Hopefully you are not actually bringing cookies, candy & other sweet things into your home still. This won't necessarily reduce the cravings, but it will keep you from overindulging in them.
The cravings themselves - well, I also quit smoking and quitting nicotine was actually easier. In general, I use the same techniques with respect to craving sweets that I used to get over my nic fits. I distract myself from the craving (take up knitting! take a walk!) or use a harmless substitute (such as a fruity herbal tea or a glass of water). If the craving is still there after 20 minutes (or, if I'm watching the clock to see if the 20 minutes is up), I have to consider if I'm actually hungry, or if there is something emotional going on. That's why I track all my food, so I have objective proof that I have, in fact, eaten enough (or not).
Another practical thing that reduces my mid-afternoon low-point hungers/cravings is having a really good, protein-filled breakfast. If your cravings come at a particular time of day like that, try having protein instead of sugar or carbs as a snack.
Ummmm, food can be an addiction. When we eat sweets it causes a chemical reaction in the brain - that's kinda common knowledge.
Do not feel bad about it and don't let others tell you it's not an addiction. I applaud you wanting to take control of it and you know you're in control of it. Just saying you're addicted isn't saying you're not responsible for it.
Can't people just be nicer on this site? (Ahem...whoever that third post was...)
I disagree with you Anarie. I have had friends who are addicted to heroin, and some stole, but many were functional people, who worked, and paid for their habit. One of my friends dropped a rock of crack in the carpet, and cried like a baby because he needed it so bad, but he didn't mug anyone, or steal. There are many people who are addicted to sugar. they know it is bad for them, and will cause cravings/binges, but can't stop themselves from eating it, if it is available. Addiction only leads to crime if you can't buy the product you need, or if it isn't easily available. Unfortunately sweets can be easily attained. You don't have to attack an old lady with a cupcake. Most likely she is giving them away, or there is some in your house, or at work. If crack was everywhere, no one would be mugging people, or stealing to get it. They would still be addicted. I am not sure if the OP is addicted to sweets, but a life of crime isn't a requirement to define addiction.
For this thread, I will assume that sweets are very tempting for the OP, and they can't stop from eating them. I had a similar issue. I would eat good all day, and then crave sweets at night, as so many of us do. I figured out that it was the carbs I was eating. I would recommend to the OP that they pay close attention to what they are eating before they have uncontrollable urges to eat sweets. For me it was cereal, bread, and pasta, as well as processed carbs.
Personally, I chose low carb, and cut out those carbs, and within 3 days, all my cravings were gone. The triggers for these cravings were the sweets, cereal, bread and pasta I was eating. This allowed me to eat on plan, and lose 150 lbs.
This idea that craving certain foods is normal, and all you need is more willpower is ridiculous. If you eat food, and it causes you to overeat, you can stop eating these foods, and get rid of those cravings. For me, the carbs were causing the overeating, and after years of believing that I was the problem, I figured this out and fixed the problem. Whether you are addicted, or just unable to stop from eating certain carbs, in this scenario the problem is the food, not the person, so beating yourself up is counterproductive. If you don't identify the problem, any solution you come up with will most likely fail, as is evidenced by the "experts" recommendations, and 60% of people being overweight in America.
If nothing is working, stop thinking it will work, and look for new solutions.
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Are you getting enough of the following every day: sleep sunlight omega 3 fats protein
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I haven't found a way to completely conquer my addiction of baked treats. I just give myself a cheat day to take the edge off and make choices here and there to help get me through the day.
Half of a doughnut in the middle of the week can really help me say no to a lot of things for the next two days.
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For me, I simply stopped eating them. It honestly only took a handful of days before I wasn't actively craving and wanting them all the time anymore. After that it became just a matter of managing my daily life so that I didn't wind up eating things I didn't want to eat out of pure habit, or reflex, or because somebody offered it. It helps when "doesn't eat sweets" becomes part of your self-definition, who you think you are -- "I don't eat that" is much, much stronger and more positive as a way to define and control what goes into your mouth than "I can't eat that" or "I shouldn't eat that" are. After a while new habits form and you find yourself walking into the coffee shop for coffee and walking out again with only the coffee, and only realizing as you leave that you just passed up an entire display case of pastries without even thinking about it.
After a couple of months I was noticing that my taste buds had changed a great deal -- when I did still eat anything sweet, it often tasted overly cloying and nasty to me. For a short time this actually upset me! (In a "I'll never be able to enjoy eating these things ever again ..." sort of way.) But I got over it. I even started noticing (and disliking) excess sweetness in things I'd never perceived as sweet before, like regular old grocery-store bread.
I should probably point out that at no time after the first week or so was this ever all or nothing. My ideal, the person I want to be, is not an absolutist over anything. But neither do I have sweets or junk food as part of my daily life. For a while I had one square of dark chocolate per day. Then I noticed I was wanting more than that, and didn't buy any more. I've had another bar in there that we bought for some other reason, it's been sitting for months now and I haven't touched it. I have pie on holidays. I love pie. But I don't eat birthday cake anymore, because I don't like it, no matter how much my eyes tell me it looks appetizing when it's sitting right in front of me. Ice cream's even worse -- the one time I ate it since last December it hit my stomach like a ton of bricks and blech. Not even tempted. And the funny thing is it's not even like my physical reaction to sweets has changed all that much. Just before, I craved the sweetness so much that it didn't matter even if I knew something would make me feel bad, I'd still want it. And now I don't.
It's worth it getting that addiction -- or whatever you want to call it -- out of your life. It feels like you're going to lose something (and you actually do, slightly), but what you gain in freedom and feeling good is so much more valuable.
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It might sound stupid because what i'm saying is technically fruit (who wants fruit for dessert?!) BUT- the other week i bought frozen berries for no real reason. I got home and was hungry after dinner so I decided to put some of those berries in a bowl and eat them (still frozen). They were SO Sweet and kind of reminded me of candy!
I had gotten a berry blend (raspberry, blueberry, cherry, blackberry) but now i have a blueberry pomegranate blend. So yummy and low cal
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Thanks for the information. Good luck with continued success.
I'm in the process of eliminating as much refined sugar as possible. I say as much as possible because I have no desire to live in a world where I can't have my coffee creamer and sometimes an occasional treat.
I cut down gradually. I started with the overt sweets, like candy and chocolate. I would look at one instance at a time, like my afternoon candy bar. I'd try to substitute some fruit and yogurt. Generally I either cut down on the sugar or tried to substitute with healthier sugar like fruit. I'm not at the point that I have cut the overt sugar and I am now looking at hidden sugar. I've been making my own fruit and yogurt parfaits to avoid the ready made fruit on the bottom ones at the store. I add fruit to my oatmeal instead of sugar. My only real sugar indulgence if coffee mate, and I plan to tackle homemaking it this weekend so I can limit the sugar.
I do think you can be addicted to sugar (or other substances in food)
and maybe you need to start treating it like an addiction, just like and alcoholic can not drink in moderation, maybe you have stop eating extra sugar completely?
I also know that I have "trigger foods". (such as ice cream) that if I start eating them, I have a VERY difficult time stopping. so I try very hard to to have them in the house or be around them at all.
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I am blessed not to have sweets as a weakness, including soda. But don't talk about my weakness for bread, pizza, pasta, nuts, (shall I go on?)
Sweets are my weekness as well. I've really worked hard on evaluating the sweet treat before consuming it. For instance, I think about "is this piece of regular ole chocolate really worth the calories or should I wait until I can have a piece of the chocolate bar I really like?" More and more, I can opt to wait for the real treat.
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CHRISTINASOULE: I'm not sure of the semantics of "addiction." But I do feel you bring up an important point. Some of us really enjoy eating certain things, and even enjoy OVEREATING certain things. I certainly enjoy eating sugar-based desserts, although I limit myself. Other things that I enjoy consuming that are in the unhealthy category are dark beers like stouts, fatty meats like pork ribs and beef rib steaks, and pizzas.
"How do you stay strong and not cave into the urge to consume cookies, cake, candy, etc.?"
Short answer: occasionally allow yourself to have some of those things. In moderation.
There is a small minority of people who can, indeed, give up entirely something like sugar-based foods or fatty meats or high-calorie dairy or deep-fat fried foods. But for the rest of us, I feel there is only one way to "stay strong." We must practice moderation in all things. From my own personal observation, many people end up binging or over indulging in the very thing they completely "gave up." I admire people who completely quit consuming things like candy, beer, fatty meats, deep fat fried foods, etc. However, I also admire people who allow themselves to occasionally enjoy those items -- in moderation!
I traditionally believed that addiction was not an appropriate term for food issues. I no longer do. I believe you can be addicted to a substance. Most likely sugar. I stopped eating sugar about five months ago in all of its forms except what comes in natural foods such as vegetables and fruit.
I found that a long time binge condition disappeared after a couple of weeks. I still don't eat sugar and for the most part don't miss it (mostly because when I do miss it is mostly desire for comfort and not a craving).
For me sugar cannot be an option and probably that will be forever. Whether that is truly an addiction or a compulsion I will leave to the people that define terms, but it sure feels like an addiction to me
I am the same way. Plus, I love to bake. And fall/christmas baking has been a tradition for me and my kids so giving up on it feels like I am robbing them. People say just replace the bad with healthy low cal stuff. But the problem with that is once I eat a cookie I turn into a monster and end up with a bare plate and 0 self esteem. Its a trigger I try to avoid. I'm seriously struggling this season.
Sorry I have no advice, just empathy. Hopefully someone will have something good for us both.
Addiction is a very specific mental health diagnosis. There's about a 99% chance that you are not anywhere near "addicted" to sweets. If you were literally addicted, you would be getting help from a rehab center or something, because being addicted means you can't avoid the substance/action even when it hurts, when you have to lie and steal to get it, when you know you could lose your job because of it... If you didn't have any cash on you and you saw a little old lady with a cupcake, would you knock her over and take it? If you were having a craving and the only donut in the office was on a plate on your boss' desk with one bite out of it, would you sneak in while s/he was in the bathroom and steal it? If not, you're not addicted.
It might seem picky to say you have to stop using the word addiction, because everybody knows you're mostly kidding. But it makes a big difference to your mental attitude about the problem, and that makes a difference in how successful you can be in dealing with it. "Addiction" suggests that liking sweets is a bad thing that has taken control of you.
So if you're not going to say "addicted," what does that leave? You like sweets a whole lot, and because they taste so good, you eat too much, right? That's true of most human beings. We love things that are sweet, and there's a good reason for that; in nature, most things that are poisonous are bitter or sour. Sweet usually meant a food was safe to eat. We're *supposed* to like sweet things, so our species will survive. It's a lot easier to deal with your sweet tooth if you recognize and accept that it's perfectly normal-- maybe even good-- to be attracted to sweet foods.
Admitting that it's natural also helps you see one of the best ways to handle it. Find foods that are naturally sweet, and eat them instead of refined sweets. Stock your house with fruit, and don't bring in anything made with white sugar for a while. (Or brown sugar-- that's just colored white sugar.) If you keep sugary foods out of "your territory" (your house, your car, your office space) and make sure you always have sweet fruit available, eventually you'll get to a point where candy, cookies, etc are not part of your normal life. You might still have some at parties or on holidays, etc, but that's okay for most people. It's mostly a matter of teaching yourself that fruit is food, while cakes and such are special-occasion treats.
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By joining the official Tame Your Sweet Tooth Challenge, of course!
(Actually, it will help! It helped me! Plus there are loads of articles linked that may be enlightening.)
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