It’s 2:30pm. You’re sitting at your office desk trying to work. When suddenly it hits you: that overwhelming, all consuming craving for something sweet. And without thinking twice, you’re on your feet, b-lining it to the office kitchen to dig through the cupboards for a mini candy bar or a slice of that leftover birthday cake. It’s ALL you can think about.
A few minutes later, you’ve satiated that craving with sugar, but now you’re left sitting at your desk, kicking yourself with guilt.
You told yourself you weren’t going to have that mid-afternoon treat today. You told yourself you were going to break your sugar addiction. You told yourself you were going to be in control of what you eat. And hell, you weren’t even hungry to begin with!!
WHY THE CRAVINGS?!
Without going too deep into the science, these sugar cravings are caused by mischievous chemicals in the brain. When you eat sugar, you brain responds by creating dopamine. I’m sure you’ve heard of it – dopamine is that chemical that makes us feel good. When you’re eating sugar all the time, your brain becomes addicted to the dopamine response and starts to crave it. So once your body has burned through the sugar you’ve consumed and your dopamine levels start to drop, your brain starts craving that “good feeling” and pipes up, demanding you have that cookie or slice of cake.
But that “good feeling” your brain seeks is what’s leaving you feeling out of control.
COMBAT THOSE CRAVINGS
Don’t worry, you are NOT doomed to stay stuck in this vicious sugar loop forever! With these easy tips, you can get on the right path to kick your sugar habit and say good bye to those cravings for good!
Short Term Solutions (when that craving strikes):
- Distract Yourself
- Studies show a food craving will pass in 5-10 minutes, so if you can distract yourself and keep yourself hands off the cookie jar during that time, you’ll set yourself up for success.
- Here are some ideas to keep busy:
- Go for a walk
- Strike a couple yoga poses
- Make a gratitude list
- Phone a friend (or a vendor if you’re at work!)
- Clean up your space
- Often times our hunger cravings get confused for thirst. So grab a tall glass of water (or 5!) and enjoy that crisp, refreshing liquid as it glides down your throat.
- Swap Your Snack
- If these first two strategies fail and you MUST eat something, stay away from the sugar. Reach for a protein bar or a spoon full of almond butter. By choosing protein or a healthy fat, you’re tricking your brain by providing satiety and giving your body a fuel that will keep you feeling fuller, longer (vs sugar, which your body will burn through within an hour or two and leave you craving more!).
Long Term Strategies (how to kick the craving for good):
- Give Your Body the Right Fuel
- Ditch the sugar. Start fueling your body with food that will nourish it and keep it satiated between meals! Focus on real foods: vegetables, fruits, protein, healthy fats (like avocados, nut butters), and packaged foods with ingredients you can actually pronounce. Not only will eating these foods reprogram your brain to break away from the sugar cravings, but you will start to feel and look better!
- Understand Yourself
- When a craving hits you, don’t blindly run to the fridge. Take a moment and ask yourself, “Why am I craving this food right now?” You might surprise yourself with the answer. Maybe you’re craving sugar because you’re super stressed out a work. Or you’re bored and you want to snack. By creating that space between you and your craving, you give yourself that time to respond instead of react, allowing you to reclaim your sanity and make that healthy decision you told yourself you’d make!
- Be Kind To Yourself
- No one is perfect. We all fall victim to our cravings every now and then. So if you hit a stumbling block along the way, don’t beat yourself up. Figure out what went wrong and learn from that experience! Next time you’ll beat that sugar craving.
Combating those all-consuming sugar demons can be a challenge, but if you stick to your guns and put these tricks in to action, not only will you kick your sugar addiction, but you’ll be well on the way to a healthier you!