Since it is Halloween (OMG the year is flying by so fast!!) and there are all of those mini candies everywhere out there staring at us, just beckoning us to dig in, I figured it would be a good time to talk about how to curb sugar cravings. I mean, if there’s ever a time to enjoy some candy, it’s Halloween! So don’t totally deprive yourself here…I know I won’t be depriving myself! Have some candy, live it up and be OK with it. BUT, the important thing is knowing what those sugary treats are doing to your body and how to keep this sugar intake from becoming a bad habit- a cycle you can’t break.
If you follow my blog, you already know that sugar wreaks havoc on your body and your skin…if you want to brush up on all the scientific details behind this statement, please read my sugar post! If you have already kicked your sugar habit like I have, then YAY! You are a rockstar because it is not easy to do. Sugar is addictive, so if you still need a little help, I’m here to give you some tools to use when your sweet tooth rears its head. These tools can be used whenever you feel that craving coming, or when you do indulge in some sugar and don’t want it to be a whole day long ordeal.
Eating sugar will trick your brain and your hormones into telling you that you need to eat more sugar. That is why it is addictive. You know what else does this to your brain? Drugs and alcohol. So that is how addictive sugar can be- so don’t think you’re alone here! Again, that sugar blog post breaks that ALL down so you can fully understand the process that sugar goes through in your body when you eat it.
The goal here is to balance your blood sugar curve every time you eat sugar so you don’t take your insulin, hormones and blood sugar levels on a terrifying roller coaster ride that can last all day long. AND, if you are indulging today, it’s important to set yourself up to break the cycle tomorrow- kick the budding habit away before it has time to latch on, know what I mean? SO, let’s get into it…But first, some cute pics of me with Puffin 🙂
Ok, now back to it.
Don’t eat sugar alone or on an empty stomach. Whenever I eat some sugar, I make sure to balance it out with a well rounded meal. What does this look like? Some healthy fats, fiber rich greens and some protein. So if have that treat after you eat lunch- your blood sugar won’t spike AS high when you have fats, greens and proteins in your system. If you eat sugar on an empty stomach your blood sugar spikes and drops will be through the roof, your body will overproduce insulin and your hormones will tell you to eat more sugar so the insulin has something to do. So nip that in the bud by having your sugar snack with a meal or right after a meal.
Cut the fruit out of your smoothies and juices. Fruit is sugar. Period. So that banana you put in your smoothie? Not good for your blood sugar levels. Additionally, fructose actually tends to get stored as fat faster than glucose, so we don’t want that to happen, right? If you have a giant smoothie with fruit in it, you will be consuming a huge amount of sugar, which will lead you to crave more sugar shortly after. If you want to have SOME fruit in your smoothie, stick with 1/4 cup of berries like blackberries, blueberries or raspberries- these have less sugar than other fruit, are high in fiber and antioxidant powerhouses. To thicken your smoothie without using a banana, use frozen chunks of zucchini- TRUST me on this, it is incredible and you don’t taste the zucchini at all. As for juices, I typically only drink green juices with NO fruit or just a teeny bit of apple. Pay attention to the ingredients and chose wisely!
Get enough rest every night. I mean, this is important for many reasons, but your waistline will thank you for getting more good quality sleep. Have you ever noticed how hungry you feel when you didn’t sleep well? Or, how you usually crave worse foods and high carb meals when you are sleep deprived? Well, you are not alone. This is very normal, and it is our body trying to overcompensate for feeling tired. So, to keep your body out of the constant sugar craving roller coaster ride, make sure you get enough sleep. Turn in a little earlier, read in bed instead of watching TV…whatever works for you! Plus, if you aren’t eating as much sugar, you will probably be able to fall asleep faster and more normally- you’re body will be calmer and your hormones will balance out, allowing melatonin to make you sleepy.
Up your water intake and snack less. Aim to get at least half your body weight in water ounces a day- this is a minimum! I have really been focusing on drinking more water daily- between 75 and 85 ounces a day- and my cravings have subsided a lot. I love to snack, but when I drink more water, I snack way less often because I’m not as hungry. This leads to less blood sugar spiking and fewer cravings for sugar. So, what I do when I have a craving hit is drink some water or have another drink I love like iced green tea and wait to see if the craving passes. Funny enough, 95% of the time the craving passes which means I wasn’t actually hungry in the first place. This takes some willpower but I promise it really works! If you do all of this, but still have that craving, then have a snack! Just make sure it is something that will curb the sugar craving while also keeping your blood sugar in check. I like apple slices with cinnamon and Fatso (the best peanut butter blend ever), a handful of unsalted almonds, a ONE protein bar in birthday cake flavor or some Progranola (which is the best thing ever you guys!) with a greek yogurt (LOW SUGAR DUH).
Start your day carb-free. Hello my name is Katrina and I crave carbs for breakfast. Anyone else? UGH. BUT, you know what? Starting your day with a carb-heavy meal will start you’re blood sugar curve and hormones off on the wrong foot. Unless you plan to jump right into a super intense cardio workout that requires tons of energy, lay off the carbs first thing. Instead of setting yourself up for an all day sugar and carb craving-fest, set yourself up to crave all the good stuff. If you eat well for the first meal of the day, you are more likely to make healthy choices all day long. I like to have a fab four protein shake, egg whites with avocado or greek yogurt with almonds as my first meal. All of these options are high in protein, are fiber rich and provide healthy fats. They will also keep you full for WAY longer than a bowl of cereal and a banana will. Once lunch rolls around, you won’t be dying for anything carb-y you can get your hands on. A low carb breakfast breaks the sugar craving before it even begins!
Reset with greens. So tomorrow or the next day, whenever you want to stop eating the Halloween candy, I suggest a little morning reset. Whenever I feel like I have indulged too much, I intermittent fast the next day. I will still have my coffee with almond milk, but I won’t eat until around 11 am or noon if I can. Once food time rolls around I will have a fruit free green juice first, then 30 mins later I will have a big healthy meal that is balanced with tons of greens. For instance, I will have the green juice followed by a big salad with tons of veggies, lean protein like grilled chicken, olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Then, I move on with the rest of my day however I normally would. This method works for me because my body is getting so many nutrients and so much fiber that I can easily break the sugar craving and keep it at bay for the rest of the day. If you don’t like intermittent fasting (it’s definitely not for everyone) then just start your day with a green juice or green smoothie. The point is, fill up on greens!
And the most important thing to keep in mind is this: don’t beat yourself up over some candy or treats. We all need to treat ourselves from time to time! But make sure it doesn’t become a bad habit. A couple or Reese’s isn’t going to derail you, but making a daily habit out of it will.