Five Easy Steps to End Sugar Cravings
By Ellen Kittredge
Have you noticed these past couple months that you craved a little more sugar than usual? If so, that is entirely normal, as we’re offered so many sugar loaded treats over the holidays and with a chill in the air we need more carbohydrates to fuel our bodies. Plus, it can be hard to turn down that offer of an extra piece of pie or those wonderful holiday cookies that someone went to great effort to create. And sometimes once we start eating sweets, we just can’t stop!
However, we’ll soon be thinking of those warm days of spring when we want lots of energy to get out there and do our best. This change of seasons, as your body prepares for the transition into spring, can be the perfect time to recommit to treating your body well, by giving up the sugar habit!
Would you like to rid yourself of sugar cravings once and for all?
Before we get to the simple and practical steps for claiming independence from sugar cravings, let’s first determine if your body might be suffering from a sugar overload. There are at least 44 documented adverse reactions to sugar consumption. I share 14 of these with you below.
Do you see yourself in any of these descriptions?
* Mood swings
* Overwhelming fatigue
* Sweet cravings
* Difficulty concentrating
* Dizziness and vertigo
* Severe PMS
* Cold hands and feet
* Ravenous hunger between meals
* Joint pains
* Muscle pains
How could sugar be involved with these conditions? Sugar qualifies as an addictive substance. This is for two reasons:
— When you have some sugar – even just a little, you crave more. If you’ve been staying away from sugar and then indulge, your cravings will come right back.
— When you take it away you experience withdrawal symptoms. You may experience fatigue, anger, depression or a variety of other symptoms.
Luckily there are lots of ways to get rid of sugar cravings. The first step is to recognize the cravings. The next step is to recognize all the ways that your body feels when you eat sugar.
Once you feel inspired to let go of sugar, I’d suggest starting by trying to add healthier foods to your diet. A healthy well-balanced diet that is high in minerals will give you enough sweetness from fruits and vegetables to satisfy your cravings. The sugar roller coaster that many of us are on is caused by imbalances in our nutrient intake. But there are many other effective means for addressing sugar cravings. Here are my favorites:
Five Easy and Effective Tips for Getting off the Sugar Roller Coaster:
1. Drink more water
Dehydration manifests in the body as hunger before the body realizes you are actually just thirsty. Keep your daily water intake at one-half your body weight in ounces, and you’ll notice many positive effects, including a reduction in sweet cravings.
2. Minimize or Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine causes blood sugar swings and can directly contribute to sugar cravings, so if you are consuming caffeine, either consider quitting the habit, minimizing intake or consuming your caffeinated beverages with food to minimize the effect on your blood sugar.
3. Eat More Sweet Fruits and Veggies
What a glorious time to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. The farmers’ markets are still bursting with fresh fruits of the summer, and the nutrient-loaded sweet root vegetables and winter squashes will be appearing soon. Forgo the pastries and increase your consumption of these delicious and nutritious fruits and veggies, and you’ll notice those sweet cravings start to dissipate right away.
4. Examine your consumption of the grounding foods like salt, red meat, eggs and heavy proteins
When you eat too many foods that have a grounding effect on the body, your body automatically strives to balance with a lighter food. Sugar is a “light” food. It makes us feel happy and energetic (at least initially) and provides the perfect balance to something like salt. (Caffeine is also a “light” food, and frequently these grounding foods will cause caffeine cravings too). Try it and see. Eat a few handfuls of potato chips. Do you automatically reach for a soda? A beer? A sweet fruit or baked good? Or perhaps a sweetened iced coffee?
Pay attention to how your sweet cravings are linked to your consumption of the foods just mentioned, and if there is a link, either consider limiting these foods, or pairing them with a more gentle sweet food, something like a piece of fruit. For instance, if you’re having salty eggs for breakfast have a piece of fruit with the eggs to deter any cravings for a harsher sweet (candy, cookie, etc.) that you otherwise would have later that morning.
5. Find sweetness in non-food ways
Last, but certainly not least, we can all use more hugs, more kind words, more massages and more time spent relaxing with loved ones. Slow down and make time for these things in your life, and you will find you are not reaching into that candy bowl quite as often.
I’d suggest committing to try these tactics for one week. I’ve taken enough clients through this process of getting off the sugar roller coaster that I can guarantee you’ll see a difference if you give it a try. Once you’ve committed for one week, the second week is easier, and the third week is a breeze.
Ellen is a nutrition and health counselor who helps her clients experience real and lasting weight loss, eliminate cravings, gain more energy and improve overall health and well-being. She can be contacted at www.ellenkittredge.com