THE BLOG

Holiday Health: 10 Tips to Conquer Your Cravings for Candies, Cookies Or Cakes

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

If you're one of millions, who is trying to lose or maintain weight, overcome your sugar addiction or be more cheerful, this holiday season from Halloween to December 31 must be hell for you.

Every year, around this time, we're surrounded by candy corn, chewy sweets, little candy bars and gingerbread men.

Clearly, this is the Season of Sugar Shock, when most Americans unwittingly become "sugar pushers."

So how can overweight, depressed, health-desiring sugar addicts triumph at this time?

Here are 10 tips to Conquer Your Cravings for Candies, Cookies & Cakes so that you can lead a healthier, happier life during this Season of Sugar Shock:

1) Take sweets later, not sooner!

It's inevitable that you'll be tempted, possibly often, by candies, cookies and cakes during this Sugar Overload Season. It's also understandable that you'd like to have just a few pieces of candy or a few bites of that cookie or cake. But before you allow yourself to cave into this craving, make sure not to eat the little "sweeties" by themselves. Instead only indulge in sweets (preferably in "polite," several-bite portions) after a meal containing protein, fiber and fat. Having sugar by itself (i.e., candies alone) can trigger a mess of unpleasant emotions, from mood swings to depression to difficulty concentrating.

2) Fuel up often.

Every three hours or so, go for a small, well-balanced snack or meal with some quality protein, fiber and fat. If you eat in this manner, you won't be as hungry, and candies will lose some of their appeal.

3) Skip the calorie counting.

Many people think that watching the numbers is the key to weight loss. But if you're consuming "only" 1,500 calories and 1,000 of them come from candies, cookies or cakes your body will rebel in protest. What's more, since you're depriving yourself of nutritive foods to stay at a certain caloric level, you may become ravenous, overeat and gain weight.

4) Get fruity.

If candies are calling out to you, try grabbing an apple, a pear, strawberries, grapes or banana instead. You can even freeze berries, grapes and bananas to have your own natural "popsicles." FYI, it's best to shy away from fruit juice, because that turns to sugar quickly in your body and can promote hunger and weight gain.

5) Read up first.

Before you eat any candies, cookies or cakes, examine those food labels. I'm willing to bet you'll be astounded at the huge amount of sugar and dyes they contain. (To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar your favorite candies contain, just divide the number of grams on the label by 4. What this means is that one portion containing 4 grams of sugar typically equal one tsp. of sugar.) If no labels are available and you're at a house party, you might innocently ask the hostess or host what she used in her or his dessert.

6) Delay often.

The English poet Edward Young said that "Procrastination is the thief of time." Granted, that's usually the case, but when trying to stay away from sweets, procrastinating is your ally. Whenever you're about to be "seduced" by sweets, just think about how bad you'll feel if you splurge on them. Instead, start thinking about how you're elevating procrastination into an art form.

7) "Treat" yourself with toys.

If you're feeling a need for a "treat," try some toys. For instance, you could get a yo-yo, a jump rope or even a hula hoop. If you allow yourself to act childlike, you'll feel like you're getting "treats" that satisfy you in a way that candies, cookies and cakes never can.

8) Decide in advance.

If you choose to have sweets, then plan beforehand how much you'll have and at what time. But before you try that, you need to know if you're the kind of person who can have just a little bit. Many self-described "sugar addicts" find that one bite inevitably leads to more. So do some sugary soul searching to determine if you're one of those people who's like an out-of-control train -- you just can't stop after one or a few bites. If that's you, better to skip this tip entirely.

9) Sweeten up in other ways.

Before you turn to candies, cookies or cakes during this Sugar Overload Season, find other ways to be sweet to yourself. Take up yoga, work out at the gym, listen to music, go for a bike ride, write a poem, create a piece of pottery, visit a bookstore, get a massage, read a good book or call a friend. These can be much more satisfying ways to get sweetness in your life.

10) Put sweets in their proper place.

If your thoughts often turn to candies, cookies, cakes and other desserts, then do some sugary soul searching. Think about the life you'd like to lead. Do you want to constantly dwell on desserts or would you like to find fulfillment in other ways. By shifting your focus away from those inanimate, empty-calorie candies and desserts and onto things that matter, you'll begin to achieve peace in your relationship with sugar.

Remember that you can triumph over sweets during this tempting time.

Even though sugary temptations abound, make sure to focus often on your goal of weight loss, health, happiness and freedom. By constantly dwelling and even visualizing your joyful achievements, you will successfully Conquer Your Cravings for Candies, Cookies Or Cakes.