Paleo Diet- Dealing With Cravings

Paleo Diet Tips to Help You Through Those First Days

paleo dietWhen you first start your Paleo Diet, learning to listen to your body can be difficult in the beginning stages because your brain will definitely  want to sabotage your efforts.
My second day on the Paleo diet I started getting weird cravings. Well, some people may not think they are weird, but they were to me. I am not normally a bread eater. Rarely did I ever buy bread or buns because I might eat one and then the rest would go to waste. It just wasn’t something that I craved.
Well, on the second evening of my Paleo diet I had an intense craving for a big soft fluffy slice of homemade white bread slathered in butter. I knew that this was all purely psychological but I would have killed for it LOL. (how’s that for primal?) If I had it in the house I am sure I would have consumed half a loaf and all of my efforts of the day would have been for nothing and I would be back to square one.
My brain had kicked in on a subconscious level and recognized that I hadn’t taken in many carbs for a couple of days. It had been pre-programmed to get energy from the carbs it was readily supplied on my previously conventional diet and when that carbs were in short supply it was telling me to load up. When I didn’t give in to that craving it figured out a way to get energy from my fat reserves and I lost 2 pounds.
The fact is that until your brain is re-programmed to instinctively use fat as an energy source you will get intense cravings for starchy, sugary foods. You must try to resist giving in to the cravings because if you do, the re-programming takes much longer. It is like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. If you give in even once, then they will not learn to stop that behavior because there is just a small chance that you may give in this time and give them what they want.

Paleo Diet Tips

  1. Don’t make it easy to give in to cravings. Rid your pantry, cupboards and fridge of all disallowed foods. If you have forbidden items in your house it will take Herculean strength not to give into intense cravings. Most of us do not have that much willpower.
  2. Drink a glass of water. Our bodies can’t always distinguish thirst from hunger. Try slamming back a big glass of water whenever you get a craving. If it was thirst the craving should go away, if not, the simple act of hand to mouth action may minimize the need and water will help you feel full. If this did not help, wait 20 minutes and then grab a snack that is allowed. Making yourself wait those 20 minutes will eventually diminish your desire for instant gratification and help your brain to distinguish between craving and need. It may¬† kick in to burn fat and after 20 minutes you will not feel hungry anymore, problem solved.
  3. Always keep snacks prepared and readily available. If I sit down to watch TV in the evening I make a point of having a bowl with 2-3 cups of raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cherry tomatoes) or kale chips on the end table beside me to munch on. My goal is to complete that entire bowl over the course of the evening. You are much less likely to have a craving if you are already constantly nibbling on super healthy snacks. This is one way of ensuring you are consuming enough veggies.
  4. Never run out of food. This is a sure fire way to fall off the wagon. If you are in the midst of a food craving and have to dash to the store to stock up do you really think you will only pick up good foods? NO! you will head straight for the isle that holds the food you are currently craving. You will rationalize that it is okay just this once. Don’t set yourself up to cheat.
  5. Pick yourself up and get back on track if you slip. Okay,let’s be honest, we all have our moments when that little devil on our shoulder is just too persuasive and we give in to a craving. the key is moderation. If chocolate is your daemon then have a small square of 70% cocao dark chocolate. Whatever it is that you simply cannot give up then have a very tiny portion to get you through once a week as a reward for staying faithful the rest of the week. Even if you slip up more than once, forgive yourself and move on. Do not see it as an opportunity to give up. Remember you are in this for the long haul. Eventually your brain and your body will catch up to each other and the cravings will lessen or disappear.

The important thing is to keep your long-term goals in mind and get through this first phase one day at a time. The Paleo diet is not something you are doing as a fad. It is a lifestyle change. Your body and brain have been programmed for years to eat inappropriately. You can’t expect to make such wholesale changes to your diet without encountering a few bumps in the road. Just keep pushing onwards. Celebrate your successes and forgive and forget your slip ups. A healthy body and mind is awaiting you the more you embrace the Paleo diet lifestyle.

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