Averting the Carb Attack

by Grace Rivers, RDN, CDCES

You are ready to eat every carb in sight! You told yourself that you wouldn’t eat carbs again, yet, here you are, fighting that urge to overeat. If this sounds familiar, examine how you might be getting yourself in this situation. You can stop yourself from overeating and driving your blood sugar up.

Are you setting yourself up for a carb attack?

You have cut back on carbs and succeeded at it for a few days. You are going strong, and you know you have mastered how to avoid carbs forever. And then it happens – you start thinking about eating carbs. A donut, maybe – one won’t hurt. No! You push through, avoiding the tempting thought.

A few moments later, that got to eat some carbs feeling is back. You think about it and remind yourself that your blood sugar has been in a healthy range. So, you decide to celebrate by eating some cookies, which you quickly decide would be even better with a container of ice cream.

Then you invite some friends over and treat yourself to more carbs. The next day you feel awful! Emotions of guilt lead to you beating yourself up because you believe you have done something terrible. 

What drove you to the carb craving?

Stop and ask yourself why you were craving carbs.

Do you avoid carbs because you think they are unhealthy for you? Carbs are filled with antioxidants to help you support your immune system.

Do you deny yourself sufficient carbs? Not eating adequate amounts of carbs can leave you craving them.

Were you famished? If you don’t eat a substantial amount of food to satisfy your hunger, you could get overly hungry, leading to a carb craving.

What mood were you in at that moment? When you are down or stressed, sweet, rich carbs can be tempting. Exercise helps by lifting your mood and lowering your stress level.

The good stuff to keep you away from the carb attacks

You can prepare for victory by keeping disease-fighting, health-protecting carbs on hand. Focus on fiber to help keep you full, your gut healthy, aid in digestion, and your blood sugar more stable. Foods such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and lentils are antioxidant-filled to keep your immune system strong!

What do you have around for smart snacks?

Enjoy a small bag of popcorn with a few nuts to increase fiber and calm your hunger, or heat a leftover sweet potato with a few pecans and cinnamon for a quick, tasty, and filling snack.

Both snacks contain fiber and protein, which will be on your side when it comes to your health and your hunger. Drinking a glass of water along with these will help with hydration and digestion.

More to munch on for snacks:

Whole-grain bagel with a tablespoon of peanut butter

One small banana with seven walnut halves

Two tablespoons of hummus or another bean dip with low-carb veggies

A slice of cheese with whole wheat bread

Make your plan to avoid that carb craving

  • Keep fiber-filled carbs on hand to fight the cravings
  • Exercise to help manage your blood sugar and lower your stress level (therefore helping to control urges to overeat)
  • Avoid skimping at meals (or skipping them altogether) to aid in controlling your hunger later in the day

Planning takes some time, but it will be well worth it. Decide what foods you want to have on hand to prevent those carb attacks and what you will eat if tempted to overindulge on carbs. Also, find an exercise that you like and make it a part of your routine. Exercising for only five minutes can help.

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