Welcome back to our blog series on How to Stay On Track Everyday. In our last instalment, we introduced the concept of ‘failure traps’ – those moments of temptation that test our motivation and make it difficult to achieve our health goals.
Picking up from where we left off, Part 2 of our series focusses on avoiding failure trap that most of us face every single day: the 3pm sugar cravings.
Or, what seem people refer to as the afternoon “snack attack.”
The Curse of 3pm:
You’ve been good all day; eaten well, completed your scheduled exercise, kept on top of your daily water intake…and then all of a sudden, the clock strikes three and you find yourself overcome by the urge for something sweet.
And, somehow, the apple that’s been patiently waiting on your desk just isn’t enough to get you through the afternoon. No, this calls for one thing, and one thing only: sugar.
Have you ever wondered what it is about 3pm that makes us reach for the chocolate bar, cookie jar, or whatever other sugary treat we can get our hands on? What happens in our minds at that time of the day that makes it so tempting to stray off track?
The Good News is: It’s Not Just You.
Afternoon sugar cravings are something we all struggle with.
Particularly for busy professionals, snacking at that time of the day is usually a way to pass the time until clock-off, or to overcome feelings of boredom, stress, or fatigue.
If you look up “how to overcome afternoon sugar cravings” online, the advice is pretty consistent: eat a good breakfast, get enough sleep, exercise, and drink plenty of water.
But while these are all good strategies, they fail to address the one thing that’s actually causing you to come off track – and that’s what’s happening in your mind.
In other words, while it’s good to eat well and get a good night’s rest, if you ignore the core issue of what’s tempting you to stray off track – that is, the bad angel on your shoulder whispering “just one won’t hurt” – it’s likely you’ll keep on reaching for the chocolate bar in the long run, and derail your efforts to achieve your goals.
So, how do you stay on track when the 3pm cravings hit?
Stay on Track in 3 Easy Steps:
One simple, but effective way to avoid giving into temptation is to think about the positive consequences of staying on track.
The key here is to shift gears and move your attention from the short-term pleasure of avoiding, to the long-term pleasure you will gain from achieving your goals. Because, let’s face it, you know how good it’ll feel when you complete your activity and stay on track. Would you rather feel pride, or guilt!
So, the next time 3pm rolls around and you’re facing a moment of temptation, practice these 3 steps to stop yourself reaching for the chocolate bar:
1. Stop and take a deep breath.
2. First, think about the short-term benefits of staying on track. Will overcoming this hurdle leave you feeling proud, accomplished, more confident?
3. Now, think of the long-term benefits. Reflect on your WHY and the impact it will have on your life, and those most important to you. Visualise yourself as your 10/10 – what do you look like? How are your loved ones reacting to you? How powerful is that vision to you?
Repeating this process everyday will give you a long-term solution to the short-term struggle of the afternoon sugar cravings. By reflecting on the positive consequences if you do stay on track, you are training your brain to develop a positive attitude to being healthy, and by doing so, creating a powerful magnet to draw you closer to achieving your goals.