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You just got home from a busy day and cook dinner. You finish eating your delicious (and healthy) dinner and all of a sudden that urge for a sweet comes on very strongly. Next stop…the cupboard! You find that box of chocolates that your Grandma gave you for Valentines Day and take a bite out of each candy, just to find that special milk chocolate one filled with caramel. This scenario may sound all too familiar to some of us. Conquering your sweet tooth can seem like an impossible task, but I am here to tell you that it is possible!

I’m not gonna lie, I love sweets. Always have and probably always will. This entry is not meant to tell you to never eat a sweet again in your life, but to help you conquer your sweet tooth and not have it conquer you.

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How will you spend your 200 calories???

Tip #1: BREAK THE CYCLE/HABIT

This tip seems simple enough right?! Breaking a habit can actually be quite tough. If you crave sweets every night after dinner or everyday after lunch (or both), you have already trained your brain to want something sweet after you eat a certain meal. Now what? Retrain your brain! If you take the steps to break the habit and teach yourself that you do not need a sweet after every meal, you will have less of a desire to eat that piece of cheesecake after dinner. I notice that when I allow myself to eat a sweet every night after dinner, I look forward to that sweet every single night and I have a hard time not eating it. When I stop, after a few days I don’t crave it as much. Getting through the first week or two is the hard part, but if you can prepare yourself mentally and hold strong, the urge will go away! Remember, developing a good habit or breaking a bad habit takes approximately 14 days!

Tip #2: DON’T KEEP IT IN THE HOUSE

If it’s not in your house, you won’t be tempted by it. Make it easier on yourself and your family members and just don’t buy it.

Tip #3: DISTRACT YOURSELF AFTER MEALS…GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN!

After your meals, get out and do something active! Play a game with your children, go on a walk, paint your nails. If you engage yourself in a different activity, the urge for a sweet will go away quickly.

Tip #3: BRUSH YOUR TEETH OR CHEW GUM AFTER MEALS

When you have a fresh and clean mouth, your desire to eat is lowered. Plus, we all know how food tastes right after you brush your teeth…yuck!

Tip #4: EAT A HEALTHIER SNACK

Try a fresh fruit bowl, banana with a tiny bit of peanut butter, or a fruit smoothie. Fruit has natural sugars so it is very sweet, but does not have the calories and fat that other desserts have. Also, fruit is loaded with vitamins and minerals that are great for your body.

Tip #5: DON’T COMPLETELY DEPRIVE YOURSELF

The key to health is moderation. If you are constantly telling yourself that you cannot have something, sooner or later you will most likely give in and you may overindulge. When you do choose to have a dessert, just go for smaller serving sizes, have them less often, or share with someone.

Tip #6: TELL SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO

Let someone in your family or a close friend know what your goal is. If someone else knows, it is easier to stick to your goal. They can support you and hold you accountable.

Tip #7: DON’T LET YOURSELF GET TOO HUNGRY

Remember to eat balanced, regular meals throughout the day. Make sure your meals include fiber, protein and carbohydrates to keep you satisfied and energized longer. If you get hungry in between meals, have a snack! Prepare healthy snacks like raw veggies and hummus, whole grain crackers and hummus, cottage cheese and fruit, fruit and plain greek yogurt, etc. When our blood sugar drops too low, many of us reach for the foods that will raise it the fastest: donuts, candy bars, juice. If we eat consistently and do not let ourselves get too hungry, our blood sugar is more level and we are less likely to reach for the “quick fix”.

Tip #8: KEEP A “SWEETS” JOURNAL

Write down what you are feeling when you get the urge to eat sweets. Are you hungry? Angry? Thirsty? Bored? Stressed? Happy? Food journals help us see what time our sweet tooth hits and why, and what can help us overcome our weaknesses.

You can do it! Every positive step you take is a victory. Reward yourself for these victories. Set goals along the way and when you reach them, celebrate YOU!!!

-McKell

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