The temptation is everywhere. Candy bars peering up at you in the checkout line, donuts lingering in the break room, the aroma of fresh pastries wafting from the corner bakery that you literally have to walk past in order to get to your office. “Ugh, I’m trying to eat healthy. Why does it have to smell so damn delicious everywhere I go?” It’s almost March, which means that bathing suits will soon be in stores, and spring breakers are about to book their flights.
Maybe you’ve been crushing your health resolutions lately or maybe you end up dishing out scoops of ice cream on more nights than you care to admit. Either way, we all get sweet cravings now and then. Before we get into the science of curbing these cravings, let me just say that I love chocolate and sweets as much as the next girl. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a sweet treat every now and then. However, if you’re at a loss for how to control your sweet tooth or simply want a few pointers to help you stay on a healthier track, I’ve got a few tips just for you.
Go Cold Turkey
According to this article from Women’s Health, you’ve got to flush out your system with a detox before you can set out on a new healthy journey. Try five days without any sweets and prepare to feel like crap for most of them. By day five, your body will have recalibrated to get used to having less sugar in your system. You’ve got to stick it out and prepare to be irritable like anyone nixing an addiction. Then you’ll have a clean slate so you can go about setting up new habits.
Mom was right. Chowing down in the morning really does set you up for success. Many people who have sugar cravings don’t eat breakfast in the morning and end up overcompensating for a dip in their blood sugar by filling up on sweets later. Don’t cut breakfast to save calories because it just doesn’t work like that. Fuel up with good eats in the am. Check out some of my favorite breakfast combos here.
Switch Up Sugar Sources
Fruits are good for you. Fruits have sugars. If you fill up your plate with more fruits during the day, your body will get the sweet satisfaction from a much cleaner source. Try to eat a serving of fruit with breakfast and fill up again when you need a snack. An apple with peanut butter or smoothie with protein powder are good combinations for sweet and filling options.
Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger and end up overindulging as a result. If you sip water throughout the day, you will feel hydrated and be able to separate true hunger from boredom, thirst, or other hunger impersonators.
Avoid the Late Night Fridge Raids
Eating too late at night is simply bad news. The closer together your bedtime is with your snack time, the worse off you’ll be for digesting. Your body will be more likely to store those calories as fat rather than burning them for energy. It’s better to have a small sweet treat after dinner and then close down the kitchen for the night.
Fill Up on Filling Food
Protein and fiber-rich foods provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function. That means lean protein and a lot of greens. When you have the desire to reach for a donut or ten, you might really be ignoring the fact that your body needs fuel. If you have a balanced breakfast and power lunch, and still can’t get the image of a donut out of your brain, then the craving might be real.
Depriving yourself isn’t nice. Everything really is fine in moderation, but make sure your definition of moderation is honest. A few sweet treats every week is totally fine, but that doesn’t mean downing a whole carton of Oreos in one sitting. Watch your portion sizes, practice balance, and you’ll notice that sweets really do taste better when they’re enjoyed as a treat.
By altering your lifestyle choices and practicing balanced eating habits, you’ll feel better, stronger, and happier. Don’t forget to treat yourself every once in a while and listen to what your body is telling you. I hope these tips help my fellow chocolate fanatics to feel in control of cravings!