It happens to the best of us. One thing leads to another and before you know it you're hooked. I'm talking about when you have too much sugar and all of the sudden it's back in your diet and you can't seem to get rid of it.
This can be really frustrating when you're trying to stick to a healthier routine. Maybe you went all week eating lots of greens, salads, smoothies... you know, healthy stuff.
Then a holiday, long weekend, or just a regular old weekend comes around, you have a little too much wine, bread, dessert (basically too much sugar)... all of it. And it's all over.
Now all the delicious tempting things won't stop staring at you.
And it's so much harder to resist than it was before.
You know why?
Because sugar is like crack.
I know we joke, but seriously, sugar is like crack. cocaine. heroin. Pick your favorite hard core drug.
Sugar is just as addictive, if not more.
Studies show sugar lights up the same sections of the brain and the reward and craving you feel after eating it is on the same level or even stronger than addictive drugs.
Now think about how seriously we treat drug addicts and drug withdrawal when talking about these "hard core substances."
And we're all just expected to have complete control around the legal white stuff?!?!
Not exactly fair if you ask me.
We need to completely rethink our approach to sugar.
And we can all start by being a little nicer to ourselves about it and recognizing that at this level - at the crack, cocaine, heroin, hard. core. drug. level. We are no match.
Yes, we are dealing with a much stronger force than most of us realize. One that if we try going head to head with, we'll loose every time.
Willpower isn't enough.
So how do we defeat something that's bigger than us?
The trick is to outsmart it.
I've put together eight strategies to help you take back the control and outsmart sugar.
These are the things I consistently go back to after a weekend of too much sugar. And you know, it usually only takes about three days and I'm back in my "yay, plants!" groove.
Here's exactly what you need to do to get there:
Be nice to yourself.
Rather than trying not to have the sugar, focus all of your energy on taking the best care of you instead. Eat good food that nourishes you, do things that make you happy like read a book or watch your favorite show, spend time outside, catch up with a friend, move, stretch, meditate, take a bath, do a face mask, get plenty of rest and sleep… indulge in any little (or big) luxury that make you feel good.
Focus on adding in to crowd out.
Flood your diet and fill your plate with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and other healthy fats like avocado. When you focus on eating as much nutritious foods as you can, you’ll naturally have less room for the other stuff.
Eat three square meals and two snacks.
This will help keep your blood sugar stable and avoid any major dips that will exacerbate your sugar cravings. Don’t let yourself go hungry. Stay satisfied with appropriate sized meals - with lots of greens and fiber-rich vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.
Find a healthier alternative.
If you need something to help get you over the hump, opt for a healthified version of a sweet treat like my carrot cake balls or one of the recipes in my free high energy sweets and desserts recipe eBook. You can download your free copy here.
Have more fat.
Fat helps keep your blood sugar balanced and helps you feel more full and satisfied. If you get hungry, grab a handful of nuts or a spoonful of almond butter - this will help keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day.
Sip on peppermint or licorice root tea.
These herbal teas are naturally sweet and can help satisfy a sweet craving and curb your sweet tooth.
Flavor your water.
Add lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, strawberries, pineapple, mint, basil… whatever combo you like. This trick gives you a little bit of sweet flavor without adding sugar. It can help you drink more water too.
After having too much sugar your body is still processing all the extra fun you had. And that process requires lots and lots of water so be sure you’re drinking plenty. Half your body weight in ounces is a good rule of thumb to tell you exactly how much you should be drinking daily.
Find something to preoccupy your mind like a side project. Maybe it’s that closet you’ve been wanting to clean out, a photo album you’ve been wanting to make, or cards you’ve been meaning to send. You’ll be able to cross it off your list and it will help take your mind off the chocolate bunnies in your fridge.
Those are my strategies. What are yours?
I'd love to know, what tricks do you use to tame your sweet tooth after having too much sugar?
Share with us in the comments. Everyone's different in what works for them so tell us what tricks you have up your sleeve... maybe someone else out in the inter webs can benefit...
No matter what strategy works for you, above all else remember to be kind to yourself and know the monster you're dealing with is bigger than it may appear.
And while we may not be an even match of magnitude versus willpower, if we're smart about it we can always win.
P.S. If sugar is something you struggle with and you think it could be affecting your energy, check out my Energize program. In it I walk you through the steps to get you off sugar for good and increase your energy levels naturally. If you're interested or have questions, email me. I'd love to hear from you!
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.