Sugar cravings are no joke. Whether you have developed a taste for the sweet stuff after eating it for so long or you are stuck smelling the aroma of the delicious bakery next door, sometimes there is little that you can do to control our sugar cravings-or so we make ourselves think! My weakness has always been cupcakes because I am addicted to the icing on top! I tingle just thinking about one! However, the day I cut cupcakes out of my life, the better I felt. And I can tell you-it was not easy. It is true that sugar can get you addicted! It produces the same effects on the brain such as drugs like cocaine or heroine. Scary, right? White sugar is chemically formulated to make us love the taste and then keep us coming back for more. This is why we do not think twice about saying no to a birthday party! Think about it. When you taste the cake, donuts, ice cream, whatever sweets you may choose- it sends these signals to your brain that makes you feel so happy and energetic inside (endorphins)! Let's say you drink one soda. After an hour or so, you tend to feel worse than you did before drinking the soda. So, what do you do? You reach for another soda for that energy and happiness again. Crash. Repeat. Instead of using sugar to trigger those endorphins or good feelings, try exercise or even a hot steamy sexual session! Both will give you the same exact effect-and even help you burn some calories in the process. Luckily, it IS possible to break the vicious cycle of sugar addiction. It is never easy and withdrawals can and will happen-just as with any addiction! Here are 10 tips to get you headed in the right direction of breaking the sugar chain: 1. Wrap your mind around the idea. Quitting an addiction is a very mental process because you must be mentally strong enough to stop giving in. Basically, you must teach yourself to break a bad habit, here. Find whatever motivates you or inspires you to quit sugar and stick with it. Educate yourself on why you want sugar out of your life and write those reasons down so you will not forget why you are doing this. 2. Use more natural sweeteners. To help you in your journey to beating your sugartooth, ease away from white or granulated sugar by slowly replacing it with more natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar-the list goes on! There are a large variety of alternatives that you can choose from to substitute the yucky white stuff. Here are 5 of my personal favorite sugar alternatives to try! 3. Get more rest Sleep is the divine healer of all things. No, really. When you are fatigued, you will do anything to feel better and to get your energy levels back. Before reaching for an energy drink or Frappuccino, try taking a nap and see how you feel afterwards. Sleep deprivation can cause your stress levels to rise which in turn, makes you crave sweet crap even more-not to mention it also causes weight gain. So get your zzzz's! 4. Drink water Water fills your tummy and makes you full. We all know that. However, so many of us tend to enjoy something with a little more pizzazz or taste to it. I am guilty! I hate the boring taste of water. Instead, I love to add a few slices of fresh lemon to my waters or even infuse fresh fruits as well. This helps to give the water a more natural, fun flavor and spice things up, 5. Brush Your Teeth With Minty Paste or Chew Mint Gum Other than keeping your mouth busy, studies have shown that brushing your teeth and chewing mint gum helps bust a craving. Nothing tastes worse than eating something sweet (or any food in general) after brushing your teeth or eating something with a minty flavor to it. I even hate eating food after sucking on peppermints- it gives the same effect. The stronger the mint, the more you are unlikely to reach for sweets. 6. Read Your Labels Know your nutrition! This is very important because if you are truly trying to bust your sugar habit because you do not want any sugar lurking around or hiding in your favorite foods. Always read your labels and sugar/carbohydrate contents on your food when grocery shopping. Do not forget to read the ingredient list either! If you see an ingredient ending in -ose, take a second look. 7. Choose Fruit Instead Fruit, though it sometimes can have a high natural sugar content, is a better option to your sodas, pies, donuts, ice creams, etc. If you are concerned about the amount of sugar in your fruit, aim for better fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Natural sugars always trump processed sugars. 8. Drink Water & Eat frequently This is obviously another no-brainer, but many fail to abide by this rule. By keeping your tummy satisfied, there is usually little to worry about. When you crave something sweet, grab a bottle of water, drink it, and re-ask yourself the question of whether or not you want the cupcake. Make sure you are eating 5-6 small meals a day so that your body never goes too long without something fueling it. This cuts down on cravings drastically. Good luck!!