Here’s the thing about sugar “addiction”. If you are trying to give up added sugar, you’re likely going to be hit with a craving for sugar anytime.
And if you fall for your sugar cravings one time too many while trying to cut added sugars out of your diet, you’re also likely to give up all your precious efforts towards a healthier diet sooner than expected.
The solution? Beat your sugar cravings before they manifest or as they come, because they are coming.
Choosing to kick cravings to the curb in order to focus on your nutrition is a courageous first step in creating the ultimate healthy lifestyle. If anyone can succeed in this endeavor, it’s you.
So how to tackle your cravings head on and start feeling great?
What causes sugar cravings?
First, you need to know what causes the cravings before even thinking of stopping them. Remember, know your enemy first.
As with many things in your body, food cravings are caused by:
- your brain, which is responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward. Your brain remembers how much you liked a certain kind of food and wants to make sure you’re happy while still getting the nutrients you need.
- an imbalance of hormones which can be triggered by anxiety and stress. Research shows that a high level of a particular hormone called cortisol, usually linked with a heightened emotional state (like extreme stress), can contribute to an increase in sugar cravings. In fact, when we eat sugar, we actually get another hormone called serotonin, which is calming and relaxing.
How to beat sugar cravings
Now that we know what can trigger our cravings, we can try different tactics to fight these triggers: our brain response and stress.
Here are our tips to start your battle against sugar cravings:
- Do Not Punish Yourself
We know we are going to experience sugar cravings from time to time as part of our effort to cut off added sugar from our diet.
Instead of getting frustrated and stressed for our downfalls (all emotional states which are very likely to trigger more cravings), let’s concentrate on being mindful while eating sugar. Really slow down while eating your sugary treat and give yourself time to connect to your feelings. You will end up realising you don’t need that treat that much and you will start putting the treat away before you finish the whole icecream bowl.
This is a great way to still feel like you’re getting to eat food that satisfies your cravings while working on controlling your emotional state and the quantity of sugar you eat.
It isn’t about restricting yourself from eating sugar and punishing yourself. It’s about treating sugar as something to be enjoyed in moderation and in small quantities.
2. Be Prepared & Make the Swap
Having healthy snacks on hand makes it easier to say no when you’re given the opportunity to eat something sweet.
It also helps when you’re in a situation where maybe there aren’t healthy options around. Knowing you can enjoy your own food / snacks will make it easier to pass on ones you know won’t leave you feeling great.
It’s just you simply making a conscious choice to swap added sugar with “good sugar” or other alternatives. When you’re saying “I can’t eat it” or “I`m not allowed to enjoy xyz”, you’re setting up for failure. Think of all the things you CAN have instead. For example:
- Swapping out bottled fruit juice for a fresh home-made smoothie for your afternoon break allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth with naturally occurring sugar.
- Swap a packaged energy bar with a homemade granola bar as your mid morning snack will keep you energised with natural ingredients.
3. Change Habits
Write down on your diary when you experience sugar cravings and reach out for a treat, for example, while watching TV in the evening or mid afternoon when you start feeling tired from work.
Tackle these moments and change your habits into healthy choices. If you do this consistently and for long enough, your new habit will form and your brain will default to it without you even realising it. Two great tips are:
- Brush your teeth after dinner when you start feeling a sugar craving. It will help you realise that you’re really not even hungry and that you’re not craving sugar anymore.
- Cut down on unnecessary distractions while eating your treat, like scrolling on Instagram, checking your email or watching TV. You will be more in tune with your hunger cues and will only eat the necessary to satisfy your momentary craving or you won’t even eat at all.
4. Consult your coaches or our nutritionist
Sometimes our willpower is not enough and we need external accountability to fall into the right track, especially at the beginning. In this case, don’t hesitate to reach out to our coaches and our recommended nutritionist. We are here to help!
Nutrition is one of the most important factors to take care of when you start your journey towards a healthier you, together with physical exercise and sleep.
Don’t leave it “until Monday”. Act now. Here at Andfit we know something for a fact: you need to start your health journey somewhere and you need all the support you can have to keep going. We are here for you.