Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am a sugar addict. My sugar addiction started when I was a kid. I used to sit and do my homework over an entire box of Oreo cookies. As a teenager and young adult, not much changed. I could still easily eat a box of cookies, a few bags of candy, and an ice cream sundae to polish it off. Ugh, just thinking about it now gives me a stomachache.
Even though these days, I eat a pretty nutritious diet, sugar still has it’s sweet little hold on me. Whether it’s the raw chocolate treats at the health food store or the gluten-free vegan muffin at the coffee shop, I have to work incredibly hard to restrain myself. I’ve seen the effects sugar can have not only on my body, but also on my mood, brain, and skin. And let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. So, I steer clear of it as much as possible these days with a few simple tricks. Here’s how you can, too:
Many times when you have a sugar craving, what you are really feeling is dehydration. Starting your day with 32-ounces of fresh lemon juice in high-quality water can set your whole day up for sugar-free success. But if those sugar cravings still hit, try chugging some water instead.
Another cause of sugar cravings can be a lack of serotonin, which can be increased by incorporating movement into your daily life. Find a way to fit in some exercise each day, since you’ll also get so many additional benefits! If that craving still hits, try to put it off with a quick 10 minute walk or even a few burpees.
You’ve been there, those nights where you’ve only gotten 3 hours of sleep, at best, and the insatatiable hunger you have would put a 300-pound football player to shame. You can blame your hormones for this one. Leptin, the satiety hormone, is reduced when you don’t get enough sleep, making you want to eat everything in sight. Be sure you’re getting good, high-quality sleep, and if necessary, take naps.
Be still and feel your feelings. I know, personally, whenever I have feelings come up that I’d rather not deal with, I make the run for a sugary treat. But guess what, it never makes me feel better. Ok, maybe for that moment, but it’s fleeting. When you find yourself in that same situation, just sit with those feelings and as the saying goes, this too shall pass. Sure, it’s challenging, but if you can make it through, it’s also extremely rewarding and worthwhile.
Nutrient deficiency leads to chronic overeating and poor food choices. Your body is not hungry for calories, your body is hungry for nutrients. When you’re feeding yourself enough nutrients, cravings will dissipate and you won’t need that sugary “pick-me-up.” So, eat lots of green leafy vegetables and fill your plate up with the colors of the rainbow. And do me a favor, please don’t start your day off with a sugary, refined-carbohydrate breakfast. That is setting yourself up for failure all day long.
I don’t believe in moderation, especially when it comes to refined sugar. It’s like telling an alcoholic it’s okay to have a drink every now and then. One cookie leads to two and the next thing you know you wake up with a bloated belly, an empty box of donuts on your coffee table, and a heart full of regret. Not fun. And just as one would tell an alcoholic to keep the liquor out of their house, I’m telling you to keep the sugar out of your house. It’s much more difficult to eat something that isn’t available. Sure, you could get in your car and drive to the nearest 7-11, but that requires much more effort.
All that being said, there are times when you just need that sweet little treat, and I’m here to tell you that you can have it. You can even have it every day. The trick is to choose quality over quantity. When you eat the real thing, you’ll need less of it and you won’t find yourself in that sad, regretful pile of donuts in the morning. There are so many options now, with stevia and monkfruit sweetened treats hitting the shelves on the daily. Both stevia and monkfruit don’t spike your blood sugar, so you can enjoy them guilt-free, unlike artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet) that have a long list of side effects, including impaired metabolism, cancer, and more sugar cravings (yikes!).
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