One rainy, cold weekend recently I must have had an interesting look on my face because my daughter’s both asked me if I was mad. “No, I’m not mad. I just want cookies.” Truly, I wasn’t mad. I wanted something. Something sweet. Cookies! But I didn’t feel like making gluten-free cookies and I knew that even if I did bake, I would eat too many. Through my health coach training at IIN, I’ve been more aware of cravings and what my body is really asking for when I crave a particular food. Instead of wanting cookies, I was probably just tired or needed to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or to see the sunshine. That weekend, “I’m not mad. I just want cookies.” became a funny phrase for us.
A few days later I was at an event away from home and my husband was home with our daughters. When I returned, there was a tray filled with freshly baked, HUGE gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and a hand-made sign that said, “I’m not mad. I just want cookies.” Aw, how thoughtful! And how delicious! I ate 3 that night. And I ate the rest the next day. And then I didn’t feel well from the sugar overload. And then I really was mad. Mad at myself for not setting limits and eating to the point of not feeling well. I totally know better…I’M A HEALTH COACH!
Really, I don’t eat or drink much sugar but this thing with the cookies bothered me. I have done a couple of sugar detoxes before and I knew it was time for another. So I took a break from refined sugar for the first three weeks in November. I re-set my intentions to nourish my body and I continued to focus on real, whole foods. When I wanted something sweet, I enjoyed seasonal sweet vegetables like roasted squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. And juicy fruits like pomegranate, apples, and orangs.
It’s the holiday season and the with abundance of sugary treats around, it’s easy to let our desire for sugar take over if we are not intentional with our food choices. Sugar tastes great and gives our brain a boost of pleasure. But it’s a temporary pleasure. The effects of sugar on our bodies can be profound (but that’s another blog post).
For now, here are a few tips for calming sugar cravings:
· Drink water. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration.
· Eat naturally sweet vegetables and fruit to crowd out your sugar cravings.
· Avoid chemicalized, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar.
· Get physically active. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boost energy, and reduce tension which all help decrease the likelihood that you’ll want to self-medicate with sugar.
· Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways! Cravings almost always have a psychological component. If you can identify the underlying causes of food cravings and make lifestyle changes accordingly, you can find balance and take charge of your health.
Need some help calming your sugar cravings? No need to wait until the holidays are over before you take steps towards better health. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free health coaching consultation.