Have you ever caught yourself saying any of these when it comes to eating sweets:
“Once I start I can’t stop.”
"I lose all self control when I give in to sugar cravings."
"I I can't have just one."
“I can’t keep those in my house.”
You’re not alone! Many of our clients often share with us that sweets are their weakness. It's quite common to feel this way, but it doesn't have to be.
Why Is Sugar So Alluring?
When blood sugar is low, the body will crave sugar as it is the quickest form of energy the body can obtain through food. Your brain will compel you to eat some form of sugar with urgency because it needs to bring blood sugar up. It can make you feel out of control and completely mindless around them.
Low blood sugar can happen as a result of not eating enough starchy carbohydrates (whether intentionally or unintentionally) or an overall restricted intake of any and all foods leading to these cravings.
We MUST stop labelling food as either "good" or "bad". Ascribing morality to a food based on how nourishing it is or is not is engraining a scarcity mindset around sweets. We believe that we shouldn’t have “bad” food items, so we restrict them to the best of our ability. Maybe we don’t keep them in the house, only have them on special occasions, or only have them when someone offers them to us.
When you’re in one of those situations and do end up having the sweets, scarcity kicks in. Your brain essentially says, “This may be your only opportunity to have this “bad” food, we gotta have it all!”.
Cue the binge, mindlessness, bloating, excessive fullness, guilt, stress, and resentment towards yourself. It all happens so fast you barely realize it even happened. Have you ever experienced that?
You are who you hand around. Nuff said.
Think of some scenarios where you have consistently lost control of food. Is it your pizza Friday's at work? Or your Saturday night out with friends? It's a new restaurant every week where you must try a new cocktail (or three) and find yourself caring less about the quality and quantity of food you are eating? If we are used to going out with friends and eating whatever we want, it forms a habit in our minds. So then every time you go out to eat you may be triggered to eat far more than you usually would.
It may have nothing to do with your hunger levels, the kind of food that’s being served, or how you feel that day. It’s simply the environment that’s influencing you. This is particularly common with sweets.
3 Tips To Enjoy Sweets Mindfully
1. Do not label sweets as "bad".
Food is used for nourishment and enjoyment. It does not have to be one or the other. Labeling sweets as "bad" will put you in that scarcity mindset leaving you with that all or nothing mentality that leads to stronger cravings and mindless indulging.
Think about any holiday or special occasion. If you go into it thinking, “I’m only allowed to have sweets today, and then they’re back to being off-limits,” you’ll likely end up overindulging and then being struck with guilt the following day (and likely an upset stomach from all the sugar). Maybe you’re forcing yourself to have two different desserts because you want both but you don’t really have the room. It would be much more helpful to say, “I’m going to have some now and also take the other dessert home to enjoy as leftovers.”
You’ll then be able to fully enjoy both and you’ll be less likely to overindulge or feel compelled to eat sweets out of scarcity. You can then choose to mindfully enjoy sweets when you really want them.
2. Plate The Sweets You Want To Eat.
More often than not, mindless eating will happen when you go to the pantry to grab a handful of M&M's while in the middle of doing chores or finish the last animal cookie on your kids plate as you are cleaning up from meal time. . It happens so quick it's almost like it didn't even happen at all; it was a mindless action.
Plating your food can be a habit that helps you to pause and reflect on what sweets you’d truly like to enjoy, rather than mindlessly grabbing chocolate from the stash as you walk by. If you want the sweets, great! Put them on a plate or a bowl, go sit down and enjoy it.
3. Be Present and Enjoy Your Sweets
Having awareness while you eat allows you to connect with your food, appreciate the tastes, textures, and smells. These observations give you much more satisfaction and fulfill the craving faster so that you aren't going back for more.
What does being present while eating look like? It means eating without distractions like TV, scrolling on your cell phone or working at your computer. Eating at the table with all of these distractions put away is your best guarantee to get the full taste experience with your sweets. As you are sitting to eat and enjoy your sweets, really practice chewing slowly, tasting each bite, and noticing the taste and textures.
Learn How To Enjoy Sweets Guilt Free
Do you feel like you need more support in learning how to master this skill?
Schedule your free call here to develop a plan working one on one with a certified nutrition professional at Sophrosyne Health. We can't wait to speak with you!