I used to be the girl who hid a secret chocolate stash in her drawer "in case of emergency" — and an emergency went down every day around 4 o'clock. I was addicted to sugar and no matter how desperately I tried, I couldn't find a way to tame the unwanted afternoon (and evening) cravings. Then I tried meditation, and I've since kicked my habit for good.
I know it sounds woo woo, but hear me out. Cravings arise because our bodies are trying to signal us about something we need. One a biological level, that can be nutritionally. But on a psychological level, our cravings can point to things we feel are lacking in our lives. We know sugar supplies a quick source of energy, so perhaps you’re craving it because you’re fatigued. On the other hand, sugar also stimulates the pleasure receptors in our brains, so maybe there is some sort of discomfort or stress in your life that you may be wanting to soothe with a quick sugar-fix — which, of course, isn’t really a fix at all.
However, it is possible to rewire ourselves to understand that sugar is not the fix we are looking for, and open ourselves to finding the real solutions our bodies and our spirits crave. When we meditate, we tell our brains a new story that gets embedded in our subconscious, the part of our mind that makes decisions in our day-to- day life. The process of repeating a mantra helps you to restructure the relationship between your body and your mind, which in turn helps you develop more positive habits, while also letting go of harmful ones.
Through meditation, I realized I was using sugar to self-soothe a number of things, including tiredness, boredom, and even painful repressed feelings from my childhood. This discovery helped me find practical solutions to deal with the real issues I was having, and just like that, the constant cravings were gone. Check out the meditation to get rid of sugar cravings below.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your eyes closed. This meditation can be done anywhere, but ideally, you should be someplace quiet where you can tune in and focus on your breath.
- Take a deep inhale, filling up your belly, then your ribs, then the top of your chest, and exhale the air out fully. Repeat this three-part breath three times. This will help bring you into the present moment so you experience the full benefits of your practice.
- Inhale deeply and then on your exhale, mentally or aloud, recite a mantra of your choosing like, “I eat to feel balanced and healthy. My life is sweet.” Repeat this process for at least five minutes.
That’s it! While meditating didn’t single-handedly kill the sugar beast inside me, it did help me to cultivate the awareness I needed in order to take control of my eating habits. After practicing the above method for about 30 days, I noticed significantly less cravings. Plus, I started implementing healthier ways of dealing with my issues, like journaling at night to reduce stress. Now when 4 o'clock rolls around, you won't see a chocolate bar in sight!
If reciting your own mantra isn’t really your thing, you can find tons of guided meditations for sugar cravings on YouTube!