If you have been wondering how to eliminate sugar cravings and take control of your diet, you have come to the right place.
In this article I will give you 5 strategies how to eliminate sugar cravings and to understand what to do when you are having sugar cravings.
Get your favorite drink ready and let´s go!
If you are feeling that you are doing something wrong when you are having sweet cravings, that’s not the problem. It’s good to have those feelings. Think like other feelings you are having like being sad. It’s ok to be sad but there is a difference in how you react to those feelings.
If you are demonising craving, you are already putting yourself at a disadvantage. As soon as you want something sweet, you are going to be hard on yourself. If you want sweets and you think you are doing something wrong. Which as you know, when you think that you already messed up, why bother or even try.
You need to understand that there is nothing wrong with having those feelings which are part of being human.
How you will react to those feelings and what actions you take will make the difference.
Cravings usually occur in salty or sweet foods that you think that I should not eat
The first thing to understand is that we are all different. Here are 2 most common ways to deal with cravings that are backed by research.
Number 1 is to have everything in moderation. It is the ultimate goal for everyone but everyone can´t start from there.Think like if someone has a problem with alcoholism, having only a couple drinks is probably not the best idea.
In the beginning there is some complete elimination necessary so you can bring it back later on with moderation.
If you have a problem with chocolate or any of your craving foods, either don’t have them at your home or have only one serving or little bit instead of the whole thing.
Everyone understands that if you are a beginner in workouts, you can´t start with the most difficult exercises. Instead you start with basic moves and once you progress, you choose more difficult exercises.
Most people don´t understand that the same thing works with nutrition. Start with basic things and progress when you improve.
Being able to have a donut or chocolate in moderation is a very advanced form of nutrition.
I had several situations in my life where I had to get all sweets out of the house temporarily so I could bring them back later on and have them in moderation.
If you have some trigger foods, get them out of your house for at least a month. It doesn’t mean that you can never have them again.
Once you have improved your relationship with food, you can have them again in moderation.
Moving forward, if you think of some foods that you should get away from the house and now you have removed them.
What steps should you take during this phase?
First to understand that there is no good or bad food. Nobody ever got fat by eating one donut or slice of pizza. I am sure deep inside you understand it. I have sweets almost daily and have pizza every now and then. What is the difference? It’s not genetics or anything else. It is a skill to get back on track as soon as these things happen. Maybe you have been growing up with the idea of good and bad foods and necessarily that feeling is not going away.
What changes is how you react to eating those foods.
When I was a younger ice hockey professional, I was told that pizza was something that was really bad. It was really hard to start changing those beliefs and it still is. I wanted to believe that it´s not bad but it was not possible to change those beliefs just by snapping my fingers.
So even though I tell you now that pizza is not bad, don´t be worried if you can´t change your belief right away. There is some work that needs to be done before you actually start to change your beliefs and how you react when those things happen. You need to practice this like you are doing with exercise to be able to move for more challenging exercises.
That leads to the next point.
You can´t fuck this up.
You can’t fail in your fitness. It applies to your exercise, nutrition, business or any other part in your life. The most common reason why people fail is that they eat one bad meal or weekend and think that now I ruined it anyway so what is the point to keep trying.
Maybe you can relate if you are trying to lose weight and were doing everything “perfectly” for a couple weeks, lost some weight and then on one weekend you ate a bit too much and stepped up on the scale and saw that scale weight spiked up. You are shocked to see that you have just gained all lost weight, maybe even more.
Just for eating a bit more on one weekend.
You think that you did all this for nothing and you ruined all so what is the point even trying.
You think that you just can’t stick to your diet or there is something wrong with you.
Scale weight is one way to measure your progress but not the best way.
Weight loss is not the same thing as fat loss.
That’s the problem with social media when you have unrealistic expectations. Most likely there is nothing wrong with you and your ability to lose fat and create a healthier lifestyle.
The best way to explain this is that there are several people who never exercise, have been eating unhealthy and being overweight for 20,30,40,50 or even 60 years. Then they make the decision to become healthier and are able to lose a lot of weight and create a healthy lifestyle.
If you are telling me that eating one bad meal, having a bad weekend or a week-long holiday where you enjoyed yourself and put some weight on, you are sitting here and make yourself believe that you have completely fucked up your whole progress!
After a week!!
Come on!! It is BS and you have to understand that. It might be easier said than done but you have to let logic win.
DON´T Let your emotions control your actions or thoughts.
When this happens, as it will at some point, remind yourself that there is no finish line on this. Even if you might have set some weight loss goals for yourself, think honestly back to all the achievements you made in the past. You don’t remember when you achieved your goal or how long it took. Once you reach your goal, you are happy.
Funny thing is that even though you think that you must achieve your goal fast, what makes you happier is to see progress, not reaching that ultimate goal.
Once you hit your goal, you might feel good for 2 hours or max 2 days and then you are like, what is next?!? This fitness thing for a life.
There is no end date or finish line.
Faster you understand this, the better you will be.
Next thing I wanted to talk about is the controversial aspect of it. As soon as you get a feeling of craving, the immediate feeling you probably get is guilt and worry. Please understand that craving is not an emergency. It’s part of being human. When you are craving chocolate, french fries or donuts. Welcome to the club!
How you can react to these cravings will make the difference
You have 2 options:
Either you will eat food you are craving or you won´t. You have these 2 options. There are different strategies to avoid eating it but I don’t like to use phrases to avoid eating those foods.
I like to say what you could be doing instead.
Before you get to a point where you choose whether to eat that food or not, you have to understand that you are allowed to eat it.
Now, just because you are allowed to eat it, doesn’t mean that you have to eat it.
But you have to tell yourself that hey, I am allowed to eat it and remove that guilt. You remove the shame, fear, you remove worry and you remove the idea that it is an emergency.
Now you can allow logic into it instead of emotion.
First thing is to tell yourself that if I want to eat it, I can. Now when I am allowed to eat it, am I going to do it?
If you decide to eat it, go for it, enjoy yourself and get back on track.
For people who try to keep their calories on track, I don’t think making that decision right away and just eating that food instantly is the best strategy.
5 Strategies How to eliminate sugar cravings
Strategy 1: Become mindful
Ask yourself why I want it now? Is it something I want because I was passing a bakery and smelled donuts or do I really need a donut.
Or was there some other trigger which made me have that impulse? How I am going to feel after I eat it?
Taking some time to think about it is very important. Because if you start eating donuts or cookies just instantly, it is changing the quantity of how much you are going to eat those foods.
So when you recognize those feelings and triggers, SLOW DOWN!
How to eliminate sugar cravings
Strategy 2 : Set a timer for 20 minutes
Do something else like go for a walk , read a book or whatever. As when you wait before going for it, usually you might end up eating a bit less of it or you might realise that it was not something you actually wanted.
The key is to understand that you can have it if you want but you are creating a bit higher barrier to being able to do it.
How to eliminate sugar cravings:
Strategy 3 : Use the rule: Eat something before
I always have apples at home and if I crave chocolate, I tell myself that if I want chocolate, I must eat an apple first. Of Course an apple doesn’t taste the same as chocolate and if someone is telling that, they are lying! Come on!
But when cravings happen, as they will, I set a timer for 20 minutes, do something before, go for a walk, call a friend or do something else, have at least bite of an apple and what most often happens after 20 minutes, craving is gone or it is at least a lot less that it was before. It doesn’t have to be an apple, it could be an orange so you have some work to peel it before. Other options could be a watermelon or any other fruit.
How to eliminate sugar cravings:
Strategy 4: Put it on a plate and not eat it from a bag
I am not lying and saying that I never eat from a bag as I am a human too.
The difference is that I am not doing it all the time. It is not my daily habit. But the more of the time I put it on the bowl or plate and follow instructions I have given to myself, the better I will be. As you know, when you eat it straight from a bag, most likely you are eating way too much of it.
It is not an emergency when it happens and doesn´t need to be perfect. When it happens 1-2 times per week, it’s ok, you get back on track and you will be ok. If it happens every single day, now we have a problem.
What matters is what you do most of the time and how fast you get back on track. Getting it out on a plate, going to sit down and eating it only then will help you to become more mindful and aware. But please understand the difference, it´s not about being perfect, it´s all about how often you do it and how fast you get back on track.
Strategy 5 How to eliminate sugar cravings: Don´t have your trigger foods at home and you can eat them only if…
I love to use with my clients and myself is to never have your trigger foods at home and if you want to have them, you are using a rule for yourself that I can have it, but I must walk (ideally at least 10min walk) to the supermarket, buy only that amount of what I want to eat right away. So you never have those foods at home and you must think if I really want to walk to the supermarket in order to be able to have them. You eat foods you want right away and won’t have them at home. Idea is the same as in examples before, you are allowed to have them, but you must do something before.
I want to end this with a tough love and talk about promises you make to yourself.
If you make a promise to a friend, family member or work colleague, you follow through because you made a promise.But it’s so often when you make a promise to yourself that I am going to be that consistent, go to gym, stick to a diet, prioritising sleep but you are not following those promises.
Just because you have a craving, doesn’t mean that you have to eat that food. You have the power of choice to eat that food or not to eat. It is totally up to you. I hope you understand at this point that you can have all foods and it´s ok. Your cravings are not more powerful than your actual decision making progress.
Every single day you have many impulses to do many things in your life. You must make a decision that I am not going to give into that or you decide that I am going to do it. You are in control of your life and sometimes you convince yourself if you think that this is something that I always do, that is a red flag. You are justifying yourself of doing those things.
You always have a choice.
The quality of your life is a sum of those small decisions you make every single day.
P.S. If you need some extra help with your own personal nutrition and how to eliminate sugar cravings, concider my coaching opportunities. If you are someone who would benefit from coach: Who is keeping you accountable and give you indivudual support. Please fill out THIS FORMULA to see if I could help you individually or check out my other coaching opportunities HERE