14/07/15

5 top tips to beat sugar cravings

sugarspoon-5ee1d9cf2615c976d34480051e0cba6762f7cf81-s6-c30ZestlifeThere is news everywhere on the internet about the government imposing sugar tax on sugary drinks. That’s all very well and good but will it really make the slightest of difference? I know that when I have had the worst cravings of my life in my Bulemic years it didn’t matter how much food cost I’d just buy it. The sugar was like a drug for me and we all know the lengths that addicts go to get their fix. They do anything to get those moments of bliss to escape the unhappiness of life.

For me I see that the problem runs far deeper than taxing sweet food. I believe to solve these obesity problems and get to the root cause, we have to look with in each and every individual. Why do we crave the sugar in the first place? We all know eating rubbish food makes us feel horrendous on all levels, so why do we continue to eat it? You can be told by your partner, your trainer your nutrition expert in your magazine what to eat but they are all external. You have to shift your thought patterns from within, so much so that your body starts to want different foods from the usual rubbish. We all know that sugar foods give us comfort so how about we start looking at our lives and see what comfort is lacking and making the changes there instead.

I’m currently reading a marvellous book called “The Yoga of Eating” by Charles Eisenstein and he has a whole chapter dedicated to this matter, entitled Sugars Sweetness. He talks about how we have lost the sweetness in our lives which is why we turn to the sweetness in foods. A profound extract from the chapter.

“Where is the sweetness for our soul to be found? Babies are sweet. Intimacy is sweet. Love is sweet. Your innermost self is sweet. The experience of coming back home, connecting with the divine is one of ineffable sweetnesss. Intimacy comes easily with babies, who are open and unthreatening, and with lovers when there is genuine trust, and with close family. With all these people we can know sweetness. But we are meant for more than that. Outside the narrow realm of family, we are closed off from one another, interacting on a very superficial level. How close do you feel to people you buys things from, your neighbours, you postman? Intimacy comes from openness and long association. Today we rarely have either. Intamacy hardly has chance to grow.”

I know I crave sugar when I am tired, stressed, emotional, premenstrual to name but a few. I have been known to head straight to the supermarket for cookies after class and when shopping for food on retreats the odd box of flapjacks gets thrown in there and they don’t even make it home. But on the whole, after years of battling, I have now learnt to be more in tune with my emotions which has helped dramatically with cravings for sweetness.

Tip 1. Take the time to acknowledge your feelings. When you feel that craving sit with it, or stand with it at the fridge, why not even pull up a chair at the fridge? Listen to what your body or heart is telling you, not your mind. Is it an emptiness, a lonliness, a longing, a tiredness, a need for love? Instead of reaching for the sugar, go and find the comfort and sweetness of life elsewhere. Love yourself enough to make a healthy decision rather than an unhealthy reaction to the situation. Honour the feeling, let the craving have a voice, listen to it but then choose a healthy response to that call.

Tip 2. Fill in these blanks at a time of need –

“I am craving sugar because………………….and that’s ok, but today instead of reaching for the………………I am choosing to …………………………….instead.”

Tip 3.  Mediate and slow the mind and body down. This will give you the time you need to check in with our emotions so that you can become more familiar with them and make informed decisions rather than rash reactions like reaching for the cookie jar.

Tip 4. Sit down and write down all the things in your life that cause you unhappiness, stress or pain. Be brutally honest with yourself and then see where you can make positive changes. They might be small to begin but they might lead to huge life decisions, like changing to a more worth while job or ending a negative relationship. Start small and bit by bit let your happy sweet life unfold.

Tip 5. Go to remedies for cravings…..big pint of water, healthy smoothie, camomile tea with a little honey stirred in, dates, dried fruit, grapefruit and orange cut up, long soak in a hot bath, ringing a loved one, writing to an old friend, taking a nap if I can, walking in nature, swimming in the sea……

We must rediscover the sweetness in our own lives, and only you can be held responsible for your life. There is no need to look to your weight watchers plan to tell you what to eat. Your body is such an intelligent being it knows what it needs to feel good. Simply sit with yourself, figure out where you are lacking sweetness in your life and make the necessary changes.  Life can be so sweet and it’s often the simplest of pleasures that are the sweetest. When you feel happy and content in yourself you will make relaxed decisions about your eating and those craving should be few and far between. Be bold, be strong, be powerful and live a live worth living.

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