Curbing a Sweet Tooth

8 Nov

Ever since October rolled around, my sweet tooth has reared her ugly head.  She started out small.  Maybe a couple pieces of candy corn here and there.  But, before I knew it, I was craving ice cream and cake.  I typically don’t even like cake.  As October progressed, we had lots of reasons to celebrate, Keith’s 30th birthday and Halloween.  Our usually bare of sweets pantry was now full of candy corn/pumpkins and chocolate bars for the kiddos. 

Halloween was my last sweets day for a long time.  It isn’t that I ate a lot of candy on that day, I think I had 4 fun size bars, but it was the fact I was craving sugar all day long.  I didn’t allow myself to eat a lot of it, but having it sitting out in the house just wasn’t helping my cause.  Sugar is not beneficial to the growing baby in my belly, not one bit. 

Since I’m a trainer and am highly educated on nutrition, I knew I needed to kick my sugar consuming habit to the curb and increase my protein.  By increasing my protein, my sugar cravings would eventually go away in a few days.  As my doctor suggested, when I called about seeing spotted lights a few days during the Halloween week, I as ready to give up sugar.

Last Tuesday, the day after Halloween, I got rid of every sweet in our house.  Knowing we have both sugar cookie holiday tea and candy cane green tea I knew if I wanted a sweet treat, I could have a cup of tea.  The first few days were hard, but I knew that the sugar cravings would be gone soon.  By Friday, I was actually feeling a lot better.  I wasn’t thinking about sugar anymore and instead was craving fruits and vegetables.  My body was feeling better as well.

Here are my top tips for curbing a sweet tooth:

  • Eat a balanced diet consisting of lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Eat 5-6 times a day.  This helps you stay full and doesn’t let you get so hungry, that you start craving junk foods.
  • Drink plenty of water.  I’m a huge fan of water and probably drink 4-6 liters a day.
  • Keep trigger sweets out of the house.  If you must have them at your house, place them in out of sight areas or in the top shelf of cabinets to make them harder to get too. 
  • Have limited small treats you can indulge in that wont set off cravings.  I have found buying one bar of dark chocolate a week for the husband and I to nibble on after a meal works for us.  Also, like I mentioned above, tea is also an excellent choice, especially the new holiday flavors like sugar cookie and candy cane green tea.  I also like having low calorie packets of hot chocolate (25 calories) and apple cider (10 calories) on hand.  The sweetness of the drink satisfies my sweet tooth, while the warm liquid makes me feel full.
  • Make daily goals I wont have any candy/sugar today.  Taking things a day at a time is a great way to get rid of cravings, plus we can all last one day without sugar. 
  • When a sugar craving comes, eat a piece of fruit instead.  I like eating fruit early in the day (before lunch) so I can burn off all its natural sugars before bed.  Eating fruit will also help curb cravings as it is loaded with fiber (to fill you up) and water.  I find eating a couple pieces of fruit each days also helps my body not crave sugar.

Those are my best tips for overcoming a sweet tooth.  I’m typically not a fan of sugar, but I did get caught in the holiday sugar trap.  Before the holidays sneak up on us and sweet treats are everywhere, remember to only indulge if you really really want something.  I would probably pass on a handful of typical M&Ms from the candy jar in favor of one of my Mom’s homemade cookies.  Remember to choose your treats wisely and make sure if you do indulge, it was on something truly amazing.  Don’t feel guilt, just eat greens (or something similar) at your next meal and move on.  Remember no food is ever off limits if you are eating a healthy diet, you just need to make sure you keep your portions in check.  Sugar treats should be limited to only a couple times a week, if that

One more tip before I wrap this up, if you are planning on baking (and I’m sure you are, just like I am during the holidays), try slipping in healthy ingredients to up the nutrition value such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, nuts and whole wheat flour.  You can also play around with cutting back on how much sugar a recipe calls for.  The more nutrients you can sneak into your recipe, the better!

Questions:

  • Do you find yourself eating more sugar during the holidays?
  • How do you curb your sweet tooth?  Have any good tips?
  • How often do you let yourself indulge during the week?

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22 Responses to “Curbing a Sweet Tooth”

  1. loftyappetite November 8, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    great post! i think it’s absolutely normal to get more of a sweet tooth in October and as the cold months begin. I rarely bake in the summer and suddenly I want to bake all the time in the fall. Of course i don’t want to eat it all myself, but I love having dessert after dinner, which I don’t really do in the summer. I love your advice about adding a healthy ingredient to your sweets. there’s nothing wrong with baking, and boosting its nutrition helps make it of value to your diet! and i always cut back on a recipes sugar. i have learned one too many times that over a cup is way too much, especially if there are chocolate chips or raisins involved. 1/2 a cup is plenty in that case, and still delicious!

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      I like your outlook! There is nothing at all wrong with baking and it is super fun! I especially enjoy baking goodies in the fall and winter time too! I like how you cut the sugar from recipes too especially when there are chocolate chips or raisins involved!

  2. Shanna, like Banana November 8, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Nooooo, I don’t want to give away my sugar 😉

    Truthfully though, my sweet tooth has totally increased. And I blame a lot of it on pregnancy. With the void of wine in my life, I’ve been substituting it with more sweet treats and now my body “needs” something every day. I’m trying to keep it within reason though. Whenever I deprive myself or try to substitute a psuedo fake treat for the real thing, I just crave the real thing more.

    For me, it’s all about moderation!

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      I agree with you 100%. Since pregnancy, I haven’t had my wine either and I think it is making me want sweets more. I can’t do fake treats either because I’m left unsatisfied and craving sweets even more! Everything is okay to have, as long as it is in moderation! 🙂

  3. Heather November 8, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    This post is so helpful. I strive to exercise (hard!) everyday but then I go home and have a big bowl of frozen yogurt or SIX cookies (last night…) and the calorie burn was all for nothing (although i still take pride in other health benefits). Have you EVER been a sugar junkie? I want to know there’s hope!! Ohhh it’s so hard!!

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 11:41 am #

      Trust me, I love sugar. I could eat cookies everyday, but I don’t like the way sugar makes my body feel so I try to just stay away from it. No to mention my skin breaks out horribly anytime I eat a lot of it. My outlook is if you are spending time in the gym working hard, you can’t let a cookie or candy bar derail your progress. You need to find a healthy balance that works for you where you can enjoy a treat here and there and feel satisified, not deprived, yet still be eating healthy enough so your work in the gym is showing! With the holidays coming up, I thought this would be a good post since we will all be faced with way more goodies than normal.

      • Heather November 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

        I loved it. I was actually going to send you a private message asking if you could do a post on clean eating while working out, but you did this so this post helps a ton! I would love to see more like it. You always create great workouts and I’d love to hear about the nutrition part of it from your perspective. And as always, thanks for replying to each response, it’s why your blog is my favorite!

      • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

        I’m glad you found the post helpful. I will for sure touch on clean eating while working out in the next week or so. I really want to talk more about nutrition on my site since we are coming into the holiday season and so many people fall off the clean eating wagon for no reason other than that it’s the holidays. I appreciate your kind words and thank you for reading!

  4. Erica November 8, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    I so hear you! Sometimes (when I’m doing a lot of baking)….I start to get a ragging sweet tooth. Once I eliminate the processed crap and focus more on fruits, veggies & complete meals….it seems to take a walk 😉

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      I don’t bake a lot because I’m horrible at it, but if we have sweet things in our house, we are going to eat them. Focusing on natural whole foods makes those sugar cravings go away to where you don’t feel deprived not having a brownie after dinner. Holidays are always such a hard time since baking and holidays seem to go hand in hand.

  5. Shayla @ The Good Life November 8, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Great tips Kjirsten!! We had a whole bowlful left of candy after Halloween and like you I had to get rid of it so I wasn’t tempted – out of sight, out of mind. So I gave it to my housekeeper and she was more than happy to take it off my hands. However I did keep a few for when I want to have a small indulgence and stashed some in the freezer so that I’m not as easily tempted. I like to save those sugary treats for the weekends when I really let go because if I didn’t then I’d just binge – I have to give myself that day to just eat whatever I want – but not go too overboard and keep it in moderation. During the week I always have a sweet tooth after dinner so I have either some prunes, a spoonful of peanut butter, or a handful of puffins, and that always seems to cure it 😉 But like you said, what really works for me is keeping it out of the house and have “healthy” sweets instead…for instance I cannot keep a carton of ice cream in the freezer, that is just too dangerous around me!

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      I’m just like you and like eating pb when I want something after dinner. I like eating clean during the week and then relaxing a little over the weekend. We try and have fun eating up or making not as healthy meals on the weekend, but we also try and balance them out by working out, walking the dog, eating healthy at other meals. This was we can still indulge but not binge. I can’t keep ice cream in our house either. I know its there and my brain will want it!

  6. Lisa @ Healthy Diaries November 8, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Great post! I used to be a sugar queen growing up and have come such a far way this last year. Since I ear really healthy everyday I don’t crave sugar too much and when I do I can control my portions around dessert. I still have episodes every month or two where I go on a sugar high and overindulge way too much in one day! Thanks for the tips!

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      I think everyone has those days where we eat too much sugar but we are only human. I’m glad that eating healthy has helped eliminate your cravings! Eating clean and whole foods is the best way to keep sugar cravings at bay, at least I think!

  7. sweetlyvegan November 8, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    awesome post!! loved this! sugar is totally addicting! Once I eat something with sugar in it I crave more sugar all day. It is a hard habit to break, cuz you get headaches and your body literally has to have it!!! like you, I try to just eat a piece of fruit if I am craving sugar. I find that I snack more when I’m at home and bored, so if I can’t keep my hands out of the cookie jar I’ll simply leave the house and go for a walk, or go do something to entertain myself like shop. haha another addiction 🙂
    I definitely consume more sugar during the holidays… but thats one of the best parts about the holidays- all the amazing food! When I bake things now, I give half the batch away to Chase’s business partners or the concierge/doorman at our building. It feels good to give something nice to someone and they always seem to be stoked to be getting a nice treat!
    I indulge probably everyday, but try to remember my diet is a bank account, so if I eat something decadent – I have to balance it out with a much healthier/less caloric option for my next meal(s). Its hard to tell tho being pregnant if the weight gain is just the baby growing or if its bc I have been indulging a little too much : / I am +5 @ 15.2

    • Jamie @ FoodinRealLife November 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      +5 at 15.2 would not lead me to think you’re indulging too much.

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

      I’m just like you that once I have sugar, I want it the rest of the day. For that reason is why I like to advoid it as much as possible. I also get headaches and my skin breaks out and I swear I get moody when I’m coming off my sugar high. I like you take on if you do eat something decadent, you will balance out your other meals. That is a great mindset to have. At 15.2 weeks, I think around 5lbs is pretty average. Plus you are super tiny and eat really healthy so your body will need to gain a little more right away. I can’t remember how much I gained at 15 weeks, but 5lbs sounds right. I know once I hit around 20 weeks I started gaining about two pounds a week no matter how much I worked out or how healthy I ate.

  8. Jamie @ FoodinRealLife November 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Great post Kjirsten-especially after we talked about this yesterday. The few days after Halloween were the worst for me, and I ate so many treats at my baby shower last weekend. I’ve cleaned the house of the bad stuff and stocked up on healthy snacks. Yesterday was my first day curbing the sugar and I feel better already. My main treats yesterday were a KIND bar, some frozen berries & mango, unsweetened almond milk w/unsweetened cocoa, and a tiny piece of very dark chocolate.

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

      Our convo inspired me for this post. 🙂

      I think you did the best thing and cleaned out your house of the goodies. Its amazing how frozen fruit can curb a candy craving when there isn’t anything else around. Isn’t it great how your body responds so quickly when you stop eating treats even for a day?

      Nice job on the healty treats! 🙂

  9. Julie November 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I love this post b/c I’ve had a MAJOR sweet tooth throughout my pregnancy. I already had a bad one to begin with and now it’s worse! I’ll try some of your tips – hopefully they’ll help….at least a little! 🙂 P.S. I miss my wine too! haha!

    • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

      Only 3 months extaclty until I can have a glass of wine! I can’t wait! 🙂

      I think with all the different hormones and emotions you feel when you become pregnant, that sets off a major sweet tooth. I am normally a pretty strict when it comes to sweets but since I became pregnant, I’ve totally let myself indulge way more than normal. My baby girl must definitely have a sweet tooth!

  10. Hollie @ Lolzthatswim(andRun) November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    This is actually exactly what I needed to read right now. I just went on an very sugarless diet for running purposes and I have been craving cookies/cake like it’s my job. I think eating 6 times a day has really helped me out though. 🙂

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