Sweet, Sweet Cravings

Sugar cravings... are they really real? Or something made up by the diet industry to get you reaching into your wallet to pay for the next hottest cleanse, supplements, or quick fix weight loss program?

Imagine, for a second, grabbing a big chocolate cake or bar, reaching into a tin of your favorite biscuits to go with your cup of tea, or sticking a spoonful of ice cream into your mouth and realizing that it tastes too sweet and you really aren't fussed for another bite. If that sounds too crazy to you, I can relate. I thought nothing could ever be too sweet for me until, of course, I gave up the food control thought and started listening to my body’s feedback signals. I used to be such a sweet fiend! Still am to a point, but my sweet craving really has turned around and very rarely have that serious crave. 

I know it sounds impossible, but when we give ourselves permission to just eat all foods - without rules - sugar loses a lot of its appeal. This is a real thing.

Listen, I’m not telling you to skip the salad and veggies and instead exclusively eat cake, sweets, lollies or sugary drinks. Nor am I nutritionist, but I am someone who wants you to be your healthiest and feel your best to be living your best life and to really enjoy the food you need to fuel your body! We want to focus on what makes us feel good and not bad, no matter how good that "quick sugar high" feels. You can ditch food rules without abandoning your health and well-being.

Contrary to what most think, our bodies won’t drive us to destroy all the cake and biscuits available if we’re not eating off a list of approved and unapproved foods. When a food is no longer thought of as “bad,” the desire for it actually decreases. Plus, with permission on your side, you’re now quieting those voices in your head that used to say “Oh no, this is so bad for me, actually I’ll just eat this now and start my diet tomorrow

Instead, you’re able to pay attention to if the food tastes as good as you expected and if it’s satisfying you in this very moment, or if you’re over it. Which is why it is so important to slow down and really chew your food when you are having it, plus it will allow your brain to let you know when you are really full and satisfied with the regret and uncomfortable feeling after.

But having a more sustainable (and mentally less draining) way to eat less sugar and decrease those cravings is to make sure that what you’re eating is nutritious, substantial enough (quantity-wise), and being versatile. 

Instead of going for the cold turkey 30 days without any sugar, think about what you can eat daily to balance your blood sugar. It is no good going full in to it giving something up because a large percentage of us will most likely fail. It takes around 30 days for a "routine" to kick in. Most sugar detoxes are going to be in low protein, low fat and overall low in calories. It may work for a short time, but restricting and making sugar the enemy, will have you running back to sugar as soon as the detox is finished.

Small changes include swapping out your protein bar (which is likely filled with both fake and real sugars) with carrots and hummus, or targeting natural sugars found in an apple by pairing it with healthy fats of peanut butter or tahini. I love to make my own protein balls (recipe to come!) or even some healthy chocolate chip oat bars that you can make in no time and you don't have to be a chef to whip these up. 

We can learn to recognize the amount of sugar hidden in nut butters, oatmeal, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and even protein powders, and how it contributes to unnecessary sugar in our diet. That’s not me saying that every meal needs to be sugar-free or that you should avoid a restaurant because you can’t see all the ingredients. All I am saying is focus on foods that have natural sweeteners in them (fresh fruit / dried fruit) and is wholesome and nutritious. It just means that being aware of the sugar intake that’s sneaking in can help you control your intake without feeling like you’re sacrificing living. Plus, with less sugar in your body, you’re going to be better able to taste when something is too sweet.

Does that sound like a sweet deal to you? 

Take home message.

Being able to eat healthy and exercise is a luxury. Never take it for granted. 

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