Not all carbs deserve a bad rap – learn which ones are better than others. Carbs perform an important function by providing an energy source for our bodies. Fiber is also a carb but plays an integral role in our digestive systems.
The speed at which the body processes the carbs is very important in determining how hungry you feel and therefore how much food you consume in a day. Generally speaking, we convert processed carbs more quickly than natural sources of carbs. This means processed carbs do not sustain our energy or satiate for very long, which leads to overeating. You also may have heard of something called the Glycemic Index (GI), which measures the impact a food has on blood sugar levels. High GI foods will raise blood sugar faster than low GI foods.
See this article for tips on how to swap out high GI for low GI and a list of foods and their GI score. How many foods are you eating that are 55 GI and higher?
Start by changing something small – think baby steps. Just take one meal of your day and analyze it. For example, breakfast. If you are used to having skim milk and cereal for breakfast, you are consuming a fair amount of sugar with only small amounts of fat and protein to satiate you for the whole morning. Instead, try steel cut oats paired with almond butter, chia seeds, and raspberries, or a couple eggs with beans and salsa. Both of these alternatives provide you with less sugar than cereal, along with fats and fiber that will help keep you full for longer.
If snacking is your weakness and where you eat most of your carbs, you have a couple options. First, you may want to analyze the meals you eat before you get your snack cravings to ensure your fat and protein intake is high enough in those meals. Second, have some go-to snacks to turn to in your time of weakness. My preferred snacks are a handful of raw nuts (chew them WELL so that you don’t eat a million), hard boiled egg with a tablespoon of mayo, or tablespoon of almond butter with a couple of celery sticks, hummus & bell pepper are a good combo too!
Take one small baby step, make it a habit by repeating it 3-4 weeks, and then look for your next baby step to take! It took my husband and me years of small adjustments to kick our carb cravings. This will not happen overnight.
Ensure you have a good balance of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats in your meals.
When you have good sources of protein and healthy fats with your meal, the body will take longer to convert the food into energy and you will stay satisfied for longer, leaving you less likely to crave carbs. It will take some practice, but when you can break down your meals into these 3 components it makes it easy to do a quick check: am I going to stay satisfied until my next meal? If your plate is loaded with high GI carbs, you will get hungry faster.
Drink more water. I mentioned this in my Fresh Start blog post. Make it your goal to drink at least 60% of your body weight in ounces of water. Drink 100% of your body weight in ounces of water if you took a hot yoga class! Water will help flush the body of impurities and allow you to eliminate extra bloat and salt the body is hanging on to. Also, sometimes when our body is dehydrated we think we are hungry, but we just need more water!
Try these steps and let me know what you think? What works well? What’s still holding you back?