The 28-Day Plan to Kick Your Carb Addiction

It takes 28 days to detox from most addictive substances, and refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and white rice, are no exception. If it seems like you can never get enough bread, pizza or pasta, this simple 28-day plan will help you kick your carb addiction for good.

The 28-Day Plan to Kick Your Carb Addiction

Ever wonder why white carbs are so addictive? It has to do with chemicals that travel from the stomach to the part of the brain where you produce dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Once these areas of the brain are stimulated, you’ll keep on wanting more of the addictive substance, whether it’s alcohol, drugs or carbs.

Too many refined carbs – baked goods, French fries or processed snack foods like chips and pretzels – are simply toxic for your body. They’re often responsible for visceral or omentum fat, the dangerous fat you can carry around your middle that actually inhibits your body’s ability to make insulin, which makes you more prone to diabetes. White carbs also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

This simple 28-day plan can help you break free of carb addiction. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll look and feel afterward – you’ll have more energy and shave off unwanted pounds, especially around your midsection.

Week 1: Detox With Fats

Start kicking the habit by booting all the carbs off your kitchen shelves. To withstand the symptoms of withdrawal, fill up on healthy fats and don’t worry about your calorie intake. The point of this first week is to get off simple carbs. Fats are satiating, which will help diminish hunger pangs and keep you from overeating.

In addition, for this week, none of your food servings should have more than 4 grams of sugar.

 Choose healthy fats like:

  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Fatty fish such as salmon
  • Flax seeds

Week 2: Turn White Into Brown

Whole grains keep you full longer, stabilize blood sugar, and are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Plus, a diet rich in whole grains has been tied to lower rates of chronic disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. Restock your pantry with fiber-rich brown carbs such as:

  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain pasta

Week 3: Hand to Mouth

At this point you’ve been filling up on healthy fats and whole grains. Now you need to focus on portion control. Forget about scales and measuring cups. You can use your hands to measure the right portion size:

Carbs = Fist

A serving of carbs should be about the size of your fist.

Protein = Palm

A serving of meat, poultry or fish should be about the size of your palm.

Fats = Thumb

A serving of fats should be about the size of your thumb.

Fruits and Veggies = Handfuls

For fruits and veggies, grab all you can hold!

Always combine your carbs with fats (but no more than a thumb’s worth). This will help you slow sugar absorption and control your weight.

Week 4. Time to Cheat

Pick one day a week to enjoy your favorite white-flour food such as bread, pizza or pasta. Eating your favorite carb with fiber will also help you better metabolize sugar and keep your weight down. For instance, top your pizza or pasta with a bunch of veggies. 

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

Keep Reading Show less