By: Kristi Goode
Sugar cravings: Is candy still calling your name?
How do you eliminate those pesky sugar cravings? You try to avoid it, but it’s everywhere! At home, work, the gas station, in the grocery store check-out line? It’s in stores that don’t even have groceries! How do you avoid it? And what if I told you that restriction and sugar cravings are intimately connected? You might be feeling a little bit sluggish, and your pants may feel a bit tighter… but restrictive and elimination diets, both in terms of the food and mindset, are quick fixes and not sustainable. And generally, leave you starting over every Monday!
In the past I’ve shared with you 5 reasons why dieting is linked to sugar cravings. Now I’m going to share 3 tips to help you beat those cravings!
Let’s recap why dieting is one reason that keeps you hooked on sugar. When dieting you normally choose low-calorie, low-fat foods to reduce your calorie intake. But these low-calorie, low-fat foods are generally higher in sugar! Think prepackaged granola bars, low-fat yogurts, 100 calorie cookie packs, etc. If you remember, eating sugar or processed foods can raise your blood sugar very quickly and then it decreases quickly (like a roller coaster or crash), leaving you wanting more and more sweet things.
You may not be aware that when you restrict calories, this restriction can actually leave you even hungrier. Therefore, white knuckling it through the day or week may not only leave you ravenous but leave you craving and eating any food in sight! When you’re told you’re not allowed something, it becomes even more tempting, and you want it even more. So, rather than eliminating and living off lists of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, give yourself permission to have an occasional sweet.
So how can you bust the cravings? How can you go from constantly wanting sugar to just having it occasionally and no longer fixating on it?
Build your plate with nutrient dense foods.
Eating more nutrient dense foods is the first step to help curb cravings. Balance meals and snacks with quality protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and fiber to ensure you’re not hungry. Remember, low calorie foods don’t fill you up like nutrient dense foods unless they are full of nutrients and fiber.
Sit down to eat meals and snacks, instead of grazing.
When skipping meals or grazing on low fat snacks, you’re not actually filling yourself up. This only continues the hunt for more foods & snacks. Sitting down to a meal balanced with real, nutrient dense foods will fill you up and keep you from feeling hungry all the time. When you become AWARE that eating more nourishing foods makes you feel better and have less cravings, you will start to favor these foods.
Eat slowly and pay attention.
The slower you eat and chew, and the more intentional (mindful) you are while you are eating will allow you to recognize your hunger and fullness cues more easily. Pay attention to other habits such as sleep and stress and how they may be playing a role in your cravings. If you’re not getting quality sleep, that can increase your cravings throughout the day. If you are experiencing more stress at home or work, that can also lead to more cravings.
In the end, building balanced meals versus consuming low-calorie foods or restricting foods, is the first step in busting sugar cravings. Sitting down to enjoy or savor your balanced plate will keep you satiated even longer. This will reduce those trips to the cookie jar or that continual grazing that so many experience. Don’t forget to look at how you are eating. Are you eating mindfully? Lastly, paying attention to sleep habits and stress levels will also give you more insight to why you may be constantly craving sugar. Focusing on your NOURISHMENT is going to help you feel so much better and decrease those cravings.