Everyone experiences cravings from time to time. Sometimes they are physical cravings, and sometimes they have emotional roots.
There’s actually nothing wrong with experiencing cravings. There’s nothing wrong with giving in on occasion and enjoying the food. But if your sugar cravings lead to sugar binges that leave you feeling guilty and ashamed, it’s time to address those cravings.
Let’s look at reasons why you’re craving sugar all the time.
You’re eating a lot of sugar in the first place!
When it comes to fuelling your body for energy, think of a campfire. You have two options of what to put on your fire – little pieces of kindling that burn quickly, and big logs that burn for hours.
Refined sugar is just like small pieces of kindling. So if you eat it, the campfire burns through it within an hour or less. The fire dies down if you don’t put anything else on it. The same goes for your body – if you feed it refined sugars, it will want more sweets in an hour, and another hour.
If you’re craving sugar, start paying attention to the foods you’re eating. You might be following a ‘healthy’ food plan that has added sugars everywhere! For ideas about good alternative to high-sugar foods, head here
You’re not balancing your macronutrients
If refined sugar is kindling, then the big logs are foods that contain protein, fibre and/or healthy fats. Many of us focus the meal around a carbohydrate source – bread, pasta, rice – and don’t get enough of the other nutrients.
When you build yourself a meal, look to these three tips:
- Make sure your carbohydrate is wholemeal/wholefood based. Carbohydrates that have undergone minimal processing will contain more fibre. They often contain higher levels of other nutrients as well, including B vitamins, iron and magnesium.
- Include a serve of protein with each meal – whether it’s animal or plant-based. For animal-based proteins, a good serving guide is the palm of your hand. For plant-based proteins, you might need to go for 2 palms worth, as plant-based proteins also contain a fair amount of carbohydrate.
- Add some healthy fats. Fats are slow-burning fuel, and are essential for many functions in the body. You can add fats by cooking the food in good fats such as olive oil or avocado oil. Or you can add a source of fat such as avocado, nuts and seeds.
Sugar has been your comfort all your life
There’s a good chance that at some point in your young life, you felt bad or upset about something. And there’s an even better chance that someone comforted you. Often, that person has comforted you by giving you ice-cream or chocolate. Just think about the doctors that give out lollipops after giving a child an injection or a blood test!
The comfort of sugar only lasts for so long. So you have two options – eat sugar constantly for the rest of your life, or find a new way to comfort yourself.
You use sugar as a reward
Have you ever looked at a block of chocolate at the end of the day, and told yourself ‘go on, you deserve it!’ You’re not alone.
Whether you’ve had a long productive day or you’re celebrating something, you reach for the sweet treats. It all comes back to the unconscious mind’s prime directive. Your unconscious mind keeps you moving towards pleasure and away from pain.
You’re distracting yourself from something
Bad days happen. Stressful situations happen. And these things make us feel emotions that are far from pleasurable. So again, the unconscious mind kicks in and finds a way to move you away from the pain.
But the problem with this is that a sugary treat can only distract you for so long. You’ll come back from your sugar high with the same emotions bubbling away. The worst part? You’ll have an extra helping of guilt heaped on top of them.
Have you been using sugar as an escape from your stresses and emotions?