If you’re craving sugar right now, it might not be much of a shocker. Halloween usually kicks off the two to three month candy land that typically ends in a New Year’s resolution of “I need to eat healthier.” The problem is that you’re currently hooked. You might as well be a crack addict the way you’re rummaging through cabinets for anything sweet: stale marshmallows, chocolate chips from baking days, or even hardened clumps of brown sugar. If this describes you, take a deep breath. We’ve got you covered with some baby steps to lead you toward curbing the sweet stuff.
Distract Yourself. It seems like the more you’re unable to have something, the more thoughts you have about said thing. But if your brain is busy doing other tasks, then the sugar thoughts stand less chances of constantly stalking you. Get busy writing/reading the great American novel. Learn to knit. Get a head start on holiday cleaning. Do a jigsaw puzzle. You get the point.
Eat Lean and Mean. OK, just lean, really. When you combine lean proteins (eggs, cottage cheese, grilled chicken, etc.) with carbs (pasta, breads, cereals, etc.) in a meal, it takes longer for your body to digest the carbs, which helps to control the release of sugars from them into your bloodstream. Bottom line–when you skip the lean protein, your blood sugar crashes faster causing you to want to eat more carbs. It’s a vicious cycle.
Feed on Fresh and Dried Fruits. Fruits are naturally sweet, so it satisfies your sweet tooth, but they’re also nutritious and full of fiber, which helps satisfy your belly.
Chew Gum. When craving sugar, gum can do the trick. Pop in a piece and before you know it, you’re no longer thinking about grabbing a sugary snack.
Brush Your Teeth. Seems like a silly thing to do when you’re hungry, but the sweetness of the toothpaste combined with not wanting to dirty up your pearly whites can lead to craving loss.
Recognize Bad Habits. Do you tend to crave or snack on sweets at specific times each day? If so it’s time to make a plan. You know it’s going to happen, so create a way to avoid caving to the temptations. Schedule work meetings during that time, or take your craving for a walk instead of satisfying it. Have healthy treats on hand, such as nuts, Greek yogurt, or a small salad. Once you start being honest with yourself about what is happening, the easier it will be to develop techniques to help you kick the habit.
Avoid Sweeteners–Including Diet Sodas. Artificial sweeteners may be calorie-free, but research suggests that they can still lead to sugar cravings. With that said, you can still use sweeteners and drink diet sodas in moderation. But if you’re looking to get clean, ditch the sweeteners for at least a month.
Eat Often. If you go too long without food, you’re going to be crazy hungry. Work on eating five or six small meals a day, and you should have less cravings.
If you’re sugar addiction is really raging right now, the honest truth is that the first 24-72 hours are going to suck. And making the cut during the holiday season is not going to make it any easier. But if you power through that time using the pointers provided, you’ll be smooth sailing without sugar in no time. Remember: Stay sweet…not sweetened!
What sugary treat makes it the most difficult to give up the refined stuff? Share with us in the comments!