Why Do I Crave Sugar, Chocolate, Meat and Cheese?

Why do I crave certain foods? Like the writer in this article, at certain times of the day I'm a lunatic for certain foods. Thankfully, I've managed to curb the sugar and chocolate cravings. They're still there, make no mistake, but I can substitute a string cheese or a healthy snack.

But why does my body crave those things? Why is it such a specific list?

Well, here's the answers to those burning and fat-producing questions:

http://food.yahoo.com/blog/yahoofreshpicks/13805/your-food-cravings-explained-and-contained

For me, the answer was ridiculously simple. Let my body have something about every three hours. Here's a rough schedule. I don't adhere to it rigidly, but you get the point.

6 AM or so-- I awaken and all I want for those first few hours is my coffee. Fine. I permit myself three mugs of coffee. That's exactly 3g of carbs.

9 AM-- Now my stomach (upper level only) growls a little. So, I have an egg. Or perhaps a bit of bacon. Protein only, with very few carbs. Even a hot dog will do, if it's one of the low-carb ones.

Noon-- Tummy may growl again. Now I grab up a healthy lunch. Again, a hot dog, 3 oz can of tuna, or a beef patty. Sometimes I'll retrieve the bag of frozen veggies from the freezer and nuke up 1/2 cup, sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese on it, and go. Sometimes I'll pull out a serving of the previous night's dinner, like the soup we had Wednesday night.

3 PM-- Time for a string cheese, or a handful off a prepared tray of snacks I leave for myself. Mostly the tray contains raw vegetables like celery with peanut butter, carrot sticks (can't have too many of those, but a few will do in a pinch), string cheese or 1 oz cubes of cheese, or even bits of meat cut up. I've even rolled up a few 1 oz slices of luncheon meat. Even that nasty sweet craving can be managed by making up a low-carb cheesecake in advance, cutting it up into serving sizes, and freezing individual servings. It never really freezes rock-solid, and sometimes that icy-chill bit of sweet saves me from a greater "sin."

By now, I'm keeping a close eye on the carb count. I know what I'm serving for dinner and the menu's total carb count, so I'm probably limited. With reasonable care, I can stay within my carb levels.

That midday snack is important for another reason. I'm banded. If I get too hungry, I'll load my plate with too much at dinner and gobble. The end result is wasted food and me worshiping the porcelain god. I'm also not sneaking contraband while cooking dinner if my hunger is under control.

6 PM -- We may eat a bit earlier than 6, but that's a rough time frame. Here is where I'm in real danger of blowing the carb count, so I plan very carefully well in advance. The meat was pulled out of the freezer to thaw the previous night, so I'm well aware of the recipe planned and its carb count. If the recipe is 11 g of carbs, I'm ruthless about the carb count all day.

I've begun to mark my dinner menu FIRST on my wipe off board for this reason. For instance, tonight's mock Shepherd's Pie will have approximately 7g of carbs for the tiny amount I can eat, about 4 oz or half a serving. With three cups of coffee at breakfast, I've already planned on "spending" 10g of my 30-gram daily allowance. That leaves a whopping 6-7g per for each of the other three meals. I'll reserve the largest portion for lunch, of course, but simply maintaining vigilance will see me through the day with no growling stomach or "sins."

Thank goodness for that wipe-off board. Because anyone who comes in my office can see it, I'm held accountable. It works, if your family cares.

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