Gotta say, while traveling in Cuba this past week visiting our daughter, Halloween was the farthest thing from my mind. Nevertheless, the subject of candy did come up several times….
First, I packed a stack of plain Hershey milk chocolate bars in my suitcase at the request of my daughter. Mind you though, not for her. Instead they were for her house mom. This was a perfect gift since Cubans can’t buy Hershey’s of any kind in Cuba, and chocolate in general is difficult for them to get their hands on since it’s very expensive. Not to mention, it was super appropriate since we live near Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Second and equally, if not more, interesting, in our tour group was a seventy six year old retired school teacher named Portia who shared with us her addiction to Sugar Babies (those little caramel candies that look like jelly beans).
Having no idea what I do for a living (health coaching) or about my eating habits (being a recovered sugar addict and sugar free for past 10 years), she was expressing her frustration in gaining fourteen pounds over the past month. Reluctantly suspecting her night time noshing on those little sugary treats might have something to do with it, the coy smile on her adorable face, showed her emotional attachment to the candy. She did not want to give up her Sugar Babies!
There is no doubt about it. Portia is not alone. Many people start snacking on candy as early as September with the arrival of Halloween candy in stores everywhere. And it is hard to stop.
Good news it is not your fault. It’s that seductive. Sugar gives rise to compulsive cravings with a unbreakable ninja grip. Not only does it feed the bad guys in our gut, but sugar also has an addictive impact on our brain. Especially when you combine sugar and fat like as is the case with ice-cream or peanut butter cups, the impact will be even greater because sugar releases feel good hormones like serotonin while at the same time stimulating the area of the brain that is also affected by addictive drugs.
So, when sugar cravings are difficult to break, that is when there is only one effective solution. Go cold turkey. I know it’s hard to do, believe me I know! So to make it easier, be very clear about your intentions and confidently throw the candy away as if it was infected with a virus like Ebola. Do what ever it takes to convince yourself that it is NO GOOD! And whatever you do, don’t go down the candy isle at the store or even look at it the check out lane! Here’s a few other hopefully helpful suggestions:
- Write a sugar contract stating you will not eat sugar for x number of days. Sign it in the presence of someone you want be accountable to.
- Find alternative healthy sweet treats made with stevia, honey or agave.
- Drink a glass of water every time a craving creeps up
- Make sure you are getting enough protein, around 50 grams per day
- Get help with balancing digestive flora, when it is out of whack it can make sugar cravings worse
- Check blood sugar levels to rule out or address any issues there
- Focus on what you can eat, make a list of go to treats
- Do a cleanse, it will reset your taste buds and boost your confidence
- Find a program, plan or coach to help you with emotional eating issues