Changing to Low-Carb and Dealing with Cravings
I talk to some people about dropping carbs to lose weight and you can see FEAR, big scary fear, on their face; they starting shaking their heads and backing away. A few have gotten instantly angry with me (I mean angry; telling me off, shaking in rage and yelling angry - always a bit of a surprise lol) just for saying the words "low carb".... getting to explain what I mean never gets to happen.
"No, I can't live without (insert favorite carb-fix here)."
"No! You want me to live a miserable life without all the things I love the most!"
"No. I can't do it!"
(and sometimes, "No, shut up! I don't want to hear this! NO!")
Our feelings about carbohydrates are powerful things. What we don't realize however is that there are chemical, biological reasons we feel the way we do. Change the biology and you change the feelings!
I always feel if we understand what is happening to us it empowers us to deal with the change and make smarter choices.
There are some simple reasons (and simple to change reasons) we crave carbs.
The easy one is that our bodies are used to burning blood sugar as fuel and when we need more energy we want more sugar. When we burn fat as fuel for our bodies to function, we crave different. (Remember, fat is stored energy - we are supposed to be using this stuff! Not just hauling it around all the time.)
Wheat (and all the bazillion things we put it in) is addictive. We don't "love bread" we're addicted to bread - and buns, muffins, bagels, french toast, pancakes, cookies, pastries, cereals, and the thousands of packaged foods that contain bread because it's addictive and companies know that putting wheat proteins in their products mean we get happy (getting both our wheat and carb fixes) and will want to buy their products more.
And for many (if not most) of use there is a bacterial/yeast imbalance inside of us that will cause us to crave carbohydrates. When we drop the number of carbs we eat each day, the yeast will begin to die. We're not going to feel great during that process and eating a carb will make us feel better fast when the yeast gets to eat and that die off process stops! Of course - long term - letting the stuff die and replacing it with healthy good bacteria will improve our health, digestion, and immune systems immensely!
If we are aiming for the 30-50 carbs we need to function optimally each day, this process is unpleasant, but passes within a few days to 2-3 weeks or so. Once yeast is dead, once our wheat addiction is past, and once we're burning fat for fuel, we feel different about foods. We will still like what we liked, but we don't need it to be happy. We'll be in charge of our lives, instead of yeasts, fungi, and addictions.
Ten carbs per meal will head us into fat burning mode quickly (a few days to 2 weeks). There will be a day or two when our energy is very low as we make the transition. Drink lots of water, eat more fat, rest if you have to.
When yeast dies we get cravings off the charts. Drink more water, use food grade clays to absorb the toxins your body is flushing, eat a lot of fiber to keep things moving. Soft, sticky, low-carb fibers from vegetables (which also give us some serious nutrition to rebuild our bodies during this process) is the best source of fiber. Yeast die off can give us a few days of edginess, headaches, aches and pains, maybe flu like symptoms. Enjoy them! You're on your way to better health. :D
The wheat addiction is pretty much over in a few days to a week. If you go 'cold turkey'. "I'll cut back slowly," rarely works and keeps us dreaming of that next bit of bun for the rest of our lives.
Once you've past these hurdles, the first thing you're likely to notice is a big jump in energy and your brain feeling... brighter. :D Then you'll notice that unwanted weight begins to be burned as fuel and really does 'melt' right off your body.
This is war - choose to win!