Cravings are not always an indicator that you need actual food. You might instead be craving the feeling that you get from eating sugary treats. Feelings of comfort, affection, and love are shown to be strongly connected to a sweet taste.
If you're craving a lot of sweet treats every day, even though you are getting enough calories, vitamins and minerals during your meals, it can be helpful to ask yourself whether a different kind of "sweetness" might be missing in your life.
Because we all have an emotional relationship with food. Some of us will turn to food to deal with stress, others will loose their appetite over it (so I've heard).
I belong in the category of stress-and-sadness-eaters. Growing up, I was conditioned to embrace food as a reward and comforting ritual. And there is nothing wrong with that. I just had to become aware of my psychological programming and triggers so that I can manage and prepare accordingly.
So what's step one to manage emotional sugar cravings?
*Note: these tips are only helpful for emotional eating. If the foundation of your diet isn't good, say you're spiking your insulin too much during the day or you're lacking certain nutrients, that can be the cause of serious cravings, and should be addressed first.
Here's what you can do when you find yourself in an uncontrollable urge to finish that 48 oz ice cream container.
Use my S.O.S TECHNIQUE for binge-attacks:
1. STOP what you are doing (don't worry, you can continue eating after this)
2. OCCUPY yourself with something else - distract yourself for 10 minutes. Doesn't matter how. Dance, watch Netflix, go for a walk, call a friend... Just take a break from eating
3. SELF-CHECK & SHIFT Check in with yourself. Tune into your feelings and ask yourself what's going on right now. What's causing you stress, anger or sadness? You can do a guided maditation, a breathing exercise or light yoga if you struggle to just sit with your feelings.
It also always helps me to just write my thoughts down. I basically go back and forth, asking myself questions and answering them unfiltered. I start with "what's going on right now?"
Hopefully, you will get to the emotional cause of your cravings. You can then ask yourself "what would make me feel better right now – that isn't food?"
If you don't know the answer, just right down a list of things that usually give you comfort and joy, and pick something that feels good. Being sweeter to yourself in general (excuse the cheesiness) can really help decrease your cravings.
A Few Examples on How to be Sweeter to Yourself
❤ Stop the self-criticism and treat yourself with compassion
❤ Pick up a nurturing practice like yoga, meditation, reading or journaling
❤ Spend more time with your loved ones, and tell them how much they mean to you
❤ Give your apartment a cosiness upgrade
❤ Stop being so hard on yourself. Don't work yourself to the ground in your job or at the
gym - allow yourself to rest and recharge regularly
❤ Be open and receptive for love. We often think we are – but when love comes knocking
on our door, we don't even recognize it, run away or question it
❤ Take a bath, watch a good movie or go for a walk
❤ Book a massage, spa day, facial or simply buy yourself a gift (flowers count!)
PS: If, after all the self-nurturing you still really crave a cookie – EAT A COOKIE. It's O-kay!
Another thing that can help is writing yourself a love letter. Don't laugh, just try it!
It's important to put things back into perspective sometimes. I mean, how amazing it is that you have a body?! You get to experience life through it! Your body is your home. Show it some love!
Instead of shaming your thighs, your belly, your wiggly arms – write your beautiful body a love letter.
But first: take a moment to look in the mirror and really see yourself. Make eye contact with yourself. Send some extra love to your "problem areas" . This exercise can be uncomfortable if you don't like your body yet. But I encourage you to do it because every fear gets smaller when we face it.
--> When you're done, grab a paper and start listing all the great things that your body allows you to do. Write down everything you love about it and are grateful for. Give it ALL the love you can.