Kicking A Sugar Habit

sugary treatsI am guilty of over-indulging in chocolates, pumpkin shakes (when in season), powder-sugar doughnuts and more. I tried many times to “give up” sweets, but my evening ritual just never included fruits, nuts or anything else good for me. I finally found a way to lose my sweet tooth and stop buying this stuff and having it in my home.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like sweets, but now I can channel my evening cravings to other things not laden with sugar. I reward myself with a small piece of chocolate. I eat ice cream when I am out and don’t bring home any size container.

Here is how I finally kicked my sugar habit. If you are looking to lose a little weight, feel more alert, lose the brain fog, then this plan is for you.

  1. Start by cleaning out your home of anything that will tempt you that has sugar in it. Read the labels, there is sugar hiding in everything these days. Don’t sabotage your plan before you start it by freezing the tempting food. Anything can be eaten frozen if it is sweet! Trust me on this.
  2. The first 2 weeks just eliminate any drinks with sugar. Eat an orange instead of drinking an orange drink for breakfast. Have tea with lemon. Yes it is not sweet, but it is known to take the edge off of a sweet craving. Drink lots of water, flavored is okay if it does not contain sugar or chemical “sugars”. You know those things advertised as having no calories but are sweetened with chemicals? If it is sweetened with Stevia it would be better, but you want to get your body functioning without any sugar or substitute.
  3. Next, and this was a hard one for me, stop eating any processed foods. You know the ones, cookies, candy, breakfast bars, store packaged granola breakfast “treats”. These are laden with sugar and a trap to keep you addicted. Eliminate these for the next 2 weeks. Eat 3-4 pieces of fruit every day AFTER lunch. Your body will adjust to the lack of chemicals and sweets better. Fill up your breakfasts with a protein instead of a doughnut.
  4. By this time you should be getting healthy, lost a little weight, and been enjoying more energy. Your lack of sugar highs, will eliminate your crash and fatigue after the sugar burns off.
  5. For the next 2 weeks, you need to cut down on some of the carbohydrates that contain sugar. This would include crackers, white bread and white pasta. Now here is where I get pushy. Many doctors and scientists feel you should be eating whole wheat bread. If you live in the U.S. this is just as bad as eating a candy bar. The chemicals in the breads, especially whole wheat, is killing us. The farmers want a perfect grain to make the perfect looking loaf of bread. However, it ain’t your grandmother’s whole wheat any more. Substitute a little at a time. One thing you can do is add more vegetables to your cooking and use less pasta.
  6. By this time, I hope you have learned to read labels when you go shopping. If you have not been doing this, you will need to for the next 2 weeks (and forever I hope). I prefer that everyone cook from scratch, but that is not always feasible. I do a lot of cooking on weekends and stock up for the week ahead. Until then, read labels on any processed foods you buy, look for not only the sugar content, but the carbohydrates. Many carbs contain chemical sugars. Look for these on “sugar free” items as well. The worst offenders are found in condiments, sauces and salad dressings.

You will find out that your addition for sugar treats has diminished, you feel better, look better and are not in a fog most of the afternoon! Your taste buds are back to normal and eating a piece of fruit will be sweet enough.

For more information, check out Why Diets Fail: Because You’re Addicted to sugar, by Nicole Avena, Ph.D.

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