Stop Sugar Cravings
5 Essential Steps to Stop Sugar Cravings
If you or someone you love is struggling with sugar addiction the good news is that it is possible to stop sugar cravings! It is not easy, and it will not be over-night, but it is possible if you are really motivated.
First it is important to understand why the body responds so positively to sugar. There is the obvious matter of taste. Then there is the reality that carbohydrates, such as sugar, prompt the brain to release a chemical called serotonin and this chemical plays a big part in how we feel happiness. Moreover, those who enjoy sugar also feel the release of endorphins when they consume sugar and this leads to a sensation of relaxation and calmness. Given this over-load of positive reaction it is not really surprising that sugar can become an addiction. It is important to understand and acknowledge these emotional and psychological reflexes stimulated by sugar to have an effective strategy to stop sugar cravings.
Now you can move on to the actual process of handling your cravings. Sugar is a habit and like all habits you can take two approaches to kicking it. You can either go cold turkey or take a graduated approach to reducing consumption. There are proponents of both approaches and you should pick one that fits in with your personality and life-style. If you are going cold turkey, you should be prepared for the first few days being very hard. It is sometimes easier to try this while you are away from home and a little off your daily schedule. If you are taking the more gradual approach, you may want to get the help of a friend to make sure that you do not completely derail along the way. Do not stock too many sugary snacks and make sure that you reduce a little every day. Gradual cannot mean over several months. You can start by reducing portions and then slowly start eliminating sugar at certain times of day.
Plan your day, your diet and eat at the right times. People who tend to have un-planned meals tend to fall back on processed sugar in their meals most often. You are running late for lunch and can start to feel a headache and that is most often when you grab a bar of candy. If you plan what you are going to have for lunch and make arrangements a little before the hunger pangs start, your response is likely to be a lot more controlled and probably healthier.
Now that you have acknowledged the role sugar plays in your emotional health, you should avoid situations where you choose to use it to deal with emotional distress. Talk to friends or family when coping with crisis rather than turning to that gallon of Rocky Road. Find activities and exercise that will help you release endorphins without needing sugars for that. Exercise can be a real blessing here as it will do wonders for your physical and emotional sense of well-being.
You should also find healthy substitutes for sugar snacks. If your body is used to eating a snack which contain processed sugar at a certain time, you can help your body move along by giving it something else to eat at that time. While the brain may miss the sugar, it will be happy to have got some much needed fuel. You can use yoghurt or fruits and provide your body with healthy calories that will work to lessen, if not stop, sugar cravings.
While following these tips, remember to be gentle on yourself. Consuming processed sugar is a life time habit for most of us. It is not going to be easy to avoid it completely. So, permit yourself the occasional treat without being consumed by guilt. As long as you are consuming sugar with awareness and are working towards a healthy goal, the occasional indulgence is not a crime.