We all know that eating sweets all the time isn’t the best habit. I mean I LOVE to indulge sometimes (right now, ube ice cream is my weakness), but I can totally tell when I overdo it. It just makes me feel tired, it breaks out my skin, and I just don’t feel my best. Sometimes it makes me sooo grumpy and I feel like I’m just in a fog. So, I try to find healthier ways to curb my cravings as much as possible.
But cravings are tough.
What IS it about sugar that makes it so hard to avoid? Why do our bodies crave it so much?!
Let’s find out!
Sweets are kind of addicting
I’m not going to compare sugar to drugs, but I totally believe that the way we crave sugar is kind of like an addiction.
- Our brains
Humans are just creatures of habit. If you’re someone who has always grabbed something sweet after dinner, it’s probably going to be tough to break that habit. The “craving” you get after dinner for something sweet happens because you’ve literally trained yourself to feel satisfied ONLY after you’ve had that dessert.
Our brains get used to these habits too, making it even harder to curb cravings for sugar. Not only does your brain looooove sugar as fuel, but it treats sugar like a reward. When we eat sugar, our brains release dopamine, which is literally nicknamed the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It’s part of the brain’s reward system, so of course we’re programmed to want more!
So what do you do to fight the urge? A couple things.
Slowly change your routine. If you want to tame that nightly dessert craving, replace it with a different habit. Go for a walk instead and replace sugar with a different “feel-good” habit!
Give into your craving in a healthy way. If you crave something sweet, then eat something sweet! Instead of going for cookies or ice cream every night though, switch it up and eat fruit or experiment with a low-sugar dessert liiiiike vegan peanut butter cheesecake (drool), zucchini bread pudding (omg), or pink lemonade sorbet cups (PERFECT for summer).
Maybe you’re trying too hard
Sometimes when we decide it’s time for diet overhaul, we go a little too hard.
Our bodies are super stubborn when it comes to losing weight and calorie restriction. If the changes you’ve made to your diet are even slightly drastic, your body is probably going to fight back a little.
You know those memes that are like, “egg and veggies for breakfast, salad for lunch… whole pizza, 17 breadsticks and carton of ice cream for dinner” ? 😂
There’s some serious truth to those! If you restrict too much during the day, you might be setting yourself up for failure later. Basically, your body is going to DEMAND the fastest source of energy when it feels deprived. Sugar and refined carbs are that source of energy.
So to avoid this, don’t starve yourself during the day! Eat plenty of protein, healthy fats and healthy carbs packed with fiber to make sure your body isn’t moody and hangry by dinner.
Your body is trying to get your attention
Check two things – your Zzz’s and your water.
Not getting enough of either (or both) can reallllly mess with us! If you’re not feeling 100% because you’re lacking sleep or hydration, that reward center in your brain starts to ding because it wants to feel better! And what usually gives it that quick reward? SUGAR.
The same thing happens when you’re bored or stressed.
I 10000000% always get super snacky when I’m bored, and even if I start with something healthy, I always feel like I need to round it out with something sweet. Do you know what I mean?! That just comes back to that need to feel satisfied. Eating something sweet probably isn’t really the answer, but it’s what our brain knows to give us the fastest reward.
Giving in IS NOT failure
After a loooooong time of fighthing my cravings for sweets, I’ve learned a couple things.
A. Sometimes you just need to give in!
B. You’ll feel better if you learn what your body is telling you.
There is zero shame in giving into cravings sometimes. It’s way better than stressing and obsessing over it. But at the same time, learning what your body might really be telling you is also really helpful. So next time you crave something sweet, take a minute to think about what your body might need before you tear into that candy bar ;)