11 Oct HOW TO CONTROL SUGAR CRAVINGS
I must admit I use to have a major sweet tooth growing up. Coming from a family where we stock at least 5 types of chocolate so we can eat a square (or two) after lunch AND dinner, it’s not a big surprise!
However, when I moved to Singapore, my kind of desserts were not readily available (or just way too expensive) I learnt to deal with my sweet cravings along the way. I am now mostly “cured” thanks to easy tricks and techniques I am going to share with you today.
We always try to justify our cravings or we sometimes even forget to add them to our food diary (hint hint to my personal training clients!) but they add a big bulk of calories at the end of the week and might even be the reason we do not seem to lose weight.
So how can we fight those cravings?
I have listed 6 triggers or time of the day that clients and I have had sugar cravings and how to rewire your brain to avoid or satisfy the craving. If you have more please feel free to share in the comments below and I will try to find a solution for you!
1.After a meal
This is a major one. If you are used to end your meals on a sweet note, just like a smoker smokes after food, I am not going to lie, this will be the hardest one to fight.
I usually have three ways to fight this craving:
- Go brush your teeth. Guess what? Your toothpaste contains sugar! That is sometimes enough to trick your brain into thinking it has received the holy grail: SUGAR! Added benefit is, if it is in the evening, after brushing your teeth you will probably not eat again as you might be too lazy to brush your teeth one more time before going to bed!
By the way this also works with mouthwash if you do not want to go around with your toothbrush. You are welcome!
- Have a hard sweet: Most of the time we only want to change the taste we have in our mouth. If I take my example, when in France I have cheese for lunch and the taste of cheese being strong, I do not want to go back to work with a blue cheese breath! Trick What did do? Instead of the dessert, keep hard sweets or mints with you in case you need some after food. It will contain less calories than desert!
- Have a fruit: Same idea, give your brain some sugar, but the good kind of sugar at least!
2.When feeling sluggish or sleepy
Your body is sending you a message: I need energy – please send over some sugar! Lucky for us ingesting sugar is not the only way to keep us high energy all day long:
- Have black coffee or tea (without sugar) This is an obvious one but it just works! If you are really looking for something sweet, get fruit tea or even chocolate tea (yes it exists – check in out in my previous blog post….)
- Have cold water: Keeps you awake and refreshed!
- Go for a walk outside. The sunlight will tell your body to stay awake and you will get some vitamin D! Moving around will wake you up, make you feel great and burn some calories at the same time!
3.During your period
I sometimes have the weirdest cravings during my period. Cannot wait to see what will happen when I am pregnant!
As far as I am concerned I do not specifically crave sugar during my period, more what I would consider to be “bad” or “treat” foods like ice cream or brownies for example. Our food intake is too often linked to how we feel and as our emotions are all over the place during that time of the month, I usually use the following trick:
- Make a healthier version of your favorite desert: 2 ingredient pancakes (with banana and eggs only), protein powder brownies or even “ice cream” with frozen bananas! Take one frozen banana, 1 tea spoon of peanut butter, blend and add crushed walnuts as topping. It feels like a decadent desert as the banana gives you the ice cream texture as well as the sweetness while the the nutrients from all these wonderful ingredients will keep you full for a while!
It’s 4:30pm, you are so done with work and you feel like you need something to eat? Think about it twice you might just be bored! What to do to fight boredom?
- Go and talk to a colleague: the conversation will lighten up your mood and stop you from wondering towards the pantry.
- Go for a walk. There is nothing best than stretching your legs and getting some (not so) fresh air. The craving will be gone by the time you are back and you will feel more productive if you need to finish a few things at work.
- Do some online shopping! I know this might not be good for your wallet, but it feels amazing and the reward feeling we get is just as addictive as sugar!
5.When everyone else is having it
It’s someone’s birthday or everyone is ordering desert after a big meal. It is always hard to say no because of social pressure (even if the pressure is not THAT hard) and you do not want to be seen as the salad freak who does not touch sugar.
What should you do in that case?
- Have a small piece. It will look like you were part of the fun without adding too many calories to your daily intake
- Share it with someone! You do not have to eat half of the cake, best way is to share with your husband/wife and take your time. They will surely eat more than you do!
6.When on the go
Having a sugar craving while at the mall? Well that is no surprising as all the shops send these amazing smells across the hallway. How do we deal with those?
- Always have hard sweets with you. Smelling famous Amos or Ben’s Cookies? Have your sweet and move along
- Add fruits to your water bottle or make ice fruit tea yourself with no added sugar. When you sip on it, it will feel like you are having a sweet reward without the calories.
- Have a fruit with you and snack on like apples or bananas. They are easy to transport and can be eaten anywhere!
In a nutshell, the best way to control your sugar cravings is to acknowledge them and have a bit of sugar or any equivalent rather than straight up repressing it.
If you have any questions or need help on this subject please feel free to contact me at Alicia@aquaspin.sg
See you soon!