By August 20, 2013 Read More →

Beating home workers’ sugar addiction

5 insights for breaking sugar addiction and acquiring healthier habits

Beating home workers' sugar addiction - Laura ThomasToday’s guest post comes from Laura Thomas, a self-confessed former sugar addict who has completely changed her eating habits and can help you do the same. There’s some excellent information here specifically for home workers that I’ve never come across before, despite plenty of guilty reading about sugar addiction!

Are you a serial work at home sweet snacker? Do you find yourself popping back into the kitchen in between tasks or just browsing the cupboards for something ‘nice’? Does a cup of tea and a Hobnob (or three) help you deal with that tricky e-mail? Do you eat something a little sweet after lunch as your daily ritual?

Working at home, snacking and that sweet tooth tendency are inextricably linked. Having spent significant time working at home, both in my corporate job and in my new business venture, I understand this eating environment more than any other. As a holistic health coach and sugar habits specialist who completely turned my working at home habits on their head in overcoming my own sugar addiction, here are some of my best health-busting tips and insights:

1. Sugar equals more hunger and increased cravings

Know that sweet is totally addictive. Eat one biscuit and chances are you’ll want more. You’ll lose your focus because you’ll be seeking the sweet fix again once it’s initially worn off. Eating excess sugary foods or refined carbohydrates will also spike your blood sugar and result in an energy slump that will make you want food again. It’s a vicious cycle to be very aware of. Fill up with protein and fat snacks like nuts, cheese (yes I said cheese!), or vegetables with a dip like hummus.

2. What are you really craving?

Most commonly working at home, we crave distraction. We’re not hungry, we just want a break. It’s really important to start distinguishing between real hunger, physical sugar cravings and just boredom. Every time you find yourself in the kitchen, rank your hunger from 1-10 and ask yourself what you’re really craving. If it’s sugar, find a good substitute you like. Cashew nuts worked wonders for me. If it’s distraction, make a phone call to a friend or relative, or clean for 20 minutes to see if the need passes. A pint of water might also do the trick as you could also just be dehydrated.

3. Use tea instead of food

Experiment with lots of different tea and build different ones into your routine for different times e.g. mid-morning and post meals. Chai with extra cinnamon, fennel, licorice and peppermint are all extremely good teas for sugar cravings that are worth giving a go. If you have sugar in your tea, finding a non-sugary one you like should be a priority.

Alternatively try reducing the sugar gradually over time. If you usually accompany tea with a biscuit, find a healthier alternative. Nut butter on a ricecake was the closest thing to a biscuit I found.

4. Re-wire the habits

Working at home, our snacking and eating habits are pretty hard-wired. You will require some will power, persistence and consistency to start making permanent changes to your sugar addiction. Set yourself goals to repeat something at least 10 times before you give up on it. Don’t try to do too much in one go and focus on one key habit at a time e.g. a chai tea after lunch instead of a sweet treat.

5. Believe you can

Changing your habits is hard but it’s important to believe you can. Saying to yourself ‘I could never give up my afternoon sweet fix’ or ‘I will never like tea without sugar’ is a complete limiting belief. If you’ve the discipline to work at home and achieve fantastic things, you really can do anything else you put your mind to….so do it!

On top of the obvious weight and health benefits, sorting your sugar addiction can save you time, reduce the ‘get up from your desk’ distractions and improve your mental focus. It could have serious implications for your productivity and the quality of your work. Worth trying at least?

If you want more inspiration, tips and advice, sign up for Happy Sugar Habits where you can download your free low sugar snack guide, receive monthly newsletters and start getting a weekly sugar-busting tips to work on.

What working at home sugary snacks are your pitfalls? Any great tactics or strategies to share? Have you changed a hard-wired foodie habit successfully in the past?

Posted in: Food

4 Comments on "Beating home workers’ sugar addiction"

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  1. Joanna Pieters says:

    Discovering about dopamine release in the brain was a real breakthrough for me. Essentially, dopamine tells us what to pay attention to, and promises reward. It was once useful for it to be triggered by sugar and fat, but now it’s more of a hindrance. What’s more, it’s not actually related to the reward itself, so it can never fully be satisfied. Realising that the thought of biscuits was triggering dopamine release, I’ve tried to be conscious of my brain chemistry tricking me rather than an actual need for food. Failing that, not having biscuits in the house is the next best thing.

    • Brilliant comment, Joanna, thanks! I’m going to remember that next time I get that ‘Mm, a biscuit would be nice’ feeling. My main strategy, like you, is not to have temptation in the house – if it’s there, let’s face it, I’m going to eat it :-/

  2. Laura Thomas says:

    Getting it out of the house is of course the best strategy. Strangely though, months later down the line when your tastebuds have accustomed to less sugar, I can see chocolate that my flatmate has left in the kitchen all day and not even think twice. Quite amazing when you retrain your habits over a long period of time 🙂

    • The problem with my no sweet things in the house approach is that sometimes people give me chocolates or other goodies, and then in order to resist I have to give them to A to hide away, on the basis of out of sight, out of mind! I am getting better though, and sometimes I do actually forget they are there!