Read This If You Always Crave Sugar

sugar cravings
Do You Constantly Crave Sugar?

Are you regularly wanting to swan dive into cookies, baked treats, and sweet things? Feel like an insatiable bottomless pit when it comes to carbs?

Just know that your body isn’t trying to betray you. And for most people, it may not just be a matter of “needing more will power,” though it certainly could be for some people.

If we’re talking about people who love working out and being active, common culprits behind intense sugar or carb cravings are often related to not eating enough carbs, not eating enough calories, and/or training too much or too hard.

If talking about more every day people, I’d say the most common culprits often revolve around not getting enough sleep, not eating at regular intervals throughout the day, and things more revolved around nutrition habits that could be better dialed in, such as food choices or building higher quality meals.

There’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all answer here, but hopefully I can give you some suggestions and questions to reflect on. This is something I used to struggle with for quite a few years, especially when I was running a ton and doing competitive CrossFit back in the day.

 

Do Your Inputs Match Your Outputs?

You don’t know what you don’t know. And if there was a theme for my life during 2010-2016, it was doing the most… but not eating or recovering the most to support all of my activities.

  • I worked out 2-4 hours per day, sometimes multiple times in a day
  • I went hard 5-7 days per week
  • I never took total rest days off working out
  • I averaged 4-5 hours of sleep most nights
  • I was absolutely terrified to eat carbs
  • I definitely was never eating enough cuz I was always obsessing about my abs or my appearance
I Was a Sugar Dragon

If you’ve never done a Whole30 Challenge, “Sugar Dragon” is a nickname they give to those overwhelming cravings for carbs, sweets, and treats. Basically, if I bought a bag of granola, I’d accidentally eat the whole bag. Or one cookie might turn into several. Keeping ice cream or treats in the house? Forget it.

My body wasn’t trying to betray me. I didn’t just “need more willpower.”

  • My body needed me to eat more calories.
  • My body needed me to eat more carbs.
  • My body needed me to sleep more.
  • My body needed more rest days.
  • My body needed me to train less.
  • My body needed less stress and more rest.
What If Your Body Isn’t Trying To Betray You, Either?

If someone mentions they have intense cravings of any kind, you can often find some disconnects or root causes in their nutrition, fitness, or lifestyle habits after asking a handful of questions (:

Common Culprits Behind Cravings:

  • not eating enough carbs or calories (or both)
  • constant stress, not getting enough sleep
  • working out too hard or too much
  • not taking enough rest days
  • dehydration, boredom
  • not eating at regular intervals throughout the day
  • not eating enough protein and meat
  • lower food quality (eating tons of fast food or super processed food vs lots of fruits, veggies, etc )
  • Hormone fluctuations, poor digestion, nutrient deficiencies
Things to Reflect On

As I mentioned above, time to get busy and audit yourself and your habits!

Workouts:

  • How many days do I work out per week?
  • How would I rate the intensity of workouts?
  • How many steps do I average per day?
  • Am I getting at least 1-2 rest days per week?

Health & Lifestyle:

  • How is my stress? (work, personal, relationship, family and kids…)
  • How many hours of sleep do I get most nights? What’s the quality of my sleep like?
  • How is my digestion? Do I regular bowel movements? What about constipation or diarrhea?
  • How often am I drinking alcohol? What about caffeine?

Nutrition:

  • How many carbs and calories am I eating each day?
  • Am I drinking my bodyweight/2 in ounces of water each day?
  • Do I get usually get big servings of protein 3-5x per day?
  • Am I getting at least 25-30g of fiber daily?
  • Are most of my meals well-rounded and contain a protein, carbs, and healthy fats? 
  • How many fruits and veggies do I eat each day? 
  • What’s my overall food quality like? Am I preparing most of my meals or dining out a lot? How often do I eat fast food?
Examples of Actions You Might Implement
  • Start going to bed earlier and prioritizing moresleep
  • If working out 5+ days per week, drop down to 4-5 days and see how you feel
  • Start tracking your macros to see how much protein, carb, fat, etc you average each day
  • Add an extra 100-200 calories extra per day to however many calories you’re already eating
  • Reversely, move around existing calories to encompass eating more carbs
  • Eat more fruits, veggies, and high-fiber foods
  • Set alarms on your phone to remind yourself to eat throughout the day 

… and so on.

Kick Those Cravings To the Curb For Good

This may take some time to troubleshoot and dial in YOUR unique situation, of course.

It might be a simple change like eating a little more carbs or calories, or it might require quite a few adjustments over time with food, exercise, and lifestyle.

But generally, those who are consistently training smartly, well-fed, and well-recovered will likely find they don’t crave sugar regularly or deal with intense cravings nearly as much (if at all) over time.

 

Where To Go From Here

You can always check out my e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Nutrition, Muscle Gain, & Fat Loss if you want to get more details about supporting your nutrition and fitness goals (:

And we’re always posting workout and nutrition tips on our Paragon Training Methods Instagram page. Follow along for free workouts and more tips to help you look and feel your best!

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