Sugar Cravings - are you craving chocolate at Easter?

As I write this article, Easter is just a few short days away and already my kids are craving chocolate that they expect to receive over the weekend (from the Easter Bunny herself!).

Yesterday I nipped into a local supermarket with my daughter to grab some water (for us) and spinach (for our rabbit) and it never ceases to amaze me just how many Easter eggs they can cram into one shop. The moment we entered the store we were faced with tall towers of brightly packaged eggs that seemed to be screaming to be eaten. There were hundreds of them. They were seemingly everywhere around the store; every corner and end of aisle was rammed with chocolate eggs. And assuming that the other local shops are equally as stocked up, I'm pretty sure that if we've divided them out there was enough for everyone in the City to have one (if not two) each! 

When I was a kid I loved this time of year and the huge hit that met my sugar cravings and cravings for chocolate. I'd eat tons of the stuff and that probably explains why well into my teens I was fat and overweight. 

And even though I never eat sweets (apart from during one ultramarathon as an exception), and don't have much chocolate, all those brightly coloured wrappers and promises of luxurious melting chocolate goodiness was enough for me to start salivating a bit (albeit way short of a full blown chocolate craving). I have been to sugar craving land and there was a time when I couldn't be in the same building as a chocolate digestive - and I've been known to fall into festive chocolate craving traps (even if I usually manage to keep to my arbitrary rule of only having three of them).

For sure, all that sugar and fat is enough to create chocolate cravings so overpowering that we can almost feel helpless in the face of the cravings. The chocolate call to us, it cries out from the kitchen beckoning us to enjoy both the sugar hit and the relief from battling against the cravings. After all, once that lot is all eaten, we certainly won't ever buy any more ever again, will we?

sugar cravings chololate hypnotherapy 

Conquering Chocolate Cravings

You can start taking back control over sugar cravings and chocolate craving by implementing these five steps:

1) Avoid Temptation

If you are planning to limit your intake of chocolate and other sugary foods then don't have them within easy reach. It sounds obvious doesn't it? If they aren't there you can't have them! Yet so often chocolate and sugar are left there with vain promises to ourselves that we won't open them or eat them (or have more than one piece..or two...and definitely not finish them...oh ok I'll finish this and then that's it!). Having more sugar and chocolate than you plan to consume lying about creates a battle between those sugar cravings and your willpower. We only have so much willpower and so, in most cases, you will cave. So set your limit and stick to it.

2)  Make It Awkward For Yourself

Rather than keeping chocolate and sugar within easy access, make it awkward for yourself. If it's within eyesight you are more likely to fire up your cravings. Ever had one of those moments where you weren't even thinking about chocolate until you saw it....and then the thought of it wouldn't leave your mind? That's your sugar craving and craving for chocolate in full swing.

If it's within easy access you are more likely to see it and so find yourself wanting it. It's why they put those sweet foods by the counters in shops or make you stand next to them when queueing in a coffee shop. The temptation grows and you may find yourself eating it before you realise it without ever truly considering whether you actually want it (and then feeling bad afterwards for eating it). So make it awkward. Keep the chocolate somewhere where you won't immediately see it and where you have to put some effort in to get it. Maybe you keep it in a container on the top shelf and the back of the cupboard or even in the boot of your car. If you really want it you can get it but at least you have to want it that much that you are bothered to go and get it.

3) Hold Fire!

Even when you've decided you are going to have some sugar or chocolate - hold fire! Instead of instantly eating it as if the house is on fire, leave it out in front of you for five minutes before you have any. This is a great way to prove you are in control over sugar. Usually that sugar craving means we eat some as soon as we reach for it, which just consolidates old habits. So from now, have it there in front of you yet wait at least five minutes. Take control over any sugar cravings and cravings for chocolate.  

4) Be A Chocolate Gourmet & Savour It

Hands up if you've ever reached for the chocolate and then eaten it as if you are in a 'how fast can I eat this' race? Or perhaps you absent-mindedly eat it while watching TV or doing something on your phone or tablet. Either you find you eat more than you planned to because your mind was elsewhere or you finish it and feel dissatisfied because you barely tasted it. Change that habit. If you are going to eat chocolate and sugary things, take the time to enjoy them. Slow it down, taste it, enjoy the experience and pay attention to what you are doing. Being in control over sugar requires you to mentally be present so you are making decisions and choices rather than eating on auto. 

5) Be Honest! 

I often come across people who satisfy their craving for chocolate in secret. Maybe they nip into the kitchen on some other pretext and secretly get a sugar fix (making sure to leave no evidence!). Or perhaps they eat chocolate and then get rid of the wrappers as quickly as possible so it's almost as if it never happened. Start being honest with yourself about what you eat. Keep the wrappers in sight to make yourself accountable. Really be aware of what and how much you have rather than moving from one sugar craving to the next. If you are going to eat chocolate then make a clear decision in your mind and hold yourself accountable to yourself. 

By doing these five things consistently you are breaking the sugar craving pattern that makes you seek an instant sugar fix. Instead you can learn to be in control over sugar and chocolate so you decide if, when and how much chocolate you have this Easter. You are learning to take back control over sugar rather than being controlled by it.

And have yourself a great Easter weekend!

To your success and happiness

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy Ely, Newmarket, Skype