Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
Nobody enjoys the feeling of hunger rumbling through their belly or even worse, unwelcome cravings for something a bit sweet. We all get this and we wouldn’t be normal if we didn’t. So don’t think you are the only one. Here are 5 easy tips you can implement to reduce those sugar cravings.
Firstly, before I dive into the five tips, I think a lot of sugar cravings are either psychological or are just out of habit. We tell ourselves we need something sweet, even if this isn’t always true or we reach for sugary snacks after a certain meal or at a certain time of day (usually in the evening for most or on lunch break).
Everyone’s different but for me, ALWAYS after dinner in the evening, no matter how much I’ve eaten, I always crave something sugary or sweet. This happens without fail every day. Sometimes I’d reach for some chocolate, other times I’d settle for a piece of fruit. But either way, the cravings never seemed to disappear.
But why? It’s definitely not because of hunger because I had just eaten my biggest meal of the day! But yet the urge to have something sweet didn’t go away. I would tell myself that I need something sweet, but do I really?
I began to realise that this was psychological - a story I lead myself to believe and that it was a habit – at the same time every day I would want the sugary treat.
So what did I do to counteract this? I developed a new habit by implementing tip #3 below and it really worked a treat for me. Since then, I’m content with having a hot drink to sip on which. By the time I’m finished it, my food has been given time to digest & yet it keeps me satisfied to have something to sip on.
Now onto the five tips to keep those sugar cravings at bay.
1. don't get bored
Boredom eating is a real thing! Why do we take a stroll to the fridge during ad breaks or at half-time during a game? Because we’re bored! And why do we tend to eat more at the weekend? Because usually we’re out of our normal work routine meaning we’ve more free time which usually results in us consuming more food.
So the first step is not to allow yourself to get bored – get outside, read a book, work on something – but just keep your mind active.
2. Add some cinnamon
Add some cinnamon to your Greek yogurt or any snacks you have during the day. Research has shown it can reduce the glycaemic index of a meal by up to 30%.
What this basically means it cinnamon can slow down the sugar spike you get form carbohydrate foods by up to 30%.
3. Have a hot drink
As I alluded to above, having a hot drink works extremely well for keeping sugar cravings at bay. A black coffee or cup of tea (excluding any milk or sugar!) has basically 0 calories. Even if you were to add 50mls of milk (the average amount), this would add up to about 30 total calories.
Compare that to having a full bar of chocolate, some biscuits, a slice of cake or ice-cream which depending on what you opt for, could easily have 300 calories in it.
It is estimated that you will gain/lose a pound for every 3,500 calories you consume. So if you’ve a habit of always having dessert after dinner, that’s an easy way for the calories and pounds to add up.
Eat a small piece of fruit
If you still crave something sweet even after your hot drink, have a small piece of fruit. Berries work particularly well here because they’re lower in calories than say bananas for instance, yet have a nice sweet taste.
eat something sweet post workout
As a rule of thumb, I encourage my clients to save most of their carbs until post-workout when they’re finished training in the gym (this doesn’t apply for max effort gym sessions or matches with your club on the pitch – these activities need to be fuelled by carbohydrates) because your body is in an insulin sensitive state then.
In laymen’s terms, when you’re in an insulin sensitive state post workout your body is like a sponge and it will absorb your carbohydrates better. Your body will be more likely to use these carbohydrates to build muscle rather than store them as fat.
So to make use of this window, immediately after you finish training have something small that’s sweet alongside your protein shake. (Note: I’m not saying you eat a full bar of chocolate or a tub of ice-cream, but something small such as a square of chocolate with less than 100 calories is a nice reward that helps you keep on track).
And there are the 5 tips you can easily implement that will help keep sugar cravings at bay.
finding the balance
But, before I finish up – there’s one more thing I’d like to add to put the icing on the cake (not literally!).
All of the above 5 tips are great BUT, being nice and realistic, it’s no harm for you to indulge every once in a while, in something which you really fancy. We all know pizza isn’t healthy yet that doesn’t take away from the fact that it tastes amazing!
Saturday nights are usually a good night for you to let your hair down. What I would advise you to do is make a list of the foods you crave during the week and include these as part of your free meal on Saturday.
Note the way I didn’t say “cheat meal” because that implies you’re doing something wrong. It’s simply sustaining balance in your life and giving yourself the freedom to enjoy life, which will make this much easier for you. It’s the principal of my Functional Fit Body Transformation program – Staying in shape while socialising at the weekend.
What people are saying
McLifestyle Insider members have noticed that hunger and cravings are surprisingly well moderated because of the amount of fibre, healthy fat and protein they are consuming. I even had a client of mine tell me recently he wasn’t able to finish his free meal at the weekend which never would’ve happened to him before he started the online program!
So if you are disciplined 90% of the time, train 3-4 times a week and have small treat after those trainings, you can afford to eat one free meal at the weekend. When you do get sugar cravings outside of those times, you are now armed with a 5 step checklist you can follow to keep yourself disciplined.
If accountability, lack of structure or sometimes feeling overwhelmed by all the noise out there is something you struggle with, my online coaching is for you.
I’ll simplify everything down for you, provide you with a tailored program you can follow, advise you on the amount of calories you need to consume daily for your specific goal and check-in with you constantly to ensure you’re on track.
You’re just one call away from getting started.
Adrian McDonnell -
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