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.
Love these tip! I definitely struggle with my sugar intake and I have been trying to get back on track lately so this was perfectly timed, thank you!
Taylor | http://www.livingtaylored.com
Love the water tip! We’ve recently become obsessed with dried fruits (we purchase at Trader Joes). Dried Mangos in particular. Of course check the label to make sure nothing is added but dried mangos have helped curb our gummi bears addiction!
Good tip! I found that with dried fruit I just started getting addicted to that so I had to stop buying them (especially from TJs bc it’s all so good!)
I know it sounds crazy… but when I just DECIDED that I didn’t want to eat sugar as much, I found it easier. I felt like I made a commitment to myself and that was a pretty powerful weapon in terms of curbing the sugar. Now I like a taste every now and then but after a few bites of ice cream (which used to be my kryptonite) I’m done!
I love that! Sometimes a new mindset is all it takes. xx
ahh, sugar. the addiction is real! sometimes i’ve found just having a bite (or lick! of ice cream, ha) is enough to make the need go away.
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I LOVE this post! I have the worst sweet tooth ever, so these tips are going to be really helpful! xx
Pink Champagne Problems
This is such a helpful post, Julia! I definitely love sweets but need to detox a little bit haha!
I read this article (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/opinion/a-month-without-sugar.html?_r=0) at the beginning of January and after setting the goal to make 2017 a year of focusing on health, I decided to try it. I have to add that my sweet tooth is typically out of control and I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it. If sugar was listed as an ingredient, it was off the table and I even went as far as eliminating honey or maple syrup for the full experience. What I noticed was really interesting – I definitely missed it a lot, but I realized that I had to find new ways to treat or reward myself. After about a week and a half, I noticed I was more inclined to eat more healthfully all around and then the biggest change happened – I finally was able to create a long term routine at the gym. My mindset around self care sort of morphed and I realized the best “treat” for my body was actually a green smoothie and a solid workout. It sounds so cliche, but as surprising as it was for me, I began to really enjoy it. After the thirty days, I realized how much sugar I had actually been consuming before and it’s taught me how to moderate. We’ve done a few mini sugar hiatuses since when we’ve gotten off track a bit, but for the most part, this has really changed the game for me long term. I can’t highlight enough that I was the LAST person who would be expected to complete challenge like this since baking it my go-to form of de-stressing, but I did it and I would recommend it to anyone trying to reset their eating habits.
I’ve been trying to curb my sugar cravings and it’s so hard sometimes! I’ve started with no desserts or treats during the week and I only have them on the weekends. It’s so hard after a party though when I don’t want left over desserts to go to waste haha!
Ugh I feel you. It’s not easy. Good luck!
Tips for SALT cravings?!?
That is beyond me, haha. But maybe I’ll try testing some things out and report back!
I’m at the height of a very bad sugar addiction!!! I literally just brushed my teeth (late morning 🙂 and then made 3 smores and ate them. :/ I definitely agree with the dark chocolate – I’ve seen better days and once I get milk chocolate out of my system it actually tastes weird when I do eat it. I need to get back at it!
You are my spirit animal!!! I do that all the time with smores. LOL!
This is really helpful!! I hear that if you don’t eat it, you don’t crave it… I wish I could just stop!! ahh!! Hope you’re feeling great! Almost time!!
I’ve always had an issue with sugar but I notice in the last couple months of my pregnancy (after finding out I passed my glucose test), I’ve been totally out of control. I’m a little worried nursing will make me even worse, but we’ll see.
Sounds like we’re on the same page. I hope it doesn’t get worse with nursing, I didn’t even think of that!
Loads of helpful suggestions, thanks!
These are great tips that I also implement! I think that I’ve accepted that I have a sweet tooth so I just prevent binging by allowing myself a square of dark chocolate (over 65%) daily and it generally helps not over-eating!!
Another sweet treat that I LOVE is one or two dates with a bit of tahini! So delicious, especially with a cup of tea!