If you’re trying to tone up or slim down, learning to control sugar cravings is essential to progress. Yet anyone who has tried to clean up a spotty, less-than-ideal diet knows that cravings are powerful. Sugar is addicting, and cravings can become a major obstacle to fitness goals. Especially when you need that added morning energy boost or are hitting your afternoon slump.
For those moments when you can’t seem to take your mind off of candy bars or find yourself mindlessly reaching for sweets, we have outlined ten techniques you can use to keep yourself in check.
Often times sugar cravings are about something else – boredom, tiredness, some emotional state. By diverting your attention away from whatever sweet treat is commanding your focus, you can take time to evaluate whether you really need or want a snack. Go for a walk. Play with your dog. Do any activity that can temporarily distract you. Remember, ladies, your cycle can impact your energy levels, so keep track of patterns throughout the month. A journal can help.
Your body may be responding to a new workout or fitness routine by yearning for calories. Make a list of nutritious snacks so that you have plenty of options to satiate and fuel your body in a healthy way. Pacify cravings with an optimal blend of protein and carbs: Peanut butter and apple slices, cheese with crackers, or celery and hummus will keep munchies at bay. It can be tempting to munch unnecessarily while packing the kids’ lunches; having bowls of fresh fruit and nuts at the ready can ward off the appeal of more calorically dense treats.
Sometimes the best way to stop cravings dead in their tracks is to give yourself the permission and ability to indulge. Savor a piece of high quality dark chocolate and enjoy. Instead of chomping down the entire bar, however, parcel out a few squares and tuck the rest away for later. Give yourself the luxury of lounging in the bathtub with a good book and a glass of wine! By the time you step out, your focus on another piece of cake will have washed down the drain.
Cravings can often signal an underlying emotional state or reflect a coping mechanism for stressful, emotional situations. If you feel upset or out of sorts, call a friend or write yourself a letter to help you decide whether your appetite is linked to stress or negative emotions.
Channeling your energy into active movement can help redirect cravings. Clean your house or reorganize your desk. Chances are by the time your clothes are folded and files are stacked, you’ll forget about what it was that you were craving in the first place.
Thirst and hunger can be easily confused. Down a glass of water then reassess whether sugar is what your body really needs. Sometimes busy schedules can prevent us from realizing what will best serve us; even small moments of care tucked into your busiest days can make the difference between self-service and sabotage.
When your body is tired, it yearns for higher calorie snacks and treats. Making sure you get plenty of rest will strengthen your brain and body to make better food choices. Sometimes this means saying “no” to your girlfriends or partner; you can join the next happy hour when you’re feeling fully charged.
Stress causes the body to go into panicked overdrive. Take a yoga class or meditate to lower cortisol levels and reduce cravings. Meditation can also help you pinpoint the root cause of cravings and decide whether they are emotional or physical. Book childcare, leave some chores for your spouse, and make time for yourself!
Sugar cravings have deep emotional components. Think of back when you were a child and your parents rewarded you with candy for a good report card. Those patterns are hardwired into your brain. It’s time to consider other rewards for jobs well done: Schedule a spa day, go for a massage, or bake treats with sugar alternatives such as honey or stevia.
When mineral deficiencies occur, the body is more likely to lean towards sugary delights. Zinc, magnesium, and chromium regulate blood sugar levels and can reduce cravings. Fish oil and B supplements can also give you the fortitude you need to resist saccharine on your most sensitive days. Many grocery stores carry product lines specifically for women, or ask your health care provider for suggestions.
Remember that fitness is a journey. Wellness demands attention and care to your body and your mind for ideal health. Be gentle with yourself and get the support you need from one of our trainers or staff. We want to watch you succeed!
If you’d like help getting started, both from the Delta staff and our amazing community of women, download our free trial pass and schedule your free class today.
19 foods that can fight sugar cravings – Healthline
How to resist sugar cravings – PopSugar
30 sugar substitutes for any and every possible situation - Greatist
The 12 best supplements for women - Cosmopolitan