Ever since Covid-19 took over our every day lives, confining us in our home, a lot of people gave into their cravings for sugar, junk food, restaurants (thank God for UberEats), and alcohol. No one knew how long we would be isolating for. We give ourselves two weeks, at first, then a month, and now another month is head of us where we’re not allowed to go back to our every day routine. It was fun at first. There weren’t that many repercussions at first, in weight and morale. Now, it’s starting to show; many of us are quickly realizing that this is not a vacation. The number on the scale needs to stop increasing, our daily ambition needs to be more than just changing from our night pyjamas to our day pyjamas, and we need to get back into a routine that makes us feel alive.
With that in mind, schedules have been drawn, meal plans printed out, and gym equipment dusted off. It was no longer a Corona vacation. After a two weeks of giving into sugar cravings, going back to a normal, healthy eating routine has found to be harder than usual for many. It’s as if the body already got used to the excess sugar intake and was ready to continue on that sugar rampage without a problem.
How to do overcome (what seems like) a sugar addiction?
There aren’t any magic tricks to get rid of sugar cravings. There are not magic pills or ingredients that will make all your sugar cravings go away. Sorry to disappoint. There are things you can do to help control those cravings better and get back to that pre-corona shape and routine you loved so much:
1. Get Rid of Temptations
Being bored in the house is the number one reason people give in to cravings and overeat. Understandable so, as it’s very easy to reach for that bag of chips when you can’t find anything new and exciting to do. That bag of chips is the most exciting part of your day, especially as the fat and carb content in that bag boosts your happy hormones, giving you an instant mood high. Now, you want to get rid of your Covid-19 eating habits, right? Get rid of the bag of chips. You don’t have to throw them away, I’m never going to promote throwing away food, but you can hide them somewhere in your house where you don’t see them every day. Out of sight, out of mind. Therefore, when you’ll be bored, you won’t be as tempted to reach for the bag of chips on the nightstand. Chances are, you’ll be comfortable in your bed and won’t want to go all the way downstairs to get that bag of chips. You’ll start arguing with yourself, going through the pros and cons of getting up and eating the chips.
Which brings me to my next trick.
2. Talk to Yourself
You have two brains: your conscious brain and your subconscious brain. Your subconscious brain is that little voice in your head telling you that eating chips right now would be A1. Your conscious brain is the one that’s activating your muscles to get up, walk downstairs, and get the bag of chips. The thing is, both your brains like things that are easy. When they see you doing something regularly, like getting the bag of chips the second you sit down on the couch, they create neural pathways in your brain to register that action as a habit. Breaking those neural pathways isn’t hard, but it’s not easy either. It requires you to literally talk yourself out of those habits. Depending on how long you’ve been harvesting those neural pathways by giving in to your habits, you’re going to have to take back control of your brain by listening to your conscious brain rather than your subconscious brain. That little voice is just following the neural pathway, whereas your conscious brain is the real you. It’s the one that knows you shouldn’t reach for that bag of chips. It’s the one that chooses to get out of bed and bring the bag of chips to bed. You’re in control.
3. Give Yourself Time
Breaking neural pathways won’t happen in a day. Give yourself a few days of fighting against the cravings before going back to normal. The first day or two might be the hardest, because it’s not like you can distract yourself with your usual things, and you’re fighting against boredom as well as the cravings. It doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. You have to stay strong and follow the meal plan or macros laid out for you by your coach. Whenever you want to reach for that bag of chips, out of habit, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I craving it or do I need the macronutrients?
- Am I hungry or bored?
- (if you’re actually hungry): can I replace this with something healthier?
- How am I going to feel after I eat that, mentally and physically?
- Is it worth it?
Most importantly, remember that the year is not over because we’re in isolation. There are still goals you can reach, from the comfort of your home. It’s not going to be as easy, since we’ve all been programmed to see our home as a relaxing establishment, not a work zone, but it’s very doable.
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See you all when all this is over.