So you have decided to jump into the No Junk Food challenge cold turkey and are starting to wonder how you will make it through the rest of the entire 2 months. Do you need a little guidance? Do you feel the cravings starting to get more and more frequent? Well don’t be alarmed. We’ve got you covered. Here are 8 ways to Beat the Sugar Cravings!
Plan Your Meals and Eat on Schedule
Often times we crave foods when we have gone too long without eating. Start by planning 3 meals and 2 snack times throughout the day. Meals should be well balanced and snacks should include fruits, vegetables, and nuts. We all have busy days. Work, school, sports, clubs, music, homework, making the kids lunches, and trying to find time to sneak in a workout are all issues faced by many people just like you. How will you find time to plan your meals? You will because you have to. It is critical to the challenge and critical to improving your health. When you are packing sandwiches, fruit, and snacks for your child, pack another for yourself. Also, make foods in large quantities that you can refrigerate or freeze and reheat throughout the week. Eat on a schedule. Don’t allow yourself to go more than 2 hours without a meal or a snack. If you do, you will find yourself going to the vending machine on a binge.
Get the Right Amount of Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fats
In general our diets should be made of 45-65% Carbohydrates, 10-35% Protein, and 20-35% Fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source for fuel and energy. Without it we crash, burn, and crave sugars, starches, and sodium. Carbohydrates are also essential to brain, central nervous system, kidney, and muscle functioning. Protein is essential to muscle tissue repair, growth, and immune functioning. It is also the next source of energy when Carbohydrates are not available. Fat has gotten a bad reputation but is needed for normal growth and development and energy. Fat also absorbs vitamins.
Don’t Shop While You’re Hungry
When you’re hungry, everything looks good. Your blood sugar levels are all out of whack and your body will crave unhealthy snacks. Don’t do it. It might seem silly but you should always eat before going shopping for groceries. This will not only keep you out of the cookie and ice cream aisles, it will also save you money.
Fuel Up Before Workouts
When you work out, you deplete your body of essential nutrients, electrolytes, and energy. When you are hungry before your work out, your hunger after the work out is enhanced. When you are hungry after work outs, you are more likely to grab something quick and convenient on your way home. Quick and convenient usually amounts to fast food or a high sugar sports bar. When you eat before work outs your body will be able to maintain a great work out and hold off eating until your scheduled next meal.
Be Mentally Tough and Say “NO”
At some point you have to learn to say “NO” to friends, family and most importantly, yourself. Often times giving into cravings comes down to mental toughness. Many people have had problems with cravings and many people have had the mental discipline to pass on the cravings. You are not the only one with a husband who always wants soda or a wife who always wants to bake cakes. At some point you have to decide what’s more important; your health or the instant, short term gratification of crappy food. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start feeling the benefits of ridding yourself of quickie carbs. It may sound harsh but chances are the first 4 of my tips don’t apply to you. Chances are you have been mentally weak for a long time. Don’t think it’s ever too late to improve your mental toughness. It isn’t.
Don’t Buy It
If It’s in your house, it’ll be in your mouth. Don’t buy junk in hopes that at your weakest moment you won’t go for it. You will. Alternatively, if you have to get in the car and drive to buy junk, you probably won’t. Keep the house stocked up with healthy snacks that taste delicious as well.
Keep a Food Journal
Hold yourself accountable by keeping a journal of what you are eating each day. Refer to the journal daily if you need to. Take a victory lap each time you make it through a day. The journal can also help you realize patterns and help you see what got you through the cravings before.
Let Everyone Know
If you aren’t telling anyone, how does anyone know when you cheat? Make it your status update. Announce it at the next social event. It may seem weird at the time but you are going to inspire others which in turn will inspire you. People are more apt to helping you through when they know what you are up to. Don’t hide your goals. Don’t be ashamed of them either. Even if you have had difficulties in the past, this could be the start to success.