In an episode of the iconic Sex in the City (yes, we reference this show a lot) Miranda makes a chocolate cake, only to find that she cannot stop eating it. She tries to throw it away, but ends up digging it out of the trash for “one more bite.” Finally, she pours an entire bottle of dish soap over it as a last resort—and promptly joins Weight Watchers. If you are like us, you can relate!
Midlife sweet cravings are real, and studies show that they can be attributed to things like decreases in estrogen and progesterone, as well as changes in the adrenal glands and the regulation of Cortisol, the hormone that controls, among other things, our appetites. So, while you might have been able to say yes to that extra cookie or scoop of ice cream in your youth without too many repercussions—the same doesn’t hold true today. In fact, sugar can exacerbate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and weight gain.
Then what can you do when that piece of chocolate cake won’t stop calling your name? Well, before you get out the bottle of dish soap, try one of these suggestions below to beat those sweet cravings.
Don’t Buy It: The most obvious solution to avoiding temptation is not to put yourself in its path. In other words—if you have a weakness for Oreos—don’t keep them in your pantry.
Drink Water: I know a cold bottled water doesn’t trump a warm chewy cookie, but the point here is that you may not actually be hungry. Most of us walk around mildly dehydrated and don’t even realize it. That thirst can masquerade as hunger so before you grab a sweet—take a sip!
Move Your Body: Do you really want that treat—or are you simply bored? Only one way to find out—get moving! Go for a walk, head to the gym, do some yoga, work in your garden. There’s nothing like a little physical activity to make you forget your cravings.
Check in With Yourself: Is there something bigger going on in your life that’s causing you extra stress? If so, try other, more productive techniques such as meditation, losing yourself in a good book, or soaking in a hot bath to alleviate those feelings rather than trying to “sweeten” your mood.
Don’t Deny—Modify: If all else fails—modify. Small changes can make a big difference. For example, leave the whipped topping off of your favorite coffee drink, or have a piece of dark chocolate rather than a candy bar. Find a way to satisfy the craving without going overboard on the calories—even if it means taking one bite of cake and then dousing it in dish soap ala Miranda. Don’t worry—we won’t judge!