If you want to stop sugar cravings it can be a tough ask, especially if you’re over 40!
Juggling the responsibilities of raising a family and managing a team at work often leads people to turn to sugar for a “pick me up”:
- Grabbing a sugary coffee or latte mid morning to boost energy levels
- Hitting the 3pm slump then eating biscuits or a slice of cake to make it through
- Struggling to resist work treats in the office
- Eating the kids snacks after a hard day at work
- Picking up your favourite chocolate bar in the petrol station on your way home
- Eating that chocolate in front of the TV after a stressful day
- Saying “I’ll just have one” (then eating the whole packet)
And whilst most people know it’s probably not healthy, saying no isn’t easy…
Whats’s more, it’s made harder by…
- Stress levels of a successful career, managing a team and always being in the firing line
- Side effects of menopause or peri-menopause
- Having the kid’s and husband’s snacks in the cupboards
- Struggling to sleep
Worst of all, once you start consuming more sugar, it can create a vicious cycle that makes it hard to stop sugar cravings…
Why Sugar Cravings Occur
There are a number of factors that contribute to sugar cravings.
The first one is sugar itself!
Cause 1: Consuming too much sugar
When you consume sugar, your blood sugar levels spike, giving you a burst of energy.
However, this burst of energy is very short-lived. This is because sugar is a simple carbohydrate, low in nutrients, and therefore it digests very quickly.
It’s kind of like pouring petrol on a fire. You get a quick burst of flame, but it disappears almost immediately and you’re still left with a small fire.
So shortly after consuming sugar, your blood sugar levels crash, and your energy crashes with it.
This low blood sugar creates a craving as your body wants to return your blood sugar levels back to normal.
This can be done with healthy nutritious food, but most people in this situation turn to sugar again when they feel the crash. This then creates another energy spike and crash, continuing the vicious cycle.
This creates a rollercoaster of energy highs and lows that makes cravings much worse, making it harder to resist sugar.
The good news is this means for most people, sugar cravings are created and therefore can be stopped.
What works much better is eat regular, balanced meals.
Meals or snacks higher in protein, healthier fats, complex carbohydrates and veg will digest slowly and steadily, giving you a constant stream of energy.
Not only will this sustain your energy levels, so you will feel better and be more productive, but it will also mean you stop sugar cravings from happening in the first place.
We do this in our Fit Over 40 programme using a process called the Diet Makeover, where members shift their eating habits and stop their sugar cravings in just one week!
However, there’s still more to sugar cravings than just what you eat…
Cause 2: Lack of belief
Belief is a really powerful motivator (and de-motivator).
If, deep down, someone doesn’t believe they can do something, evidence suggests they won’t commit to the change and they’ll quickly give up.
Thoughts like these can easily creep in:
- I’m different
- I’m addicted to sugar
- It’s too hard
- I can’t lose weight because of my genetics/menopause
- I’m too old to lose weight
- I’m going to fail, so what’s the point
This is made worse if the evidence from that person’s past shows they have struggled to make these changes before – either alone or when following diets.
For example, if someone has always given up after 3-4 weeks of being “on a diet”, then they will start to believe they don’t have the willpower to do something like cutting out sugar.
This is a problem, as if these thoughts and negative beliefs aren’t dealt with, they can quickly lead you off track, as shown in the image below:
The good news is that you can actually change these beliefs – they are not set in stone.
However, it’s can be hard to do alone (especially if someone’s struggled alone before).
With members of our Fit Over 40 programme, we provide them with a tool called the Thought Transformer that shifts limiting beliefs so that they start believing in themselves and they can stick to it and succeed.
Here’s an example of how our Thought Transformer tool works:
Through a combination of mindset work and coaching, our members not only stop sugar cravings, but also lose 1-2 stone and 1-2 dress sizes in 84 days or less.
However, there’s another aspect of mindset that is key if you want to to stop sugar cravings…
Cause 3: Not enough leverage
As humans, we are hard-wired to avoid loss.
This is called “loss aversion”, and it is a much stronger “urge” than the urge to gain something.
Giving up sugar can seem like we are losing something – like we are missing out.
Therefore, someone who wants to stop sugar cravings needs to have something more valuable to lose than the sugar, or they won’t do it.
This can come in the form of money.
It’s no coincidence that clients that invest in our programmes do far better than they were beforehand, not only because they’ve got a proven plan and the accountability of a coach, but also because they’ve invested money they don’t want to waste.
Some of our clients have also used additional novel ways to get even more leverage on themselves.
For example, Adele, 45 from the Lake District, put £200 on the line so that if she didn’t achieve her weight loss target her husband would get to spend on his motorbike (which she hates!). If she succeeded she’d get to spend it on clothes.
Whatever form of leverage you choose to use, you must have something to lose if you want to feel motivated to cut out sugar and get fitter and healthier.
Cause 4: Emotional eating
Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food – usually “comfort” or junk foods – in response to feelings instead of hunger.
If someone turns to sugar when they feel bored, stressed or upset, even if they’re not hungry, then this is a form of emotional eating.
If this happens very occasionally – let’s say once a month – then it’s usually not a huge issue.
However, if it happens regularly, such as every week, it can easily undo all your hard work for the rest of the week in one sitting.
What’s more, emotional eating can creates what’s called a habit loop. This is where there’s a trigger, such as stress or boredom, that leads to a learned behaviour that temporarily alleviates the negative feelings.
E.g. Feel stressed > Eat sugar > Feel better temporarily.
If the emotional eating habit loop is never dealt with, it’s likely to put any weight loss progress in it’s tracks.
However, habits can be broken and you can deal with your emotions in other more productive ways.
Finding better ways to deal with your emotions, such as exercising regularly, managing your energy levels or working on your mindset prior to the emotions getting the better of you can make a huge difference in how you react.
We teach our clients inside our Fit Over 40 programme a number of mindset techniques that means they’re far less reactive to stressful situations. When a stressful situation occurs they then have the willpower to make a better decision and do it consistently.
However, all of this is great, but there’s one thing that will mean you’re guaranteed to fail to stop sugar cravings…
Cause 5: Not wanting to stop eating sugar
Before someone changes anything in their life, they first have to decide that particular thing is unacceptable to them.
Only when they have decided it MUST change, will they change it.
For example, a lot of people tolerate a cheating partner by telling themselves that “everyone does it” or “I won’t be able to find anyone better”. This means they continue to be hurt and stay stuck.
With sugar, only when someone decides it’s unacceptable to keep consuming vast quantities of the stuff will they actually take the steps to change it.
Just knowing the facts about sugar can really help drive the change.
Consuming more than the recommended amount of sugar (roughly 9 teaspoons max.) can lead to the following:
- Accelerated ageing
- Higher blood pressure
- Inflammation (increasing joint pain and likelihood of getting fibromyalgia)
- Weight gain
- Diabetes (with over 6000 amputations a year with over 80% of diabetes cases which were preventable)
- Fatty liver disease
- Increased risk for heart attack and stroke
None of these are desirable of course, and if your family has a history of any of the above then it means it’s even more important you reduce your sugar intake ASAP!
And for reference, here’s a diagram showing how many tablespoons of sugar are in some common foods:
If you’re total sugar intake is over that 9 teaspoons most days, then you could be shortening your life significantly.
If you want to live a long life and be fit and and healthy for your family for as long as possible, then the sooner you reduce your sugar intake, the better!
So there are things you can do to stop your sugar cravings…
Follow these 5 steps and your sugar cravings will be massively reduced:
- Decide enough is enough!
- Change your diet to include balanced meals
- Work on your mindset to increase self-belief
- Get leverage on yourself to make the change
- Shift your emotional eating habits
However, trying to achieve all of this on your own can be tricky, especially if you know sugar is your nemesis.
In our experience, having someone to guide you through it and hold you to account can make all the difference…
We’re here to stop your sugar cravings for good!
Our area of expertise is helping high-achieving woman over 40 to overcome everything that’s stopping them being able to lose weight as they’ve got older and as their bodies and lifestyles have changed (you can see their results here).
We typically work with women who have tried lots of different diets, slimming clubs, shakes and exercises classes in the past but they’ve not been able to see or maintain their results as they’ve got older and life has got busier.
Inside our Fit Over 40 programme we help women over 40 to get back into healthy eating and exercise habits that fit around their lives and support the changes happening to their bodies… so they can get to their ideal weight and size in 12 weeks but be in a position where they feel quite confident they could maintain that long term.
It’s kind of like having a personal trainer, nutrition coach and mindset coach on board to take all of the stress and uncertainty out of the process.
If you want to find out more about how you can lose 1-2 stone and 1-2 dress sizes in 84 days or less (even over Christmas), without having to give up wine or chocolate, click the button below: