Can you not stop eating those pastries from the bakery? Are you craving some chocolate? Or are you mindlessly eating some things from the cupboard? These steps are helping you to quit your sugar addiction.
Become aware of your sugar addiction
When you are reading this, I am guessing that you are aware of your sugar addiction. Congratulations! Being mindful of this and what is happening is a great first step for dealing with your sugar addiction. Second is becoming aware of the times that you mindlessly eat sugar instead of something healthy or nothing at all. This bit is a little bit more tricky, as eating sugar can be such a habit and addiction.
Ask yourself these questions
When you are craving sugar and want to stop, this can be really hard on you, so be kind to yourself. The first couple of days when you try to quit or limit the sugar intake, your body needs to basically kick off of sugar. Keep in mind that this feeling will just be there for a few days. When you find yourself in a position of wanting to eat sugar or already in the cupboard with your hand in a bag of cookies and chewing on one, try to stop yourself and ask yourself these questions:
- Countdown from 5 to 1. This will help your brain to stop itself and to think more rationally about the actions you are going to take.
- Am I thirsty? Instead of eating these sugary things, could it just be that you are dehydrated and you just need to drink something? Tea and flavored water always help me because it makes my taste buds happy. Especially a herbal tea like peppermint tea is good for cravings.
- Am I emotional or bored? I often can check this one. I tend to eat when I am bored or emotional, even when I have a big to do list. Find out for yourself what you can do when you become aware of when you are bored and emotional. What creative or fun thing do you like to do to keep your mind distracted (kind of) from food. Do something for 20 minutes like walking, making a puzzle, dancing, whatever and check back in how you are feeling after.
- Have I had enough protein and fiber today? Protein and fiber will keep you satisfied and happy for a long time. If you find that you didn’t have enough protein and fiber in a day, you will naturally crave more sugar. Go for a salad with lots of veggies and protein like chicken, eggs, tofu or legumes to fill you up.
These tips will help you in the cases when you find yourself craving sugar and will give you immediate solutions. These are also long-term solutions that will help you tackle your sugar addiction
Know your why
Why do you want to stop your sugar addiction? What is your goal? What is it that you want to achieve? Try to dive deep and find every underlying reason for you to quit sugar. Write those down and read through them every day so that you remind yourself why it is better to leave those sugary foods right where they are.
I find it so much easier to meal prep. It takes a bit of time to do it in one go, but then everything is prepped for the week and you can just grab and go. You don’t have to think about the food anymore and you are not tempted to grab anything else as you already have your food ready. In that way you are more intended to eat healthier.
Look at your sleep pattern
Not sleeping enough can be a huge trigger for your sugar addiction. The best way to find out if sleeping is causing your sugar addiction is to go to bed on the same time every night and then see at what time you wake up naturally. This is a good thing to test out in the weekend. The hours you sleep naturally are the hours that you will need to rest and this can differ from summer to winter as well. Maybe you sleep enough hours, but you need a deeper sleep. Make sure your room is ventilated and dark enough to have a better sleep.
This might be the number one reason for craving sugar. Sit down and find our where your stress triggers are. Write them down and think of things that you can do to reduce them or make them work for you. Feeling stressed does not only lead to more cravings, but is in general not good for you body, so make this a priority to live a stress free live as possible. Also try to implement enough me time to do the things that make you happy and will relax you.
Look at your meals
I probably don’t have to tell you this, but eating a healthy and nourished diet is the best way to reduce your sugar addiction. What helped me is to keep a food diary, where I not only wrote down exactly what I ate (yes very confronting), but also the time, if it was a binge and craving and what I felt. This helped me to learn so much about myself. Other things to keep in mind is to swop things you like for healthier no sugar options to have a maintainable lifestyle. And focus on eating more protein and eating big salads without starving yourself. Also drinking enough water is very important!