I’m a Psychologist and These 5 Easy Steps Stop a Sugar Craving in its Tracks

WHEN cravings strike, we have to decide whether to give in to that donut or find an escape.

A psychologist has revealed a seven-step process that helps get rid of cravings.


Food cravings make you want to eat sweet stuff from the barrelCredit: Getty – Contributor

A food craving is a sudden, intense urge to eat something specific, often sweet but possibly salty.

Unlike true hunger, which gives us physical queues, a craving is a desire for a reward or a dopamine hit.

Dr. Meg Arroll, Registered Psychologist at Wellness Brand Lifetimetold The Sun that while the cravings are overwhelming, they usually only last about three minutes.

This means you can nip it in the bud quickly and then get on with your day.

“Distracting your attention from a craving for that short amount of time can really help the craving pass – so think about activities you can do that last three minutes,” Dr Meg said.

“Maybe belting out your favorite ballad, or you’re at work clutching a stress ball in your hand.

“Square jumping jacks can also help and offer the double whammy of a short exercise period.

“A three-minute progressive muscle relaxation exercise in which you tense and relax each muscle group starting with your toes and working steadily towards your face is also a great way to distract and relax your mind and body.”

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If you find that a little dancing or breathing exercise isn’t enough to banish thoughts of chocolate or chips, Dr. Meg has offered a more scientific alternative.

It is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of therapy that aims to understand how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are intertwined.

Dr Meg said ‘we can change one of them to impact the others’.

“When it comes to food cravings, a helpful concept of CBT is ‘frustration intolerance,'” Dr. Meg said.

“[This is] how low the bar is (made up of thoughts and feelings) before giving in to the urge to eat (the behavior).

“While distraction is a good way to manage cravings because many different situations trigger cravings, you can also use this element of CBT to build a higher level of tolerance.”

The seven steps below form the internal remote control exercise.

1.When a craving for food or drink arises, press the pause button on your personal remote and stop in your tracks.

2. Now, while your body is in this freeze frame, use your mind’s eye to watch yourself give in to the urge.

This can include the brief gratification you usually feel after consuming a snack – be honest without yourself about how the scene normally goes.

3. Next, breathe deeply through your diaphragm for a few moments and fast forward this scene until after you gave in to the urge (for example, an hour later).

Now ask yourself: how do you feel? Are you disappointed that you folded?

The unpleasant feelings of guilt, shame and self-recrimination that normally accompany eating behavior may seem quite strong now, but try not to push these feelings away because they will help you.

4. Now that you’ve seen the future, press “rewind” on your remote and take yourself back to the present, only this time watch the scene unfold again where you don’t give in to urge.

Here you understand that you are not physically hungry and therefore do not have need food or drink – craving is just another thought that can be pushed out of your sight.

You are in control of your actions and can choose to make a decision that promotes your health.

Now ask yourself: how do you feel? Strong, in control and dominating those cravings Yes!

5. Finally, with this increased confidence and autonomy, press play and your remote and take your pick of what you want to do.

You have the ability to change your behavior and develop healthy lifestyle habits.

How to Prevent Food Cravings All Together

If you often find yourself experiencing food cravings, how can you get them to move more permanently?

Nutritionists at Anutr explain that preventing food cravings almost always comes down to balancing your meals and snacks.v

Every time you eat, make sure you’re getting “fiber, a source of protein and healthy unsaturated fats,” says Charlotte Lily Thompson, Associate Registered Nutritionist.

Keeping it low in sugar and salt is a bonus.

For example, his favorite snacks include a 30g serving of nuts and a handful of fresh berries; hummus and raw vegetables; apple slices and nut butter or a cooked oat bar.

A balanced meal or snack “helps you maintain consistent blood sugar levels throughout the day and feel full longer,” Charlotte says.

Charlotte added: “Also keep a bottle of water with you at all times.

“Often thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so if you’re hungry after eating recently, drink a glass of water and wait ten minutes – then, if you’re still hungry, it’s time for a snack. .”

Emma Moross, Registered Nutritionist, said: “If you find you’re suddenly hungry in the evening and want to eat everything from the cupboard, chances are you haven’t eaten well all day!

“Aim for three balanced meals a day that contain whole carbs (like brown rice, quinoa, or oats), healthy fats (like olive oil and avocado), and a source of lean protein (like fish, chicken or tofu).”

Sometimes food cravings — which are common throughout pregnancy — are “a red flag for certain health issues,” Emma said.

“For example, if you crave ice cream, that may be a symptom of anemia caused by iron deficiency,” she said.

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“Excessive sugar or carb cravings can be a sign that your blood sugar is out of balance – some sugar cravings are normal, though.

“If you have any cravings that concern you, always talk to your doctor.”

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