Combat SUGAR (and Alcohol) Cravings! 10 New Year’s Tips.

Happy New Year! I always love this time of year, as I close the chapter on a year gone by and look to the next with anticipation. If 2018 was any indication of where my life is headed for the next 365 days, I am already feeling excited!

I hope you, too, are looking forward to the year ahead. I think it’s important to stay mindful that no matter what, we only get one shot at life, so if there are things you want to create in your life, now is the time to get started!

If food, body image, weight, and addiction are issues you’d like to tackle in 2019, then I hope you begin by putting yourself first. No one else is able to do that for you. Only YOU can.

I wanted to post a day early, as tonight is New Year’s Eve, and I hoped some of these strategies might help if you’re avoiding alcohol and/or if you don’t want to dive straight into the candy dish tonight!

Avoiding alcohol over the holidays can be a challenge for many people who have made the choice to get sober. And one thing that has never resonated with me in recovery circles is to “not give sugar/food a second thought until you’re at least a year sober”, because I wholeheartedly disagree. SO much of the beauty of sobriety, for me, is in waking up feeling energized and refreshed, not feeling bloated or sick..or ashamed.

This doesn’t mean I deprive myself! It means I re-frame what it means to take care of me and I make choices with my eyes wide open, not blindly numbing myself with cookies and chips and chocolate and cake, the way I did with alcohol.

As you know well by now, I used health and wellness as my recovery model, and continues to be the way I frame my recovery. I no longer use the words “alcoholic” or “addict” to label myself; I am simply sober. I am healthy. I am free.

I am ME.

Addiction was an experience; it is not who I am.

For anyone who’s been struggling with their SUGAR MONSTER this holiday season, I wanted to share the strategies I use in my own life when I’m craving. These work for sugar and alcohol cravings, and will help you get through the rest of the season feeling BETTER, not WORSE. These tips can also carry you into the new year, when you may be feeling like you want to put your heath in first place: where it truly belongs!

Other than the emotional work I help people with, I also use a lot of practical strategies to support lifestyle changes. Here are some of my top tips:

Hydrate. It seems so simple, but we can find ourselves at the end of the day having had maybe a glass or two of water (and even fewer in some cases). I make water my drink of choice. Spruce it up at parties with citrus, cranberries (so pretty!), mint, or cucumber, but staying hydrated is key for mental and physical health. Our brains literally need it and our bodies don’t function optimally without it. Easy tips: never leave the house without your water. Start your morning with warm lemon water and then sip fresh water all day (rather than chug some here or there) and as a rule of thumb, take your body weight–cut it in half–and aim for that many ounces of water a day. It flushes toxins, helps to satiate us (we can mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger, eating when we really just need to hydrate), reduces brain fog, keeps our digestive system working and helps combat sugar cravings.

Protein: this one is HUGE. At every meal (including snacks) ask yourself “where is the protein?” Protein satiates us, keeps us fuller for longer, and doesn’t spike our blood sugar. When we eat sugar, we spike our blood sugar, creating an insulin response, which causes us to “crash”, which causes us to crave sugar again….which just starts the whole process over again…. At parties, seek out the protein sources rather than just the carbohydrates. Always see protein on your plate, and you will slow those sugar cravings.

Veggies: Eat them like your life depends on it…because it does! I like to “crowd out” junk food by making sure I eat my vitamins (veggies), so make a commitment to seeing more vegetables at each meal. At parties, reach for the crudites or salads before the pastries and cookies. Vegetables help satisfy us with their high fiber content and because most veggies are low in sugar, they don’t create an insulin response. And, you can pretty much eat as many veggies as you like, so go crazy!

Sleep: This one is HUGE. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies search for the fastest source of energy–carbohydrates (sugar). Aim for 7-9 hours a night, but on New Year’s, you may be tempted to stay out later. Take a nap today or plan one tomorrow and use all of the other strategies here, as you may find yourself craving sugar because you’re tired. P.S. I shared lots of sleep strategies here if you are someone who struggles with sleep regularly.

Reduce Stress: When we reduce our stress, we reduce the amount of cortisol that is released into the bloodstream (and cortisol causes us to store belly fat). It also helps us avoid sugar cravings, as we can all relate to “stress-eating”.

Cook: When we can reduce the amount of refined processed foods, we reduce our sugar cravings (because processed food is void of the nutrients we need). Focus on nourishing your body, not just “eating”. Try taking your own home-cooked items to parties. I always try to be aware of what I’m choosing, keeping in mind how I’ll feel afterwards. This can really help when I’m overly hungry (which I don’t like to do, especially at parties!, and skipping meals can also cause stress. See above).

Don’t let yourself get STARVING: Keeping your blood sugar stable is a huge key to reducing cravings. I like to eat a high protein breakfast within 30 mins of waking. I eat lunch 3 or so hours later. I may need a snack in the afternoon. Then dinner. Again, all with a protein source. When heading out, you may want to eat a small meal or snack so you don’r arrive starrrrvvviiinnngg. I always carry a baggie of nuts with me, and I always have my water (we can mistake the feeling of hunger for thirst!). Perhaps bring an herbal tea bag or two to ensure you can have a nice drink once you arrive.

L-Glutamine: This is an amino acid, and in a serious moment of craving (sugar or alcohol), you can open a capsule of L-glutamine under the tongue and it can relieve it. You can also just take it preventatively, daily.

Fruit: Something I often take to parties is a fruit platter. That way, I get some sweetness, but not the ingredients that will leave me feeling drained. Berries, melon, pineapple and grapes are all tasty options. You can even just buy a fruit tray on the way of you don’t feel like chopping.

Work On The Emotional Side: The biggest work I did in my recovery was getting to the root of my pain. For me, I was a kid who binged on sugar. Then went to alcohol when I was 15. Then went back to sugar when I quit drinking. In order to get underneath the reasons for my addictions was through meditation, working with a therapist, journaling, and sitting on my mat and staying with the uneasiness, angst and unpleasantness that comes from really going back and finding those triggers. After the parties are all done, if you want to work with a coach who GETS it, I encourage you to learn more about my 12 week Group Coaching Program called One Bite at A Time (OBAAT). I’d be honoured to work with you. No diets. No challenges. No pills. No powders. Just you, me, and a group of others seeking to find more joy and freedom in their lives. Click here to learn more.

I hope these tips help you and I want to wish you all the very best for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Registration is OPEN for my “One Bite At A Time” Group Coaching Program. Click here to learn more. If you like what you see, we will set up a phone call to ensure we are a good fit for one another. The next group starts on Monday, January 7th, and we officially get started Saturday January 12th, 2019. If you want to TRULY change the way you feel about yourself and your body, then I am confident I am the coach to help you achieve your goals.

P.P.S. If you haven’t already signed up, you might enjoy my 14 Days of Wellness. Simply enter your name and email address here. It’s free, with no diets, products, challenges or catches (you’ll just start getting a Tuesday email from me and you can unsubscribe at any time). I’d love to stay connected. xo

P.P.P.S. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect socially on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field