Create a JOY toolbox to keep your Sugar Cravings at Bay

I always find it tougher to be joyful in the winter months. I miss my long walks in the woods. I miss the feeling of the sun kissing my body. I miss being warm and cozy. I miss wearing flip-flops.

I know I’m hardly alone. Many people are impacted by the changes in the weather and need a little boost to feel better.

When I was a stress/emotional eater, I always turned to food to feel better. It never worked. I felt guilty for overeating while I was eating and even worse afterward. Feeling guilty and/or giving yourself a food hangover is a sign that you are not giving your body what it really needs.

One of my favorite concepts that I learned at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition was the need for PRIMARY FOODS.

What are "primary" foods? Anything that nourishes you that does not come on the plate. When you are missing joy from your life no amount of cookies, cakes, brownies, chips, beer or wine will ever fill this void.

That is why I challenge you to create your JOY TOOLBOX. Write a list of things that bring you true, lasting pleasure. Keep off anything that gives you momentary happiness but leaves you feeling bad afterward.

The more we add into our joy toolbox, the less we will feel drawn to food to fill a non-food function. Everyone will have a different joy toolbox. Whatever brings you joy is unique to you.

I am sharing my JOY TOOLBOX with you in hopes that it will inspire you to create your own.

Here are a few things on my list in random order:

Morning pages- Free writing in the morning

Talking to a friend- really sharing hopes/dreams/desires.

Lighting Candles


Keeping a Gratitude Journal


Dance breaks with my family and by myself

Going for a walk


Watching the sunset and moonrise

Flowers in the house

Cup of tea

Bubble baths

Green juice or smoothies

Planning a vacation

Watching a funny movie

Sitting in front of my fireplace and pretending I am camping



You can always add more and more to your JOY TOOLBOX. Having lots of go to ideas helps when you need that quick infusion of happiness. It also keeps you away from the cookie jar.