by The Potentialist Maggie Wilde
When you Google the term ‘Sugar Free’ you’ll find over 13 million responses. There are pages and pages of sugar free diets, substitutes, recipes, chefs and desserts. There are umpteen sugarless products for diabetics, chocolate, beverages and more.
However, when scrolling through the results to find something… anything to help manage sugar withdrawals, or guidance to stop cravings, or to retrain your taste buds and rewire your brain to make being sugar free easier to handle, there was a big fat unsweetened zero. I gave up searching after page 12.
As a previous sugar addict, I know how hard sugar was to give up; I see it everyday with clients who reach out after failing miserably. They give in to cravings just to stop the headaches or anxiety, the highs and lows that many people experience when they quit.
So how do you manage sweet cravings without severe withdrawals and cave ins naturally? Here are my 3 top tips:
Substituting actual sugar with a non-sugar replacement doesn’t solve the longer-term challenge. Our beautiful brains are a chemical hungry maze. The more sweet things we drink and eat, the more our brains remind us to seek more sweet. Whether it’s sugar or a sugar substitute, the brain doesn’t know the difference. Swapping sugar for a substitute doesn’t stop us wanting more sweet treats. It just means we ingest more chemicals on our quest to be healthier.
The key to becoming sugar free is not in the substitution of sugar, it is in re-training our brain and taste buds to stop triggering us to want it. Wouldn’t it be easier to say goodbye to sugar if we didn’t actually crave something sweet?
To do this we need to interrupt the triggers that cause the cravings in the first place. We need simple strategies to retrain our brain to disconnect the attachment. For example, if you learned to respond to emotional impulses by reaching for something sweet, then it’s important to ‘comfort yourself’ in more healthy ways as you become sugar free.
When sweet cravings dance their merry way across your brain and taste buds, take a deep breath and follow this simple strategy.
- Slowly roll your eyes one way
- Roll them back the other way
- Blink 3 times and take another deep breathe in.
The intensity of the urge will reduce. If the intensity is still above a 3 on a scale of 1-10, repeat the same sequence until the craving drops below a 3.
Some key information to remember about ‘sweet treats’ is that early in life we learned that emotional needs were satisfied with food. More often than not it was something sweet (honey on the dummy or pacifier or a cookie and a cuddle).
- Emotional needs will never be met or satisfied by food which includes sugar and it is this realisation that will help those cravings.
- We can see that the solution to a sweet craving is to provide an emotional response i.e. give yourself an inner hug, comfort yourself as you say “I am the kind of person who loves my body back to health”
- Then roll your eyes one way, back the other way and blink three times. Take in a deep breath… repeat until the craving is below a 3.
Choose Inspired Action Language rather than ‘Have to’s.
- If you say “I choose to be sugar free” instead of “I have to be sugar free”, your brain will not trigger the resistance that often occurs when we don’t like being told what to do. We’re programmed from a young age to dislike being told we have to do something.
- So whenever you are offered something sugary, remember to use inspired language such as “I choose to…”, I get to…” or I’m free to… “
Please note: Your taste buds will adapt faster than you think, so use my Eye Rolls consistently for the first 2-3 days, drink lots of water to avoid the sugar withdrawal headaches and reach out if you need assistance.
Sometimes it is good to know that the most simple steps can be implemented especially now in the field of neuroscience which is providing some incredible brain training science to help people understand the pathways and patterns of the brain. When these practices are implemented we see incredible results fast for people switching off sugar cravings! Sugar Free September doesn’t need to be be torture month!
Unleashing Your Potential
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