Do you have a sweet tooth you can’t ignore?

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One so powerful, that it doesn’t matter how much you try to be strong it inevitably destroys your efforts at weight loss?  

It may be more serious than just a matter of lacking will power

Studies have shown that a diet which consists of a steady intake of sugar can actually alter the brains of rats to make them crave sweets

See sugar causes the brain to release feel good chemicals which cause pleasure and arousal, and lets face it who doesn’t like those sorts of feelings?

So of course the brain tells us we want that again…. and again….. and again.  And before you know it you have a sugar addiction or what is commonly referred to as a sweet tooth

Of course not all sweet tooths are a sugar addiction, but dealing with them can be handled in the same way

We all know “just say no” doesn’t usually work the way we want it too

The fact is, you have to change your behaviour in order to deal with an addiction or a sweet tooth

There is a lot of science behind behavioural changes and habits - if you'd like to read a little more about it I've provided some links at the bottom of this article.

Lets use the idea of an alcoholic who is trying to stop drinking. 

Would it be a good idea to have alcohol in the house – particularly in the early stages?  No, of course not. 

And dealing with a sugar addiction or a sweet tooth of some degree is no different. 

One of the fundamental things to understand about human behaviour and food is that we are lazy.  We eat whatever is in close proximity

So if the sweet sugary food is there, you can bet that we’ll grab it

So how do we beat the sugar addiction? 

Remove the options

The simple act of removing the sweet options from your house means you now have to consciously make the decision to leave the house and head to the shops to satisfy your cravings.  This in itself can be a huge deterrent.  If you really must absolutely have the sweet hit and you do leave the house to get it, set a limit.  1 small Freddo frog or 2 squares of dark chocolate for example.  It’ll satisfy your brains craving for that sugar hit and it won’t tip the scales the wrong way. 

There have been studies that have shown repeated exposure trains flavour preference.  Systematically reducing the “level” of sweetness in your foods can and will lead to a preferred sweetness intensity.  This is a great option for those who have are trying to cut the sugar in their tea and coffee.

Substitutes

Pretty obvious isn’t it, but you’d be amazed how many people find this difficult.  And it’s mainly because it requires change and a little foreplaning. 

My personal preference for a sweet tooth is fruit.  Delicious, sweet and juicy – they can really satisfy.  
On a cold day some stewed apple and pear (with no extra added sugar) really hits the spot

Personally I wouldn’t recommend substituting with an artificial sweetener, simply because they still release the same chemicals in the brain meaning the addiction has not been dealt with, merely a band aid has been put on the real problem. 

Try adding some berries to salads to add that burst of sweetness to your day. 

Protein Powders come in a huge range of flavours these days and can be perfect to satisfy that sweet tooth. 
Salted caramel, choc honeycomb, peanut butter brittle, birthday cake ….. and the list goes on.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with these

One of the most powerful motivators to change is attaching a personal reason of why you need to change.

And I can tell you right now that “because summer is coming” is not a good enough motivator

You have to go deeper than that.  Think deeper.

How will you FEEL come summer if you don’t change?

How do you FEEL now?

Why don’t you want to FEEL like this anymore?

Be honest with yourself, because your true reason WHY you want to change will help drive your motivation in the tough times.

So if you are struggling with your sweet tooth give these few simple things a go.  And remember, more often than not we fail before we succeed.  But if you keep learning from every failure then success is inevitable.