Question: is there a proven way to eliminate food cravings.
When I introduce the paleo diet as a method of weight loss, everyone responds, "I just can't give up food X." I realize will-power is important, but some people have carb/sugar addictions that need to be broken.
I know that Eades' "Middle Aged Middle" diet plan starts with a 2 week period of mostly protein shakes and the T-Muscle "Velocity Diet" is four weeks of protein shakes. Both claim to eliminate food cravings to some degree, but I don't personally know anyone who has tried them.
I have zero food cravings, but that is a result of cutting weight for wrestling a few years ago and I nobody should have to go through that experience.
It seems as if many of you started the paleo diet and were able to stick with it, but dietary compliance is a huge factor in weight loss.
I'd appreciate your thoughts and experiences.
I don't have a particularly addiction-prone personality. But I do know what a craving feels like: the loss of self-control, the robotic walk to the kitchen, the almost involuntary reach of the arm to the bowl ont he table.
In my view, cravings are the psychological manifestation of a physiological state: high-insulin, low-blood-glucose, pre-diabetic hypoglycemia: your basic sugar crash.
To avoid the sugar crash, avoid the sugar.
The thing that helped most was reframing: under Atkins, in the maintenance phase, carbs are considered normal – albeit low carb. Induction is a sacrifice.
But there are some people for whom even a slice of apple is too sweet. For some people, even low carb is too much. They need no-carb.
When I reframed no-carb from "sacrifice" to "normal", all the cravings disappeared.
Orthodox Jews don't crave bacon; orthodox Americans don't crave dog. To them, it's just not food.
Neither, to me, is a cookie.
I'm not vouching for this, but you may want to look into Julia Ross's Diet Cure.
You may be able to read bits of that book via Google Books, and she's done a few podcasts with Jimmy Moore. I think Nora Gedgaudas probably covers similar issues in her book as well, but I haven't read it.
To eliminate cravings, the person must stop eating all sugars, including fruit and all grains. There's no getting around it. After two weeks, they will usually stop craving it. There's a lot of good advice already given here. L-Glutamine helps, and 5HTP is a supplement that boosts serotonin. It's good to take 5HTP in the early evening and before bed, as it is relaxing.
Coconut oil helps. Green leafy vegs help. Cream helps.
I've been through this myself. I had terrible sugar/grain cravings all my life and it was horrible at first when I eliminated them from my diet. But now I find myself craving real food, and the thought of eating sweets just makes me sick. I baked some almond flour muffins for my hubby and I used stevia to sweeten them. He liked them a lot, but to me, they were too sweet. So your tastes do change over time. Sour raspberries taste sweet to me.
Anything worthwhile in life is going to be difficult. There is no easy button when one converts to a Paleo diet. No instand gratification. They have to be patient with themselves.
IMO, what we need in this community is a forum for newbies where they can journal and post their feelings and experiences and other seasoned people can encourage them. It can help them transition. It's great to have a Q and A place like this, but a Paleo weight loss forum would be a tool of encouragement. The current low carb forums are too obsessed with finding fake food replacements for junky carbs. Paleo dieting is becoming more popular. Maybe now is the right time for such a forum. I'd be glad to help out with that, but I'm not savvy enough to start it myself.
Just a thought.
Remember, Paleo isn't so much a low-carb diet as it is a high-fat diet. If you try to just cut out the carbs and don't increase the fat at the same time, you're doomed to fail.
Fat is the best solution to carb cravings. If you start to get cravings, just have a cup of cream instead. After a short time, you'll get either into ketosis or close to it, and that will also kill cravings.
The thing about fat is that it is very satisfying, unlike carbs, which actually increase your hunger (why do you think restaurants put free bread on the table?). You also can't eat that much of it; after a while, you just feel sick.
Also, stay away from the artificial sweeteners as well as "sweet but healthy" foods. They can spike your insulin levels, which will just add to your feelings of hunger as your blood sugar level goes down.
Actually, I phased out sugars pretty gradually. Even last year I was eating plenty of fruit and some chocolate, but those cravings have continued to decrease despite me having never gone cold turkey. One thing I did do was substitute higher quality lower sugar fruits and chocolate . Instead of melon I ate berries, instead of Lindt chocolate truffles I ate raw chocolate bars. Another was that I cultivated a taste for more sour things by eating pickled vegetables or drinking kombucha if I had a craving. Last night I was having a craving for a chocolate bar, but a swig of kombucha...and it was gone.
Another thing that helped was developing an interest in tea, which is fairly harmless. I buy really high quality flavorful tea and it satisfies my desire for interesting tastes far better than an insipid dessert ever could.
I can't claim to eat 'clean' paleo but my experience on a low carb version of the diet two years ago was that after the initial 3 or so days of mild headache and carb withdrawal I simply didn't crave carbs. I could sit beside someone eating a bag of chips and not care about eating any with them.
Low carb eating does eliminate food cravings. My appetite diminished to a normal diet level whereas I had been a certified card-carrying carboholic due to sleep apnea and hypothyroidism issues. With sleep apnea, your body tries to compensate for lack of serotonin by having you eat carbs--the carbs make you gain weight-- the weight makes your apnea worse--you eat more carbs, etc. etc.
Now I am at a stable weight after losing 60 pounds or so (and finding some of them back when I relaxed the rules). I know what I need to do, but still indulge in too many glasses of red wine with dinner and the occasional bad snack of tortilla chips with salsa.
I will talk myself into following the rules more closely very soon and lose the pounds I found. Will power is carb-related for a fact!
I think this is the whole reason Kurt created the 12 stage progression. And I think having things explained and understanding the reasons goes a long way toward boosting self-discipline.
As gillibean said, everyone is different. Just start somewhere and try to make progress every week. There's no single approach that works for everyone. But overcoming cravings gets a lot easier when people understand how artificial those cravings are, and get their minds around the logic of this crazy, wacky diet we all love!
live with a loved one who is dying from the metabolic consequences of a lifetime of eating processed crap food. see them suffer. look at your children and know that you don't want them to go through that. you don't want to either. they you won't get cravings. that emotional connection is what got me on the program. my problem now is with stress reduction, sleep, and underlying health problems that paleo by itself is not solving (possible thyroid problem, possible recurring h.pylori infection).
I wouldn't universally recommend this to everyone, but I've found that a very small amount of whatever I'm craving satisfies. For instance, I hadn't had chocolate in ages and was craving some like crazy. I'm a fan of the "crap" chocolate, not the fancy dark that a lot of paleo folks eat. I wanted M&Ms. I spent two days angsting over it and then finally went and had a small bag, and it was......fine. I didn't crave more sugar after that, I didn't crave anything else the next day. I was quite surprised by this. Like I said, I don't suggest everyone with a craving go out and meet it, but if a craving is hanging around for days, a very small amount of what you want might be surprisingly satisfying.
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