It’s OK to occasionally indulge in your cravings, whether to comfort yourself or to celebrate a special occasion. Don't beat yourself up too much, just use it as a learning tool and know that when you do indulge it can be a slippery slope. Digging into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every time you’re stressed out or had a bad day will eventually catch up to you and have a negative impact on your health. The boost in mood you get from sugar is only fleeting; soon you will experience a crash in blood sugar, and renewed hunger shortly after—and cravings for more carbs, sugar and fat. And, eventually you will gain weight if you continue this cycle.
Fortunately, if you are on Atkins, you have found that the Atkins way of eating—which features optimal protein, high fiber and healthy fats—has helped diminish or even completely eliminate your cravings for starchy carbs and sugar while keeping you full and satisfied. Here are some tips you can follow that will help you control your emotional eating and nip those cravings in the bud:
Write it down. We always recommend that you keep a food journal so that you can track your grams of Net Carbs and your meals and snacks. But you can also use this as a place to record your emotions and cravings. Once you have an idea of when and why those weak moments hit, you can make sure you have a plan in place.
Remove temptation. Eliminate the trigger foods from your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Out of sight, out of mind.
Distract yourself. Once you begin to understand what triggers your cravings, create some distractions. Go for a walk or hit the gym (exercise is a great stress-reliever), call a friend or do something that is not related to food.
Find an alternative. Find low-carb substitutes for your high-carb cravings. Make sure you have Atkins bars or treats on hand to satisfy your sugar cravings. There are also plenty of delicious recipes at www.atkins.com/recipes.aspx that are perfectly acceptable on any Phase of Atkins. In the mood for salt? Oven-baked cheddar cheese crisps can satisfy your urge for chips. Craving comfort food? Cauliflower mashed with rich butter and cream taste just as good as mashed potatoes. And there’s always room for dessert—there are recipes for low-carb ice cream, cake, cookies and more.
Finally, it’s important to realize that no one is perfect. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break. After all, Atkins will hopefully become a way of eating you can live with and continue to return to, not a quick-fix diet. Put your overindulgence behind you, make your next meal a satisfying low-carb one, increase your activity level and dial back your total grams of Net Carbs if you need to get back on track.