We all have times when we crave something sweet to eat – many of our memories are brought to life by things we ate as a child or some delicious pudding our grandmothers made. But when you crave sugar on an everyday basis and start to indulge your sweet tooth regularly, there are many repercussions health wise.
When your body is out of sync and you are overweight, listless, tired all the time and craving things like white bread, doughnuts, fizzy cool drinks, ice cream, and sweets, your body is trying to tell you something.
When you skip a meal – let’s say you skip breakfast – by mid-morning, you are going to start feeling hungry and feel like eating something like a nice freshly baked chocolate doughnut or three, or a hot meat pie and a slice of cake, or something similar. A bowl of oats is not going to catch your eye at this point. So you head down to the nearest corner bakery and buy a couple of sweet pastries, wash them down with a coke, and head back to work. Your blood sugar literally goes immediately into orbit – you feel so much better, full of energy and ready to tackle the day.
By lunchtime, you are still feeling full so you skip lunch, but by three pm you can’t keep your eyes open and feel like you could fall asleep at your desk. Then when you get home, you hit the fridge with determination and finish off half a baked pudding from the night before and slump on the couch. Your blood sugar that had crashed in the afternoon now hits the roof again and you feel all sleepy and happy and decide to give dinner a skip, opting for some biscuits and sweet hot chocolate instead. Sound familiar?
You are not alone. Except, once you get into this cycle its gets harder and harder to break. You start to pile on the weight, you feel exhausted all the time and can’t remember when last you thought about the gym or ate a healthy meal.
Our bodies are finely-tuned machines and despite what we do to them, they continue to find the will to carry on. If you don’t give your body the right fuel, it’s going to go into panic mode to get the glucose it needs and when it's panicking it doesn’t care if it’s a whole wheat roll or a candy bar.
If you are hungry during the day, feel tired, crabby and listless in the afternoon or crave sugar at any point during the day, you may need to reassess what fuel you are providing your body with and have a look at your lifestyle in general.
You will need to start from scratch and teach your body how to use the fuel that you are giving it and how to store the fuel correctly. In turn you will start to have fewer cravings – eventually none – and you will feel full of energy, bounce, and vitality, and you will lose any extra weight you have put on by your bad food choices. It will take at least two weeks of following the guidelines and before you know it you will be feeling like a million bucks already.
Here are the top tips to help you take back control of your body and how to eliminate sugar cravings for good.
1. Eat Small and Regular Meals
This cannot be emphasized enough – in order to eliminate sugar cravings you need to eat small meals, no more than three to four hours maximum apart. If you go longer than that without eating anything your blood sugar will plummet and you will be reaching for the sticky bun. Plan in advance for the day ahead; do not leave the house without all of your snacks and meals in a cooler bag already. Planning and eating are integral to managing your sugar cravings.
2. Food Choices
Stand in front of your fridge and grocery cupboard and throw out/feed to the dog/ give away any food item that is processed, high fat, loaded with sugar and preservatives. Replace your white rice, white bread, biscuits, sugar-coated muesli, cake, instant macaroni, ice cream, crisps and fizzy drinks with organic oats, wild rice, lentils, rye bread, almonds, cashew nuts, organic oats, whole wheat pasta, frozen yogurt, air-popped popcorn and water.
Pick low GI food choices – they literally release energy slowly and steadily throughout the day, maintaining your blood sugar levels, prevent cravings and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Animal fats are the direct contributors to visceral fat – aka the dreaded muffin top – all that extra weight around your middle. Eat lean steak, chicken, and fish with no fat or skin. Skip the cheese and butter, and go for avocadoes, virgin olive oil, and lemon juice instead.
Our bodies consist of over 70% water which is needed for just about every single function in our body. In order to maintain optimal functions within your body, you need to be drinking a minimum of two liters of filtered water a day. If you are active, you need to drink even more. In many cases, people will reach for that second custard slice because they feel “hungry’’ when they are actually just thirsty. Drink a glass of water before each meal, it makes you feel fuller, will help to prevent cravings, flush out your system and rehydrate you. If you are already feeling thirsty, you are dehydrated already.
4. Get Moving
That same feeling you got so used to after wolfing down all those cupcakes at the office – that rush of ‘’endorphins’’ that made you feel so good? Well, that feeling is actually fake; caused by the rush of sugar to the bloodstream. But there is actually a better feeling – one that will help you reduce your blood sugar cravings – exercise.
Exercise releases real endorphins into the body, making you feel elated and full of energy. You will have burnt fuel, toned muscles, got some oxygen pumping through your veins and you will feel like this for much longer than if you had feasted on a large piece of chocolate cake. Walking is a great fat burning, hunger-busting, endorphin-boosting, sugar craving reducing activity for everyone.