5 Ways to Deal With A Sweet Tooth On A Paleo Diet
This is a guest post from our friend Joel Runyon, who runs ImpossibleHQ.com. You can find the original article here.
You can’t escape it.
Even after you cut out the usual culprits – desserts, candy, and simple carbohydrates – there are still plenty of places sugars manage to sneak into.
It’s simply everywhere.
A good Paleo diet cuts out most processed foods and sugars, which sounds fairly straightforward, but when you realize how prevalent sugar is in different types of food, it’s not always easy – especially if you have a penchant for it. After all, sugar has some of the addictive properties of crack.
The question that comes up a lot is:
I know first-hand how hard it can be. I have a sweet tooth that makes small children at Halloween embarrassed for me.
It’s bad, but I’ve learned to tame it. It’s been tough, but it’s important to learn how to wean yourself off your sweet tooth without shaking and convulsing like an addict if you want to burn fat and see results. More than that, it’s important since looking great won’t do you much good if you’re running around disheveled with a crazy look in your eye.
The following is an excerpt from Impossible Abs.
How To Deal With Your Sweet Tooth And Implement Healthy Cheats To Deal With Cravings
The fastest way to achieve results is to not to cheat at all.
Unfortunately, this takes a ridiculous amount of will power and let’s face it – we all get cravings now and then. So, if you’re going to cheat, here’s how you can “safely” cheat every now and then without throwing all of your progress out the door.
Know How You Cheat
You should be very, very careful when you cheat. Know how you operate – otherwise cheating can become a dangerous proposition that gets you entirely off track. Ask yourself, “is this really just a “one-time” thing or will it lead into more cheating?”
For me, it’s never “just one.” If I have one Oreo, I’ll have the whole box. If I have one snickers, I’ll have twelve. If I have a spoonful of peanut butter, I might end up eating the whole jar – thank you very much.
For me, cheating is very, very dangerous, so I stay away from it as much as possible. You might be better than me – congratulations – but you probably aren’t.
Know what “cheating” means for you. If it’s an isolated occurrence, then feel free to partake every once in a while – but if it’s the start of a slippery slope for you – be very, very careful about how you choose to cheat.
Change The Meaning of “Cheating”
The best way to minimize the effects of “cheating” is to redefine exactly what cheating means for you. This means finding health(ier) alternatives for cheat foods that you usually crave. Then when you get cravings for something that’s not usually on the menu, instead of completely derailing yourself with a face-full of Oreos, peanut butter and shame, you simply press pause while you indulge in some of your favorite off-the-menu cheat food items that won’t set you back 4 weeks.
Typically cheat foods for me include the following:
- Red Bull
- Peanut Butter (in embarrassingly large quantities)
If it’s got an exorbitant amount of sugar – it’s got my number. So, for the entirety of the program, I changed the foods I allowed myself to “cheat” with to much healthier alternatives including:
- Dark Chocolate (over 70% cacao, preferably 82%+)
The benefit to these alternate cheat foods is that unlike most cravings you may get, they’re self-limiting. Unlike Oreos, where it’s quite easy to eat an entire box, it’s very hard to eat an entire bar of high-quality cacao, very dark chocolate.
When evaluating your alternate cheat foods, find something you enjoy that you
- Are difficult to eat in large quantities
- Low in sugar
- Low in carbohydrates
If you can find something that meets these 3 criteria, you can cheat on occasion without experiencing the after-effects of eating an entire bag of Cheetos in one sitting.
Channel Your Cravings Elsewhere
The best way to deal with cravings is to channel that energy or desire into something else.
Every time you find yourself craving something, instead of indulging in it, channel that energy into something else. For example, if you find yourself wanting a snickers bar, do 10 pushups instead. If you want to have a slice of cake, do a 60 second plank instead. If you want a bag of chips, go do a 30 second handstand and channel your cravings for unhealthy food into healthy habits. This does a couple of things:
1. It gets you closer to your goals. Most cravings you’ll have are NOT constructive; in fact, they’re trying to ruin everything you’re working towards. When you focus that craving into something good, instead of taking 1 step back, you take 2 steps forward.
2. It builds up better habits. Over time, you’ll find yourself enjoying doing pushups, planks or handstands more than the chocolate cake. In fact, after you’ve weaned yourself away from the extreme sugar content found in most food you’re craving, you’ll find those types of food aren’t as nearly as satisfying as you thought they were and instead of chowing down on a snickers bar, you’d rather enjoy a few squares of 92% dark chocolate.
Channel that energy and those cravings into physical activities that get you closer to losing weight and improving your health rather than using it to destroy the things you’re trying to build.
Limit Yourself By Time
If you must cheat, give yourself a time limit and keep to it. Try to stay clean 80-90% of the time and keep your cheat meals to one meal or one day a week – but keep it limited. That way throughout your week, you can push off your cravings until the weekend and then cheat during your designated meal, but keep it limited – because it’s no longer “cheating” if you have it every single day – then it’s your choice.
Ask Yourself if It’s Worth It
If all else fails, ask yourself if cheating is really worth it. Impossible Abs is an 8-week program. 8 weeks. Eight. Can you do 8 weeks without eating junk food? Is it worth it to you?
Ask yourself if it’s worth it: How bad do you want it?
If getting into the best shape of your life isn’t worth it to you – then cheat. But if you really want to get in great shape, why give into a craving that you know is going to move you in the exact opposite direction of your goal?
Ask yourself, how bad do you want it?
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