Weight Watchers Get Healthy Freestyle Journey Week 25
How To Overcome Sugar Cravings
It’s MONDAY and time once again to continue our journey into health and wellness. Thank you, for joining me as I reflect on the past week and explore the new! This week as I was looking at the peer support feed on Weight Watchers, I saw a question about difficulty overcoming sugar cravings. I could relate to the struggles of this person so I knew that I had to find the answer. Keep reading to learn more about this.
Also, if you’ve missed any of the posts in the recent weeks be sure to check them out. In the last two weeks, we talked about how long it really takes to form a habit and how gut bacteria influences your weight and weight loss. We’ve also learned the importance of hydration, uncovered where sugar is hiding in your food (aka sugar bombs), and looked at the benefits of shopping at farmer’s markets. In addition to learning the importance of milestones, how to stay motivated, the smart use of free foods, some tactics for dining out, surviving the holidays while dieting, the benefits of a 5% weight loss, diabetes, the importance of exercise, we’ve started an exercise routine, learned some beginner exercises, and gotten safety tips for exercising in the summer heat. Since beginning my weight loss journey in January, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and the fourth of July have come and gone.
Common Reasons You Have Sugar Cravings
Becky Hand, SparkPeople’s registered dietitian, says there’s a chemical reason for those sugar cravings. “When we eat sugar, there is a release of the brain chemical called dopamine,” says Hand. “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that activates the brain’s pleasure center, making you feel happy. So you eat more sugar because you want to feel that pleasure sensation.”
1. You didn’t eat enough. When you don’t eat enough calories, your body starts looking for fuel fast as a way to catch up. So you crave sugar!
2. You picked up a bad habit. Some people bite their nails while others emotional shop without even realizing it. Others add a sprinkling of sugar or salt to the foods they eat. And, some people eat a candy bar every day at 2 pm, because, well, they eat a candy bar every day at 2 pm. All bad habits.
3. You ate the wrong things. Artificial sweeteners might momentarily satisfy that sweet craving, but they trick your body into thinking it’s getting fuel when it’s not. So your body soon goes looking for more calories in the form of, you guessed it, sugar and you’re right back where you started.
4. You chowed down on salty foods. The saltier your food, the bigger your sweet craving. Restaurant fare and packaged, processed foods have more sodium in them than you realize.
5. You ate too much starch and not enough fat and/or protein. When you eat a heavy, starchy meal you’re pretty much setting yourself up for a guaranteed sugar craving.
Break the Sugar Cravings Cycle Once and For All
Calories are the only thing that really provide real energy so eat them consistently in the form of whole foods. The most important thing to do when trying to kick a sugar addiction is to stay away from sugar long enough to ‘reset your taste buds. Candice Kumai, the author of “Clean Green Eats,” recommends taking 10 days off processed sugar to start the process of resetting your taste buds.
When you do something out of habit you have to ask yourself these questions. Do you really want it? Are you truly craving it? When you’re really hungry and you haven’t eaten enough throughout the day it’s hard not to grab that (insert favorite sweet here) and savor that moment of satisfaction. But, that moment won’t last.
As you repeat the behavior, whether it’s sugar into your morning coffee or reaching for a chocolate treat every afternoon, your brain adjusts, essentially building up a tolerance for the sweet taste. Ultimately, you have to keep increasing the amount of sugar and/or the frequency of your splurges to continue experiencing the attractive reward that it gives.
Pass on the chips or fries you’ll want the donuts or cookies less. When you eat more naturally salty foods like cheese or olives, you’ll tend to go for naturally sweet snacks like fruits when that sweet craving comes on.
Skip the spaghetti, all that pasta with no fiber or protein is like a big bowl of sugar. Those calories are absorbed fast and they do not keep you feeling full or satisfied. In other words, that big bowl of sugar doesn’t provide satiety like protein or fat does. What does the pasta lover do? Practice proper portion control, add a lean protein, and a big bowl of veggies to the meal.
Eat more fermented foods. Fermented foods contain probiotics, also known as the “good” bacteria that help achieve healthy digestion and diminish sugar cravings. Instead of reaching for candy or cookies, try incorporating some of the foods we talked about in the how gut bacteria influences your weight and weight loss post into your diet.
The key to dealing with sugar cravings is knowing why you’re getting them in the first place and making necessary changes to lessen them in the future.
Sugar cravings affect everyone! Having a healthy plan in place to deal with them when they rear their ugly head lets you crush them. Here is an excellent video that explains what causes sugar cravings and gives tips on how to overcome them.
To help your body forget about sugar, you have to stop eating it without knowing it. That means checking labels for hidden sources of sugar. Read this article where we uncovered where sugar is hiding in your food (aka sugar bombs). You’ll be surprised where you’ll find sugar hiding in your food!
Sugar is a sneaky, addictive substance and the break up isn’t always as easy as just making the decision to stop.
With a few smart swaps and some good old-fashioned willpower, it is possible to cut back your sugar intake and curb even the strongest cravings.
Weight Watchers Freestyle Progam – Learn more.
Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. -Doug Firebaugh
How my freestyle weight loss week went:
After several weeks of drinking lots of water, I am still having a hard time staying hydrated so this week was spent once again drinking water and eating foods with high water content. However, it’s getting better the nurse said when I went to the clinic this week. In addition to spending some time working on our blog and tending the garden, I spent several days again this week helping my aunt with her place. The new floor is down and now we are working on cleaning and organizing the kitchen.
With so much time spent at her place and on the road, I’ve not made time to prepare meals. Several lunches and dinners have been frozen meals or sandwiches again! But I had worked hard this week to try to make up for the extra calories, salt, and fat so hopefully the scale would tell a different story this week. I was relieved to see that I had lost almost two and a half pounds this week. I’m back on track and ready to take the next step! Until next week… Remember to stay positive and keep looking forward.
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How do you beat sugar cravings? Please share your tip with us by leaving a comment below or on my Facebook fan page.
I am not a medical professional. The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.