I get lots of questions about sugar.
Alcohol has tons of sugar in it and when you take the booze away, our bodies can really miss the sweet stuff. People who’ve spent years skipping dessert can suddenly find they want to inhale pints of ice cream or steal sweets from children. Everyone wants to know if sugar cravings are ‘normal’. Is it ok to indulge a sweet tooth? How long for? And at what point do you risk turning into some kind of crazy, sugar-and-carb monster?
Now I’m no nutritionist, dietician or doctor. And I do not have a perfect diet. But over the past few years, through my own trial and error, I have learnt a couple of things about sugar and sobriety.
So, if you suspect you’re single-handedly keeping Haribo in business, here are a few points you might like to consider:
Eating healthily will reduce your cravings for sugar and alcohol
I’m not talking about dieting – I mean nourishing meals at regular intervals. You should be aiming to keep your blood sugar levels stable. When they spike or crash it makes us feel lousy and we’re more likely to reach outside of ourselves for something to ease the discomfort (hello wine, hello pizza). It’s no coincidence that wine o’clock is around 5pm – the time of day when you’re the most hungry, tired and thirsty. So, eat enough to fuel yourself properly. Don’t skip breakfast thinking you can save the calories for a muffin later. It’s not worth it.
A little of what you fancy does you good
If you get to the end of the day and you’re feeling knackered – and wine seems really tempting – then a sugar fix is not necessarily a bad thing. If it stops you drinking, then it’s fine in my book. It takes what it takes. Besides, eating sweets on your commute home or having dessert after dinner is quite different to starting your day with a chocolate croissant and caramel latte. A sugar explosion in the morning is not a good idea.
Think long term, not short term
You are not going to turn into a perfect person overnight, so if you do end up eating a lot of sugar, don’t worry about it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to replace one addiction with another. If you’re still mainlining ice cream in five or six months’ time then fine – you might need to do some work around that. But worry about it then, when you’re stronger and healthier, rather than now.
Look at the bigger picture
Sugar and alcohol give many of us a hard time, but they are just two pieces of the puzzle that is your life. There are other things that you can do to make yourself feel better right now. Top of the list is get more sleep. This has to be one of the cheapest and easiest routes to feeling good. Take a multivitamin. Drink more water. If you’re in the mood for it, get some exercise. Most of all, be patient. Now more than ever, you need to be kind to yourself and manage your expectations. We love our quick fixes; alcohol and sugar certainly act fast. But sobriety is about the long game. You’re doing a really amazing thing right now, so hang on in there!
What are your tips for staying in control of your sugar intake? I’d love to hear them.