So you think you’re ready to cut sugar out of your daily eating routine? Let’s not sugar-coat it. (Sorry. That was horrible. But I couldn’t stop myself.) It’s going to be tough. For me, day four was the most difficult. But it will be so worth while. We will feel super 2015 fantastic without all that extra sugar!
A few notes before we start. I am not a health professional. At the bottom of this post you will find links to professionals who help others stop eating sugar. I am just a person who recognizes a problem in myself and wants to share what I have learned.
Sugar is sugar. I suggest not replacing sugary treats with fruit. While you should not totally abstain because fruit has fiber and all kinds of healthy vitamins, you do not want to keep your body craving sugar by substituting one form of sugar for another.
Sugar is sugar also means that honey and agave are sugars. Do not replace the white stuff with natural sweeteners. I’ve read that stevia does not interact with the body the same as other natural sugars, however I have never tried it. If you like stevia tell me about it.
The steps below have worked for me in the past. But I obviously do not have all the answers because I have not stayed completely sugar-free. I’m okay with that. I don’t mind consuming small amounts. I just do not want to return to eating four or five sugary treats a day. This may not work for everyone and you should consult your doctor before any radical change in diet.
Step 1 Observe yourself.
If we want to quit sugar (for the first time or again) we need to observe our own behavior. What triggers our cravings? What time of day do we consume it most? Why do we feel drawn to it? Are we fulfilling an emotional need? Are we bored? Are we feeling unchallenged? Are we feeling stressed or anxious? All these things could be sending us down a sugary path. Understanding the emotional side of our addiction will help us make rational decisions and make changes in our lives.
Step 2 Willingly move into the discomfort zone.
Next, let’s decide that leaving our comfort zone is a good thing. Sugar is comforting because it’s what we know. What if we tried living another way? What if we consumed other foods that would create lasting healthy changes? (Hint… say yes and fully commit mind and body.)
Step 3 Watch for added sugars.
How much processed food do we consume? Sugars added to our daily foods such as snacks, condiments, and beverages can contribute a lot of invisible sugar to our diets.
Read labels and find out what’s in the products we purchase. Look for code words for sugar. This article does a great job listing all the words that labels use to disguise sugar. Also this Prevention article lists 57 names for sugar! Sugar sneaks into everything.
Step 4 Do your research.
Find replacements for our sugar before we decide to eliminate or slowly ween ourselves. I substituted nuts and cut up vegetables for sweet treats. Also I realized that I was eating when in fact I was thirsty. Drinking more water, water flavored with lemon, and tea helped me stay full.
Step 5 Eat more protein and fats.
The first time I did this I started my day with either leftover dinner or made eggs with vegetables. Have a full stomach in the morning to carry you to lunch. Make sure to eat a full lunch with protein and fats, just like breakfast.
Protein and fat will fill us up so we are not hungry.
Do not become hungry because that leads to bad decision-making.
The medical community does not seem to agree on a safe amount of fat or the types of fats that we should consume. Read more here.
Step 6 Do NOT eat after 8 PM.
Make it a new life rule. A daily mantra.
Eat more in the morning and eat less at night. Our bodies will thank us. Our sleep will thank us. Read more here.
After about a week or two the sugar cravings will subside.
Lots of programs out there will help you quit sugar such as:
and many more websites and blogs have useful information:
Goodbye sugar. It’s been fun.