Whenever I am low on carbs, I turn into this crazy, grumpy whiny she-woman who has zero rationale as to what she eats, so long as it has carbs in it. A dozen donuts? Done. An entire loaf of garlic bread? Why not. Those stupid good garlic cheese biscuits? Say no more.
I’ve been a carb lover my whole life, and I know the struggle in and out. Here are some tips I use to help me tame the “carbivore” inside and some well needed honesty to keep you sane.
- Identify what you’re craving. Sometimes the brain thinks bread, but what the body really needs is some iron-filled broccoli. Or a nice grilled chicken breast. Part of what makes paleo and clean eating so important is you put yourself in a situation to understand your body, and get to know what you need verses what you’re craving. Read my post on Paleo vs. Clean Eating for more info.
- Have “good” carbs readily available. I know what you’re thinking. There are good carbs out there? YES! Your body absolutely needs carbs to function. What kind of carbs you put in your body is key though. Look at sugar content when you look at carb content. While you may think you’re doing great by staying at 10g of carbs for your lunch serving, you may be adding 10g of sugar as well. I try to keep good carbs in my kitchen at all times.
Here are my current top favorites. Some of them are more for meals, and some are more for snack options. I’ve included links so you can try some of these yourself.
- Brown Rice Pasta: 43g of carb and no sugar for 1 cup cooked rice pasta
- Sweet Potatoes: 11g of carb and 3g sugar for half a sweet potato
- Green Apples: 19g of carb and 14g sugar for 1 large apple
- Oats: 27g of carb and no sugar for 1 cup cooked oats
- Rice Cakes : 14g of carb and no sugar for 2 lightly salted rice cakes
- Carrots: 2.34g of carb and 1.35g of sugar for 10 baby carrots
- Brown Rice Tortillas: 24g of carb and no sugar for 1 tortilla
- Roasted Almonds: 5g of carb and 1.3g of sugar for 1 oz. almonds
- Sweet Potato Chips: 17g of carb and 2g of sugar for 9 chips
3. Give yourself a break! Don’t be so hard on yourself when you slip. Everyone has their moments. Just last week I invited some friends over for dinner and totally had some garlic bread with my meal. I enjoyed it, had 2 pieces more than I planned on, and MOVED ON with my life. No point in sulking. Cash in that one way ticket on the shame train!
I did feel blah and a bit like I had a beer gut that night, but I moved on and started fresh the next morning. I have struggled with over eating my entire life. There’s no benefit for me if I judge myself for my one little slip when I’ve been doing so great!
4. Enjoy a “Cheat”. Make sure you identify when you would like to “cheat” once in a while. I am much more likely to binge eat if I don’t plan a time to enjoy something special once in a while. Now, be careful that once in a while doesn’t turn into once a night. I’ve had to cut down to about twice a month for a planned cheat, just to keep from slipping into bad habits. For me, a planned cheat is one donut, one burrito with a regular tortilla, or one serving of pasta with regular noodles. I don’t allow a cheat to become an entire meal, because that’s what tips me over in the wrong direction.
5. Don’t let your emotions decide what you eat. How many times have we decided that a hard day “deserves” an extra special treat? Or a promotion at work means celebrating with food? I get it. That’s what everyone else does. But you’re different. You know that too much of a good thing can send you down a dark path. So don’t follow the crowd!
Personally, I reward myself with clothes, a pedicure, or if food really is what I want, then a cup of my favorite tea and a handful of really dark chocolate. If I’ve had a rough day, I call on a friend. Or I talk to my mom.
Sometimes I even tell my kids about my day (the g-rated version) and spend some time with them. That always puts me in a better mood, even when they are the ones that started the sour mood in me! I’ve found I can even tell my kids that I had a rough day because they weren’t listening the first time, and that caused me to feel sad and frustrated inside. There’s nothing wrong with teaching your children that their actions cause a reaction in other people, so long as you don’t attach shame and blame to it.
For example, don’t sit on the floor crying to your kids about how they were so naughty that it made you want to eat a dozen donuts-that’s not good for anyone. Instead, sit down at their level, tell them about how their decision not to listen the first time affected you, and then talk about how tomorrow is going to be a better day! Try asking them how their day was too. Maybe you said some things that made them feel not too good and they’d like to tell you about that.
So there you have it, 5 tips to taming that “carbivore” that so desperately wants to undermine you’re hard work. Have some ideas? I’d love to here them!