Are you struggling with the post-holiday sugar crash?
You’re not alone! Follow these 7 steps to stop sugar cravings and start feeling better.
#1: Clarify your “Why.”
Making dietary or lifestyle changes based on guilt, shame, or other people’s opinions never works. Plus, it makes us feel even worse.
So before you jump straight into a sugar cleanse, ask yourself this question,
“How will my life be better by reducing how much sugar I eat?”
List any negative health symptoms you are experiencing. Knowing this answer helps keep you motivated and on track.
#2: Drink more water.
Mild dehydration (which most American live with) causes you to feel like you need to eat when what you really need is water.
Before you reach for a sweet treat or another snack, try drinking a glass of water first. If you still feel hungry 15 minutes later, then enjoy a healthy high-protein snack.
Aim for at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Drink more on hot days or when you are exercising. Carry a reusable water bottle to help remind yourself to stay hydrated.
#3: Don’t skip meals.
When our blood sugar drops, sugar cravings naturally follow. Eating regular, balanced meals is the best way to stay off the blood sugar roller coaster.
A well-balanced diet is made up of primarily whole, unprocessed foods found in nature. This includes plant and animal-based proteins, fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats.
#4: Start your day with protein, not sugar.
Eating sugary foods first thing in the morning fuels sugar cravings all day long. Instead, start your day off with healthy protein and satiating fats.
Our digestive tract, commonly referred to as our gut, is made up of a mix of bacteria and yeasts. The unhealthy strains of bacteria and yeasts thrive on sugar.
When we start our day with a sugary cereal or stack of maple syrup slathered pancakes, we inadvertently feed these “bad guys.” In turn, they want more so they send signals to our brain that trigger sugar cravings. These signals continue all day long until your willpower eventually breaks, and you give in to the closest piece of candy or sugar-filled drink.
Simply by switching what we eat for breakfast can dramatically alter how much sugar we consume across the whole day.
If you enjoy something sweet in the morning, try eating berries with yogurt or a high-protein fruit smoothie.
Adding in more naturally sweet vegetables, such as sweet potato, is another great way to curb sugar cravings.
#5: Prioritize sleep.
Fatigue triggers cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates, which metabolize into sugar.
Why? Your body needs calories (aka energy) to keep working. Sugar is the fastest and easiest source of energy for your body. This is why you crave sweets, fast food, and processed foods when you are tired or stay up late.
To reduce sugar cravings throughout the day, prioritize getting enough sleep at night. Adults should aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Children and teenagers need more.
If you’re consistently struggling with poor quality sleep, talk to your doctor about getting a sleep study and lab work done to find out why.
#6: Reduce your stress.
When we live in a state of chronic stress our body seeks relief. This is a basic biological need. The easiest and fastest way to get that feel-good boost is by eating sugar.
Fortunately, there are healthier ways to help us better manage our stress level.
A 5-minute meditation or 30-second deep breathing exercise is beneficial physically and mentally. For additional support, consider scheduling a session with a counselor or therapist.
#7: Move your body.
Exercise is another great way to lower your stress level and reduce your sugar cravings. A few minutes of daily stretching, gentle yoga, or walking are all great places to start. If you’re new to exercise, talk to your doctor first.
Sugar doesn’t have to control your life. Simple changes can provide you with the health and happiness you deserve.
Health Coaching with Layered Living is here to help!
Dennett, C. (2017, February 28). Hunger vs. thirst: Are you eating when you should be drinking? The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 13, 2021, from https://www.seattletimes.com/life/wellness/hunger-vs-thirst-are-you-eating-when-you-should-be-drinking/.
The Effects of Sugar Overload & Eating Too Much Sugar. Complete Care. (2020, November 12). Retrieved November 13, 2021, from https://www.visitcompletecare.com/blog/the-effects-of-sugar-overload-eating-too-much-sugar/.
USDA. (2020, December). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 PDF. Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved November 13, 2021, from https://dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This blog post is general information only and is not to be substituted for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.