13 ways to cope with sugar cravings

August 5, 2019

 Giving up sugar for life is such a radical step I still can't believe I've made this commitment. I get overwhelmed when I think of going the distance with this. Will I be able to do it? Is this crazy?

Yet, on the other hand, I feel such a sense of relief, as though a real burden has been set aside. It feels so freeing.

This whole new way of eating -- for life-- cannot be done by sheer willpower. Sure, I can lose the weight by sheer willpower alone. I've done that before. But maintaining? Really changing? That's going to need something more.

Feast on beauty (#12)
Here are some things I've been thinking about that will help me take care of myself over the long-term, so I'm not turning to food for comfort or security, or out of boredom, fatigue, or habit. These are things I'm trying to implement in my daily life to help keep me stronger and more resilient through temptation.

1. Dress well every day. Put on good foundation garments to tame that jiggle! You will feel pulled together (literally!) and have more respect for yourself than if you slop around in your "fat" clothes. Put on some makeup if that's something you like, or a spritz of perfume. Do your hair. The better you look, the less you will be tempted to indulge in mindless snacking.

2. Think about what you might be really craving besides sugar. Comfort? Security? Love? Are you sad, bored, lonely, frustrated? Call a friend. Hug a pet. Do something kind for someone. Ask God to show you what you really need, and then do it.

3. Don't give food more importance than it is due. This is a hard one when you are learning a new way to eat and researching healthy eating ideas and recipes. This can involve a lot of time and energy going into thinking about food. If you are preparing food for a family every day, you have to think about food. Try to prepare as simple a dish as possible that is still satisfying so you're not in the kitchen as much. Give food its necessary due, but then move on.

4. Consider online grocery shopping. You still will probably need to go to the store for vegetables and fruit, etc., but you can limit your time around all those temptations. Seriously, I think it's a conspiracy to keep us all fat and unhealthy!

5. Limit meals out. This can be a hard one if you're used to eating out as a special way to enjoy time with a spouse or friend, or when you're too busy to cook. But there are so many temptations! Yes, you can eat healthy out but it requires some discipline. Learn to cook quick, nourishing, fast meals at home and the scale will thank you. Look for other ways to spend a night out. Go to a movie, go to a park, have a game night with friends (with healthy snacks).

6. Enlist the power of prayer. A friend and I are working through a free online course which helps us to rely on the Lord rather than on food for our ultimate needs. So far it's been really helpful for keeping our eyes focused on the most important things and not on that doughnut down at the local bakery!

7. Think of other ways you might treat yourself than by having a piece of cake or pie. Put on a sheet (face) mask (they're just a few dollars at the drugstore) and put your feet up for 15 minutes. Give yourself a mani or pedi or go get one done. Go for a massage. Take a luxurious bath. Light a candle and read from a favorite book or devotional.

8. Drink a large glass of water, maybe with a lemon or lime wedge. Oftentimes, we are really just dehydrated rather than hungry.

9. Exercise. I just hate that word, I really do. It's been a struggle for me. But, wow, you just have to do it. I'm trying to find ways to make it a little more enjoyable, like watching a YouTube video when I'm on the treadmill or really working up a sweat cleaning my house (that counts!). (Not that cleaning a house is that enjoyable, but the end result is pretty nice.) 

10. Enlist the help of friends. Ask for prayer. Join forces. Encourage each other. 

11. Don't be a people pleaser when it comes to food. Preaching to myself here. In other words, don't feel guilty turning down a friend's homemade cookies or pie. Don't apologize for what you're trying to do. Don't let people guilt you into accepting "just a bite" because it's a "special occasion." You don't want to start down that road! Explain your diet and quietly do your thing. Don't be a nuisance either; bring your own food if you need to, but don't go on and on about your diet or your "special needs." It's boring and annoying to those who just want to enjoy their food. And don't judge others!

12. Feast on beauty, not food. Surround yourself with beautiful things that bring you joy. Declutter your home and add some flowers. There's so much to be said on this subject. But really look at, soak in, and be grateful for everyday beauty. Try to allow it to speak to you and feed your soul. 

13. Bad-mouth the sugar. I find it helpful now when I see sugar-laden treats to start up an inner rant right away. Look at that stuff. Poison! They're trying to kill us! This equals diabetes and wrinkles and constipation and cancer! Why would I put that in my body, the one and only body I have that works so hard for me? Why would I poison myself that way? Etc. Whatever works for you. Just don't say it out loud. Other people want to enjoy their sugar without feeling judged. (I know, I've been there!)


Thanks to you all who have left encouraging comments and who've sent helpful links. I was especially encouraged by a post Margie sent me by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, who has been sugar-free for 7 years! I loved her thoughts about "moderators" versus "abstainers," and how she just functions better as an abstainer. I think that's me, too.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. Anybody have any other ideas? Would love to hear them.


  1. Wow, I am just so impressed by your determination and seeking ways to "make it happen." I would say you are on the right path and I'll sure be supporting you in prayer and encouragement. Thanks for allowing us to share your journey with you.

  2. You are an inspiration and will certainly be in my prayers to help you sustain the inner strength needed. I am doing some research into different diets and need to lose weight myself so I too thank you for allowing us on this journey with you.

  3. I needed this 10 minutes ago. I caved and ate a chocolate wafer, shame on me. I started January 2017 on the Atkins Low Carb diet and lost 67 lbs. I don't think of it as a diet but a healthy way of eating. I am maintaining now and can cheat some, but after and during eating that wafer I felt so bad, wished I hadn't eaten it. Bad, bad, poison sweet, must be careful from now on. to keep myself up, I do what you said about the Beautiful. It sure helps me, doesn't make me beautiful, but sure makes me feel that way.

  4. A wonderful list. I start my day with a big glass of very cold water because I lose a lot of water while I sleep (still having hot flashes & night sweats)! I also have water when I think I'm hungry when it is not meal time & it helps. So you are right for hint #8. I also try to avoid the center aisles of the grocery store and shop the perimeter-produce, meat, dairy and I'm very particular about what I put in my cart, even from those places. Always have a list! Also, getting out in nature, even if it is to just look at the sky or listen to leaves rustling, feeling a breeze and expressing gratitude in those moments help.

  5. I think I hear what you are saying about willpower and sugar cravings. Of all the women (men, too) I have known who have lost a substantial amount of weight, only one has kept the weight off. It is a sticky problem. I think that it requires a supernatural healing from The Lord God Himself.

  6. Thank you Deborah for these posts. I am also trying to give up sugar. Would you be able to share a link to the online course you mentioned in your post?

    1. Margaret, I didn't see a way to respond to you personally, so I hope you see this. https://settingcaptivesfree.com/course/weight-loss

  7. I have kept this post up to read again this morning. You've made such good points that I really appreciate. I don't have some of the same temptations since I am allergic to sugar. My choice would be eat some and be deathly sick...lol...not much of a choice. But I don't like to feel deprived either. I avoid artificial sugar but I have a treat that I have when I really want a dessert. It may sound silly but it works for me. I take a sugar free Klondike bar and cut it into 4 pieces...ahead of time! When I want a special dessert, I take one square and put it in a bowl with some broken pecans and EAT IT! It's perfect and just enough to make me feel happy! You need to find some exercise that you enjoy. I don't even think of my hiking as exercise any more. I LONG to get out on the trails...it's more like finally getting to go outside and PLAY! heehee! Thanks for sharing so much great info! Sweet Hugs, your sugar free friend!

  8. What an inspiration you are, Deborah. Not only does it take TONS of willpower but I say courage as well! So very proud of you and will continue to pray as you travel this road.

  9. Thanks for the shout-out, Deborah. I'm so glad that you found the article useful. Did you know Gretchen Rubin also wrote a book about decluttering, "Outer Order, Inner Calm?

  10. These are absolutely spot-on! I love everyone of these suggestions and continue to pray for you on your journey, sweet friend. Many blessings to you!

  11. These are all great and helpful suggestions. It sounds like you are really motivated and trying hard with not eating sugar.

  12. Dearest Janey,
    That is a lot of good points!
    Well, I've never ever felt tempted to buy anything sweet.
    What would be hard for me to not eat is fruits, LOVE them.
    Point 13 is so very true and it is pure poison. A huge addiction for many people and as young as toddlers...
    It's Official: Sugar is the New Crack and you can find more info here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/375980268892117860/
    Good luck!

  13. Your journey is going to take you to a great place!
    My husband and I are taking a similar journey.

  14. Good advice, all of it! You address so many different facets of the eating difficulty. Thank you!


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