Welcome to Part 2 of How to curb sugar cravings. In Part 1, we discussed some simple strategies to change your focus from the candy bar to a healthier you! Most us us know that sugar is bad for us, however if you want to read more about what sugar does to your body; just click here:Today we’re going to go into a little more depth as to how you can kick the sugar cravings once and for all. I’m feeling really generous today so am just going to list all the ones in my head until it’s time for me to go to work and kick some butt in the gym! I hope they help!
Too Much Sugar Can be a Killer!
Train your mind
Once you have set a goal to stay away from sugar, keep your eyes on the prize! Always remind yourself of the numerous benefits to your body.
Your Choices Decide Who you will become.
You CAN stick to your no sugar plan because you want to look amazing in your bikini this Summer. You CAN stick to your no sugar plan because going for a bike ride with your kids is more important than missing out on those precious moments because you’re too unfit due to your poor food choices. You CAN stick to your no sugar plan because you want to be around your grandchildren for longer.
Using Visualisation tips really works. When you have a craving, close your eyes for a few moments and picture yourself leaner and healthier. Picture yourself having more energy. Picture more radiant skin. Picture a smoother bum rather than one that resembles cottage cheese. I know of one lady who has struggled with gut issues all her life; since cutting out sugars, her health has improved so much that now when she has a sugar craving, she just visualises bad bacteria eating away at her gut lining. Wow, now that’s quite a visualisation, but hey; WHATEVER works for you!
Staying positive about getting results is extremely important. If you want a different body, you must change what you currently do and how you currently think to get the results you want. Get EXCITED about healthy eating!! It’s not DIE-ting. . . it’s LIVE-ing!!!!
Don’t allow poor health choices to rob you of the fun times!
Get Enough Sleep
Try to aim for 8 to 10 hours per night. Numerous studies show that if we do not get sufficient sleep, we will crave high calorie treats more as our body wants extra energy that we did not restore while resting. When you are sleep deprived, leptin (the hormone that signals the feeling of being full) falls, while ghrelin (which signals hunger) rises.
Get some sleep. . . before you’re DOG tired!
Live in the present. Too often we can eat so quickly that we don’t even realise that we’ve just wolfed down an entire tub of ice cream before we could even sit down. When we are stressed and faced with increased cortisol (a stress hormone), we often reach for comfort foods or foods that are higher in sugar.
Be mindful.Be grateful. Slow down and enjoy the moment you are in now.
Fix Your Gut
A major cause for sugar cravings can be caused by bacterial and candida overgrowth, which literally feed on sugar in the gut. Balancing your gut flora is extremely important for overall well-being. Eliminate sugar and make sure you take a good probiotic every evening after meals. Glutamine also helps with improving gut health.
Maintaining healthy gut flora is essential if you want to look and feel great!!
Have A Healthy Breakfast
“What you eat for breakfast sets up your entire neurotransmitter production for the day.” If you don’t know about the Meat and Nuts Breakfast that my mentor Charles Poliquin recommends, try it! The Meat and Nuts balances your dopamine and acetylcholine levels, helping you to feel more switched on, alert and focused than any other breakfast. If you can’t quite stomach meat, opt for another type of protein, some good fats and phytonutrients. This will beat Weetbix or Fruit Loops any day of the week as the latter will only make you feel more sluggish and tired.
The Meat and Nut Breakfast of Champions.
Eat Whole Foods
Always choose foods that are closer to their original form, with less processed sugars. When we talk about whole foods, we are usually talking about fruits and vegetables. Whole foods are packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain phytochemicals, another name for natural compounds in plants. Eating is a piece of fruit is MUCH better than drinking a glass of fruit juice. You could also use the term to compare a cooked chicken versus chicken nuggets. Always go with the healthier, less processed option.
Warning: These are NOT REAL strawberries!!
Try a Sugar Detox
For those brave enough, completely eliminate refined sugar. The first few days may be hell and yes you may feel tired, have headaches and be edgy but these symptoms won’t last too long. Doing a complete detox resets the appetite. After about 7 days you will enjoy nuts over lollies and in 30 days you will actually start liking salmon over bread rolls! It’s always a good idea to invest in a Coach with sound knowledge in Nutritional and Functional Medicine when dealing with detoxification.
In Part 1 I mentioned some great inspiring Coaches around the globe that inspire me in regards to health and training. If you are not in Perth and can’t visit us at the SSI then I have a few more colleagues who specialise in healthy nutritional plans and detoxification to help your body to be the best it can be. Get in touch with us and we will point you in the right direction.
Seek a Coach who invests in their knowledge so they can help you achieve your results in the best way
Stay away from artificial sweeteners
Studies show that “repeated exposure trains flavour preference.” If you are constantly sweetening your foods, you will always crave sweet food! If you must have a sweetener; opt for Stevia, as it is one of the healthiest options.
Sweeteners are not so sweet when it comes to your health.
Our bodies are designed to MOVE! Movement reduces tension and boosts energy. Studies have found association between exercise and increased serotonin so get an exercise high and eliminate your need for a sugar high!
Training is my therapy!
Be familiar with sugar terminology.
Since sugar is addictive you have to know where it might be hiding. “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Manufacturers will use different names when packaging products. Here’s a list of sugars that still spark your cravings and are detrimental to your body in large amounts: Barley malt; beet sugar; brown sugar; buttered syrup; cane-juice crystals; cane sugar; caramel; carob syrup; corn syrup; corn syrup solids; date sugar; dextran; dextrose; diatase; diastatic malt; ethyl maltol; fructose; fruit juice; fruit juice concentrate; glucose; glucose solids;golden sugar; golden syrup; grape sugar; high-fructose corn syrup; honey; invert sugar; lactose; malt syrup; maltodextrin; maltose; mannitol; molasses; raw sugar; refiner’s syrup; sorbitol; sorghum syrup; sucrose; sugar; turbinado sugar; yellow sugar.
Sugar has many names. Watch out for Agave, that’s a tricky one!
Always take a high Quality Multi-Vitamin.
Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse. Sugar robs the body of B Vitamins. Certain minerals and nutrients also improve blood sugar so they can help to keep you on track. Magnesium, Chromium, Zinc and B Vitamins are some of many that help to balance an incessant desire for something sweet. Other herbs such as gymnema sylvestre can be very useful in helping you to overcome the cravings.
Taking a Good Quality Multivitamin everyday covers your bases.
I recommend eating at least 5 times a day. Depending on your caloric output and amount of exercise you do, this can mean 3 meals and 2 snacks. If you train hard, larger and even more frequent meals are necessary to fuel the body. None of our clients ever say they are hungry because we encourage them to eat a LOT of healthy food at regular intervals. Eating healthy meals throughout the day help to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Every meal you eat should contain protein, vegetables and an energy source from either fats or high fibre carbohydrates.
Eat at Regular Intervals.
Rather than complaining about how you went to your in-laws for dinner and there “were NO healthy options, so you just HAD to have 7 helpings of your mother-in laws pavlova; “ take nutritious food options to your next family or friend’s gathering. Here are some ideas:
Healthy eating NEVER has to be boring! Check out the Olive, Carrot and Fetta Penguins!
Eat first, then shop. This will curb your cravings for grabbing a snack for the ride home. Avoid the confectionery aisles too; there are NO healthy snacks you will be able to find there. It’s best to write out your shopping list of things you really need before you leave the house, so you are less likely to choose things at a whim.
The outer edges of the Supermarket are usually where the best produce is kept!
Eat FAT. Avoid the low fat trap.
If a product says it is fat free, it is likely to be laden with sugar. Good fats slow down the release of glucose into the blood stream, helping you to stay fuller for longer. Healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil , organic butter and nut butters are good for us and help reduce our cravings for sugar.
Fats are GOOD for you. Just avoid man-made trans-fats!
Increase your daily protein intake.
Protein helps regulate your blood sugar & can help your body release appetite suppressing hormones. It also keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Protein is important for detoxification.
”Out of sight, out of mind”
Completely restock your kitchen by getting rid of unhealthy options and replace foods in your fridge and cupboards with healthy alternatives. Never keep unhealthy treats in the house. I often hear the words: “But I only have them in the house for the kids!’ This is something I don’t understand, because if you really want the best for your children you will start by helping them to make healthy choices too. As a parent, you can lead by example. Your children WILL follow your good example. Give them some credit, most kids I speak to want to feel good and be healthy and when you educate them on what is a better choice and why, they tend to choose wisely.
Make healthy choices together as a family.
Learn how to read a food label.
Being aware of the sugar content of foods can help you to make the right choices. Choose products with the least amount of sugar per serving. Here’s a little tip: If the label has TOTAL SUGARS; divide that number by 4 and that will roughly be the amount of teaspoons of sugar the product you’re buying has in it. Packaged foods that list ANY form of sugars in the first few ingredients aren’t worth it. Some foods really do have hidden sugars; they may not taste sweet but they are full of sugar. Some of the worst culprits are tomato sauce, chutney, BBQ sauce, reduced fat salad dressing, baked beans and some flavoured coffees.
Look for the TOTAL sugars.
Track your progress and reward yourself
for staying on track with some zero calorie love like getting some new sexy underwear or buying yourself some new gym gear. Not everyone can go cold turkey and never touch a sweet treat again.
If you like to take things step by step, then make sure you recognize how far you’ve come and reward yourself! If you currently give into your cravings and have sweet treats every day, you could try this:
Week 1: Keep sweet treats for after 2 pm only. No more chocolate for breakfast!!!
Week 2: Only have a sweet treat for dessert.
Week 3: Limit sweet treats to 3x per week.
Week 4: Limit processed sweet treats to 1x per week
Week 5: Replace processed sweet treats for natural sweet treats like strawberries or cherries instead.
When you feel the need to binge on sugar because you have nothing else to do, try taking a hot bath, taking a nap, hugging your best friend or rereading this article!
Treat yourself to an Epsom Salts Bath when you need to relax and unwind.
Recognise emotional triggers
Often it comes down to how we have been wired emotionally. When you were little and you hurt yourself; what did mum give you to make you feel better? Lollies! What were you rewarded with if you ate all your vegetables? Dessert! What were you treated with every time you visited Grandma? A box or Roses! Yes we can be wired to associate certain foods as comfort foods. Foods also influence our brain chemistry. Sugar stimulates the release of serotonin. Insulin stimulates serotonin uptake into the brain, which in turn boosts our moods, makes us feel better, or masks the stress, pain, boredom, anger, or frustration that we may be feeling.
Don’t give up your long term goals for short term habits!
If you’re tying to kick the habit of always wanting sugary snacks, ASK FOR help. Tell your friends and family that these types of food make you feel bad. Tell them that you want to have more energy and be healthier. Tell them that you crave them so much that it’s making you unhappy because you would prefer healthier options but are struggling with willpower. Tell them how difficult it is for you to say no. It’s important to be direct and honest with those close to you and ask them to help keep you on track. You can’t get upset with your boyfriend for buying you some more Baci chocolates if you ate a whole box last week and didn’t tell him how you actually feel after you’ve eaten the last one!
You and ONLY YOU are responsible for what you put in your mouth!
If you MUST have a sugary treat, always choose the Rolls Royce of treats.
By this I mean choose quality over quantity. Opt for Dark chocolate, which is richer and higher in antioxidants than a regular chocolate bar. Choose ice cream made from the best ingredients like cream and eggs rather than highly processed artificial flavours and colours.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Choose good quality ingredients.
Cut down on caffeine.
I love my Java, but keeping it to a minimum helps to balance stress levels as well as prevents down-regulation of serotonin and reduced uptake of vitamins. I also never drink coffee after training, nor after 2pm to help keep my cortisol levels balanced.
Coffee is a great way to start the day.
Increase your daily fibre intake.
Fibre can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels and your risk of diabetes, not to mention that it is an important factor for detoxification. Aim to get a minimum of 20 to 30 grams of fibre daily.
Minimum fibre requirements- make sure you reach them!
Eat your calories; don’t DRINK your calories.
Avoid fruit juice! Stay away from soft drinks and choose sparkling mineral water with a dash of lime or lemon instead.
EAT your fruits, don’t drink them. Fruit juice is often processed and very high in sugars!
Preparation is the key.
We all know this one: “Fail to plan, plan to fail. Prepare your meals in advance and you will be less likely to be stuck in a situation where you make the wrong food choice.
Meal Prep by one of Our Shredded Coaches
Chew your food properly.
When you take your time to eat your food you start to notice the natural sweetness of vegetables and fruits without wanting more.
For General Health, Many People need to Chew More and Eat Less.
Flavour your food with natural herbs and spices.
Cinnamon is a great spice to include as it improves insulin sensitivity.
The Use of Cinnamon has a benefit on Glycemic Control.
Choose healthy salad dressings with no added sugar.
I add lemon or lime juice, olive oil and coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar to my salads.
Choose smart dressings for your salads with no added sugar.
When doing a training session, train SMART rather than long.
At Shredded Health & Performance our mantra is: “Get in. Get Strong. Get out.” Always finish your training session with a post workout shake. Then have a meal an hour afterwards.
Finally, my last point is: Raise your Standards!!
Stop being cheap and start fuelling your body with wholesome foods that are going to nourish you and give you REAL energy. Your body is priceless, you only have one, so take good care of it. It is a sad fact that most people take better care of their expensive cars rather than their amazing bodies. It’s time to realise the potential your body has. Feed it good, nutritional food and you will reap the benefits. Like anything in life, you get out what you put in!!