Avoiding sugar is the hot topic right now, and it should be. Most of us are so addicted to sugar – the hit of it releases the feel good chemical dopamine in the reward centers of our brain, and as with any addiction, to regain that feeling, once the rush subsides, we need more and more of the stuff! It is a struggle to control especially when most “healthy” diets are packed with sugar in some form or another. Simple sugars (from cakes, sweets, processed foods, low fat etc) have literally NO place in a our bodies, we can’t utilize them for any function, so they can only be deposited as FAT. Sugar is now a known poison and wreaks havoc with both our physical and mental health – we are overweight, tired, unpredictable in mood and just unwell, simply due to the amount of sugar we eat.
As a Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach, I know that reducing sugar intake is the one guaranteed way of boosting weight loss and promoting great health.
It is one of my main aims to make clients understand the long term health consequences of eating too much sugar and to help them to eliminate it from their diets as much as possible. I find that offering simple alternative strategies for when the craving hits is the most effective way, and when the strategies are practicsed regularly, the sugar stranglehold lessens.
As your body becomes more balanced through a healthier diet, processed, sugar laden “foods” WILL become less appealing.
Regardless of how simple and clean our diet is, almost everyone gets cravings for sweets or junk food now and then – we see all the adverts for the easy processed “foods”, the wine at the end of the day, the social conditioning which pulls us in. However as you practice better eating habits and wean yourself off sugar, the Sugar Devil on your shoulder roaring demands in your ear WILL become quieter and more of a suggestion, but still, it is useful to have some suggestions to fight back when a sugar craving strikes. My top tips that work for me and my clients when the craving jumps at us are;
- Drink a cold glass of distilled water or citrus-flavored mineral water.
- Identify what triggered the craving, and don’t allow yourself to have the treat until you come up with the answer – Is it hunger? A stressful event? An inconsiderate spouse? Thirst? Loneliness? Boredom? Plain old sitting in front of the TV habit?
- Make a conscious decision to eat or NOT eat the sweet – it really is only “food”, not some magic substance that holds unlimited power of you!
- Remember, you’re the boss of your behavior. No one makes you do anything. If you decide to eat some sugar, you must own it and do it on purpose. Don’t make any excuses or point any fingers!
If You Decide NOT To Eat Something Sweet
- Give yourself a (healthy) personal reward! Book a massage, a manicure, treat yourself to a magazine, a movie.
- Tell someone – Call or e-mail a friend, or write a blog post or a Facebook update, ask for help. You will get it.
- Choose a positive substitute activity. One that will make you feel good after you have done it not wretched and miserable after you have eaten the sweet.
If You Decide To Eat Something Sweet
- You must abide by the ten-minute rule — you have to wait ten minutes before you eat a sugary treat – If you still want it after ten minutes, go ahead.
- Put the amount you’ll eat on a very small plate first (it will look like a bigger portion) — no eating from packages or serving dishes.
- Try a substitute sweet fix instead;
- A couple squares of sugar-free chocolate
- A small portion of a low-glycemic fruit like cherries, apples, or plums
- A sugar free mint
- Decaf green tea or licorice tea to help restore adrenal function
- Water sweetened with stevia and a splash of fresh citrus
Bit by bit, as you find alternatives and you feel better about yourself and healthier, see a waistline developing, your skin looking younger, your energy levels soaring, your body thanking you everyday, you WILL lessen the grip and be so proud of yourself. Be strong, step up and start today!