“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV
Here’s the scenario: You feel like you want “something” to eat so your grab a candy bar or a donut. You promise yourself that you will only eat one. Then, a few minutes later you find yourself at the vending machine or back at the donut box for seconds — and possibly thirds.
It’s often been said that you can’t “out exercise” a healthy diet, and sugar is one of the most common ingredients to derail healthy eating plans.
Are you one of those people who can’t stay away from sweets no matter how hard you try? There are a few possible culprits for sugar cravings. One is that you might not be eating enough.
Now you might think that sounds ridiculous, especially if you are battling weight. But when I say “enough” I’m not talking about quantity. I’m talking about quality.
When you are hungry your blood sugar levels drop, sapping your energy and often causing moodiness. Sugar gives you an instant zap of energy by quickly raising those blood sugar levels
But just like a lying lover, it drops you fast and leaves you feeling empty.
Because most sugary foods are made with refined sugar, your body burns through them fast and your blood sugar drops lower than before you ate. That little burst of energy leaves just as quickly and you find yourself wanting more.
Also, sugar has no vitamins or minerals — the building blocks your body needs so the cells of your body are still begging you for food, telling you that you aren’t satisfied.
Additionally sugar has no protein or fiber — the bulk that makes your stomach feel full. Because those sugary snacks don’t have any staying power in your digestive system, you’re hungry again. Thus, you feel like you want something else and you eat another sugary snack until you feel like you want something else…. the cycle goes on and on.
More calories, but less beneficial food. You may be eating, but it’s not food that your body can use, so you aren’t eating “enough.”
If this is your problem, the next time you crave something sweet check to see if it has been three or four hours since your last meal. It might be time to eat a meal again. If not, try eating a snack that includes protein and/or fiber.
If your cravings aren’t physical they might be emotional. . Studies have shown that sugar causes your brain to absorb more of an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan helps your brain make serotonin, the feel good chemical. With all the extra serotonin swimming through your system, sugar actually makes you feel happy … for a little while, at least. If you crave sweets when you are stressed, sad or bored, you’re eating for comfort. Sugar stimulates the same part of the brain as heroin. Like with an addiction, you will have to find alternative ways to find comfort, and you might need the help of a professional such as a certified nutritionist or dietician.
Another reason you might crave sugar is plain, old habit. For example, if you are used to eating something sweet after a meal or at a certain time of the day, you will automatically crave it at that set time. The best way to change a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. This will take some experimentation, but try snacking on something healthy, taking a walk or finding something else to distract you from that craving.
Kicking the sugar habit is no easy feat, but remember you aren’t in this alone.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
Thanks for reading, and remember: not matter your shape, size, age or ability you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
LaDonna Spivey is an ACE- certified personal trainer. She is the founder of Kingdom Fitness Gulf Coast, a Christian fitness business that encourages clients to strive for peak mental, physical and spiritual health . Visit her at www.getkingdomfit.com or on Facebook www.facebook.org/getkingdomfit.