Confession: I'm a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach with a massive sweeth tooth.
I used to be the girl who could not keep sweet things in the house. The idea of "just having one" or "forgetting about it" was ludicrous.
Remember the cartoons we watched when we were little where characters would have a little devil sitting on their shoulder, prompting them to do naughty things? Well, I had a little Sugar Devil sitting on my shoulder, saying things like,
"Hey - there is a pint of gelato in the freezer. Like right now. You can't just leave it there! One serving is only X00 calories. Please - you'll burn that off teaching one class tomorrow. Have at it. Treat yo'self."
Sugar cravings were a daily - and multiple times daily - occurrence for years.
So when I say, "I understand Sugar Cravings" - I mean it. I get it. I've been there.
Why I Killed "The Sugar Project"
Up until a few months ago, I was writing a new FLF program specifically targeting sugar cravings. I polled our readers and our email list about their sugar cravings, and I was flooded with responses:
"I have no self-control around sugar!"
"I try to be so good, but then I let myself have just ONE bite and it's over. I eat the whole thing."
"I get great results when I cut out sugar. But after a few days, I always end up giving in and I'm right back to where I started. I think this is what's keeping me from getting results."
Clearly, there was a need for this! So, I started writing the program.
I came up with a catchy program name: "The Sweet Tooth Solution." (Cute, no?)
I started designing the marketing materials. I was getting so excited!
Then, about half-way through, I stopped and realized:
"Wait a second. We already do this. We already have all this. I'm literally just re-writing Fat Loss Cooking School."
In other words, I already HAD the program to help women overcome their sugar cravings. I had been doing it for 4 years. It's Fat Loss Cooking School, our 4-week online program that teaches women how to cook and eat real food for fat loss.
Because here's the thing:
Sugar cravings aren't the problem. Sugar cravings are a sign of a bigger problem.
Sugar cravings are a sign that your overall nutrition and lifestyle are off. Hormones - like cortisol, insulin, leptin, to name a few - are thrown out of balance from factors like poor diet, chronic dieting, over-exercising, skipping meals, lack of sleep, and stress.
Your hormones control every system and process in your body: appetite, body temperature, mood, energy level, reproduction, sleep, and yes - cravings. The way to reduce and control your sugar cravings is to balance your hormones through proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
While it is true that eliminating sugar will help reduce sugar cravings, there are many non-food causes of sugar cravings as well:
- Too much exercise, especially long-duration, moderate intensity cardio like jogging, cycling, etc.
- Doing too many HIIT workouts
- Lack of sleep
- Under-eating and skipping meals
This is why any program aimed at killing sugar cravings must address your overall lifestyle.
"Just don't eat sugar" isn't going to cut it, and frankly, feels a little disingenuous if you ask me. Unfortunately, a lot of sugar craving programs do just that, treating sugar as the problem and using failed strategies like elimination and willpower.
More willpower isn't the answer. A new way of eating and thinking about food is.
Fixing the Real Problem
Here's the good news: You don't need to buy supplements or special protein powder. You don't need a list of "approved/not approved" foods. You don't need a damn detox.
You need to learn how to eat for hormonal balance. You need some practical strategies and skills in place for when the occasional sugar craving does strike - because it will.
In Fat Loss Cooking School, we teach you how to change your diet on step at a time. You'll start eating to become a fat-burner not a fat storer - but you'll do it by eating food that actually tastes good.
I've been thinking about how to best explain our philosophy on sugar to you and here's what I've come up with:
We use sugar sparingly and strategically.
YES - sugar can actually be part of your body change strategy if you know how to do it right, but that's another post for another time.... (I'm talking about doing your "treats" post-workout because that's when you're more sensitive to insulin, or having them once a week as part of a reward meal - a strategic, scheduled bump in caloric intake to reset hunger hormones.)
When we do have sugar, we try to use higher quality, more natural forms of sugar (no corn syrup or white table sugar.) If we're making a recipe that calls for sugar, we will almost always use a half or a third of the amount called for. Eating an FLF diet, you'll soon find your palate adjusts and you're satisfied with far less sugar than before.
When we do want something sweet, we get really specific on what we want, find the best possible version of it, and we have it.
Just pleasure. We're probably going to take a photo and Instagram it, too. #SorryNotSorry