I deal with extreme sugar cravings and a lack of self control. If I see sweets, I eat them. I just started trying to combat this and have discovered that a lot of my sugar cravings come from either being dehydrated or bored or just hungry. So if I am having a craving, I first try to figure out why. If I am content with all of the above, then i might indulge... but in moderation.
I had an awful time with cravings especially about 3 a.m. and I was signing on to Sparks daily (I've been here since '07), but thankfully I found a wonderful internist who put me on Metformin and my blood sugar is now a stable 100 so I stopped having cravings and dropped 50# 3 yrs ago.
It does pay to have a physical with a doctor who understands obesity, as for me, willpower wasn't enough.
current weight: 135.6
Fitness Minutes: (134)
4/27/20 2:42 P
Depends on the craving, and time of day. Late night? Ignored.
Rest of day: is it actually unhealthy? Is it a pain to acquire? How well can I control portions? If it’s actually healthy, just a “yellow light” food (say white potatoes), then I’ll make something with them. Usually oven baked fries. That’s my worst craving...French fries.
If it’s a pain to acquire, I just put it off. This is what I do with ice cream, even nice cream from the VitaMix. I’m very good with this trick. I intentionally make sweets a pain to acquire.
Is it more a “red light” food, one that should be quarterly or less? I actually enjoy the anticipation of this category. Much like waiting on a holiday meal. I decide if I’m making it, or going to a restaurant. I’d rather skip prepared foods like frozen meals and splurge occasionally.
I can also substitute. Indian vegetarian dishes are notoriously high in dairy and fat. I limit dairy on a daily basis but I am lacto-vegetarian. Occasionally, if the craving is for a flavor in Indian cuisine, I can go lower dairy by either making it at home (I’m a passable cook in this cuisine), or substituting with Ethiopian flavors. This is one category where prepared foods work. Somehow, frozen samosa and picapepper sauce will allay the craving for several days. I’ll avoid dairy for those days and then enjoy. Mind you, if I get a meal delivered, it’s actually three meals for me. If I’m conscious and don’t have too much while it’s hot, I get three full meals; otherwise, it’s dinner and two lunches.
Limiting portions. My worst offender habit is Coca Cola. I can quit for months, have one taste and be back on daily instantly. I know this, and I plan for the 90 calories of the 7.5 Oz can. I cannot get larger sizes.
I find cravings hit when I’m making the same basic thing for meals for several days.
Wake up every day knowing you make the decision to begin your journey anew.
This choice in this moment defines now. What is your now?
Making do or saving every cent you can? Join us on team LIVING LIFE ON A SHOESTRING teams.sparkpeople.com/LLife
Cravings are my worst nightmare. I always fear that I'm going to have unbearable cravings for days on end and undo all my progress...
What's worked for me pretty decently is, I have retainers that I only need to wear at night. I put them in after eating dinner/dessert and it discourages me from unhealthy evening snacking. I can't eat with them in, and I don't want to have to go take them out again!
As you hold on... as long as you do what's in your heart... I believe you can do the right thing.
I make an Iced coffee with the skinny syrup and I always add 2 TBS of whip cream as my treat :) It works
I am grateful for everyday I am blessed to exist on this earth. Cancer Sun, Capricorn Moon and Virgo rising. Lover of life, the world around me, people and animals. If you see my profile and high vibe like me, add me as a friend!
I usually make a cup of hot tea & lemon...(had to acquire the taste for it). Sometimes I will have a dill pickle spear. I only eat 2 meals a day. I like my heavier meal at dinner time, so I'm usually pretty good. Sometimes I take some sparling flavored seltzer & add a 1/2 cup of cranberry juice to it...& a wedge of lemon. It's kept me from indulging. I know if I take that "one bite"...I am off & running.
Few people, except those who actually do lower low carb or keto believe me when I say in all honesty, I DO NOT have/get cravings, but I don't. I seriously DON'T.
I love food and I am a "bored eater" and mostly at night, which is another message board, lol, but they're just as bad as having cravings.
I try to drink a cup of tea, broth or make some hot 'cocoa with no sugar added chocolate almond milk and cinnamon. Those really help.
I also crank up the music and DANCE to the best of my ability. That REALLY helps!!!
If all else fails, I go to bed.
BLessOMe AKA jeannie Midwest (Central Time Zone)
“I feel keeping a promise to yourself is a direct reflection of the love you have for yourself. I used to make promises to myself and find them easy to break. Today, I love myself enough to not only make a promise to myself, but I love myself enough to keep that promise”
Give in by eating something healthy. I will eat an apple or some berries. That is my treat. But I don't have to feel guilty because it is giving me fiber and vitamins. It is a win-win. I also will have 85% cocoa chocolate occasionally. Then I can resist all the leftover Halloween candy in the office because I don't feel deprived. The longer you go without junk food the easier it is.
“love the life you live, live the life you love.” - Bob Marley
Mary Ann - Rochester, NY - Eastern Standard Time
current weight: 130.0
Fitness Minutes: (336,297)
26,244 11/1/19 7:39 P
I find that the cleaner I'm eating -- which for me means whole foods, organic where possible, home-cooked meals, and very low levels of added sugars -- the more rare cravings are. I don't really get them.
Unless I've gone down the sugar rabbit hole, which can happen when I slack off a bit. It is truly amazing to me how fast a slip can become a relapse.
Anyway, I'm 19 months sober from alcohol and now I'm using the tools I learned at SMART Recovery to address my emotional eating and sugar addiction. The very first thing I do when I get tempted to stuff something like that into my mouth is what we call "Play the Tape."
I relive exactly what it's going to feel like and do when I eat that thing. How I'll expect it to taste really good (euphoric recall). But because I'm pretty much off sugar, when I take a bite it's going to taste kind of...nasty. Way too sweet. But I'll eat it b/c I'm committed now, and then maybe I'll eat another and another (cookies come to mind). And then I'll feel sick. And ashamed. And disappointed in myself. And maybe the next day I'll do it again b/c when you feed the Sugar Monster it gets more demanding. And I'll remember how giving in to the Sugar Monster, say last holiday season, resulted in packing on an extra 20 pounds. And feeling crummy all the time. And having less energy. Etc.
Really play that tape all the way to the end. Which ended in May with my doctor saying "hmmmm...your sugar is at pre-diabetic range... and your triglycerides are...well...kinda through the roof..."
I still slip (with sugar). But I don't relapse. I'm way too clear on the costs.
Cravings are a beautiful gift. They are a message that we are either:
1. In need of very particular nutrients 2. In need of emotional sustenance 3.....both
1. In the first instance, if we are truly able to assess that we are indeed hungry, or in need of those particular nutrients then it is probably wise to obey them as it is a direct signal from the body that something is lacking. HOWEVER.... Craving donuts (as I often do, hehe) is often not going to leave many of us feeling too great. Sugar spikes, and poor quality ingredients will likely leave us in a slump, with low energy and hungry in no time.
What can we do? Trying to break down the macronutrient profile, and find a more nourishing alternative is a great way to start. What is it in particular about the donut that you want?
There are 3 macronutrients: Carbs, proteins and fats. Nothing to difficult there right.
A donut is starchy, sweet, fatty/greasy.
So let's start with carbs. What is it that is so appealing about the donut?
Are you looking for a sweet/starchy taste? Yes/No? Maybe you answer yes- You want sugary and starchy from the donut.
Let's become detectives and ask ourselves what else is sweet and starchy but more nourishing and will leave you with energy afterwards? Would oats with some honey on top satisfy you?
Maybe you say- almost, but it's missing something!
So let's keep being detectives.
Next is fats- What is it that is so appealing about the donut?
Are you looking for a fatty/greasy taste? Yes/No? Maybe you answer yes- You want some grease.
Well if we find a 'healthy' fat source we might look at foods like avocados. Would that satisfy you?
Maybe you say- No! I need a different kind of fat. How about a buttery taste?
You might say yes.
Great! We have another clue. Saturated fat gets bad press because it is present in excess quantities in many processed foods but it is still absolutely essential in our diets- even more so for exercising populations- You might genuinely need some saturated fat in your diet and butter can be a great, healthy way to get it without resorting to trans fats like in many processed foods.
Next is protein- There are no great amounts of protein in a donut but let's ask ourselves anyway.
Would I feel more satisfied if my alternative meal/snack had protein? Foods like fish, meat, eggs, nuts?
You might think that meat or fish are not what you want at all but eggs and nuts would actually be ok. Well they are also great sources of fat.
So we've got some clues- oats, honey, butter, eggs, and nuts. Those all would probably make a great substitute, but it's hardly a meal...
So we invent one- Protein pancakes include these ingredients- you literally don't need anything else- check out some recipes online for ideas. Do you see how creative we can get?
It doesn't have to necessarily be something you have to cook, but there was a fun example of a great healthy, and nourishing alternative.
Being tired by the way is a legit reason to feel cravings. Going to sleep hungry might work for some but if you're like me then you will wake up in the middle of the night with discomfort or not even be able to sleep. It is often better just to eat something, and then plan in the future to get more sleep so that it doesn't happen again, than to go to bed in pain. Self-care comes in many forms.
Also, just taking teas to ignore these cravings might seem wise, but if we are covering and ignoring true signals from our body then we are only learning how to listen to our bodies less, and how to give more power to external sources like cookie cutter diets.
HOWEVER....Sometimes we really aren't hungry and these are just phantom cravings.
2. When we are craving but it is not connected to real hunger, but an emotional craving, it can be a great time to look inwards and ask ourselves what we might truly be craving.
Are we bored? Are we emotionally triggered, or even environmentally triggered? What could our bodies be dialoguing with us, and how can we listen to what we truly need?
Taking a mindful step back in these moments and asking yourself what it might be can be very helpful and you'd be surprised how often a voice will come back to you.
For example, in the office at work, I used to eat lots of sweets/candy. I did it because I was bored and lacking excitement by sitting down all day. Colourful, bright, and tasty M&Ms were way more interesting than sitting down and working on my boring computer screen.
So what could I do?
FIND AN ALTERNATIVE
I asked myself what can also give me fun and joy, to combat my boredom?
I tried having a quick walk around the office. I began stretching and feeling good in my body. I had quick and pleasant conversations with people in the office. I flirted with co-workers. I read blogs I enjoyed in some down time. and eventually, I quit.
Find alternatives, because whether the craving is real or not, you probably already know the outcome to eating the food that you're craving.
Sorry for going about such a long way to say it. I wanted to say a lot more but I hope that starts to help. It can go so much deeper, and I think you will probably need to, but don't give up because you're worth the investment ; )
Lots of great ideas here! I drink a full glass of water first and then if I still want something I start with a bite at a time.
“What you eat in private will show up in public.” ~Unknown “Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.” ~English Proverb “Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” ~Michael Pollan (Karen)
Pounds lost: 40.0
Fitness Minutes: (0)
10/29/19 1:22 A
I drink a glass of water (or use one of the powder mixes) and do at least 10 mins of exercise, ie. walking in place, pushups, going for a walk (with the dogs), do yard work etc. I also make legal snacks for the week and keep them in the freezer for easy access.
My name is Nola I live in Chiefland, FL - EST
God Bless America Pray Hard, Work Hard, Track Everything, and Keep Moving.
I keep a few light snacks in my desk like 100 calorie packs of pretzel crisps, nuts, fruit, etc. and if I need something, I try to eat no more than 50 calories worth once while at work and finish whatever I started if I need it at night.
I grab something small with protein in it (like a cup of greek yogurt or a few nuts)..I think carbs spike more cravings while protein calms them down..also I've been drinking a lot more water and I've noticed that cravings can be related to being dehydrated as well.
Fitness Minutes: (6,030)
4,160 10/21/19 3:07 A
I personally believe cravings are strongly related with neurotransmitters. Julia Ross has written several books that explain the research. Understanding the reason for the craving helps to appropriately address the underlying imbalance.
Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 10/21/2019 (03:09)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever exercises faith in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Hi. I came across this article online that talks about a special tea you can make that cures hunger pangs. It's not like the black tea or green tea you're used to. You can check it out here... detoxyourlife.health.blog and let me know what you think.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
8/9/19 11:38 A
1. Have a large glass of ice water 2. Look for a healthy substitute-if I am craving sweets, I grab fruit, if I am craving carbs, I try air popped pop corn, 3. If i just have to have it, I take a small bite, chew it , enjoy it and spit it ou
I can't say I have foods that I crave. What I notice for myself at times is the Hand-To-Mouth urge. When this strikes I look for anything small that can serve that motion - raisins, blueberries, grapes, healthy popcorn.
Michigan - EST
LIVE-BREATHE-ENJOY LIFE! "Live life to its fullest and make the most of every day."
Pounds lost: 38.0
Fitness Minutes: (861)
8/8/19 5:31 P
I read somewhere that a craving is often due to a missing nutrient in your diet. Before giving into a craving, wait 15 minutes and occupy your time with something else. If you've forgotten about the craving, go about your business. If you still have the craving, give in but do not go overboard. Pinterest has many recipes for healthier options of common cravings, as well.
A cup of tea, takes time to brew, makes me take a break and helps with cravings. One square of dark chocolate ...I have found a bar with stevia works well. Sugar continues my cravings while stevia curbs them.
I have some water first, then if I am still craving something sweet - I have a bite, such as dark chocolate, then a mandarin orange. I have the chocolate in a difficult place for me to reach so most of the time I bypass the chocolate and straight for the oranges. The grand-babies love the oranges so it is easy to keep them out in a bowl and easy to grab.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
- John Wooden, Hall of Fame college basketball coach
Pounds lost: 32.0
Fitness Minutes: (197,819)
7/26/19 8:29 A
Often if I get a craving that isn’t the best choice for health I will tell myself that I will satisfy the craving later. Later today, later tomorrow, maybe on Sunday etc. Usually the craving goes away and I’ll often forget about it. Sometimes the anticipation of waiting and putting it off for a bit/day/week builds the food up so much than when I actually have it I’m a little disappointed because it’s never as good as my mind thinks it will be. Then the next time the craving isn’t as often or as strong.
Making the craving hard to fulfill is good too. I try not to keep junk around so if I want something I have to go to the store buy it. Often that’s enough to kill the craving because let’s face it, we’re all really lazy in the end.
When I’m super craving chocolate chip cookies before my auntie flo comes to visit I will make them myself but I try and make them as healthy as I can while still being yummy enough to kill the craving.
JERF - Just Eat Real Food
I'm not a doctor or dietitian. I'm just a real whole foods nutrition nerd.
I eat mostly vegetables, fats, meats, some fruit and dark chocolate. Unprocessed and preservative free food. And it's changed my life!
5'4" Maintaining since 2012 42 years old 2 kids
Lowering my A1C and keeping my blood sugar levels steady eating LCHF.
Everyone's posts are so good! I thought about some of the suggestions here and how I could apply them to my own struggles... and it sort of evolved into an essay, with a few added thoughts of my own. See what everyone thinks. You gals [Edit: and guys?] are all so awesome!!
Ok here goes
1. Cravings for something that I happen to already have at home, like ice cream:
a. Tactic 1: Delay. Tell myself, "At the end of the day, after I've had nutritious meals all day first, if I still want it and have a few calories left on the tracker, I'll go ahead and have some." :)
b. Tactic 2: Divert. Opt for something else instead, like a mashed banana or some cottage cheese. Think about how much better I feel afterwards physically if I eat fruit or cottage cheese instead of saturated fat and sugar.
c. Tactic 3: Decrease. A friend told me once, with many foods it's only the first bite or two that are enjoyable. After you've gotten that first taste, the rest is not that great. So why bother with a whole plate when you really only need a bite or two?
d. Tactic 4: Devour. Sometimes the item can be swapped for something else on the tracker. For example, sometimes the tracker says to eat butter. I can easily forego the butter and have some ice cream instead. There is usually some calorie and fat allotment left at the end of the day.
e. Tactic 5: Damage control. After tracking it, assess the damage, if any, and sit down and plan exactly what to eat tomorrow so it will all average out.
f. Tactic 6: Discovery. It wasn't as enjoyable as I expected. It's gone already. And it leaves me feeling physically not that great compared to the good food I've been trying to eat lately.
f. Tactic 7: Determination. Don't feel bad about the past. Just chalk up the mis-steps as lessons learned and make decisions to keep improving. Plan ahead if possible, but still don't despair.
2. Cravings while shopping:
a. Delay. Say, "I'll just go get the other stuff first and if I still want this I'll come back and get it later." That will give me time to think about it and - hopefully - change my mind.
b. Distract. There are so many things in the store, maybe I'll forget all about that thing I thought I wanted so badly.
c. Deliberate. While shopping, if it comes to mind, remember, even if it goes into the cart, I probably won't eat it until I get home, by which time I might be asking myself, "Yuck. Why did I buy this?"
d. Divert. Is there something else I could get instead?
e. Decline. Even while going through checkout I can still set the item aside instead of buying it.
f. Divide. At home, divide it into smaller portions and just eat one small portion. And track it. (See "Damage control" above ;)
g. Distance/dispose/discard/donate. If I can't give it away, donate it to charity, or throw it away, maybe I can entrust it to someone else to hold it for me until I ASK for it. That introduces an embarrassment factor. Or else store it somewhere really inconvenient. (But I kinda like the idea of an embarrassment factor.)
3. Cravings when the food is already prepared and RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME (such as at a social event), especially while watching someone else eating and enjoying it:
a. "Down the hatch." (Sorry. Gotta work on that one!)
Footnote: Regarding that last point, after much deliberation, I've developed ten personal dictums regarding birthday parties, which I hope to be able to follow diligently from now on:
1. There is nothing wrong with saying "no" to birthday cake. Appearing at a birthday party does not entail a contractual obligation to ingest cake.
2. There is nothing wrong with bringing along a banana. "I'm gonna just pretend this is cake. Happy birthday."
3. There is nothing wrong with saying I'll have "just a sliver"
4. There's nothing wrong with splitting a slice with someone else.
5. There's nothing wrong with eating just one forkful and then pushing the plate away.
6. There is nothing wrong with leaving all the frosting behind.
7. There is nothing wrong with throwing leftover cake in the trash. Cake is not food. Cake is a symbol and a decoration. When it went onto my plate it fulfilled its purpose for existence. I'm not going to eat it later, and neither is anyone else. Nobody needs it. There are no starving children anywhere who will be benefited by that partially eaten slice of cake. Therefore throwing most of it away is not "wasting food." It's probably even biodegradable. Throwing it away is better for the well-being of the universe than "someone" being stuck walking around wearing it.
8. There is nothing wrong with hosting a birthday party that features sticking candles in a banana, possibly frosted with peanut butter, possibly decorated with berries or cinnamon. Or serving everyone banana slices in cupcake cups, maybe with yogurt and berries instead of ice cream. Banana-and-berry (and apple?) kabobs frosted with peanut butter or dipped in dark chocolate, or dipped in Greek yogurt, or frosted with 2 parts Greek yogurt and 3 parts cream cheese. Hmm.. I think I'm onto something here. :)
9. There is nothing wrong with fruit arrangements made with toothpicks and styrofoam. Or maybe a birthday watermelon. Cut into an interesting shape. Or hollow out a watermelon and fill it with watermelon balls, honeydew balls, and cantaloupe balls. Maybe a few varieties of seedless grapes. Oh boy! So many fun ideas, can't wait to try them!
10. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with different cultures' birthday traditions. (Seaweed soup? Hard-boiled eggs and yams? Spicy stew? Noodle soup and colored h.b. eggs?) Hmm.. Now to convince my friends...
Ok. This was fun to write.
hth "Losing is Everything"
Edited by: LOSINGSEVRYTHNG at: 7/23/2019 (19:59)
Pounds lost: 14.2
Fitness Minutes: (154,455)
4,366 7/23/19 4:11 P
OH MY I was so hungry after gym, shopping for a dress and then picking up a few groceries. I almost put ice cream in my basket, then almost a cake BUT I asked myself Is this what I really want and it worked. I only bought the things I went into the store to buy, no treats no indulgences. Woo Hoo. As for the dress - nope.
Verna Alberta, Canada Birthdate October 23 Mountain Time DST
It depends on the craving and the timing. If it's something that's always there, like my coworker's candy dish, I can usually tell myself "not now" and walk on by it. Sometimes, though I go ahead and give in, but I make sure I'm making a conscious decision to go ahead, enjoy it thoroughly, and get right back on track. It's working so far.
"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." -- Hippolyte Taine
For starters, I use HALT, that is, am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? If I do not know which one it is, then I narrow down by ruling some of them out. If Hungry, then I prepare or eat a fast, healthy meal. If Tired, I take a shower and go to bed. If Angry , I am trying to release it by writing about it. If lonely, I come on here and talk to people.
I am meal planning at the beginning of each day so that I have healthy meals and snacks available.
I also am allowing myself some sugar free sweet treats AFTER I eat the healthy meal. Just one, at the most two.
It is a process in development, but so far - so good. No binges lately.
Right now is a great time to get started.
Mountains are climbed, one step at a time.
current weight: 155.8
Fitness Minutes: (154,455)
4,366 7/22/19 4:20 P
Cravings are hard to deal with and they hit with a vengeance. Today is my first day of getting back on track as I've slipped drastically for the last two weeks. I've read the replies and I think the mindful thinking that you, Sparklie-Day suggested, is doable for me and will use it. My new mantra shall be "Is this what I really want to do." Thanks Sparklie.
Verna Alberta, Canada Birthdate October 23 Mountain Time DST
Pounds lost: 5.8
Fitness Minutes: (17,046)
7/22/19 10:05 A
If the craving is for something reasonably healthy that I don't normally incorporate into my diet (e.g. watermelon or pineapple, even a hamburger), I might plan it in to my day and into my nutrition plan. But if it's for something like cookies or cake, I really try to take a moment to step back and remind my self of the big picture. The other day, I forgot to pack a part of my lunch, so I was pretty hungry in the late afternoon. I started to reach for a cookie at work. Then I said to myself, "is this what you want to do? Really?" and when I thought about it I decided to wait until I got home to have a healthy snack. Sometimes moving from mindless to mindful is all it takes.
Fitness Minutes: (37,969)
420 7/18/19 6:00 A
When cravings come up I first note whether I am physically hungry or not. My cravings are usually for sweets. If I am hungry I have some fruit if not I remove myself from where the sweets are ie. avoid sweets isle at grocery store, don't shop when hungry, or try to distract myself. If I continue to crave something I will plan it into my meal plan for a day and have a small portion.
Elizabeth **************** My God is the rock where I take refuge; my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:3)