How to Mindfully Decrease Your Sugar Cravings
How’s your relationship with sugar? Are you guys hot and cold? Broken up completely? Or do you find yourself trying to fight it, but always giving in, without even realizing it? Sugar cravings can be so tough to break. They can also be tricky to even be aware of because nowadays there’s added sugar in everything.
I’m hosting a free workshop at Heartbeet Kitchen at 29 Haddon Ave., Westmont, NJ 08108 tonight (1/19) at 7PM all about sugar. If you’re local, I would love to see you there! We’re talking all about hidden sugar sources, mindfully enjoying the treats you love, how to naturally curb cravings, and healthy substitutes.
When I talk to people about what I do, the #1 thing I hear about is SUGAR.
How hard it is to stop craving, how they wish they had more control over their impulse to indulge, and how nothing tastes quite as good as their favorite dessert.
The very first thing my clients ask me is, “So, if I work with you… do I have to go cold turkey on sugar?” I think people are always surprised to hear my response. A big fat, “NO WAY!”
First of all, there are easy ways we can take back control over our cravings & impulses through mindful and intuitive eating. There are also ways to adjust your taste buds so that super sweet things don’t taste nearly as enjoyable as before. You’ll even start craving more naturally sweetened treats instead.
But hopefully by now you know that I have a no rules, diets, restriction or stress approach to food, health, and fitness. So I don’t preach or encourage you to cut out sugar completely. What I do encourage is for you to check in with yourself, see how you’re feeling, and adjust accordingly.
If snacking on sweets is leaving you feeling lethargic & moody, then you should go ahead and work on cutting back. But the whole point is a positive one: do more of what makes you feel good. Eat more of what makes you feel good.
Eat in accordance with your goals. And no, I don’t mean a number on the scale. I mean your goal to feel better, more energized, more confident, sexier, stronger, etc.
If sugar doesn’t make you feel good, then eat less of it and more of what makes you feel good! It’s that simple.
So how can you mindfully decrease your sugar cravings without deprivation, diets, or going cold turkey?
By mindfully enjoying & savoring the treats you love, eating nutrient dense meals and staying hydrated, and slowly & naturally decreasing your sugar cravings through dilution and ingredient-swapping.
#1 – Mindfully Enjoy the Treats You Love — Sugar-filled & All
It sounds counterintuitive, but actually enjoying & mindfully savoring a sweet treat that you love leads to eating less sweets overall.
Sugar cravings usually hit us when we’re bored, tired, sad, distracted, lonely, or just flat out not being mindful of what we’re eating.
If there’s a sweet treat you love to make or order when you’re out, make it. Order it. But when you’re ready to eat that treat, practice some mindful eating techniques to really savor it.
- First, ask yourself what you really want. Do you really want dessert? Or are you thinking of eating it just because it’s there?
- If you do want dessert, what kind of dessert would you enjoy? What would make you feel good & satisfied?
- Get rid of any distractions, like your phone or TV, to actually enjoy the treat itself.
- Eat slowly, taking one bit at a time and putting the fork or spoon down in between bites.
- Mindfully pay attention to the smells, tastes, textures, etc. of the treat & think about why you enjoy it.
- Take a moment to ask yourself if you feel satisfied. If you do, stop eating.
In that last moment, you might realize that, after eating your dessert mindfully, it was sweeter or richer than you ever noticed. You might realize that you’ve had enough or that it wasn’t as good as you thought it was when you ate it distractedly or quickly.
Just watch, I think you might eat less of it.
#2 – Eat Nutrient Dense Meals & Stay Hydrated
If you find yourself craving something sweet mid-afternoon or late at night, make sure you’re eating nutrient-dense, filling meals. Your body might be playing a trick on you. It’s not really sweets you want — your body might be hungry.
The best way to ensure you’re eating nutrient dense meals is to:
- Avoid restriction, calorie-counting, or strict dieting.
- Make sure you have a balanced, filling meal that you’ve thoughtfully selected or put together.
- Let go of food rules & eat what makes you feel good, whether that’s energized, fit, happy, or satisfied.
Staying hydrated is a big help, too! We may think we’re hungry or craving something when really we’re dehydrated. If you want to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, try carrying around a water bottle with you filled with pieces of fresh fruit or mint. This one looks pretty cool! It’s amazing how much more flavorful water can be that way!
#3 – Slowly Decrease Sugar Cravings by Diluting & Try New Things
One of the best ways to eat less sugar (if you think you’re not feeling like you want to) is to slowly re-train your tastebuds.
Our tastebuds get used to a certain sweet-level and they come to expect it & want it every time we eat.
When my husband, Ryan, and I first started dating, he had the biggest sweet tooth! He didn’t feel that great after he ate a lot of sugar. Overtime, he ate less sweets and tried new, healthier options. Now, he indulges from time-to-time, but he can taste such a difference! He notices how overpowering and overly sweet some things are now. So now he tastes it and then puts it down. It’s not nearly as enticing or attractive to him anymore. Sorry, Ryan 😜
Here are a few simple ways you can re-train your tastebuds and curb sugar cravings:
- If you enjoy fruit juice, sports drinks, sweetened teas… try adding a little bit of water to your next glass. Over time, add more water and less of the sweetened beverage, until you’re drinking mostly, if not all, water.
- If you enjoy candy & chocolates around the house… don’t keep them readily available in the house or make your own chocolate treats using natural ingredients.
- If you eat when you’re bored or distracted…. try the mindful tips from #2. Take the time to realize what you’re eating, how sweet it is, and whether it makes you feel good (aka. aligns with your goals & wants).
I hope this was helpful! How do you do with sugar? Is it something you really enjoy, or does it leave you feeling like anything but your best? What food or treat really makes you feel good? If you’re local, I hope to see you tonight!
I’m hosting a free workshop at Heartbeet Kitchen at 29 Haddon Ave., Westmont, NJ 08108 tonight (1/19) at 7PM all about sugar. If you’re local, I would love to see you there! We will talk about hidden sugar sources, mindfully enjoying the treats you love, how to naturally curb cravings, and healthy substitutes.
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