The Best Ways to “Deal” with Sugar CravingsJul 21, 2021
I have so many clients come to me and complain of this addiction to sugar. Sugar can wreak havoc on hormones and health in general. So sugar cravings… are they REAL?
… Or are they something made up by the diet industry to get you reaching into your wallet to pay for the hottest cleanse, supplement, or program post sugar binge?
With the summer season here, we hear so much about detoxes and cleanses to get your body summer-ready so that you can shed the weight. They have these claims of “fixing your body” and “controlling your blood sugar” and “stopping your sugar cravings, so you don’t eat an entire sleeve of Oreos.”
If you ask me, sugar cravings can be real, but I also think that the whole idea is overused. As a health coach who helps women heal their hormones and find food freedom through mindful eating and listening to their bodies, I’m promoting permission for all foods, using the 90/10 rule, and having helpful swaps that come in handy for the majority of the time.
Think of it this way. You really really want this new pair of jeans. You finally give in and give yourself permission to buy them, and after a few wears they lose their luster. I think the same holds true for food rules, including sugar. When we allow ourselves to eat all foods—without rules, and we have alternatives that won’t spike our blood sugar, sugar loses a lot of its appeal too. This is a real thing. I’ve witnessed it with tons of private clients, and now even more students who have taken my Wellness by Kelley Health and Hormones course.
Whenever we restrict our bodies respond with the urge to binge. So if you’ve spent years avoiding sugar, it’s no wonder the ice cream is calling your name every time you walk past the freezer. I know it’s hard to believe, but your body isn’t broken, and it’s not going to go and polish off a pint if you’re not living with all these crazy food rules.
It’s time to let go of the idea of “good” foods and “bad” foods. When the food is neutral and it’s no longer off-limits, the desire for it automatically decreases. Plus, you’re building more self-trust because you’re quieting all of the noise you learned from diet culture like “this is going straight to my hips” or “omg this is so bad for me, the diet starts tomorrow!” and tuning into your body. This awareness allows you to see if the taste of your treat was as expected, it is satisfying, and do you want to keep eating?
I used to be the queen of a sweet tooth. I would restrict having dinner on a “cheat” night and have double dessert. I thought nothing could be too sweet for me! Give me all the ice cream, cookies, and candy. Until one day, I decided to trust my intuition and try intuitive eating nutritiously. That’s the thing. You can ditch your food rules AND be healthy and work to balance your blood sugar. It doesn’t have to mean giving up your balanced dinner for a king-size candy bar.
I’m here for a more sustainable approach. To ditch that all-or-nothing thinking so you can have physical and mental well-being. The way to eat less sugar and decrease those cravings is to make sure that what you’re eating is nutritious, substantial enough (we’re talking how much), and varied. Instead of that cleanse to detox sugar, think, what can I do to balance my blood sugar?!
You can make small changes that make a huge difference, like swapping your processed protein bar (which is probably packed with fake and real sugars) for something more whole, like celery and peanut butter? Or having healthy sugars like those in an apple that is packaged up with fiber and processed slower? If these summer nights are packed with cocktails and desserts, think about how you could do one or the other rather than both.
The problem with most detoxes is that they are low protein, low fat, and overall low in calories. It may work for a short time, but by restricting and making sugar the enemy, you’ll be running back to sugar as soon as the detox is finished.
It’s also important to recognize the amount of sugar hidden in nut butter, oatmeal, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and even protein powders. It also contributes to unnecessary sugar in our diet. That’s not to say every meal needs to be sugar-free or that you should avoid a restaurant because you can’t see all the ingredients. It just means that being aware of the sugar intake that’s sneaking in can help you control your intake without feeling like you’re sacrificing living. Then, if you have alternative options like Lakanto baking mixes and chocolate or smart sweets on the nights you’re avoiding sugar, you should be really readily able to live the 90/10 rule.
With less sugar in your body, you’re going to be better able to taste when something is too sweet and notice more quickly when you want to stop when you are eating it!
Sounds pretty sweet to me!