We are all well aware now that too much sugar in our diet is bad. Unfortunately most of us also know that it is not that easy to kick the sugar habit and you wouldn’t be the first one to have tried and failed (several times). Having supernatural willpower will help but there are a few things you can do so you don’t have to rely on willpower alone. Sugar cravings can be extremely strong and you will need all the help you can get.
For starters, don’t have any unhealthy foods in your house (doh…). Seems like stating the obvious but many people seem to forget this vital bit of preparation. If there are any chocolate digestives lurking in the cupboard you will be really up against it when the cravings come. However, if you have to get out of the house to buy the sweet stuff you are much more likely to resist. Clear the cupboards of sugary foods and donate it to friends or a food bank. Don’t feel you need to keep some for the children or your partner. They don’t need it. Try to get them on board and if they are unwilling they should get their kicks outside of the house.
Make sure there are healthy snacks at hand for when you’re feeling peckish. For example: Frozen banana, apple or celery with almond butter, cold meats, boiled eggs, nuts, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, etc. Also make sure you drink plenty of water and tea as sometimes we think we’re hungry when really we are thirsty. Stock up on exciting herbal teas and when you feel like snacking, try a cup of tea first. Peppermint, liquorice and cinnamon have a sweet flavour that may help to hit the spot.
Eat plenty of protein and healthy fats, as this will help feeling full. Both fat and protein promote the production of hormones that reduce appetite and protein inhibits the production of chemicals in the brain that make us feel good and stimulate more eating. Sources of healthy fat include fish, meat, eggs, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil. Fish, meat and eggs are good sources of protein.
Try to get 8 hours of sleep every night as lack of sleep disrupts our hormonal balance and leads to overeating. To help getting a good night’s sleep switch off electronic devices 2 hours before going to sleep, keep the bedroom cool, dark and well ventilated, avoid caffeine in the evening and limit alcohol intake.
Stress can make us eat more, especially junk food, so try to keep stress to a minimum. Deep, slow breathing will instantly lower your heart rate and blood pressure and make you feel calmer. Meditation is a great stress booster. It may seem daunting if you have never tried it, but with a little bit of practice anyone can learn how to switch off and even 10-15 minutes daily will make a big difference. Try the Headspace app to help you get into it.
These strategies will help you adopt healthy, low-sugar cravings. If you can make it through the first 3-4 weeks and nourish your body with healthy fats, proteins and plenty of vegetables you will find that the cravings disappear and energy levels increase and stabilise. Happy days :)