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TOPIC: "Lower Carbs" to kick cravings?

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July 24, 2012 6:07 PM
I know this has probably been asked a ton of times, but ya know what? I've noticed this site is full of repetition, and there are still a bunch of supportive people that take time of their day to reply, soooo I'm trying my luck. ;)

I've fallen off the wagon a long time ago and I cannot for the life of me get back on. My problem is CRAVINGS. It's not the typical "I want a donut because it sounds good", it's a more intense, almost severe "I NEED this donut because my heart is pumping, my leg is shaking, I'm incredibly anxious and it won't go away until I'm stuffed full of sugar". It's THAT bad.

I eat a healthy breakfast (most days) and I eat every 2-4 hours, I try to keep my meals at 300-400 each, and I try to focus on protein and fiber, but I find myself wanting to overload on CARBS and SUGARS - but not fruit sugar, I want the refined, processed, delicious, addictive crap. And it gets SO bad to the point where if I DON'T have it, I literally feel anxious like an OCD person inexplicably compelled to tap their doorknob 14 times before leaving their house.

I guess my question out of all this rambling is... would a low carb "diet" (or lifestyle, whatever) help my cravings? At this point, I don't even care about losing weight, I dont' care about working out, all I want to do is be able to be around food and not feel the NEED for it. I want to be able to be around the unhealthy foods and not want to drop everything just to have it. I want these damn cravings to go away!!

Anybody currently on lowER carb plan, or tried it, or thinking of it for this reason?
What are your experiences?
What plan are you on?
Is it helping your cravings and aiding your weight loss?

Thank you all. :)

Love and Alohas,
Ihilani Kapuniai
  7665135
July 24, 2012 6:10 PM
No.

I would suggest that you instead find a way to incorporate your desire for a sugary snack into your diet.

I might suggest very rich dark chocolates. They are VERY sweet, so you can't eat a lot at once and thus eat fewer calories of it.

If you literally have to force yourself to never eat something, that diet plan will eventually fail.

Count your calories. If you have enough left over, go ahead and enjoy dessert. If not and you still want it, well, lace up them running shoes and earn it.

But the entire "I limit my carbs already and desire more carbs, should I restrict even further to remove cravings?" won't work.
  26097696
July 24, 2012 6:28 PM
DanaDark - I appreciate your response, however... I'm the type of person that can binge up to 10,000 calories a day... no exaggeration. I will sit and eat... and eat... and eat... all day, until I feel the urge to vomit. Then I'll eat some more. I can eat any kinds of chocolate (or any dessert, really) by the pound, no matter HOW sweet it is, and still crave more. It's severe.

I've tried for 10 years to incorporate different foods into my diet, to allow myself a moderate portion size, because I've always believed in never denying myself a certain type of food... but I just can't do it. 10 years of trying to eat healthy and counting calories hasn't done a thing. I may need something more drastic to at least help me get rid of the cravings FIRST... then maybe I can slowly start reintroducing certain foods. Unfortunately, your approach is something I've been doing since the start, and it hasn't helped.

Thank you for your response though. :)

Anyone else???
  7665135
July 24, 2012 6:40 PM
Is hard for you to feel satisfied with what you eat during your goals when you are constantly craving for things. Being on calorie deficit is not easy if you cannot easily adjust to it. It is always recommend to drop calories slowly, some drop the calories with no issues. Eating foods like Oatmeal, whole food pasta, and sweet potatoes for example can help you curve those carvings, and even make you full. Some people in this forum will advocate eating whatever you want as long as you keep it in within your caloric goal, and other people are strictly clean with their calories. I am personally the strict type and I will not go on why or why not but that is just me. I also happen to have a weakness for Calzone, and pizza but I only eat them as a reward and don't take it for granted when I eat them.
  24134988
July 24, 2012 6:45 PM
keep carbs to =0 for four days, eating fish,meat,chicken,eggs,cheese up to 1000-1200 cal/day and cont to exercise; add green vegs next week . . . check out dr atkins diet
July 24, 2012 6:49 PM
I believe you can cure sugar cravings by cutting the carbs and sugars. No sweetners of any kind and keep carbs low, no white bread, pasta, rice etc. Do it for 2 weeks and see how you feel, many say they love it and it has cured them from carb/sugar addictions. I can keep my binges under control keeping carbs lower. .....Good luck.
July 24, 2012 6:59 PM
I am like you. Moderation doesn't work for me. It's much easier for me to say no to dessert entirely than to eat just a reasonable portion. Once I have one bite, I want ALL OF IT, the whole tray of brownies, the whole box of cookies, the whole tube of cookie dough. Even if it's something really rich like dark chocolate, even once I'm starting to feel sick.

For me I think this is a learned behavioral problem, not a biological intolerance to carbs.
Specifically, I have dealt with stress, sadness, boredom, anger in the past by "treating" myself to sugary junk food, and felt better for a few minutes, which taught my brain that this is a good solution, and that if I have one, I can/should have more, lots more.

I have found that I don't need to cut carbs in general to kill the sugar junk cravings. I can eat pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, fruit, etc. and do fine. I can even have sugary things like juice and sports drinks, especially if I'm having them during an endurance training session (running 10+ miles) or in combination with other foods (such as a cup of fruit juice added to a smoothie made up mostly of leafy greens) and it doesn't ever trigger a binge.

I can also do okay most of the time in public. I can have a piece of cake at a party and stop at one, most of the time.

However if I have a piece of candy or a cookie in private at home, at least half the time that will lead to me eating way more than I should. WAY more. The easiest thing for me has just been to make a rule that I can't have dessert at home, only when out on special occasions.

Because I sometimes have episodes where eating a dessert at a party leads to coming home and eating tons of dessert once I"m alone, I also limit my dessert eating even on those occasions (making sure it's something I really like and will savor, not just having something to be polite). I am also more vigilant, knowing that I'm going to be vulnerable at those times; sometimes I'll make a plan to deal with the cravings that I know might be coming, like reminding myself to brush teeth right after coming home and go to bed soon after so I won't be up late and tempted to have "just one more piece since I already had some dessert today" as I am prone to rationalize.

Of course the best solution is just not to have it around. I can't do this completely because I have a husband and kids who would be mad if I stopped buying treats. I do try to store them in an area of the pantry that I don't use for general cooking, so I won't see it unless I'm looking for it, and as much as possible I buy the treats that I like the least but that they like.
July 24, 2012 7:48 PM
Thank you all very much for your replies!
  7665135
July 24, 2012 7:52 PM
I had to detox in order to kick my cravings. It was the only way, and it was 2 weeks of crying, tantrums, pain, but it was so worth it. Now I don't do wheat at all, since i found out my body is sensitive to it.

I do miss it sometimes, but it's worth it!
  14955216
July 24, 2012 8:18 PM
QUOTE:

I had to detox in order to kick my cravings. It was the only way, and it was 2 weeks of crying, tantrums, pain, but it was so worth it. Now I don't do wheat at all, since i found out my body is sensitive to it.

I do miss it sometimes, but it's worth it!


Has low carbing it helped with your cravings?? Do you find that you don't crave carbs as much as before??
  7665135
July 24, 2012 8:18 PM
QUOTE:

I believe you can cure sugar cravings by cutting the carbs and sugars. No sweetners of any kind and keep carbs low, no white bread, pasta, rice etc. Do it for 2 weeks and see how you feel, many say they love it and it has cured them from carb/sugar addictions. I can keep my binges under control keeping carbs lower. .....Good luck.


Thank you! Are you currently on low carb, or have done low carb before? If so, what are/were your experiences?
  7665135
July 24, 2012 8:19 PM
QUOTE:

Is hard for you to feel satisfied with what you eat during your goals when you are constantly craving for things. Being on calorie deficit is not easy if you cannot easily adjust to it. It is always recommend to drop calories slowly, some drop the calories with no issues. Eating foods like Oatmeal, whole food pasta, and sweet potatoes for example can help you curve those carvings, and even make you full. Some people in this forum will advocate eating whatever you want as long as you keep it in within your caloric goal, and other people are strictly clean with their calories. I am personally the strict type and I will not go on why or why not but that is just me. I also happen to have a weakness for Calzone, and pizza but I only eat them as a reward and don't take it for granted when I eat them.


Thank you. I completely agree... personally, I think being strict is good sometimes. I think that's exactly what I need, at least for a little while.
  7665135
July 24, 2012 8:21 PM
QUOTE:

I am like you. Moderation doesn't work for me. It's much easier for me to say no to dessert entirely than to eat just a reasonable portion. Once I have one bite, I want ALL OF IT, the whole tray of brownies, the whole box of cookies, the whole tube of cookie dough. Even if it's something really rich like dark chocolate, even once I'm starting to feel sick.

For me I think this is a learned behavioral problem, not a biological intolerance to carbs.
Specifically, I have dealt with stress, sadness, boredom, anger in the past by "treating" myself to sugary junk food, and felt better for a few minutes, which taught my brain that this is a good solution, and that if I have one, I can/should have more, lots more.

I have found that I don't need to cut carbs in general to kill the sugar junk cravings. I can eat pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, fruit, etc. and do fine. I can even have sugary things like juice and sports drinks, especially if I'm having them during an endurance training session (running 10+ miles) or in combination with other foods (such as a cup of fruit juice added to a smoothie made up mostly of leafy greens) and it doesn't ever trigger a binge.

I can also do okay most of the time in public. I can have a piece of cake at a party and stop at one, most of the time.

However if I have a piece of candy or a cookie in private at home, at least half the time that will lead to me eating way more than I should. WAY more. The easiest thing for me has just been to make a rule that I can't have dessert at home, only when out on special occasions.

Because I sometimes have episodes where eating a dessert at a party leads to coming home and eating tons of dessert once I"m alone, I also limit my dessert eating even on those occasions (making sure it's something I really like and will savor, not just having something to be polite). I am also more vigilant, knowing that I'm going to be vulnerable at those times; sometimes I'll make a plan to deal with the cravings that I know might be coming, like reminding myself to brush teeth right after coming home and go to bed soon after so I won't be up late and tempted to have "just one more piece since I already had some dessert today" as I am prone to rationalize.

Of course the best solution is just not to have it around. I can't do this completely because I have a husband and kids who would be mad if I stopped buying treats. I do try to store them in an area of the pantry that I don't use for general cooking, so I won't see it unless I'm looking for it, and as much as possible I buy the treats that I like the least but that they like.


Thank you for your reply! I totally agree, I think it may have something to do with a behavioral problem... hell, it may even be an emotional/mental problem, something I have no clue about. Probably something I should look into.

Thank you for your experiences/advice. Will definitely keep it in mind and see if it works for me. :)
  7665135
July 24, 2012 8:26 PM
because you're prone to binge eating i would say that low carb/cutting out the treats altogether is not advisable. You'll likely snap and binge and undo weeks of hard work (if you binge up to 10k calories).

Instead I'd do what was mentioned above--only allow treats outside the home and only a single serving. You can plan a larger treat one day a week or a smaller treat daily.

I would 100000% say do NOT try to resist the craving altogether--that usually backfires.
July 24, 2012 9:18 PM
People are reluctant to say this but I read all of these responses and I think "Is anybody going to say anything about the addictiveness of this behavior?" I read that you eat to the point of wanting to vomit yet you still eat more and I don't see how it's any different than if you were saying you were a binge drinker. It's fine to talk about low carb, no carb, whatever carb, but what about the psychological part of all of this? Have you seen a counselor/therapist etc about any of these issues?
Edited by nogoldilocs On July 24, 2012 9:19 PM
  24307546
July 24, 2012 9:43 PM
QUOTE:

I'm the type of person that can binge up to 10,000 calories a day... no exaggeration. I will sit and eat... and eat... and eat... all day, until I feel the urge to vomit. Then I'll eat some more. I can eat any kinds of chocolate (or any dessert, really) by the pound, no matter HOW sweet it is, and still crave more. It's severe.

I've tried for 10 years to incorporate different foods into my diet, to allow myself a moderate portion size, because I've always believed in never denying myself a certain type of food... but I just can't do it. Unfortunately, your approach is something I've been doing since the start, and it hasn't helped.


We're a lot alike. The only thing that even remotely helps me is to make identical things at home. If that means I bake a batch of cookies everyday, so be it. I've learned to use stevia and lower calorie versions of things that at least HELPS me maintain my weight.
The real issue is psychological.
Before you're ready to reach out in that way, I suggest replacing the food with a healthier version. Or, buy popping corn and make it in a brown paper bag in the microwave. As long as I have something to munch on, I feel better.

Good luck to you!
July 24, 2012 9:47 PM
QUOTE:

People are reluctant to say this but I read all of these responses and I think "Is anybody going to say anything about the addictiveness of this behavior?" I read that you eat to the point of wanting to vomit yet you still eat more and I don't see how it's any different than if you were saying you were a binge drinker. It's fine to talk about low carb, no carb, whatever carb, but what about the psychological part of all of this? Have you seen a counselor/therapist etc about any of these issues?


^^^ this
July 24, 2012 11:10 PM
currently suffered from this as well.....I find he only way to detox myself and return back to routine is to try and hit the gym hard.
Try as much as I can to burn the calories off and that usually makes me realise how hard it is to loose all the weight off in the first place.

I then find myself less incline to try and binge again after.
It's usually binging and not going to the gym or working it off is what I find makes it easier the next day to repeat the same mistake again.
  19499681
July 24, 2012 11:23 PM
QUOTE:

because you're prone to binge eating i would say that low carb/cutting out the treats altogether is not advisable. You'll likely snap and binge and undo weeks of hard work (if you binge up to 10k calories).

Instead I'd do what was mentioned above--only allow treats outside the home and only a single serving. You can plan a larger treat one day a week or a smaller treat daily.

I would 100000% say do NOT try to resist the craving altogether--that usually backfires.


While that case would be true for most, it hasn't been for me. I've been IN ketosis (not just doing low carb, actually IN the fat-burning stage of ketosis) for 50-something days. I have not had a day where I have cheated enough to knock myself out of ketosis. I have had a few bites of cake or a few crackers at a family event, but even then I have shown terrific restraint.

OP, if you think you may be addicted to carbs, try cutting them out. The first two weeks were HELL (body kicking and screaming for frosting, doughnuts, and other things I normally wouldn't eat), and I was lucky enough not to get the keto flu. I have been keeping my carbs as close to (and mostly under) 20g a day since the end of May, and I really like the way I feel. Brain fog has lifted, energy restored, cravings have GTFO. It's nice. Now that I'm adapted, I really don't think I'll ever go back. Sure, I'll eventually reincorporate fruits and possibly whole grains, hell, I'm looking forward to eating tons more of zucchini and cabbages once I have a greater carb allowance, but I'll not touch where I was a few months ago with a 10 foot pole.

Is this right for you? Try it. That's the only way you'll know. Good luck!
  12909877
July 25, 2012 6:52 AM
couple more quick thoughts to add, things that help me:

-getting enough sleep; if I'm tired I'm .more impulsive and likely to overeat. plus most of my overeating is in the evenings.

-avoiding alcohol. I was never a big drinker, but I used to have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching TV in the evening; however I've found that even a single drink lowers my inhibitions enough that I would start snacking on sugary junk food if I found some. So now I have a drink maybe once a week at most.

-setting up non-food treats to look forward to in the evening. I seem to need a treat at that time of day. Some things that work for me are splurging on bath soaks like the big fizzy bath bombs from Lush; a new book; texting an out-of-town friend that I haven't talked to in a while and setting up a time to talk on the phone in the evening. Having those things to look forward to can help replace my cravings.
July 25, 2012 7:34 AM
You sound a lot like me. Before I changed my eating habits my day consisted of crap, crap, and more crap that came from sugar & processed carbs. I can't eat gluten but I still found ways to binge on entire boxes of gluten free brownie mix, cakes, cookies, etc. Moderation does not work for me when it comes to stuff like that. 55 days ago I started a ketogenic diet. I eat around 25 net carbs per day, and all of my carbs come from veggies (spinach, kale, broccoli, cucumbers), some fruits (avocado, berries), and the small trace amounts that are in cheeses. In these last 55 days i've lost 33 lbs. I lost 23 pounds within the first two weeks (yes it was all water weight but i'll still take it), and I lose consistently every week now. Of course I still eat within my calorie goals but not once have I had a craving for anything sweet. I haven't binged nor do I have any desire to. My appetite is finally under control, I have more energy, and i'm happier b/c i'm not stuffing my face with crap all of the time. I can easily see myself eating this way for the rest of my life. If you think that cutting your carbs down will help then try it. It won't hurt to change something for two weeks, and see how you feel.
July 25, 2012 7:44 AM
FitnessRX magazine (volume 11, number 4) has a very interesting article about just this type of situation. It is fairly new thinking and suggests that carbs, even cravings for sugary sweets, should be consumed early in the day. It is worth the read. You will still have to learn to exercise some self control however. Lots of luck!
July 25, 2012 7:49 AM
I am back on the lower carb diet after a 2 week vacation that included ice cream 2x day. I have a wicked sweet tooth and any cookie or sweets is a gateway food to another cookie, brownie, bowl of sweet cereal or what ever. For me I like to low carb because it eliminates my craving for those decant treats. I even said no to ice cream cake at work yesterday.

I eat high protein so I feel full longer. If I need something sweet then I grab a handfull of bittersweet chocolate chips and that does the trick. Otherwise I will mix ff ricotta cheese with plain greek yogurt, and marcapone cheese and splenda for something sweet. Or make a orange cremesicle greek yogurt drink with extract and splenda. Its can be challening to start (48 hrs) but after that I felt a noticable difference. You do need to drink alot of water, but with high protein diet I get crazy dry mouth so thats not a problem like it use to be.

Good luck
  6992139
July 25, 2012 7:49 AM
QUOTE:

I know this has probably been asked a ton of times, but ya know what? I've noticed this site is full of repetition, and there are still a bunch of supportive people that take time of their day to reply, soooo I'm trying my luck. ;)

I've fallen off the wagon a long time ago and I cannot for the life of me get back on. My problem is CRAVINGS. It's not the typical "I want a donut because it sounds good", it's a more intense, almost severe "I NEED this donut because my heart is pumping, my leg is shaking, I'm incredibly anxious and it won't go away until I'm stuffed full of sugar". It's THAT bad.

I eat a healthy breakfast (most days) and I eat every 2-4 hours, I try to keep my meals at 300-400 each, and I try to focus on protein and fiber, but I find myself wanting to overload on CARBS and SUGARS - but not fruit sugar, I want the refined, processed, delicious, addictive crap. And it gets SO bad to the point where if I DON'T have it, I literally feel anxious like an OCD person inexplicably compelled to tap their doorknob 14 times before leaving their house.

I guess my question out of all this rambling is... would a low carb "diet" (or lifestyle, whatever) help my cravings? At this point, I don't even care about losing weight, I dont' care about working out, all I want to do is be able to be around food and not feel the NEED for it. I want to be able to be around the unhealthy foods and not want to drop everything just to have it. I want these damn cravings to go away!!

Anybody currently on lowER carb plan, or tried it, or thinking of it for this reason?
What are your experiences?
What plan are you on?
Is it helping your cravings and aiding your weight loss?

Thank you all. :)

Love and Alohas,
Ihilani Kapuniai


I went lowER carb ( 100g net or less per day) almost 3 months ago, and it has definitely changed my cravings. I have a box of donuts that has been sitting on top of my fridge for close to 2 weeks now, and I have had ONE. I have candy in my fridge, but I might have A piece a day. In the evening I will make a plate of cheese and olives (or pickles) and summer sausage instead of greasy chips. For breakfast I eat eggs, bacon, cottage cheese and berries instead of a small bowl of cereal.

ETA: I am loosely following Atkins. When I ate a *normal* amount of carbs, I exercised for 90 minutes 3-4 times a week, and it took 3 MONTHS to lose 7 lbs. When I reduced my carbs to under 100g net per day, I lost 8lbs the first month, 6 lbs the 2nd month, and so far I have lost 2.4lbs the 3rd month. So 7lbs VS 16.4.....I think I'll stick to lowER carb!
Edited by sarahrbraun On July 25, 2012 7:57 AM
  9724253
July 25, 2012 7:52 AM
It definitely sounds like you have a simple carb/sugar addiction. Keep in mind that your brain does release some pleasure chemicals after eating simple carbs and sugar, so it's not really that strange to have an addiction to them. Your best bet for breaking this addiction is to just flat out stop eating refined carbs and foods with added sugar for awhile. Avoid artifically sweetened food and drinks as well. They simply reinforce your cravings and sweet tooth. No more diet soda (or any soda). Get used to drinking water, black coffee, plain tea, etc. Once you've gotten back on the wagon, you can start adding those types of foods back in, but only in moderation. Use fruits to satisfy your cravings. They won't fully satisfy of course at first, but eventually they will.

Also, NEVER keep simple carbs like chips, snack packs, etc., sitting around your house. Nobody who has your level of cravings can resist that temptation. NEVER rely on your willpower, that's a sure fire method for failure. Simply make sure not you're hungry when you go grocery shopping (I find cheat meals are great right before grocery shopping b/c then I buy super healthy food), and don't buy any processed carbs or sugary stuff to take home with you.
Edited by ahamm002 On July 25, 2012 7:55 AM
  8808327

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