I’ve never really been a “sweet person” before. I could always skip dessert without a second thought, but if there was a bowl of tortilla chips with guac? Forget it! Salty has been my lifelong jam… Until recently. I finally understand what people are talking about when they say they can’t control themselves with sugar, and it’s rough.
I used to get so frustrated with Anel when he couldn’t stop with the desserts, but now I feel bad. The sugar addiction is real, and I now know the feeling of not being able to stop yourself. After a big birthday weekend of overindulging, I felt like today was the perfect day to get back on track and remember some of my favorite tricks.
Despite how difficult it can be, there are some steps you can take to ease up on your daily sugar intake. I used to use some of these tips with clients when I was health coaching, and they really work to break the cycle.
1. Eat more healthy fats.
I find that if I don’t eat enough fats throughout the day, my sugar cravings are more intense. I try to get enough oils (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee), nuts (a handful of almonds, peanut butter), or avocado to keep my body satiated with the good kind of fats.
2. Try something else first.
At this point we all know that more water throughout the day makes us fuller for longer, but in the moment when I’m craving something sweet, I try to chug a big glass of water with lemon or berries first, and it usually fills me up and distracts me. If that doesn’t work, I go for a piece of fruit. or a handful of berries or cherries. If I still want something sweet after waiting 10 minutes post water and fruit, then I’ll try a square or two of dark chocolate. If that still isn’t enough, I usually just give in. I’m human, after all!
But those three steps usually do the job. The trick is to wait 10 minutes after the fruit and another 10 after the chocolate and usually in that period the craving disappears into thin air like magic.
3. Eat berries and fruit.
The tip above is great for when cravings hit, but I try to avoid them before they even start by prepping fruit for dessert after lunch and/or dinner every day. I often chop up a few different things (currently loving peaches with blueberries) and put them in a bowl with a fresh piece of mint so it feels like a real dessert.
In the summer, we eat a ton of watermelon and cherries and a fun snack that I love is frozen grapes. In the winter, I’ll chop up apples and make a little dipping sauce by putting nut butter in a bowl with cinnamon and a dash of vanilla extract.
Smoothie bowls are also great fruit-based dessert options!
4. Go cold turkey for a week.
If you have a serious problem with sugar, like you need it every day multiple times a day, a good detox is always the best answer in my opinion. That doesn’t mean you need to cut it out forever, just a short period of time to reset your systems. I always suggest a week but you could go longer if you feel like it. Cut out all processed sugars including maple syrup, honey, agave, etc. Look at labels and be strict! If you can cut sweet fruits like bananas and cherries, that will help too. Stick with berries (fresh not dried) for when the cravings hit.
5. Indulge every so often.
Going cold turkey is great but not for the long haul. No one in their right mind could survive it! Let yourself enjoy sugar once in a while, but make it special. Savor every bite and don’t wolf it down. In the summer, go out for ice cream and eat it slowly. In the winter, eat that slice of pie and fully appreciate all of it’s flavors.
Some healthier substitutes
Craving ice cream? I make my “banana ice cream” by blending frozen bananas, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and whatever flavor I’m craving (usually strawberries).
Craving chocolate? Try three squares of dark chocolate and savor every small bite.
Craving fruity candy? Eat a berry bowl with a drizzle of honey or frozen grapes.
Craving cookies? Eat 3-4 dates or a whole apple, chopped up with peanut butter and cinnamon.