How to Stop Sugar Cravings
Posted on 01 April 2016
How to Stop Sugar Cravings.
It’s no secret that we love sweet things. Cakes, candy, chips, and chocolate –don’t forget about those colorful cocktails – you name it. If it’s sweet, we love it. The temptation can feel like it’s coming at us from all angles. Every holiday, every birthday celebration at the office, there’s always some sneaky little sugary snack calling out to you when your craving hits.
We know constantly caving in to the cravings isn’t good for our health or our waistlines, so why does it seem to require superhero strength to stop them when they strike?
Some experts say sugar is as addicting, if not more so, than drugs. That’s a pretty intense comparison. Here’s why: eating sugar artificially stimulates a region of your brain to produce dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter. After a while, dopamine levels drop, and we start to feel flat or tired, or even bummed out. We want that pleasant, feel-good feeling again — and magically another craving hits and we’re reaching for something sweet yet again.
It’s important to remember that cravings do not equal hunger – cravings are driven by the brain’s need for reward. The more sugar you eat, the more your body craves it. Weaning yourself off sugar is a win-win because not only will you begin to feel better, you’ll learn to stop craving it.
So just because it tastes really, really good, doesn’t mean we always have to succumb to the power of sugar. There are ways we can fight off the cravings and still reach that same level of happiness we feel when we eat a bag of potato chips. Just without all the sluggishness and extra calories afterward.
Here are some useful tips that can help you fight off those sugary, fatty cravings one step at a time.
- Drink plenty of water
Dehydration loves to disguise itself as hunger. A lot of times when you think you’re hungry, your body is simply thirsty. It’s easy to confuse the two. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can leave you feeling fuller and less hungry, keeping the cravings at bay. And an extra bonus – drinking plenty of water can keep your skin glowing and looking fresh!
- Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are laden down with hidden sugars and fats, and often very little nutrients. This helps to create a vicious cycle of addiction. Processed foods have a knack for not actually filling you up leaving you overfed but undernourished. When you need a snack, reach instead for some high protein, high nutrition snacks, like nuts, seeds, or greek yogurt.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth naturally
If you feel like your body is about to shut down if you absolutely don’t have something sweet right now, have some fruit instead of a candy bar. Fruits naturally contain sugar in them, plus vital nutrients and antioxidants. You get the sweet kick without all the processed ingredients. Berries are always a great choice!
- Treat yourself (a little):
With this, it’s important to choose quality over quantity. Restricting yourself of something will only make you crave it more. Learning to incorporate small amounts of your favorite sweet and sugary things will help you avoid coming back and overloading on sugar. Knowing you will allow yourself a little bit of your favorite sweet treat, like a small square of dark chocolate, at some point through the day will keep you from going crazy.
- Eat regularly
Though cravings do not always immediately mean you are actually hungry, when combined with real hunger, they can feel impossible to control. One major step in fighting cravings is to make sure to eat regularly. Trying to starve yourself through the day won’t do you any good – blood sugar levels can drop leading you to crave anything and everything which can result in overindulging.
- Have plenty of greens
Getting a sufficient amount of nutrient dense greens will leave you feeling pretty good on the inside – they’ll help boost your energy levels while reducing sugar cravings.
- Walk around or go for an outdoor walk (if you can)
When the cravings hit, go for a walk. Or a run. A change in scenery may be enough on its own to ward of those cravings. Getting out of the immediate warzone of temptation off the kitchen, the candy aisle, or the breakroom at work, can often do the trick. Plus, you get the added benefit of the feel-good endorphins from the exercise – what your brain was looking for the whole time!
I hope you found these tips helpful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below...would love to hear from you :)
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