Overcoming sugar cravings is no easy feat. I mean LOOK at those cupcakes! They totally make my mouth water. I could totally indulge in one (or all?) of those! Could you?
Here’s why breaking up with sugar is so hard: Sugar tastes gooooood. Not only that, it FEELS good, too! When sugary foods hit our tongue and then bloodstream, it immediately causes a rush of feel-good hormones surging through our body. Those sugar cravings you experience are not just mental, they’re literally physical.
Your body craves sugar. It craves the pleasure sugar provides.
But that pleasure is fake. It’s a lie. It’s time to understand the truth.
Let me take you to Anatomy & Physiology class for just a minute.
According to Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, and author book called The Hacking Of The American Mind, we crave sugar because it causes a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which helps to control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine is triggered by things like alcohol, drugs, gambling, but even “lesser evils” like social media and sugar.
With each gram of sugar, you get a quick mood boost. A rush of dopamine.
But while these dopamine hits feel good in the moment, they’re also suppressing the serotonin in our brains, the chemical responsible for feelings of calm and satisfaction, happiness and joy.
Indulging in sugar is actually making us unhappier in the long run.
We are trading our joy for a cupcake.
It’s a vicious cycle. We are down or stressed, so we reach for sugar to bring us up, which it does, but it is a fake high. It is really robbing us of joy, literally. So once we come down from our sugar high, we are down and stressed again and our body craves the high. We reach for sugar. Again.
The good news is that you can break the cycle.
The not so good news is that it does take time. There is no quick fix. It is not just “do this one thing” and it will go away.
We must take a holistic approach when dealing with our sugar cravings. It is truly a Body, Mind and Spirit issue.
Our first step is AWARENESS.
Once you become aware of WHEN and WHY you crave sugar, you can begin to
- replace sugary foods with healthier alternatives
- use scripture to battle temptations
- engage in joy producing activities that will provide your body with the same feel-good sensations its craving.
One of the best ways to bring awareness to our sugar cravings is to use the power of journaling and meditation.
Before I cut sugar out of my diet, I noticed that I was craving sugary treats whenever I was tired, unhappy, or just needed a boost. Can you relate?
Become a detective and take note of when you reach for sugar-filled snacks or drinks. There is no condemnation! You are simply seeking to discover what might be the root of your cravings.
Grab a pen and a notebook and jot down answers to the following questions to help you create a bigger picture of what’s prompting you to consume sweet foods.
Questions I asked myself before I broke up with sugar:
- What time of the day are you eating sugar the most?
- How do you feel when you want to eat sugar?
- Do you feel fulfilled?
- Do you feel connected spiritually?
- Are you satisfied with your relationships? Your career? Your finances?
- Are you exercising regularly?
- Do you take time for self-care regularly?
- Are you stressed?
- Do you take time to play and have fun?
Once you’ve taken the time to answer these questions, spend time reflecting on your answers. Which areas would you like to improve your life? Visualize the changes you would like to see in your life and set aside time daily to meditate on and journal about those changes.
My tips for meditating to control sugar cravings:
Establish a quiet place where you can sit quietly, uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes or more. This may be best done in the morning before the day comes at you. Or you can schedule this in the middle of the day to help your body relax. Or BOTH!
Be easy on yourself! It’s OK to let thoughts come and go as you sit quietly. The important thing is to become aware of your thoughts and set your intention on the healthy changes you want in your life.
Grab a journal and some pretty pens and write down your thoughts every day. Make it a habit. Don’t overthink what you should or shouldn’t write. Just write down what comes to your mind. Do this for 15 minutes each day to help you dump any negative thoughts that may be blocking you from a healthy free life.
Meditate on scripture. In a recent Facebook Live video, I shared how to use God’s Word when we are tempted to emotionally eat.
In the video, I mention this great resource: Bible Verses for Emotional Healing
You can download Bible Verses for Emotional Eating here:
If you would like additional resources to help in the battle against sugar, check out this blog post: Are You Addicted to Sugar?
The time is now to overcome sugar addictions and emotional eating.