A quick update from last week – teaching outdoors and in person was WONDERFUL! We had a perfect day with beautiful weather. It was so delightful to be teaching in person, and I called upon my WOOPs to great success. The next time I’m teaching in person and outdoors is Sunday, July 4th! 8:30am at the Darwin D. Martin House with a rain location if necessary. You can register here.
Have you ever had that experience of always wanting something sweet after you eat? You just ate a wonderful full meal, you even said “I’m so full!” and yet you find yourself jonesing for a piece of chocolate or scoop of ice cream within minutes.
It’s not just you, and you’re not broken. There are many simple reasons why we find ourselves craving sweets, even after finishing a meal. Here are a few unorthodox reasons you might be craving that extra snack:
1. You’re craving a sweet because….you ate while distracted
Watching TV or answering emails while you eat is a surefire way to eat quickly and stop chewing. When we’re mindlessly eating, we don’t notice the smells and tastes and sights of our food. By eating quickly, the digestive enzymes of the mouth don’t get to saturate our food and our stomach doesn’t have the same heads up that food is coming and it should start digesting.
All together, this makes our physical body not have the normal cues that food has been consumed and our body (and mind) stays in a “hungry” state, even though we’ve just eaten.
2. You’re craving a sweet because….you didn’t have enough nourishing or grounding foods in your main meal
We often pile our plates with seemingly healthy proteins and beans and greens. Isn’t a salad with chicken breast on it a super healthy meal?
In many ways, yes, but these foods are also light and extractive in nature. By extractive I mean that it requires effort for the body to digest and assimilate them and these foods act to clean out, rather than build up, the body tissues. These foods often are bitter, pungent, and astringent in taste. However, Ayurveda teaches us that we need to have a balance of all 6 tastes in our meals – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent.
So sometimes our sweet cravings are because we actually haven’t provided the sweet taste in our meals! When you add some whole grains and grounding vegetables like carrot, sweet potato, or zucchini to your meals, you ground and soothe the body with the sweet taste and hydrate the body tissues. With the body satisfied, we don’t have as intense of a craving for sweet after we finish our meals.
3. You’re craving a sweet because….you ate while stressed/anxious
Whether you were answering work emails while you ate or you got into a tense conversation at the dinner table, stress is opposite of what we want when eating. When our body feels stress (that classic fight, flight, or freeze you might have heard of), it diverts blood flow away from our digestive system and into our limbs. We literally stop digesting our foods and our muscles tighten up. This information blew my mind when I learned about it during my PhD studies. But this stress creates a situation where the mind and body stay in craving and hunger mode even while we’re eating.
Stress and anxiety itself also create a mental craving for grounding and nourishment. Our bodies try to compensate for uncertainty and stress by eating heavier foods. In these moments, we’d do best by eating a healthy, grounding carbohydrate like whole grains or root vegetables, rather than reaching for a sugary dessert.
4. You’re craving a sweet because….it’s a habit
It has to be mentioned. The mind creates habits and they can be hard to break. When your mind first says “I want something sweet” – pause. Put your attention in your belly – do you feel hunger here? Put your attention in your head – is your hunger here?
Take a moment to notice if you feel hunger in your belly or if it’s coming purely from your mind. That’s not to say that you can’t eat something sweet, but rather to start to notice where the craving is coming from.
Choosing a new way
If you’re feeling consumed by sweet cravings, it’s time to choose a new way.
- Before you eat – put away your work things.
- Take a deep breath and express some gratitude for the food you’re about to consume.
- Eat with minimal distractions and keep conversation on lighter or more pleasant topics when possible.
- Make sure that your plate has some grains and/or nourishing vegetables.
I want to acknowledge that this might be VERY different than how you’re currently eating, so just choose one place to start.
I’ll say that I used to eat big kale salads as I answered emails. And I found myself bloated and holding a piece of chocolate after every meal. Change is possible, and once you’ve started to experience this more peaceful way of eating, you will be amazed at how much better you feel.
What’s the ONE thing you can do to help minimize your sugar cravings? Leave a comment below!
If you want to dive deep into your sweet cravings (or anything else that’s creating tension or taking up brain space), consider signing up for a Success Session. On June 13th and 14th I’m offering 30-minute coaching sessions to help you explore and resolve an issue that’s causing your trouble. These life coaching sessions include a pre-session questionnaire, recording, and written recap. Pricing is discounted and tiered – learn more and sign up here!