It’s all too easy to let sugar cravings get the best of you, especially around and right after the holidays. However, we all know by now that a diet high in sugar is not at all connected to longevity, feeling great, or looking great! That’s why we have decided to share some simple, preventative tips for beating sugar cravings.
What does sleep have to do with my sugar cravings?!?! You may be surprised to learn that research has shown that increasing duration and quality of sleep helps individuals make healthier food choices and specifically decreases their appetite for sugar. A big part of this has to do with how the human body produces the hormones ghrelin and ghrelin. Ghrelin increases appetite for carbohydrates, and leptin suppresses hunger. When you are sleep-deprived, ghrelin actually increases while leptin decreases.These two hormones make it very difficult to resist those cookies sitting in the office kitchen. A lack of sleep also disrupts blood sugar, which leads to more sugar cravings.
Eat more real food
Our definition of real food is whole, single ingredient food. These types of foods are high in nutrients and have little to no processing done to them. Eating a diet composed primarily of real food will create a diet that is naturally high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which is your best bet for curbing sugar cravings. These foods keep you feeling full and your blood sugar stable, preventing large crashes that signal your body to “eat sugar!”. Fat and protein combined every meal is your best bet for satiation (feeling full and satisfied) and managing energy levels. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables will help you avoid any micronutrient deficiencies that can also be responsible for those cravings.
Skip the high-intensity workouts
Yes, it is true. Different types of workouts actually can impact your cravings. The body requires sugar to create energy for high-intensity, unsustainable training. Intense training demands sugar to not only to perform, but to recover as well, which is one great reason to focus on strength training and sustainable aerobic training instead.
Sugar consumption for many people is often tied to stressful events and used as a coping mechanism for chronic stress. Does this sound like you or someone you know? Ingesting sugar may feel good in the moment, but unfortunately, often leads to a slump and negative mood after. Managing your stress and noticing when you use food as stress-relief is step one to breaking this cycle.
Do things that make you smile
Who doesn't want to do this one?!?! Making time for activities and people you love is a really important part of managing stress and preventing cravings. When your life is full of things that bring you purpose, you are less likely to go for sweets to bring short-lived happiness. Whether it’s reading, biking, hanging with friends, or playing music, or meditating, find daily joy and you’ll stop trying to fill the void with unnecessary sugar!
These all may seem pretty simple at first, but just as habits take time to build, they also require consistency to break. While useful tricks like “drink a glass of water” or “brush your teeth” when you feel a sugar craving may help, they can often be just a temporary bandaid. The long term solution is to craft a lifestyle that prevents cravings in the first place.
If you’re trying to reduce the amount of sugar you consume then set up a free consult with Tara at OPEX Franklin today. She will match you with a coach who can help you set an personalized action plan that encompasses your exercise, nutrition, and behaviors, and put an end to band-aiding a lifestyle that is fueling cravings.