What are YOU thinking about around 3-4pm in the afternoon AND/OR late at night when everyone has gone to bed? It is “something SWEET”? Well rest assured…you are not alone. My clients often struggle with this…and so do I!
So here are some tactics to help conquer them.
But don’t forget: properly managing stress, getting 7-9 hours sleep, balancing your GUT, moving regularly, and getting high quality nutrients spread through the day WILL do wonders to knock those cravings out of the ballpark and give you some relief!
However, even with the best intentions this may not happen and it becomes all to easy to slide into old habits and drown ourselves in “sugar bliss” …which you know never turns out well – at least in the end!
During times of cravings, try one or more of these strategies. They have helped me and many of my clients and they could help you too….
7 Tips To Help Banish Cravings
- Start the day with protein: Research has shown that starting the day with high quality protein (ie. eggs, protein powders, organic tofu or meats) could help you eat 25% less through the day. Protein foods help us feel full longer. Aim for 20-25 grams protein at meals which has been show to control and stabilize appetite. Why so good in the morning? Protein reduces ghrelin (a hunger hormone) and increases leptin (appetite suppressant hormone).
- Opt for savory or sour over sweet: Try to turn your back to the “sweet” and make a bee-line for a food that is savory, sour, or salty…i.e.. left-overs from the night before; a savory chip with salsa/ hummus, or sour foods like sauerkraut or pickles. These foods can help deflect your brain away from the craving PLUS provide a healthier gut-friendly alternative!
- Aim for 35-50 grams of fiber: Among its many benefits for health, dietary fiber keeps you full on fewer calories, steadies blood-sugar levels, and can calm the craving. This means you will need to be very intentional to include fiber rich foods at all meals/snacks such as: fruits, veggies, nuts, whole-unprocessed grains, seeds (plus flax and chia). For some, starting the meal with a salad, veggie soup, or cooked veggies will help them feel full faster without craving dessert.
- Ditch artificial sweeteners and fructose: It is 3pm and your co-worker (or you) are grabbing for your diet soda of choice. Why? Most often the reason (other than addiction/enjoyment) is to curb the appetite and stop the craving. Hmmm….how often have you experienced or witnessed this phenomenon that actually intensifies sugar cravings later in the day. I recall when I was struggling to get off diet Coke (ugh!) this was all too true! Not only is this stuff toxic to your body, but your body is smart and it knows you didn’t “feed it properly with fuel” and it will nag you until you do! (ditch it and detox so you can be more empowered to choose the RIGHT fuel-(grin)!
- Have a back-up plan: If you know that the sugar craving will hit during times of stress or at 10pm every night then make a plan! Keep the sugary foods out (since you know you can’t control them) and stock up with low-calorie high volume foods that may fill you up such as –air-popped popcorn, puffed cereal, cut up veggies with salsa, edamame (in the shell), or drink a Perrier or seltzer water to “fill you”!
- Hydrate properly: Oh, it is so easy to mistaken hunger for thirst! We may feel drained or fatigued and think we need “fuel”. When it reality, it may be more of an issue of not drinking enough. Remember, fluid needs are based on your age, activity level, weight, climate, health history, medication, etc! So that typical 64oz of water / day just isn’t enough for most! One study at the Univeristy of Washington found that just 8oz of water completely curbed nighttime cravings for everyone! So, drink up!
- Get busy: Are you eating due to boredom? Are you at home or work in the afternoon/evening and find yourself opening the cupboards (or desk drawers) to find out if something new and sweet may have popped in there since the last time you checked (grin – been there!) If this is you….then you may need to GET BUSY. Perhaps this is the time you need to make a call to co-worker/friend, go for a walk, volunteer, knit, quilt, or sew! Get your hands, mouth, or body distracted if you know it doesn’t need fuel.
Cravings can often derail your best efforts to eat well and feel well! Quite often there is an underlying root cause whether physical, emotional, or environmental. If your craving are frequent and intense, this may be a sign of something deeper – and “will power” alone may not be the solution.
Consider scheduling an appointment so we can determine how we can correct the cravings and and set you FREE!
Let’s band together and fight the cravings! Drop me a line or leave a comment to share any of your best strategies or experiences to slash the sugar cravings.
Keep Striving to “Nourish Well”…giving yourself grace and allowing time for self-care!