, which prevents sudden spikes in your blood sugar. Blood sugar management is important because your body attempts to compensate for variations and drops in your blood sugar by inducing carb cravings.
Eliminate Your Trigger Foods
Trigger foods can wreck your diet plans, so it's best to avoid them. You probably have a few high-carb foods you can't resist gorging on after taking only one bite. Instead of trying to resist cravings for these foods or have "only one nibble," eliminate them. Don't keep your trigger foods in your house, office, car or any place where you spend a lot of time. If a craving is so difficult and you really want to indulge yourself, you'll have the time it takes to go to the store to decide if that trigger food is worth the risk. Better yet, walk to the store, so that light exercise will kill the craving, and you can buy something healthy, instead.
Visualization and Aromatherapy
Cravings can interrupt your focus because they require many of the same areas of your brain, says Tufts University. Use this to your advantage and implement visualization to stop the cravings. Visualize that you are in a beautiful place, relaxing. Focus on every detail. For example, visualize a field with a rainbow, focus on the scent in the air, the vibrant colors of the rainbow and the way the grass moves in the wind. You don't have to meditate, just use your brainpower to visualize something that's completely separate from your craving. Aromatherapy can also help because cravings are often associated with the scent of a food. Smelling something unrelated to food can help you battle a craving. Check out an aromatherapy store and buy a few oils to sniff when a craving strikes -- go with jasmine, lavender and other pleasant scents that you do not associate with food.