Sweet Tooth Anyone?
Sweet Tooth Anyone?
Its the age old question that as a trainer I get asked frequently, “Coach what should I do when I get that sugar craving in the afternoon?” Or “Coach I get the hungry horrors at night what do you suggest that I eat?” I have a few topics here that I think are important to address. First, when your body is craving something sweet it usually means you are lacking a nutrient somewhere. Also if you have built the habit of indulging in that sweet treat every afternoon or munching right up until bedtime, its time to break the habit. Couple of important things to look at which are, what are you eating and how often? As humans we need to keep the fire that is our metabolisms burning from the moment we wake up up until a few hours before bed. We should do this by eating clean whole foods as often as possible. Starting within the first 30 minutes of waking up and eating every 2-3 hours after that with our last meal being consumed two hours prior to bedtime. If you fuel your body properly the hungry horror cravings start to subside. To build this habit you must plan accordingly so as not to be faced with that snap decision to pull into a fast food restaurant because the last time you ate was five hours ago and your so hungry you could die.
When I say, ” IT TAKES TIME TO BUILD THIS HABIT” I mean it. You need to be kind to yourself any time you are building a new habit because life is going to happen and motivation is going to fade. This is where DISCIPLINE needs to kick in.
Time management and overcoming obstacles are probably the most important things I have to teach my clients as a trainer. After all, if we want to make long lasting change it starts with our daily routine. Let’s take Suzy for example, Suzy sought out a personal trainer because she wanted to lose some weight and get off her blood pressure medication. After I met with Suzy she became extremely motivated to make change but her discipline needed a little work. She thanked me for meeting with her and when I asked what she thinks she needs to do she says, ” I am going to start training with you 5 days a week and running 3 miles every day and eating clean and I am going to be in the best shape of my life!!! Although I appreciated her enthusiasm I coached her to start small working out with me three days a week and work on cutting out the processed food from her breakfast routine. After a few weeks of making this habit consistently Suzy now has a protein smoothie in the morning instead of turning to the drive through.
Fast forward a few months where Suzy quits her job and takes on a new position which requires her to wake up at OH MY GOSH O’CLOCK and she can’t fathom waking up even a second earlier to blend a shake that will inevitably wake up her entire household. Suzy gets derailed and resorts back to her old habit. WHY? Because that’s what Suzy feels comfortable with, it’s what she knows, its what she has done for YEARS. She is embarrassed when I ask her how its going with the new job because she knows the next question will inevitably be hows the morning routine going with breakfast. She breaks down and admits she has resorted to her old ways and doesn’t know what to do. I suggest that she get a shaker cup and put her protein powder in a baggie the night before right next to the cup. In the morning all she has to do is add water, pour in the mix, shake and go. Suzy couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought of this herself and thanked me for being so helpful.
Having a great personal trainer is like having another set of eyes to look at your situation or obstacle differently, make suggestions until one seems doable and then holds you accountable to it. If your like Suzy seeking out a personal trainer might be a great way for you to get back on track.
I know what your thinking, “I thought I was going to learn what I should eat when I am craving chocolate?” Wait for it, I’ll get to that. First it was important for you to understand why this is happening. It all boils down to planning and discipline. So if you are having trouble making a plan and staying disciplined seek out someone who can help, whether its a personal trainer, therapist, or life coach seek out the help you need and surround yourself with like minded people.
Now, if you want to know how to address that sweet tooth here it is. First when it comes to chocolate not all chocolates are created equal. I suggest a chocolate bar that is at least 75-80% DARK CHOCOLATE. But I would not eat this directly before bed as it can effect your sleep. This is where planning comes into play. You also want to look at the amount of sugar in a serving. I suggest the Green and Black Brand of dark chocolate as the sugar content is relatively low per serving. If you are not used to dark chocolate be patient as your taste buds need to get used to it. However after going dark chocolate you won’t want to go back.
Another way to curb those cravings is to have a chocolate protein shake which can replace a meal. Its a great way to eat on the go too! You can mix your chocolate protein with water (cold or hot-think hot chocolate), or a form of nut milk like almond or cashew milk. Remember to read the ingredients of your protein shake and look at the protein serving size in relation to the amount of sugar. By now you may be sensing a theme, watch the SUGAR 🙂
It important to understand that too much sugar in your diet leads to swelling and inflammation of the gut which may lead to a imbalance and could contribute to health issues. For more information about healthy gut check out this article on Nutrition and Gut Health. I hope this helps those of you who are struggling with that sweet tooth. Stay healthy, live free.