Or when you were at the dinner table and you were told that if you ate all your food, you would be rewarded with dessert?
How about when you won an award at school or achieved something in sport and you were taken for ice cream to celebrate?
These behavioural patterns from your childhood are often engraved in your subconscious mind and as adults you can find it very hard to simply use willpower to kick your sweet cravings to the curb due to a strong emotional attachment to “sweet treats”.
The word “treat” can have a powerful hold on us.
As a society we are conditioned to want to treat ourselves during times of stress, celebration or in times of sadness and discomfort.
During these times, we often feel we need a “treat” to pick us up, or reward us in some shape or form, which can be to our detriment.
We can often also mistake our sugar cravings as a sign of weakness when our bodies are just simply trying to communicate to us in order to get what it needs to heal and harmonise.
So, next time a sugar craving kicks in, deconstruct it and ask yourself; what do I really need? What is my body really craving and WHY?
You might surprise yourself and find that you are often craving something else, rather than your sweet treat!
To help you decipher what your sugar cravings might mean, here are seven key emotional root causes:
- You are dissatisfied with a relationship and are craving love.
- You are lacking exercise and your body is craving more movement.
- You are bored, stressed, lacking inspiration or mental stimulation in our job and therefore crave for sweet foods as a form of fulfilment.
- You are lacking a spiritual practice (whether it be with yourself or in a different form or religion).
- You might be thirsty! A lack of water and dehydration can send messages to the brain signalling you are hungry. So next time you crave something, have a glass of water first to see if this diminishes.
- You might be nutrient deficient! Your body physically craves sugar as it recognises this as a form of energy due to inadequate nutrition or not enough good fats in your diet.
- You are hormonal! Women often crave chocolate leading up to their period as this could be a lack of magnesium, due to chocolate’s high levels of magnesium
Here are my top 10 tips to help you beat the sugar blues once and for all:
- Drink more water
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine. This plays havoc with your blood sugar levels which can create a yoyo effect of spiking and falling. When your blood sugar falls rapidly, your body is more inclined to crave instant energy in the form of sugar.
- Make sure breakfast, lunch and dinner have a good split of; protein, good carbohydrates (vegetables and wholegrains such as quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat) and most importantly good fats!
- Eat sweet vegetables with your meals such as sweet potato, squash and beetroot.
- Avoid chemicalised, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. Sugar is highly addictive, in fact it is 8 times more addictive that cocaine, so it is best to avoid it all together if you can.
- Get physically active, just move!
- Be your own detective and decipher what it is that you are really craving! (Is it something in your job, relationship, fulfilment with life?)
- Get more sleep, rest, and relaxation.
- Eat more FAT! Good fats are highly important as they keep you fuller for longer and help stabilise your blood sugar levels, providing you with long lasting energy.
- Just choose the better alternative! Explore “sweet treat” options where healthier sweeteners are used such as; stevia, brown rice malt syrup, coconut nectar or maple syrup. For healthy, tasty sweet treat alternatives, check out my recipes here; http://freeyourselfholistichealth.com.au/apps/recipe/