Often when cravings hit, it seems impossible not to give in. Sugar boosts brain pleasure receptors and cravings arise as the memory of the feeling. Cravings can also arise to satisfy emotional needs or during stressful times. Luckily, cravings only last about 10-15 minutes, so if you can find ways to successfully distract yourself for that time, the cravings will pass and you wont feel guilty about eating those ‘naughty’ foods.
Forming new rituals, and taking time go about your daily tasks with mindful awareness, can give you a real sense of treating yourself, without turning to food. Here are a few tricks that will help distract yourself, de-stress and refocus your awareness when cravings hit.
Brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth after meals or whenever sugar cravings hit is not only a suitable distraction, but the feel of fresh breath is often a good enough reason not to eat for a while.
Brew herbal tea
Get some herbal teas that you haven’t tried before and brew a teapot, sipping slowly. Cinnamon, liquorish and turmeric teas are favourites for curbing sugar cravings and balancing blood sugar.
Go for a walk
Take a walk around the block, get some fresh air in the closest park or even schedule the jobs that require walking (going to the bank or post office) when you know sugar cravings may hit. The fresh air and change of scenery will help to clear your head, and the endorphin lift from gentle exercise beats any sugar high.
Breathe deeply or meditate
Sit down somewhere quiet and do some deep breathing or a short 5-10 min meditation to help you get centred, focused and relaxed.
Use essential oils
Try putting a couple of drops of lavender or bergamot essential oils on a tissue and taking a few deep breaths. The scent can relieve stress almost instantly and the comforting sensation you experience can be a very pleasant distraction.
Doing 5-10 minutes of stretching is a good idea to release physical tension and break up your routine. If you work at a desk, it is easy just to do a few minutes of stretching and twisting in your chair.
Creative activities can be a great distraction as you have to be fully engaged. Try mindful colouring books, origami or knitting. As an alternative, try reorganising or tidying a drawer or a cupboard.
Take a bath
When sugar cravings hit after dinner- run a bath, light some candles, add some essential oils and take your favourite book. Lovely ritual to relax your body and mind after a long day and perfect preparation for a goodnight’s sleep.