Anyone who’s been on a low-carb diet will tell you that the first week is the hardest. Some report actual physical symptoms of carb withdrawal, like irritability, headaches, and lack of energy. Others say it’s the emotional struggle to stay away from rice, bread, pasta, potatoes the staples that they’ve grown used to serving with every meal.
These carb cravings can easily tempt you into giving up on your diet altogether. Don’t. You have so much to gain (or in this case, lose): think 10 pounds in the first two weeks, as some diets claim, and a visible reduction of tummy handles. (Hey, you’ll be able to fit in a smaller size of jeans!) So how do you survive the battle against bread? Here are some tips:
Indulge in the right food
One of the advantages of low-carb diets is that you don’t starve yourself. You can eat very well, just stay away from certain types of food. How does help beat the carb cravings? If you’re not ravenous, you’re less likely to raid the fridge in a mad fit of hunger. You can also replace a high-carb snack (like a chocolate bar) with an equally tasty bag of peanuts, and not feel deprived.
Veteran low-carb dieters actually advise keeping stashes of low-carb diets in their desk drawers or by the television the places where most people get the desire to munch on something. Keep the portions small, just enough to make you feel that you’ve had a treat, without actually turning into a binge. You’ll need a lot of small plastic bags, or tiny plastic containers. Another tip: prepare the individual servings beforehand, preferably after eating a meal so you’re not tempted to put more than you should.
Keep yourself busy
Most of us eat not out of hunger but habit. You’re bored, stressed, or you’re killing time before you take on the next item on your to-do list. Avoid temptation by keeping your mind on something you enjoy. Some dieters carry a book around, others start a hobby like scrapbooking which will let them pass long hours without even thinking about food. For those who work at the office, and need something to keep them away from the vendo machine, bookmark a website that you can browse until the snack attack passes.
Look for other forms of recreation
It’s become customary to make meals the center of any recreational activity: eating chips while watching a movie, going out to dinner with friends. While you’re still getting used to the low-carb regimen, pass up the invitation to have drinks after work and invite everyone to watch a play, hit the badminton courts, or attend a museum opening.
Get a diet buddy
Dieting becomes more fun when you have a diet partner to give encouragement, praise you for every lost pound, and even help you scout for the low-carb friendly restaurants in your area. Don’t know anyone? Go online and join a dieter’s forum. Exchange recipes, share thoughts, and hey, even make new friends. You’ll still feel the carb cravings, but somehow, saying no is a little easier.