If you’re a long-time reader, you might remember my post How I Beat My Sugar Addiction that I wrote back in 2012 after feeling totally out of control with my sugar cravings. I still use many of the same tactics mentioned in that post to keep my sugar consumption at a moderate level, but, four years later, things have changed. I feel like I have a better handle overall on my cravings, but, like a lot of people, it’s easy for me to slip into bad habits, especially during certain times of year (i.e. my post-holidays sugar bender) or when I’m feeling especially stressed or overwhelmed. That said, here’s what helps me keep my love for sugar in check nowadays!
Stop the ritual of eating sweets
Being aware of my “ritual” of eating sweets has helped me so much. For instance, I found myself reaching for a handful of M&Ms after breakfast again and again. Doing this every once in awhile is no big deal (I mean, they go sooo well with iced coffee), but it started to become a daily habit and one that my mind and body started to expect. It also set the tone for the day, which made it so much easier for me to continue to reach for sugar. When I finally realized what was happening, I decided to put a stop to it, which meant eating more “real” food and pumping up the protein in my breakfast. Lately, I’m digging eggs for breakfast and they keep me satisfied for quite awhile. I also had a ritual of eating dessert every night after dinner. I still enjoy a little something most nights of the week, but it’s not an every night occurrence anymore. Again, I notice my sugar cravings are less noticeable when I eat a substantial meal, which brings me to…
Eat more “real” food
Absolutely. I mentioned this in my original post, and I can’t stress it enough. If I eat “real” food (i.e. something with substance””carbs, protein, healthy fats, fiber), I feel a lot more satisfied and don’t feel like I need something sweet. And if I am craving something sweet, like after finishing a meal, I go back for a second (or even third) helping. Usually, it’s a small portion, but I figure feeding my body something nutritious is better than something sweet. Physically, I feel full and, mentally, I know I don’t need anymore (sugar) calories. Of course, there are times when I just really want chocolate and no amount of seconds is going to do the trick. If really want something sweet, I have it, but I feel a lot more in control of my cravings if I have a substantial meal in my belly. For example, I’ll have a piece or two of chocolate (and not the whole bar) if I’m satisfied after eating “real” food.
Find healthy alternatives
I sometimes still enjoy healthy alternatives when I’m craving something sweet, but, more often than not, I pick the real deal, but just in moderation (more on this below). I mentioned a bunch of my healthy favorites in my original post and many of them I still love, but I don’t rely on them as much as I used to. Even still, I know this tactic helps a lot of people get control of their sugar cravings– me included– so here are some more of my favorites: 5-Minute Desserts for One, The Best & Easiest Peanut Butter Protein Balls, and Double Chocolate Protein Mighty Muffins.
GO FOR IT (in moderation)
There are some days that I just want dessert. If it’s a matter of crazy sugar cravings, I eat more “real” food, but if I’m just in the mood to enjoy dessert, I let myself have it, but in moderation. I mostly practice a “Cookie Friday” approach. I say “mostly” because I love treats and rarely ever turn down my favorites, but I typically practice portion control, like having a small piece of cake (usually I just eat the frosting because it’s my favorite part), half of a donut, or a couple of cookies. I also like using small Ramekins to help with portion control (i.e. 1/3 cup Golden Grahams + 1 tbsp of chocolate chips). I don’t deny myself, but I don’t go crazy either.
Question of the Day
Do you struggle with sugar cravings? What are your tips for controlling them?