Craving sugar is very normal and something a lot of you experience on a regular basis.
Most of the time when you say you crave sugar what you’re really saying is you crave refined sugars, with added fats, processed carbs and lots of calories.
Foods many people cite as their weakness for sugar include ice cream, cookies, pastries, sweet coffees.
While these do contain sugar, they also have a lot of added fats and a lot of calories as well.
There’s nothing wrong with you.
This is the leftover hardwiring from evolutionary times when these kinds of foods were rare, and needed to be gorged on as an insurance policy to keep you alive.
The problem is while we have that same hardwiring we live in times of fun abundance that are causing our modern health issues.
I’m here to tell you that sugar cravings are perfectly normal, and a lot of what is leading to these cravings, has very little to do with sugar at all, and what you can do to kick the cravings.
In this blog I’m going to give you my top 5 tips to stop struggling with sugar cravings.
Interestingly enough sleep deprivation is an actual form of stress, which only compounds all your other life stresses.
When you’re sleep deprived and under a lot of stress, you’ll be more impulsive, specifically around those tasty sugary foods that are easy to overeat.
From the evolutionary perspective being impulsive in times of high stress was good for escaping life threatening situations. That same impulsivity doesn’t help much with the doughnuts in the break room though.
Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and make sure you have some stress management strategies you can use when stressful times creep up on you.
Most people are walking around chronically dehydrated, I mean coffee is better than water right ami right or what ?
That chronic dehydration you’re dealing with each day is mistaken for hunger.
Because this dehydration can show up as a low grade hunger, like you need a snack shortly after eating it leads to unnecessary eating.
I’ve had multiple clients who entirely quit snacking once they drank enough water over time. Even I was blown away by that because these were both avid morning and afternoon snackers.
All we did was have them drinking 16 ounces of water right around when they would normally have their snack.
My general recommendation is to shoot for ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water, but no need to exceed a gallon.
By eating enough protein you stay fuller for longer and to be honest there are a lot of women I’ve worked with who under ate protein so much that they were looking for something else to eat.
Sound Familiar ?
A client mine named Amy used to barely eat any protein, and felt the need eat all the time. She was never full and was always looking for the next snack.
This definitely stalled out her fat loss because she was eating more than she needed for fat loss to happen.
Once I recognized this, I had her start eating a source of protein at every meal and snack.
It was like someone flipped a switch for her and she wasn’t as hungry throughout the day and naturally ate less. As a result she lost body fat!
In the long term really extreme dietary approaches tend to fall flat on their face.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, protein, unrefined carbs and quality fats to satisfy your hunger and stay fuller for longer.
When you try to restrict certain foods you’ll concentrate on them even more, sugar is no different.
Don’t demonize or make foods “off limits” have reasonable portions of foods you enjoy that fit into your plan and by doing this you can ditch the extreme measures that only cause a weight rebound.
This ties into the point above about eating a well balanced diet, and not being too restrictive with foods as we know there will be a bounce back effect with your cravings and weight loss.
Carbs are not bad, and they won’t make you automatically gain fat unless you eat them in excess of what you burn calorie wise.
Heavily restricting carbs for a long time can make you crave them and sugar even more.. Balance!
If you enjoy carbohydrates and want to eat them while losing body fat you can absolutely do so!
If you're tired of feeling frustrated and being lead down the wrong path about your own nutrition, and how to sustainably lose fat and feel your best. Click HERE to apply for coaching.
People tend to make things overly confusing and too complicated, especially with nutrition.
Every diet works when it helps you to not feel overly deprived and helps you eat less than you’re burning on a consistent basis.
All these fancy diets created by wizards that defy scientific laws only remove the focus from the basics of achieving your goals with nutrition.
Creating a calorie deficit, and making sure to eat plenty of nutrient dense foods are the keystones when it comes to managing appetite and ensuring success with your fat loss.
Sounds too simple right ? That’s why I’ll be breaking down exactly what I mean below in the blog.
1. Drink Zero Calories Drink & Have More Water
From digestion, all the way to fullness/hunger management and even athletic performance are all greatly impacted by your hydration.
Water is really one of those things that can improve your health from head to toe.
That knowledge only helps if you execute on it though.
Shoot for roughly half your bodyweight in ounces, and no need to exceed 1 gallon unless you’re an athlete or having other considerations that would make drinking more than a gallon necessary.
2. Eat More Protein
You’ve heard me go on about this before if you’ve read any of my past blogs so I won’t labor the point too much.
Time and time again when I get someone to eat enough protein they feel fuller for longer and have reduced cravings, and feelings of want to snack go away.
From a fat loss perspective you’d think protein is the golden goose, well it is if you ask me, and by reading this blog you’re pretty much asking me.
Along with the benefits from a fullness and hunger perspective when you combine eating adequate protein with strength training it helps you to keep more muscle mass.
Now I can call myself out on this one,I used to rant and rave about muscle burning more calories than body fat.
And it does, but when you dig into research it’s not nearly as impressive as imagined.
However by holding on to more muscle while dropping body fat it gives your body that lean and fit look that a lot of you are after.
3. Eat More Plants
No one ever got less healthy from eating too many vegetables, shoot for at least a half a plate or bowl of veggies at each and every meal.
Fruit has gotten a bad reputation these days, but when eaten in reasonable portions there is nothing wrong with fruit.
It doesn’t cause you to gain body fat, eating more calories than you burn does.
Eat Plants raw in salads.
Cook veggies in scrambles, stir frys or use them as a substitute for rice and pasta at meals.
Eat lots of different colors, textures and shapes to expand your veggie and fruit horizon.
Snack on sugar snap peas, baby carrots or different colored rainbow carrots, apples, oranges or berries.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and are low in calories and filling. Fruit is a good way to satisfy a sweet tooth in a healthy manner.
Eating a whole pint of strawberries will run you a whole 150 calories… see how full you get.
4. Make Your Diet Mostly Nutrient Dense Unprocessed Foods
These foods are going to support better health and management of appetite while being lower in calories to boot.
They’re much denser in micronutrition and provide the raw materials you need to make everything from your hormones to muscle tissue.
When I say nutrient dense whole foods I’m talking about:
Leaner proteins like eggs, turkey, chicken, salmon, tuna, cottage cheese, greek yogurt
More natural fats like olive oil, egg yolks, avocado, coconut oil, fattier cuts of meat and fish, full fat dairy
Fruits and veggies… really any you would like unless you have an aversion to them
More unrefined carbs like potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats, beans, corn, whole grains if you tolerate them.
5. Make Things Flexible, Not Rigid
People can be very rigid with their nutrition and exclude all their favorite foods for a short amount of time, but it never ends well.
Not to mention that’s a pretty miserable way to treat your nutrition.
There is a rebound effect with heavy food restriction where all those same foods that were once restricted are eaten in excess,
This is the opposite of what we’re looking to accomplish, which is consistency.
The reality that many people are waking up to with their nutrition is you can include your favorite foods in reasonable portions in your fat loss plan.
In fact if including these foods allows you to actually stick to your nutrition for a longer period of time because you enjoy how you’re eating rather than going through the one and off mentality, you’ll be in a much better place.
If you’re feeling like you could use some extra support and accountability with your own nutrition to reach your fat loss goals then click HERE to fill out the application for coaching.
I get it you’ve been through all the different diet, but none of them worked...
In the back of your mind even when the diets were helping you to lose weight in the beginning you knew it wasn’t sustainable, because there was always that voice saying
“I can’t eat like this forever"
Dinner out with my spouse
Wine or Beer
Ice cream too much to give it up forever.
Each diet that got you short terms results, but fell apart a month in left you feeling more confused and disempowered because it worked in the beginning then stopped.
It feels like someone jammed the breaks on your fat loss out of nowhere... and you're left thinking
"Not this again!!"
Every new diet that you start and stop makes you more desperate, frustrated and impatient to find one that fixes you.
But you're not broken.
The problem is now you have a self fulfilling prophecy in place and regularly think “ no diet will work for me"
or "what's the point, I know this isn't going to work"
And you’re right.
Because you unconsciously engage in self sabotage behavior.
1-2 months into your diet you begin to self sabotage your progress.
This could be going completely off track with your nutrition at the first sign you don’t see the scale going down.
You also find mini ways to deviate from your nutrition on a consistent basis with the idea that "oh it's just one handful of m&m's, just 2 glasses of wine, 2 cookies or a bowl of ice cream.
Eventually you start to think, I'm following the plan what the hell.. I’m just broken and no diet will works for me.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not broken, you just haven’t found the right pieces of a diet that work for you personally.
And I'm offering a helping hand out the diet quicksand you’ve felt stuck in for years.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people just like you making with their diets is always trying to fit their lifestyle to their diet.
Thats a losing equation that eventually falls apart
But know this first hand because it’s what you’ve been living for years:
You go keto, but you love carbs…
You tried cleanses, but you like eating foods outside green juices and raw veggies
You tried a templated plan, but you needed something more than a PDF to keep you on track.
At the end of the day you need to enjoy the way you eat, and have it work with your lifestyle, not against it to see long term progress.. non negotiable.
Putting the right pieces together what you need to be successful, and that’s what you and I are going to do together for the rest of this blog...
What Are Your Non Negotiables ?
You need to define the events or routines in your life around food that would be a deal breaker if you missed out on them due to a diet.
You enjoy these events and they transcend just the food, they make you feel connected and closer with loved ones.
Date night with your significant other ?
Ice cream on Sundays with your kids ?
Wine with the girls on Saturday ?
Beer with the guys during Sunday football ?
These are just a few my nutrition clients non negotiables that we build into their nutrition plan but you need to define these for yourself.
Do This: Define your weekly non negotiables
What Worked In The Past That You Enjoyed And Why ?
The last few years of diets you've tried can really tell us a lot of valuable information.
We specifically want to look at what diets you followed that were you the most SUCCESSFUL with, and ENJOYED.
A diet that allows you to enjoy how you eat, and helps you achieve health and fat loss is the winning combination.
Maybe you were successful and liked a low carb diet because you enjoy fattier foods
What if the point system in Weight Watchers gave you a system to use that you liked, and it wasn't so overly restrictive.
Whole30 made you finally eat enough protein, and you really weren’t all that hungry while dieting.
If we look closely we can learn something from all of these different approaches and why they allowed you to be successful, while enjoying how you ate.
Do This: Write down the top 3-5 diets you’ve the most success with and enjoyed eating that, then ask what about that approach worked and what didn’t work for you ?
Next write down what you liked and didn’t like about each of those diets.
I know what may seem like a good amount of work, but this is a powerful exercise I take every new client though when we’re building their plan, and use it to make a plan they enjoy and can be successful with.
It’s worth the time and so is your success!
Are You Interested In Tracking Calories Or Going Habit Based ?
You might have less than zero interest in tracking calories or macros, and that’s fine, the choice is yours to make.
Maybe you feel intimidated or had a bad experience with tracking ?
Truth be told it’s much less complex or time consuming than you believe.
I’ve yet to have a client who tracked for a week and didn’t walk away with a lot more awareness and a few big "aha moments" about their food choices and why progress has slowed.
Tracking doesn’t need to be something that you do everyday, but you're bound to find some sneaky calories that were flying under the radar and stalling your progress.
If you decide to use the habit based approach, It can be very effective as well.
When building your habits in the beginning, having a looser approach with some food choice goals and portion guidelines really helps.
At the end of the day if the goal is fat loss all diets and methods must lead to a calorie deficit… which means burning more calories than you eat or drink.
The method we choose to get you to your goals whether it's habit based or calorie tracking is a matter of preference really.
To lose fat though, we need to create a deficit.
Do This: Decide whether you’d like to use a habit based or calorie/macro based approach to your fat loss diet ?
How Much Change Can You Handle At The Moment ?
The reality is some of you might be ready to jump into the deep end because you can dedicate more energy and attention to dieting.
On the other hand you might need to start with dipping your toe in the water first because that’s the amount of energy you have to dedicate to this, and that’s fine.
There's zero judgment. Where you are is just a starting point and your launching pad.
We also need to be honest though, if you’re toe dipper don’t expect deep end results
If you’re a deep end jumper you do run the risk of burning yourself out much quicker than the toe dipper.
Ideally we'd develop a nice little middle ground that gets you results, but feels like a lifestyle not another diet going in the “didn’t work pile”
Maybe it's tracking based, but you only look at a calorie target to begin with and after you get comfortable with that you start tracking protein… because you’re likely under eating it and ending up hungry because of it.
In the habit based realm it could be Instead of trying to adopt 3 habits at once, you focus on nailing a solid source of protein at each meal and snacks.
Then a few weeks later add in a half a plate of vegetables at every meal.
Again these are just some examples, and you’ll need to take a few minutes and get realistic about how much change you can manage at the moment without imploding.
Do This: Pull out a sheet of paper and write down a scale of 0-10. Now on that scale pick how much change you can currently take on at the moment, and maintain.