Another Great Way to Beat the Late Afternoon Sugar Craving

I’m no stranger to dieting, battling cravings, trying to fit fitness into a busy lifestyle, or any aspect of trying to balance personal fitness into my life. If there’s a popular diet out there, I’ve most likely given it a go at some point.

Over the years, though, I’ve learned there’s no short-cut to getting healthy. It takes work and determination has to become your new best friend. It’s a struggle every single day. And you will have good days…and there will always be bad days.  But I’ve learned a lot of things about me and my body and more specifically how to listen when my body is trying to tell me something.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to realize is I didn’t listen to my own body nearly enough before. In fact, sometimes I would actually tune it out, which is counter-productive to getting into shape and in-tune with your body. Obvious, right? But I didn’t realize I was doing it for a long time. It’s about reading the signals and deciphering them correctly.

If you are anything like me, you may have started a gazillion different exercise programs over the years and found that your body is more tired when you add a lot of exercise into your life. That’s normal. So, it’s important to make sure you give your body more time to repair when working your body so hard. When you add stress, physical and mental, to your daily grind, your body is in more need of repair. So, if you were getting 7 hours of sleep before you began your exercise regimen, you should probably bump that up to 8 or 8 1/2 hours until your body has adjusted.

But that’s not what I did.  I was still going to bed and waking up at the same time every night, same as I had done before. And I would wake up tired. I upped my coffee intake, which wasn’t that bad since I drink it black, but the added caffeine would deplete my waterstores. Then, I’d need to drink more water and couldn’t drink enough to overcome the caffeine. Plus, with the added exercise, I actually needed even more than that. It was like burning the candle at both ends. Not healthy at all.

Cupcakes. One of my favorite foods to satisfy a chocolate/sugar craving. Why is it that there are so many holidays where sweets are involved. I say we boycott them all! (Just kidding.)

The other problem I started to encounter is the late afternoon sugar craving.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had trouble with sugar cravings before, but these were serious monster-like cravings that I just couldn’t control. Every afternoon after lunch, I would pace like a prowling cat, wandering around looking for something to satisfy my craving. Once I found what I wanted, usually something chocolate and loaded with all the bad stuff and tons of calories, I would literally binge. This is the kind of binging that gives you tons of guilt afterwards. I would feel so badly after, I believed all the exercise I had done was for naught. And inevitably, I would eventually give up whatever program I was on and go back to my usual ways. Defeated again.

What I now understand is my body was trying to help me. My own body was trying to tell me what I needed and I interpreted the signals completely wrong. I was exhausted and water-depleted. My brain was trying to send signals for me to rest and drink more water, and I was interpreting those signals as sugar cravings. Most of the time when we feel strong cravings come on, it’s a sign that something is missing. But the secret is to figure out what it is you’re missing instead of going with your first feeling. Mostly, you body will not need sugar or chocolate, no matter how strongly you feel the urge to eat it!

Now, when I know the late afternoon is approaching, I’m very mindful of my food and water intake. I want to make sure I have given my body the proper nutrients and water before the cravings have a chance to sneak up on me. That’s the first step. Next, when I feel cravings start, I don’t react right away. When I catch myself pacing, I analyze what I’ve missed in my diet first. Then, I evaluate how much water I’ve had and how much exercise. If I’ve exercised a lot and haven’t had a lot of water, I make sure to correct that.

If, after all of that, I still have cravings, which I sometimes do, then I take a nap! This is my latest tool in the battle of the sugar cravings. If I’m having some bad cravings even though my diet and water are in check, then the last thing I go to is my sleep. I’ve found that when I’m tired my cravings shoot up and my resolve sinks to almost nothing. So, I lay down and take a power nap. Usually not for more than half an hour, but it works wonders on my brain and body.  It sounds simple, and it is, once you learn how to interpret the signals your brain is sending.

I’m still no expert on reading my body’s signals but I continue to learn every day. It’s nice to know that my body is looking out for me. Especially when I just thought it was trying to sabotage all of my efforts before. Still, it’s a continuous journey to health. The more I learn, the more I grow…healthier!

To a healthier, happier and longer life!

About Jodie M Cordell

I am a military spouse and a freelance writer/copywriter. I love to write and fill my time writing for both pleasure and profession. I specialize in advertising and marketing but have a passion for food, nutrition and health. I spend my free time writing about the wonderful things I learn regarding food and nutrition and enjoy sharing all the things I find with others. View all posts by Jodie M Cordell

7 responses to “Another Great Way to Beat the Late Afternoon Sugar Craving

  • Judy Zavislak

    This is SO cool! I had been experiencing the same cravings lately. I didn’t connect my lack of water and rest with it though. However, I DID connect my lack of ENERGY with not enough water and rest, so I started doing the right thing…drinking more water and forcing myself to bed at a decent hour. I feel like a completely different person after only a few days of this. AND…you are right! The cravings (although not totally gone) are lessening! Thanks for that confirmation!

  • Joe Rohde

    Hi Jodie,
    Really good content and I’ll be back to read more. For me the weight loss and improved fitness really took off when combining good nutrition with the UBC workout program.
    A couple of comments on the blog:
    1) Buy the domain name and shift to a direct URL instead of the sub-domain under It looks both more personal and professional.
    2) WordPress has a page break function that will put a ‘more’ tag in so people can see some of each blog and choose which they want to continue reading. It gives your stuff more exposure to your vistors.

    Keep writing!

    • Jodie M Cordell

      YES!! I’ve been thinking of upgrading and getting the direct URL. I like WordPress a lot but think, like you said, there are so many benefits to having the direct link. One of them being I can advertise! Thank you so much for the advice. I really appreciate it. And thanks for taking the time to read my blog! I really enjoy yours, too, and will be back to visit again!

      • Joe Rohde

        You can do all of those things within the WordPress framework too. There’s an Amazon plugin among other things that lets you set up a store, etc. And Wordcamp is coming up in SF in August if you have time and budget and want to learn more.

  • christina sears

    Hi, I actually crave sweets when i am experiancing anxiety! I dont keep sweets in my house but when i have anxiety i keep searching the kitchen over and over again for SOMETHING and even have made extra trips to the store for donuts or something simalar and to my surprize lately, im not enjoying the sweets like i used to, the taste kinda bad but i STILL eat it!! and why the heck dont we EVER remember about the after guilt BEFORE we put that crap into our mouths!

    • Jodie M Cordell

      Oh girl! I know, right??? Why can’t we be hit with the guilt BEFORE we ever get to that point??? LOL! I know what you mean, too, about getting something that doesn’t EVEN TASTE GOOD and eating it anyway. Ugh! It’s terrible the things we end up doing to ourselves in moments of weakness, lapses in judgment, boredom or just tiredness. It’s a constant struggle!!

  • CoachWoot

    Sugar, love it and hate it…LOL To fight cravings I have used mouthwash. Sounds funny but it does work.

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