While the holidays are certainly a time to indulge, the combination of a celebratory season and the fact that we naturally crave sweeter foods in the wintertime often leads to sugar overload. And while small amounts of sugar are fine once in a while, too much sugar is linked to everything from mood swings and insomnia to cardiovascular disease and cancer.
If you find sugar cravings hitting multiple times throughout the day lately, never fear: There are certain workouts that can blast your sugar cravings in just a few minutes. Here are the ones you should try.
Go for a walk outside.
According to health coach and FitVista founder Michelle Cady, the best way to obliterate your sugar cravings is by taking a walk outside. "Sometimes when we crave sugar, we actually just need to re-energize our body with movement," she says. "My favorite way to kick the sugar craving is to go for a long walk, without any cash in my pocket. That way, I'm not tempted to buy anything along my walk. Usually 30 minutes of brisk fresh air is enough to invigorate and get back in sync with your body."
Carolyn Brown, M.S., R.D., also believes in the power of the walk—but she believes a few minutes is all it takes. "Generally food cravings only last three to 10 minutes, which I know is hard to believe when you’re in the midst of one," she says. "So while a yoga class or spin class would be great to get your mind off things, even getting out for a walk around the block is a fantastic way to clear your head!"
Go for a tough workout that fires up your muscles.
If you want to shift your attention from sugar to real food, Cady believes the fastest way to do that is to engage in a tough workout. "There's nothing like a high-intensity circuit strength boot camp class to reset your body and re-signal your body to crave real food," she says. "If your muscles truly need real energy to refuel, the sound of chicken, broccoli, and a high-quality fat sounds delicious, not boring."
Give Pilates a try.
While Pilates is good for the body for a number of reasons, neurologist Ilene Ruhoy believes it's particularly helpful when it comes to controlling cravings. "Pilates focuses on strengthening the core and elongates our muscles and by extension our bodies as opposed to weight lifting, which shortens the muscle fibers," she says. "Strengthening our core helps control our gastrointestinal function as it supports the GI system with peristalsis and so foodstuffs move through appropriately. We not only have a greater sense of when we are full, but the efficient transport and removal of the foods we eat allows our system to absorb necessary nutrients and makes us feel less interested in eating more when we don't actually need it."
Want more ideas for how to get rid of sugar cravings? Here are 12 good ones.