Sweet Cravings: How Do I Stop Them?
Most of the time sweet cravings boil down to habit. Like other animals, humans can be easily conditioned to things. For example, if you grew up always having dessert after dinner, your brain will be conditioned to expect that and it will prepare your body for eating sweets after dinner. That usually means not feeling satisfied at the end of the meal, feeling a craving for something sweet. You will salivate, preparing for the delicious treat. This doesn’t mean you can’t get rid of the habit, but that it takes some time and an effective strategy to get there.
I used to have a habit of drinking Diet Coke. I only drank one per day but my body expected it anytime between 11 and 2 each day. That’s the time that my office schedule allowed it in the beginning. I was so conditioned that my body and mind wouldn’t leave me alone until I got one. Even when I could honestly say that I didn’t quite enjoy drinking them as much as in the beginning, I still craved them. It’s been over 6 years since I’ve had any soda but it took a conscious effort and some time to get past the cravings.
Getting rid of sweet cravings isn’t as tough as people think if you know a few facts and take the time that’s necessary to eliminate the habit.
The best way to get rid of sweet cravings is to:
- improve what you eat in general–eat more nutritiously. This makes sure that you’re not lacking anything that the brain will make you crave.
- wait 20 minutes after a meal before having your sweet. If the cravings are due to having gone too long without eating so that your blood sugar is low, it gives your body enough time to raise the blood sugar so that you don’t have the cravings.
- Don’t try to go “cold turkey” with your attempts to get rid of sweets after meals. Gradually change the type of sweets you eat by having desserts that are made with fruit so that you’re having more natural sugars and less granulated or high fructose sugar, cut down on processed foods and sweets. Also reduce the quantities of the sweets gradually until you have the habit licked.
- You can even try this little (temporary) trick I used once with a patient and it worked nicely for them. Eat your small dessert first. Make it a small amount-then have your meal. This does two things-if low blood sugar is the problem, you start stabilizing it sooner and the meal keeps it there. If habit is the problem, you will disrupt things just enough to weaken the habit for sweets after the meal.
Remember, all that is said here is assuming that you do not have any medical problem that prohibits you from taking the above steps. Your doctor should be able to tell you. However, getting rid of sweet cravings is not as hard as you think if you’re patient and take it one small step at a time.