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Stop Sugar Cravings!

After a season of sugarplums, you need these tips to help you swear off the sweets

Article by Laurel Otey

Photography by Emily Alwood & Unsplash

Originally published in Midlothian Lifestyle

Are you struggling with the post-holiday sugar crash?

You’re not alone! Follow these 7 steps to stop sugar cravings and start feeling better.

#1: Clarify your “Why.”

Making dietary or lifestyle changes based on guilt, shame, or other people’s opinions never works. In fact, it makes us feel even worse.

So before you jump straight into a sugar cleanse, ask yourself: “How will my life be better by reducing how much sugar I eat?”

Knowing this answer helps keep you motivated and on track.

#2: Drink more water.

Mild dehydration (which most American live with) causes you to feel like you need to eat when what you really need is water.

Before you reach for a sweet treat or another snack, try drinking a glass of water first. If you still feel hungry 15 minutes later, then enjoy a healthy high-protein snack.

Aim for at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Drink more on hot days or when you're exercising. Carry a reusable water bottle as a reminder to stay hydrated.

#3: Don’t skip meals.

When our blood sugar drops, sugar cravings naturally follow. Eating regular, balanced meals is the best way to stay off the blood sugar roller coaster.

A well-balanced diet is made up of primarily whole, unprocessed foods found in nature. This includes plant and animal-based proteins, fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats.

#4: Start your day with protein, not sugar.

Eating sugary foods first thing in the morning fuels sugar cravings all day. Instead, start your day off with healthy protein and satiating fats.

If you enjoy something sweet in the morning, try eating berries with yogurt or a high-protein fruit smoothie.

Adding in more naturally sweet vegetables, such as sweet potato, is another great way to curb sugar cravings.

#5: Prioritize sleep.

Fatigue triggers cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates, which metabolize into sugar.

Why? Your body needs calories (aka energy) to keep working. Sugar is the fastest and easiest source of energy for your body. This is why you crave sweets, fast food, and processed foods when you're tired or stay up late.

To reduce sugar cravings throughout the day, prioritize getting enough sleep at night. Adults should aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Children and teenagers need more.

If you’re consistently struggling with poor quality sleep, talk to your doctor about getting a sleep study and lab work done to find out why.

#6: Reduce your stress.

When we live in a state of chronic stress, our body seeks relief. This is a basic biological need. The easiest and fastest way to get that feel-good boost is by eating sugar.

Fortunately, there are healthier ways to help us better manage our stress level.

A 5-minute meditation or 30-second deep breathing exercise is beneficial, physically and mentally. For additional support, consider scheduling a session with a counselor or therapist.

#7: Move your body.

Exercise is another great way to lower your stress level and reduce your sugar cravings. A few minutes of daily stretching, gentle yoga, or walking are all great places to start. If you’re new to exercise, talk to your doctor first.

Sugar doesn’t have to control your life. Simple changes can provide you with the health and happiness you deserve!

Laurel Otey is an infant and family wellness educator and owner of Layered Living, a holistic wellness practice. She specializes in autoimmune disease, food allergies, and stress reduction.

  • Credit: Frederick Medina on Unsplash
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  • Laurel Otey