How I’m Taming My Sugar Cravings
For those of you who read my blog, you’ve likely seen various posts about my “issues” with chocolate and/or sugar. I bet many of you have the same issues so you can relate. But as a nutritionist, my job is to problem solve (including my own problems) – so here goes! I’ve come up with a solution that’s helping me tame my sugar cravings. Read what I’m doing and and see how it may help you.
Like most of you, I tend to work 10+ hour days and don’t have a lot of time to think about food. I get home late and have a quick dinner. That’s when the trouble starts. I’ll comb through my miniature kitchen in search of something sweet. The ridiculous thing, is like most New Yorkers, I don’t keep much food in my apartment. These are the few staples I always have on hand: coffee, Greek Yogurt, 2% plain and flavored, Fiber One Cereal, apples or other fruit and some kind of sweetener for my coffee. I rarely keep tempting snack foods around. So what am I hoping to find? Despite the fact I keep minimal food in my apartment, I would still manage to find something sugary. (pic credit)
First of all, I have no problem with having a healthy snack after dinner. I often help my clients plan healthy snacks for this time. But here is what annoys me – I would be looking for something sweet while not being remotely hungry. And once I started with something sweet, I often wanted more. BTW – when I say “sweet”, I don’t mean fruit. Here are my specific problem areas:
My problem scenarios:
1. I am obsessed with Chobani Coconut and Key Lime 2% flavors. So if I keep more than one of them in my refrigerator, chances are I will have more than one. This would not happen if the yogurt was a plain yogurt. So …
2. I would try to trick myself by only buying plain Fage 2% as that doesn’t appeal to me as a snack (it’s a breakfast!) But I would find some kind of sweetener in the cabinet and then it would become appealing.
3. If the store ran out of my boring Fiber One cereal, I would buy an alternative “healthy” cereal that may or may not have a slight sugar taste
– if it had a sugar taste, I would have a bowl or two (likely two)
– if it didn’t have a sugar taste, I would add sugar to sweeten it up
4. When my boyfriend comes over, he likes to bring me “treats” of two flavored yogurts – both the Chobani coconut and lime flavors. I have asked him several times not to bring me both, but he does (just being nice!) Back to problem area #1!
My plan of action:
So I realized I needed to make some changes to tame my sugar cravings. Here is what I did:
1.Gave up sweeteners for the coffee. This was my first step. For years, I had needed to keep a sweetener in my apartment because I didn’t like plain coffee. I would use either real sugar or Splenda (gulp!) But I went cold turkey on any kind of sweetener in my coffee exactly one year ago. I was at an Integrative Health Symposium at a coffee break. I had just heard a great lecture on how artificial sweeteners may alter the good bacteria in your gut. Based on this knowledge plus the fact I was surrounded by health gurus at the coffee table, I decided right then and there to give up putting any kind of sweetener in my coffee. The main pic on this blog is me at the Integrative Health Preconference at the Hilton, NYC just a few days ago.
2. Replaced sweetener with cinnamon in my coffee. I love this! Studies also show cinnamon may lower blood sugar
3. Got all sweeteners out of my apartment. Now that I no longer needed it for coffee, there was no reason to keep it around
4. . Only buy boring Fiber One cereal. As an example, I got home late last night and popped into Duane Reade to pick up cereal (yes – it is a bit strange that a nutritionist sometimes shops at Duane Reade!) No Fiber One. In the past I might have bought Go Lean Crunch instead. Nope. I’ll buy Fiber One someplace else tomorrow.
5. Re-directed the boyfriend. Since he ENJOYS bringing me little food “gifts”, I redirected him. Last week I specifically asked for grapefruits. So that is what I got!
6. I may still buy the flavored yogurt, but I get only one at time.
I have gotten all added sugar out of my apartment. The result? My “apartment sugar cravings” are gone because I know there is nothing sweet in my apartment. I find that when you keep sweet foods around, it’s like a tiny part of your brain knows it’s there. And you don’t forget it. Even if you are occupied doing something else at home, that little voice can call out to you at any given time. So if you are having sugar cravings, I would suggest you identify the specific problem areas like I did and come up with a plan. If possible, keep your home free from added sugars. I really think that you will find that once you decrease your intake of sweets, your cravings will start to subside.
Now if only I could get my colleagues in my office to make it a chocolate free zone I’d be all set!
Do any of you have problems with sweet cravings at home?
If you need any help with problem solving in your diet, call me or email me for a consultation!
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.