The urge to binge is the downfall of many a low-carb dieter, and even some strong-willed women succumb to temptation. Urges to binge tend to subside the longer you follow a low-carb diet, but they can be tough in the beginning. In the early stages of your diet, you need strategies to help resist eating urges and stick with the plan.
It might sound far too simple to work, but by removing temptation you're less likely to binge. If you keep junk food and high-carb items in your cupboards in case of unexpected guests or because your kids enjoy such treats, get rid of them -- the food, that is, not your kids. A box of your favorite cereal on a pantry shelf or some leftover birthday cake in your fridge needlessly tests your willpower.
Eat More Protein
Steak and chicken might not seem like adequate replacements for ice cream and cookies, but protein-rich foods could be just the ticket for beating your binge urges. Your body digests protein slowly, so it is more filling than carbs or fats, notes registered dietitian Cynthia Sass, who recommends including a portion of protein at every meal to curb cravings.
Eat Fewer Carbs
When you're craving carbs, reducing your carb intake even further seems crazy. But researchers reported in the "Journal of Obesity" that test subjects following a low-carb diet had far fewer cravings for high-carb, high-sugar foods than those on a low-fat plan. MayoClinic.com defines a low-carb diet as any plan that allows 50 to 150 grams of carbohydrates a day. If you're at the top end of this limit and trying to resist the urge to binge, lowering your daily intake to 100 grams or less might help cure cravings.
About "Cheat Meals"
The concept of a cheat meal is that once a week, you eat a meal containing whatever you've been craving to give you a mental and physical break from dieting. A small cheat or free meal can help you stay on track and give you something to look forward to, according to dietitian Jennifer Sygo. A whole cheat day or weekend, however, can have the opposite effect and reverse a whole week of hard work. Instead, make your regular diet more enjoyable. You needn't stick to plain chicken, lettuce leaves and egg whites on a low-carb plan; include tasty low-carb foods such as dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, coconut, berries and peanut butter regularly.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.