Sugar can be a huge hindrance to your fat loss and shape up goals. Here are nine tips on how to beat those dreaded sugar cravings that can lead you away from great results…
1. Know your triggers
Know when the ‘danger times’ are for you. 3pm? Keep some healthy snacks available at work or in your bag when you’re out and about. Watching TV? Avoid the ads – some of them are far too tempting! Late Saturday nights? Plan ahead and have substitutions available. Crunching into some plain, air popped popcorn or chopped apple can get you through that desire to nibble on something during a movie.
2. Stabilise your blood sugar
When sugar levels in the blood drop too sharply, people often feel desperate to restore them with the fast-acting sugars in junk food. Eat breakfast and healthy protein and high-fibre snacks such as fruit and raw veges throughout the day to avoid this happening to you. A can of tuna and a carrot followed by a few raw almonds is quick and easy.
3. Eat more complex carbs
If you improve your overall diet, your cravings for sugar will subside. The less you have, the less you’ll want. Just like training your body, you can train your taste buds to crave healthy foods instead by eating much more of them and less sugar. You’ll soon get used to it. Replace simple carbs with low GI carbs that break down slower such as whole-grains and vegetables. You’ll be more satisfied for a longer time. Remember also that sugar takes you away from your goals and does absolutely nothing for you, except provide you with a very short lived moment, which you then end up paying for (and wearing).
4. Stock your kitchen wisely
To limit your sugar intake, practice conscious shopping. If it’s not around, you can’t eat it, so it’s better to simply not buy the things you know you can’t control. If other people buy sugary food, ask if they can keep it out of sight. Keep a variety of healthy foods close by instead – ideally at eye level in your cupboards and fridge.
5. Run or lift
Exercise is a great antidote for sugar cravings! When you exercise your body breaks down glycogen, effectively giving you a ‘sugar’ boost. Exercise also relieves stress and produces serotonin, which improves mood, making you less wanting sugar for comfort.
Try some berries or a protein shake if you feel the urge for sugar. Stevia is a natural sweetener that has very little effect on the blood sugar and can be used in drinks or baking. Make some healthy muffins and keep them in the freezer so that you can defrost them in times of emergency. Licorice or fruit teas are good alternatives too.
Put some time and space between you and the decision to splurge. Revisit if you really need that biscuit in 15 minutes – often you don’t. Brushing your teeth after your meals can really help. Chewing gum can be useful after a meal to signal that eating is over. Also, realise you don’t have to act impulsively for instant gratification – you have a choice. And the long-term results of saying no are always worth it!
8. Distract yourself
Distraction works for children and it can work for you, too! If you have a longing for sugar, put some energy into something productive to get your mind off it. Clean your room or do something similar that will keep your mind off food, a walk is even better!
9. Eat a little and enjoy
Decide on your treat allowances in advance, depending on your goal. If it’s a special occasion and you’ve made a decision to allow yourself a dessert, you don’t need to go overboard to enjoy the event. It’s more important that you consciously decide what you’re going to eat so that it’s not done ‘by accident’ which can make you feel worse.
If you do end up eating more than you should, remember you haven’t ruined everything and ‘writing the day off’ won’t help. Get back on track asap. If you stick to your plan 90% of the time, now and then you should serve yourself a small helping of something you enjoy and don’t feel guilty!
Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Keattikorn