You’re determined, you are sick of looking in the mirror and not liking the reflection that looks back at you.
Sick of having the doctor tell you to lose weight?
Sick of worrying about your blood tests and being given even more diabetic medication and even threatened with insulin?
You have a plan – and know what you are doing, and know you will get there.
So why do you sabotage yourself and give into cravings? What is going on?
Firstly it is common for people to experience food cravings. It is not a sign of lack of motivation or lack of willpower. It is a physical response that you can take charge of it.
I just want to be clear - if you are reading this and you are overweight - it is not your fault!
You have a metabolic disorder that causes weight gain and diabetes.
You are insulin resistant. This means that it's really tough to lose weight - and you will have to work harder than the average person to get results.
Carbs are the main culprit and here's my guide to beat them and feel better than you have in years.
The first thing is to spot when the cravings hit. There is often a pattern and the keeping your eyes open and being aware can make a huge difference.
Are evenings a problem, or maybe it weekends. Or do you come in at the end of the day and just need a glass of wine. So notice the patterns as then you can prepare in advance rather than being side swiped by them.
Let’s go back to the beginning how do you tell the difference between a psychological craving and physical hunger?
Starts in the mouth, above the neck.
Is sudden and urgent
It is for a specific food
You will go out of your way to get the food.
You eat more than you normally would
Can be for an emotional reason, are you bored, tired, angry etc..
It passes with time
Leads to feelings of guilt
Starts in the stomach
Usually comes on gradually – you can postpone it
You will eat any food – you need fuel
It intensifies with time
Will stop when full
Pleasurable without regret
You can drop your sugars and lose weight by overcoming your cravings now. Researchers in 2007 discovered that sugar is four times as addictive as cocaine. You are dealing with hard drugs! So how do you deal with the cravings when they hit?
1. Avoid your triggers.
“You crave what you eat, so if you switch what you’re eating, you can weaken your old cravings and strengthen new ones,” says Marcia Pelchat, PhD, of the Monell Center. This can happen pretty fast. For five days, her study volunteers drank bland dietary-supplement beverages. During that time, they craved fewer of their trigger foods. By the end of the study, the volunteers actually wanted the supplements instead. The first few days are always the hardest, and you probably can’t completely eliminate your old cravings. But the longer you avoid your trigger foods, the less likely you may be to want them. In fact, you’ll probably begin to crave the foods you eat.
2. Destroy temptation.
If you’ve succumbed to a craving and bought a box of cookies or some other trigger food and start to feel bad while eating it, destroy it. Don’t just throw it away; run water over it, ruin it. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that you’ve licked your binge.
Don’t think about the money you’re wasting. If the cookies don’t go into the bin, they’re going straight to your blood sugars. Don’t treat yourself as a rubbish bin.
3. Go nuts.
Drink two glasses of water and eat a small portion of nuts (6 walnuts, 12 almonds or 20 peanuts). Within 20 minutes, this can extinguish your craving and dampen your appetite by changing your body chemistry, says Michael F. Roizen, MD.
4. Have a hot drink
Sometimes you have that craving kick it late at night, and you can’t bypass it. Have a hot chocolate instead - not one of the slimline versions, just melt 85% min chocolate in milk and even top it with cream. You’ll feel like you’ve had a treat, but it’s not food and won’t lead to further eating.
5. Let it go.
Since stress is a huge trigger for cravings, learning to deal with it could potentially save you hundreds of calories a day. This will take some practice. Here’s a super quick trick that will reset you and stop the cravings.
I call it the magic nose (it’s great for kids too!), put your finger over one of your nostrils to block it, take a big breath in through your nose and breathe out your mouth, switch nostrils and do it again. Do this at least ten times and you’ll notice a big difference. Your stress will dial down and you’ll feel in control again.
6.Take a power nap.
Cravings sneak up when we’re tired. Focus on the fatigue: Shut the door, close your eyes, re-energise. It’s funny how we associate tiredness and hunger when actually being tired and sleep go together.
7. Get minty fresh.
Brush your teeth; gargle with mouthwash. “When you have a fresh, clean mouth, you don’t want to mess it up,” says Molly Gee, RD, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
8. Distract yourself.
If only ice cream will do, it’s a craving, not hunger. “Cravings typically last ten minutes,” says John Foreyt, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine. Recognise that and divert your mind: Call someone, listen to music, tidy up, meditate or exercise.
9. Indulge yourself -- within limits.
Once in awhile, it’s OK to go ahead and have that ice cream. But buy a small cone, not a pint. The trick is to buy only one pack at a time, so you won’t be tempted to reach for more. Cheap multi-packs are not your friend, leave them at the supermarket and only have small amounts in your house.
10. Plan or Avoid.
Vary your usual routine to avoid passing the bakery or fast food restaurant. If you know, you’ll be face-to-face with irresistible birthday cake, allocate enough carbs to fit it into your diet.
11. Out of sight, out of mind
Keep your home ‘crave safe’. Don’t have any food on display, put it all behind closed doors. This is to stop ‘accidental eating’, whether you realise it or not, whenever you see the food you make a decision whether or not you’re going to eat it.
Doing that all day will empty your self-control bank and leaves you vulnerable to late night cravings.
12. Have a List Day.
Depriving yourself constantly just increases the pressure. You need to have a little of what you like.
Carry a notebook or your smartphone
See something you fancy?
Record it in your notebook/phone
You’ve got a list of all the things you crave.
Choose your indulge day.
Can be once a week, fortnight, month – you choose
Eat whatever you fancy off the list
The twelve steps are a great way of managing what you eat and enjoying these foods without guilt and regret. It’s all about deciding where these foods live. You’re teaching yourselves that they aren’t everyday foods. You’re creating a great new habit that will keep you thin for life.
But this is the best bit – think about how much enjoyment you usually get from eating these foods. I’m willing to bet that you feel naughty eating them and think "I shouldn’t be doing this"leading to more eating you regret and a feeling of failure.
This method means you’re in control of the whole thing – how great does that feel?
Having a lapse, it’s not a big problem. Just focus on how you’re going to get back on track.
If you dinged the bumper on your car, you wouldn’t think “I’ve ruined it now, there’s no point” and reverse it again and again into the wall.
Your reaction to making an eating error is what decides your weight and blood sugars, not the eating you did in the first place.
Always remember that you can do it - believe in yourself.
Mary has worked with type 2 diabetics for over 20 years. She is determined to turn the type 2 tide by giving people the information at FreeFromType2.com that they really need to make the best choices for them. She knows that a diet sheet and a prescription isn't the answer. Mary is on a mission to eradicate complications for type 2 diabetics. Download Mary's FREE GUIDE to help you take charge of your diabetes and your health.