Curious how to break sugar addiction for good? In my prime people-pleasing days, my sugar cravings were out of control. It wasn’t until I learned a few things about sugar cravings – and where they stem from on an emotional level – that I was able to tame my sugar addiction finally.
It’s true. When I was a full-blown people-pleaser, I could eat a pint of ice cream a night without a second thought. It was almost as if there was nothing I could do to distract myself from the overwhelming need for a sugar hit.
I was completely addicted to sweets.
It wasn’t until I examined the emotional root-cause of my sugar addiction that I began to put the pieces together on how to break it once and for all.
Although there are many reasons you’re experiencing a sugar addiction – hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, emotional unfulfillment – there are some things you can do to begin to get your sugar cravings under control.
If you’re ready to get your sugar addiction in check, keep reading!
My story with sugar addiction
I’ve had a sweet tooth and sweet cravings for as long as I can remember.
One of the fondest memories I have from childhood is drinking an after-dinner Ovaltine milkshake made by my dad every night.
At some point along the way, my love for dessert turned into full-blown sugar addiction. If there were cupcakes in the office, I’d eat at least two or three. Something sweet after dinner? You bet! There was no question about it.
I literally couldn’t keep my mind off of how good that sweet something would taste.
In my early to mid-twenties, my sugar addiction began to ramp up. Coincidentally, at that time, so did my people-pleasing. I couldn’t go a day without getting my sugar fix and would get headaches if I didn’t indulge.
Over time, my skin dried out and became inflamed. My sleep suffered. I was constantly bloated and irritable. I knew I needed to get to the root of my sugar addiction once and for all.
As I began to address my people-pleasing ways and create healthy boundaries I noticed that my need for sugar slowly began to fade away. It was because I was finally taking control of my life that my need for sugar decreased.
It was in those moments that I realized that people-pleasing or a lack of emotional fulfillment and sugar addictions could go hand-in-hand.
When our needs are not met on some level, food or sugar is used to fill the void we feel.
Are you a sugar addict?
Chances are, if you’re reading this blog post, you’ve considered the negative impact sugar has on your life to some extent. Perhaps you’re even wondering if your sugar intake is really an addiction.
Honestly, you’re not alone. In 2018, studies show the average American consumed 76.7 grams of added sugar per day. To put that into perspective, there are 4 grams of sugar in a sugar cube.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA):
- Men should consume no more than 37.5 grams of added sugar per day
- Women should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day
In today’s world, sugar is everywhere. It’s in unsuspecting packaged foods, salad dressings, condiments, and even in “healthy” protein shakes.
Not to mention, indulging in sweets is often touted as a form of self-care.
Indulge in four brownies? Self-care
Eat a pint of ice cream? Self-care
Binge on cupcakes in the office? Self-care
Common sugar addiction symptoms
So, are you addicted to sweets?
First, consider your overall daily added sugar intake. In fact, write it down every day for a week and analyze your results.
Then evaluate your sugar addiction based on the common signs below:
- Increased cavities
- Bloating and poor digestion
- Acne-prone skin
- Poor sleeping habits
- Constantly craving sugar
- Taste buds are dulled to sweetness
- Unexplained cravings
- Dull, achy headaches
- Irritability and mood swings
Managing your sugar intake is about improving your overall health and wellness.
By addressing my sugar addiction, I not only improved my skin, sleep, and digestion, but I also was able to uncover my emotional issues as well. Without addressing my “sugar addict” status, I never would have dug deeper into what caused my cravings in the first place.
Also, keeping your blood sugar levels as level as possible will help to reduce overall inflammation, encourage healthy weight loss, and improve your life all around. Testing kits such as Day Two can help to analyze your unique microbiome to assess what foods are best (and worst) for managing your blood sugar levels.
Sugar withdrawal is real
Before you embark on any effort to curb your sugar addiction and cravings, you should be advised of sugar withdrawal symptoms. They’re part of the process.
Common sugar withdrawal symptoms include headaches, mood swings, irritability, sleep changes, and increased anxiety.
To help curb the feelings of sugar withdrawal, increase your protein and water intake, go for a walk, and pack your diet with fiber-rich leafy greens. Your symptoms should improve within a few days.
Five tips to break your sugar addiction
Here’s how you do it! Follow these tips, and you’ll be on the path to break your sugar addiction.
Tip one: opt for fruit instead
When the sugar cravings inevitably strike, pick up a piece of fruit (ideally, organic) instead. Fruit is packed with vitamins and nutrients that regular processed sugary treats don’t have.
I love slicing up an apple, spreading on Granola Butter, and topping with hemp or flax seeds. You’ll be surprised how delicious and satisfying this combination is!
Keep in mind that fruit still contains sugar, so limit your intake to three servings per day. Also, consider opting for low-sugar fruits over high to help lower your sugar intake even more.
Tip two: limit excess stress
Easer said than done, I know.
Stress can often be a trigger for those struggling with a sugar addiction due to increased levels of cortisol. Working to actively reduce or eliminate excess stress could have a direct impact on your cravings and help you to quit the sugar addiction.
Some simple stress-busting ideas include:
- Ask for support where you need it
- Start a daily meditation practice
- Go for a walk during the day
- Put down your phone and reduce screen time
When your cravings strike, take a moment to pause and look around at what’s going on. Is there something or someone causing you stress? Make adjustments as necessary.
Tip three: eat more protein and healthy fats
Getting adequate amounts of protein and healthy fat in your diet can help you to significantly control sugar cravings. Both protein and fat will help you to feel satiated, which can, in turn, reduce hunger and craving cues.
Tip four: get enough sleep
Running low on sleep can further fuel cravings, so aim to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
If your sleeping habits could use some work, a good starting point is simply putting down your phone and turning off the TV while in bed.
>> Read next: Tips for Better Sleep
Tip five: make the decision and commit
Sometimes, all you need to do is decide that your overall health is worth a few days of sugar withdrawal. Commit to making changes around your sugar intake, find the support you need, and watch how your decisions can improve your life.