One Valentine’s Day long ago, I ate an entire box of Hershey’s Kisses in one afternoon – and there must have been 50 of those little guys in the heart-shaped box. It was disgraceful. As I stared at the pile of crumpled tinfoil wrappers, I vowed to never eat chocolate again. Then, later that night, I continued to shove more Valentine’s chocolates into my mouth. Those sugary kisses were so addictive that I became a slave to their sweetness, and once I started, I couldn’t stop.
Sugar, that devilish little white powder that appears in so many places, can have a very tight grip on the consumer. It has the ability to draw us in and keep us close.
Chances are that your relationship to sugar can vary depending on what’s going on in your life. There are plenty of reasons that lead us to use sugar as a crutch, rather than as a special treat. So it is worth taking a closer look to identify what triggers mindless consumption.
When we crave sweets, that craving is often an indicator that something more substantial is missing from our lives. When we use sugar to fill a gap, the space never actually gets filled, and the sugar roller coaster continues. So listen in to yourself, pay attention, and nurture what it is you are really craving. See if there is a part of your life that needs some extra love and attention, and give it.
Identify your trigger and then be proactive.
I’ve found these things to be very effective in loosening sugar’s grip:
- Drink water: Staying hydrated is KEY!
- Sleep: As hard as it may be, try to get 7-9 hours per night.
- Natural sweetness: Crowd out the processed sugar with natural sugar to help curb the cravings right away. Enjoy fruit or roasted sweet potatoes, add cacao powder to oatmeal or smoothies. etc. Plus do things that you love – as often as you can.
- Protein: When your body’s nutritional needs are being met, protein has the power to curb cravings.
- Be prepared: Stock up on healthy and satisfying sweet treat options. Here is what I have had on hand lately: oatmeal balls & black bean brownie bites.
I am by no means saying to stop eating anything with sugar (anyone who knows me would know how much of a hypocrite that would make me). But I will say: Make sure it is the good stuff. Avoid the processed junk. No Hershey’s. Check the ingredients. If sugar is the first ingredient, then move on, because that white stuff is supremely addictive, and our body just ends up craving more and more to sustain the ups and downs that sugar puts us through.
Invest in good quality. Your body will thank you.
Hugs & dark chocolate kisses,