Sugar is something that too many of us consume too much of. Most people know that controlling the amount of sugar and fat in your diet is key to losing excess weight. But tackling sugar cravings isn’t that simple.
Sugar is something that you might eat deliberately, in the form of candy or treats. But it’s also something you may consume without even realizing it! Yep, we’re talking about many coffee drinks, salad dressings, and foods packaged up as “all natural”.
Being told to simply “quit sugar” is not a helpful strategy. This is an addictive substance, so it’s not that easy to suddenly stop.
With sugar hiding in unexpected places, it’s no wonder so many people struggle to control their sugar addictions. If you’re wondering how to tackle sugar cravings, the following tips should help you get started:
There’s nothing at all more important than your health. So, when you’re making changes to your lifestyle that could affect your health, you need to be cautious. First, it’s best to get checked over by a medical professional. This is especially important if you’re experiencing any signs of poor health. You may notice that you’re tempted to eat sugar at times when you’re not feeling well. Maybe you’re eating chocolate because you feel upset or anxious. Or perhaps sugar gives you a boost when you feel like you’ve got no energy. These could be signs of an underlying condition.
Diabetes is a relatively common condition, but it can cause horrible health problems if it goes undetected and untreated. (If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll find tons of helpful information on the Making Diabetes Easier website.) Understanding the condition will help you understand why you’re craving sugar. And good nutrition coaching will help you learn how to tackle your sugar cravings and start eating healthier!
Look for Sugar Triggers
If there’s no medical reason for your sugar addiction, it’s helpful to look deeper into your eating habits. Have you found that there are certain triggers that send you racing to the pantry for some sweet treats? You may not even realize that you do this. But, when you start looking into sugar addiction more closely, it’s usually not hard to spot patterns of behavior and triggers. Understanding these is the first step to undoing your sugar cravings.
Emotional eating is something many people struggle with. (I’ve built a whole career on helping people with emotional eating and stress eating!) But when you start to develop awareness around your relationship between food and emotions, you can start to change these patterns.
A simple first step for many folks is to choose to do something else when you find yourself triggered. This could be calling a friend for a chat, heading out into the fresh air for a walk, or exercising.
Timebox Technique To Tackle Sugar Cravings
I wrote about the VERY effective timeboxing technique here.
Food Substitutions Can Beat Sugar Cravings
Choosing healthier alternatives can satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your health goals. Opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, or monkfruit extract in your tea, coffee, or recipes. Incorporate fresh fruit like berries or apples as your nighttime sweet treat, as they offer a natural sweetness coupled with essential nutrients and fiber. Keep in mind, including more protein and healthy fats in your meals can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cravings!
Journaling for Awareness
Journaling can provide insights into your eating patterns and emotional triggers. Jot down when you experience cravings, and how you feel at that moment. This practice can help you identify patterns, enabling you to make conscious decisions to avoid triggers or substitute unhealthy choices with nourishing alternatives. Additionally, noting your progress and victories can serve as a motivating factor in your journey to conquer sugar cravings.
Incorporate Regular Exercise
Engaging in regular physical activity not only boosts your overall well-being but also helps curb sugar cravings. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators, which can diminish the need for sugary foods to feel good. Aim for a combination of cardiovascular workouts, strength training, and flexibility exercises to maintain a balanced and active lifestyle. Even simple activities like walking, cycling, or yoga can contribute significantly to reducing cravings and enhancing your overall health.
Stay Hydrated with Water
As I wrote about in Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies, dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger or sugar cravings. Ensure you’re drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and your appetite in check. Infuse water with slices of citrus, cucumber, or mint to add a refreshing twist and encourage more consumption. Herbal teas are another excellent option to stay hydrated, while enjoying diverse flavors without the added sugars found in sodas and sweetened beverages.
Cultivate Mindfulness through Meditation
Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and sensations, including cravings. Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focus on your breath, and observe your cravings without judgment. This practice can increase your self-control and resilience against succumbing to impulsive urges for sugary foods. Additionally, mindfulness techniques can reduce stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for sugar cravings.
By integrating these techniques into your daily routine, you can gradually take control of your sugar cravings and pave the way towards a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. Remember, progress takes time, so be patient with yourself and celebrate each small victory along the way.
With dedication and perseverance, you can conquer sugar cravings and embrace a life filled with vitality and well-being. And if you’d like help on your journey, just drop me a note and we’ll find a time to talk about options.