What’s the Deal with Sugar Cravings?

I feel like I have ultimate credibility when it comes to sugar cravings. I battled them for most of my life. There are many factors at play there: gut dysbiosis, adrenal fatigue, low dopamine, and nutrient deficiencies, but one of the biggest hurdles is that I had a HORRIBLE relationship with food.

I was a chronic dieter. There were good foods, there were bad foods, and somewhere in that system of thinking I associated good food and bad food with Good Erin and Bad Erin. My food issues became intertwined with my value as a human.

While one of the best things I have ever done is address my gut health and nutrient deficiencies, I also have received so much healing from normalizing sugar.

If I want something sweet, I have it. When I allow myself the freedom to have whatever I want, nothing off limits, the appeal of the forbidden goes down. In fact, I’m better able to take a few bites of something and tell if it’s worth eating. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.

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I try to make non-judgmental observations that have nothing to do with what the food item in question will do to my hips. I ask myself, “Is this what I’m really wanting right now?” “Am I eating this because I enjoy it and want it, or because it’s there?” I also have to reflect on my emotional state.

If this sounds like too much work to you, it didn’t happen overnight. Personally, I got really sick of the cycle of going back and forth from quitting sugar entirely to going crazy on it.

It doesn’t have to be either/or. There is a happy in between place that nourishes your body AND nourishes your emotional state. For some people, that sounds like too much freedom and you don’t know if you can handle that. So to that, I’d say – better explore why that makes you nervous. Is it a control thing? A fear thing? What’s behind it?

My sister is the perfect example of how this works. For all the 36 years I’ve known her, she’s never once gone on a diet or restricted food. She’s always enjoyed a wide variety of everything – fruit, vegetables, protein, complex carbs, and yes – even sugar. She has a treat when she wants it, and it’s typically dark chocolate – which is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols. We were at a kids’ birthday party the other day and she took one bite of the birthday cupcake and said, “Too sweet. That would make me crash for sure,” and put it down. She is conscious of how food makes her FEEL, not how it makes her LOOK, something I think many of us chronic yo-yo dieters can learn from!

If you are struggling with constant sugar cravings, there are a myriad of physiological reasons that could be behind them. Upping my healthy fat content has worked wonders for my sugar cravings because I’m giving my brain what it needs to function better. Quitting artificial sweeteners entirely definitely reduced my cravings (and my migraines). Addressing my gut health through targeted supplementation and adding in vegetables to nourish my gut bugs changed everything 5 years ago. Restoring balance through B vitamins (something I’m genetically predisposed to being low in) also helped a ton.

So my point is – you’re not a failure for having sugar cravings that you can’t tame. There are many reasons you struggle. Stepping away from band-aid solutions like quitting cold turkey and digging deeper to the WHY of your cravings may be the thing you need to make lasting change.

I can help. Message me if you want to work on deconstructing your cravings.

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