11. Change your mindset, notes Michele Promaulayko, editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Health and author of 20 Pounds Younger.
If deprivation diets haven’t worked for you in the past (and do they really work for anyone?), change «never» into «sometimes.» «Just because it’s called devil’s food cake doesn’t mean it’s evil,» says Promaulayko. «Labeling foods as «sometimes» for indulgences and «always» for the good stuff will keep you on task better than quitting cold turkey.»
12. Recognize if it’s sugar addiction, Kathleen DesMaisons, PhD, author of The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program, advises.
«Craving is always withdrawal,» says DesMaisons. She explains that when you eat sugar, your body comes to expect it, and when you don’t get it, you crave it. This kind of addiction can’t be overcome by willpower alone. «It’s not willpower. Most people think, ‘Oh it’s just that I’m weak willed,’ but they don’t realize that willpower doesn’t work because of the biochemistry. It’s actually the same brain chemistry as going off of heroin,» she says. By recognizing sugar addiction, you can then approach getting it out of your diet with self-compassion and forgiveness.
13. Boost your serotonin, says Natasha Turner, MD, author of The Supercharged Hormone Diet.
A hormonal imbalance in serotonin may be to blame for your sugar cravings. «Serotonin exerts powerful influence over mood, emotions, memory, cravings (especially for carbohydrates), self-esteem, pain tolerance, sleep habits, appetite, digestion, and body temperature regulation,» explains Dr. Turner. «When we’re feeling down or depressed, we naturally crave more sugars to stimulate the production of serotonin.» She says that chronic stress and multitasking overload are the main causes of serotonin depletion. Dr. Turner recommends eating more chia seeds. «This wondrous little grain also contains high amounts of tryptophan, the amino acid precursor of serotonin and melatonin,» she says.
14. Reward yourself with exercise, David A. Kessler, MD, author of The End of Overeating suggests. Exercise doesn’t need a reward. Exercise is the reward. «A substantial body of science tells us that exercise engages the same neural regions as other mood-enhancing rewards and produces similar chemical responses, says Dr. Kessler.
15. Stop drinking liquid sugar, notes Ellen Gustafson, author of We the Eaters.
«For both adults and children, the largest source of added sugar in our diets is sweetened beverages, especially soda,» says Gustafson. «In fact, almost half of the added sugar we now consume comes from sweetened soda and energy, sports, and fruit drinks.» She points out that while the American Heart Association recommends people have no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of sugar per day, a 12-ounce soda has 10 teaspoons.