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I used to have a massive sweet tooth. Seriously. I could quite easily eat an entire cake instead of a meal and not even feel sick. I would polish off a pint of ice cream almost every night (Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey anyone?). I would buy a Costco-sized bag of cookies every week and polish it off before the next grocery shop. I craved sweet things all day long.
Then I would feel guilty. I thought I could feel the fat growing on my belly and my thighs.
So I would punish myself. I would eat salads for a week, I’d let my stomach grumble with the knowledge that my body was now eating all that sugar up and making me thin.
It was crazy. It was borderline disordered. I needed to take back control and find a way to enjoy the things I ate all the time without punishing my body.
How to Curb Your Sugar Cravings
If you don’t think you can change your taste buds, trust me, you can. I did it. When I feel hungry now, I don’t want sweets, I actually crave real food. I still have sweet cravings, but I am truly a different person to who I was a year ago food-wise. I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained body confidence, and I no longer see food as the enemy.
1. Stop Buying It
This is the simplest way to avoid snacking on cookies, cakes, and ice cream. I simply stopped buying those huge bags and stocking my freezer with B&J. It means that if I really want a sweet treat, I have to go out and get it. This stops me most nights since I’m ridiculously lazy.
2. Stay Hydrated
I started drinking a ton more water. I realized that a lot of the time I was hungry or craving something because I was dehydrated. I was hardly drinking any water throughout the day. Once I started getting my 8+ glasses a day, I stopped having that 3pm sweet tooth craving and I was easily able to make it all through the day without needing a cookie.
Jazz it up if you need to. I love adding lime or mint to my water. The best thing to do to infuse it is to put it in a jug and put it in your fridge for a few hours. Skip those water flavoring packets. They’re packed with fake sugar which will make you crave sweet things even more.
3. No Fruit After Breakfast
This isn’t scientific or anything, this is just what has worked for me. I pack my breakfast with fruit. I make a huge smoothie with fresh, ripe, in-season fruits plus chia seeds, oats, water, and green veggies. It satisfies that sweet craving. But then I don’t have fruit for the rest of the day.
But then I don’t have fruit for the rest of the day.
I noticed when I started trying to do the whole replace a cookie with an apple that my sweet cravings didn’t actually go away. I was still feeding into the whole sweet cravings thing. So I cut out sweets all-together. Not only is it better for my digestion (having fruits after a meal isn’t great for the GI tract), but now I don’t have that afternoon sugar crash at all.
4. Eat Filling (and Satisfying) Meals
I used to be a serial snacker. I needed a boost between breakfast and lunch, something to keep me going until dinner, and a late night snack before bed. I thought it was just normal and that I just had a fast metabolism, and that may be true for some people, but it wasn’t helping calm my sugar fix.
So I started having larger main meals. I started making sure that I had a whole grain, a healthy fat, and a bit of protein in every meal to keep me satiated for longer and I credit this with being one of the main reason I no longer reach for sweet treats throughout the day.
I don’t eat HUGE portions of food. I’d say I probably eat slightly more than I used to, but the key has been to create meals that are satiating. When I upped my fat and protein intake (with plants), I noticed that I was fuller without feeling that bloated belly feeling, and I stayed feeling that way for hours afterwards.
5. Cut Out the Processed Stuff
If you haven’t already watched Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush, go ahead and watch that right now. I’ll wait.
CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW MUCH SUGAR IS IN YOGHURT?!
There is added sugar in almost everything that has been prepackaged and made to have a nice long shelf-life.
I used to LOVE granola in the mornings. I thought I was being super healthy with my greek yogurt (which had tons of added sugar), fruit, and vanilla granola. Then I realized I was starting my day having already consumed more than my daily recommended intake of sugar.
It’s no wonder I was crashing before lunch and craving sugar for the rest of the day. I was waking up and consuming about 4 tablespoons of refined sugar!
I’m not saying that you need to get rid of these things altogether, but I think it’s really important to be aware of what you’re putting into your body. It’s fuel after all, and if you want to live an active and healthy life, you want to be putting the best quality fuel into your body.
6. Opt For Tea
Obviously, I still have cravings after dinner. I’m only human! I’ve just found something that works for me to satisfy me that isn’t packed with sugar. And that’s tea. I tried a few different herbal teas. Some did nothing to satisfy the cookie monster within me (chamomile I’m lookin’ at you).
I tried a few different herbal teas. Some did nothing to satisfy the cookie monster within me (chamomile I’m lookin’ at you).
The ones that I’ve loved are mint tea (great for digestion after a meal) and apple and cinnamon (it tastes like Halloween!). There are so many different types of tea out there to try – find the one that you enjoy most. I even sometimes add a touch of almond milk or cocoa powder if I’m feeling really wild.
7. Remember How Bad It You Makes You Feel
Another thing I do now if I’m really hankering for a sweet thing is remind myself how I’m going to feel afterwards. You know when you see someone with ice cream and you’re like, yup, I need an ice cream.
I still do that. It’s hot, I’m a little hungry, and I walk past an ice cream shop and think, YES. Then I remind myself what I feel like after I eat ice cream. I feel nauseous, I get plugged up for days (pardon the visual), and I feel lethargic.
Now, I’m lactose intolerant, so that may not be the reaction that many people get from ice cream, but for me, a simple reminder that actually I don’t feel good after splurging on tons of sweets, usually puts me back on track.
You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Your Life
The decision to cut sweets out of my everyday life hasn’t made me miserable (well it did for like the first few days). It hasn’t made me feel like I’m missing out. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything or punishing myself for some dream body later down the line.
There are so many more positives to this change than negatives. I have energy all day long. I have great digestion (that’s another post I’m hoping to write about for all my constipated pals out there). I don’t binge or feel bad about myself.
I still have a treat every now and again. For my birthday this year, I ate a divine chocolate cake. When I was in Costa Rica this summer I ate chocolate covered coffee beans and had fruit all day long.
But the main thing is that I don’t miss it. I don’t really care if I don’t have dessert or if people around me are eating treats. It doesn’t even bother me because I know that if I get back on that train how different I’ll feel.
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