How to stop sugar cravings after main meals
I love reading your blog as I'm super keen to stop emotional and binge eating!
Can you help? I always crave something sweet after lunch and dinner. After I finish my main meals, I always get really strong sugar cravings and feel like I need to eat chocolate or lollies.
Why do I get these sugar cravings after meals and how do I break this habit?!
You're not alone! So many people I speak to get sweet or sugar cravings after mains meals like lunch and dinner. Here's why...
Craving sweet food after meals is a habit - or learned association.
If you always have something sweet to eat after a meal, then your body will start to expect something sweet.
Your body will nag you until it gets a sweet fix because you've trained your body to think that a meal isn't finished until you eat something sweet.
Sugar cravings can be especially strong after dinner and lunch. That's because we typically eat dessert after lunch or dinner - but not breakfast. Your body isn't in the habit of having a sweet treat after breakfast.
Why do I crave something sweet (not savoury) after lunch and dinner?
As the day goes on, your energy, motivation, and mood often drop.
When you eat sugar, your brain releases serotonin, "feel-good" chemicals into your brain. Sugary foods are also high in energy, giving you a boost in energy and mood (although the effects don't last long)!
The good news is you can retrain your brain to stop craving something sweet after main meals.
Here is my favourite strategy to help reduce sugar and sweet cravings.
TRY: The one-hour trick
I don’t believe in depriving myself so I use the one-hour trick all the time to help me overcome all sorts of cravings. Here’s what to do:
Firstly, give yourself permission to have the treat.
Then, you simply have to wait an hour to eat it. If you still feel like the treat after the hour, you can have it! Most often, you’ll forget about the craving altogether.
Don’t set a timer or alarm clock. If you haven’t stopped thinking about it after the hour is up, and you still feel like eating it, then it’s yours to enjoy.
The one-hour trick works because it delays gratification until the craving can subside.
Most craving only last for a short period of time. If you’re able to wait it out, it’ll go away.
Think of cravings like a wave - they come and they go. You can’t do much to stop a wave. But it helps to acknowledge it, watch it build and wait for it to pass. They almost always pass!
It will take a few weeks, but if you can delay gratification until the craving can subside, you can break the habit.
Another option is to swap your treat food for a healthier, sweet food like fruit or yoghurt. This is a good option in the short term because you’re opting for healthier options (I always support that) but realistically, it won’t break the habit in the long term.
Try the one-hour trick and see if it works for you!
If you liked this trick, then you’ll love Keep It Real, my 10-week online program to help you stop binge or emotional eating.
There are heaps more tricks and tips I’d love to teach you to help you skip the cravings and feel in control around food.
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