Sugar cravings can feel so overwhelming! I’ve got some tools for you to use to help get rid of sugar cravings:
How to get rid of sugar cravings
Keep junk food out of sight (and out of the house).
You can’t eat what you don’t have. Don’t keep junk food in the house, and if there’s a goodie jar at work, keep it out of sight. If you have tempting treats in sight, every time you walk by them you have to make a conscious decision to say No. Eventually the “No” turns into “Well, just this once”, and pretty soon you’re back to mindlessly popping hundreds of calories of sugar into your mouth every day. Stay out of trouble by keeping sweets out of reach and out of sight!
Take your vitamins
Nutrient deficiencies can trigger cravings. Using a daily high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement can improve your health, reduce cravings, and aid in stress management. I recommend the Science Line Nutrition brand.
Look for sugar craving triggers
We are all creatures of habit. If you start to look for patterns in your cravings for sugar, you’ll probably notice that when certain things happen, you automatically get a craving for something sweet. Next time you have a craving for something unhealthy, look at the circumstances that preceded it. Here are some situations that commonly precede a sugar craving:
- When you don’t sleep well
- When you feel overwhelmed at work
- When you feel unloved
- When you feel out of control about a family situation
- When you haven’t eaten for a few hours
- When you haven’t had enough water
- After you’ve eaten too many carbs and not enough protein and fat
- When you’re worried or anxious about something
- When you can’t find anything interesting to think about or to create
- When you think about a yummy treat that’s in the pantry
- When you feel like you want to reward yourself
If you notice a consistent pattern of cravings after one or more of these situations, change or attend to the situation that causes the craving. One of the easiest ways to beat sugar cravings is to avoid or fix the situations that trigger them in the first place so you don’t have to constantly test your willpower.
Eat often enough
If your blood sugar drops too low, it can trigger ravenous hunger, overwhelming cravings, and impaired thinking. Make sure you eat a combination of protein and low-glycemic load carbohydrates (see page 70 of Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies) every 3-4 hours so your body doesn’t lower your metabolism and turn on the cravings.
Drink enough water
Dehydration, even just a small amount, can trigger the hunger and craving center in the brain. Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of distilled water every day.
Cultivate positive substitute behaviors
When you have a craving, you usually want something besides sugar. Whether it’s peacefulness, empowerment, meaning, love, or mental stimulation you’re seeking, over time you’ve learned to turn to junk food to distract your brain away from what you really want. Try to make a habit of finding some alternate behaviors that can fill the hole you’ve been avoiding:
- Take a walk
- Make a list of things to talk about with your partner, therapist, or best friend.
- Read something interesting.
- Play with your pet. If you don’t have a pet, go to a shelter and give some love to one of the animals there.
- Phone a friend or family member to catch up.
- Look up a long-lost friend on Facebook and say hi.
- Write an apology letter to someone you’ve wronged.
- Find a new charity you like and send a donation.
- If you have a partner, write a love note.
- Visit someone in the hospital or in hospice.
- Do a Sudoku puzzle or play chess or Scrabble on the computer — keep your brain occupied!
- Do some crunches or jumping jacks.
- Update your bucket list.
- Pick something in the house that needs to be fixed or cleaned and attend to it.
- Look up a subject that interests you and learn something new about it.
- Make a list of movies you want to see or books you want to read.