We all know that eating food with added sugar isn’t great for us if done on a regular basis.But sweet stuff has a way of calling to us and demanding our attention unlike any other food! And once we eat the sugar we crave, it seems to turn into a cycle of eating too much of it – trying to stay away from it – then craving it again and overindulging.
1. First, completely cut out the “hyper-sweet” food you’re eating.
Apologies in advance for this because I know it’s not what you want to hear. But processed sweets, sugar substitutes, and foods that are definitely more sweet than they should be (lots of added sugar) taste that way because they are designed to make you crave more. If you want to stop craving you have to eliminate these foods and drinks completely. You probably already know which ones you’re eating that are “addictive.” The list includes cookies, candy, regular and diet soda, sweet baked goods, most cereals, you know, all the “good” stuff. When I first did this I swear I felt like there was a part of my mouth missing. Kind of weird, but describes how the sweet taste has its grip on you.
2. Watch what you’re drinking.
To really stop craving sugar, water is absolutely essential. Drink lots of plain (unflavored) water throughout the day when you remember and you will be even less likely to crave sugar. For reasons I don’t completely understand, thirst sometimes manifests as a sugar craving. This might be exaccerbated by how our brains are so used to craving the stuff that we manifest other physical sensations as a desire for sugar. I’m not sure, but what I DO know is that along with the other steps, keeping hydrated helps a lot.
3. Be aware of the “sugar associations” and break them if you wish.
The psychological pull toward sugar seems to be the last to go in my experience. I always ate ice cream or sweet cereal after the kids went to bed and this association has been the hardest to break. Even when I am clearly not hungry I will usually have some fruit or coconut butter at this time because it just feels comforting. And you know what? I acknowledge the association, and make the call whether I want to go with it or ignore it. The thing is that now, it just doesn’t have the pull on me that it used to, it’s a CHOICE! So some nights I think, “I’m full I’ll just brush my teeth now” and other nights it seems like the right time for some fruit and coconut butter. But the cravings, as I once knew them, are gone.