I’m baaaaaaack!  I know, try and keep your enthusiasm contained.  My wife and I had a great time up in the mountains with my family.  Lots of food, rest and fun.  But I’m back at it now (for a whole week before I’m gone again).

I try my best to completely shut my brain off from training when I’m on vacation (even though I can’t really do it completely).  As such, yesterday I sat down to work on a post for this week and found myself absentmindedly starting at my computer screen. 

Realizing that I wasn’t going to get anywhere, I posted on my Business Facebook page for suggestions on a topic.  I got some great ideas and will use all of them soon.

However, one suggestion was for ideas on how to combat sugar cravings.  Knowing that a lot of my clients struggle with craving sweets, as do a majority of the population, I thought this would be a good topic to tackle today.

Sugar cravings come about for a variety of reasons like stress, needing a “pick me up”, hunger and nutritional imbalances.  While each of these can be indicative of other problems or things that need to be addressed, they can all lead to the same result-stuffing your face with sugar.

Here are some practical ways to combat sugar cravings:

Take an emotional inventory

As I mentioned previously, often times sugar is craved when life gets stressful.  You lose a job, your boyfriend breaks up with you or you’re not sure how your going to pay the bills and the sugar cravings kick in.  When this happens, it can be a valuable tool to take a brief moment and look at what else is going on besides wanting to eat something sweet. 

Are you feeling stressed?  Was it a rough day at the office?  Is life busy handing you a crap sandwich?  If so, you’re more likely responding physiologically to an emotional issue.  Evaluate the situation and see if emotions are driving your cravings.  If so, simply acknowledging this can be a powerful tool in resisting temptation.  However, for some this simply doesn’t cut it.  So what do you do then?

Let other activities replace eating sweets

If you’re craving due to stress, responding physically can curb cravings significantly.  Go train, go for a walk, ride your bike, call a friend, sit on your back porch with a nice cold glass of water and just breath deeply or take your dog for a walk while flying your helicopter. 

All of these things can curb sugar cravings-if you let them.

What is common is for people to simply say “those don’t work for me.”  Well the truth is, they do if you will allow them to.  Sure they may not be as effective at first, but like with anything, the more you do them, the more effective they become.  Not to mention, you are all adults and can make big boy decisions.  You really do have control over what you do with your body and are not simply at the whim of every emotion or craving you have.  We teach our children to have self-control.  Shouldn’t we exercise a little bit of it ourselves?

Eat more protein

Some studies have shown that a lack of protein in an individuals diet can cause them to crave sugar more often.  I ask my clients to try to eat protein every time they eat.  Not only does this provide the body with necessary nutrients for burning fat and building muscle, but it also can help you get past craving sweets.

Eat more often

I’m not a die hard “you must eat 5-6 meals a day to lose fat” kind of guy.  In fact, I have clients doing all kinds of different things depending on what works for them.  Some eat 5 times a day, others 3 times a day, and some only once.  But when it comes to sugar cravings, it can be advantageous to eat more often.  It is not uncommon for people to experience more intense sugar cravings when their blood sugar drops.  To keep this from happening, eat smaller, more frequent meals. 

Let other foods serve as a “sweet”

We have natural foods that can serve as a sweet treat.  Ever had a piece of fruit, or a yam?  These things are actually quite sweet, they just may not seem that way because you are so desensitized by the incredible amounts of sugar you are eating on a regular basis.  Try this-cut out any sweets (candy, cookies, soda, diet soda, etc) for two weeks.  Then go eat a piece of fruit and tell me that it’s not incredibly sweet.  Nature gave us natural desserts, we just have to let our taste buds rediscover them.

 

Quit eating sweets

This may seem like a “well, duh!” kind of statement, but you would be surprised at how many people fail to get this.  If you’re craving sweets all the time-quit eating them!  The more you eat sweet foods, the more you will continue to crave them.  ‘Nuff said.

I understand that sugar cravings can be intense, even down right frustrating.  But if you really give it some effort (and yes I mean you actually have to try) you can overcome them.

How about any of you?  Any other ways you’ve helped yourselves kick sugar cravings?

Remember to share on Facebook and Twitter.  If you do, you get a sticker for being “helper of the day”!

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