Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could make 180 degree changes in our lives overnight, simply by deciding to do so? For the most part, that is not how we are wired. We are wired for safety and comfort, so even if our current habits are not the most healthy, they are the habits that feel familiar and, well.... safe! Breaking out of our comfort zone is a process; one that requires a plan and setting an intention. Where eating habits are concerned: patience, time, and intention are key. We have to acknowledge the reasons WHY we want to eat cleaner and healthier, and then formulate a plan to do so. Taking a trash bag into the kitchen and tossing out the “bad” things is admirable, but that act does nothing to change our patterns of behavior. There are many, many ways to dive into the topic of behavior change, mindsets, etc., but today let’s talk about slow and steady changes that just might win the race. Let’s talk about sugar intake.
Sugar is a hard habit to break. In truth, sugar is more addictive than cocaine and heroin, so ditching it takes effort. Start small. Here are 10 tips that will help reduce sugar cravings and create more stable blood sugar:
- Identify your triggers. What is it that sends you sprinting to the pantry for a quick hit of the white stuff? This is first and foremost, because without knowing what sets you off, you will be fighting an endless battle. Think about your pitfalls, and then create a plan to overcome them. Write out your action plan; tape it to doors and mirrors—seriously. The struggle is real, but the solution is nearby.
- Eat protein for breakfast: Eating protein for breakfast will help to create or maintain a more even blood sugar curve, so you will be less likely to crave sugar for your next snack or meal.
- Go ahead and ditch the soda: Sodas are just a no-brainer. They are loaded with sugar and will catapult you to the never-ending blood sugar roller coaster. This one is simple: Get rid of it.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners: We wrongly assume that artificial sweeteners are a better choice because they have less (or zero) calories. Please don’t buy into this! Artificial sweeteners, besides being like poison to our bodies, actually cause our bodies to crave sugar. Choose honey or stevia instead.
- Get plenty of fiber in each meal: Fiber not only helps promote regularity by flushing things out of our bodies, it helps to slow down the absorption of sugar. The result is that we stay fuller longer and don’t crave sugar as much or as often.
- Read labels so you are aware of how much sugar is in each serving: Sugar is sneaky and surprising. Making yourself aware of what is in the foods you choose can go a long way towards forming new habits.
- Don’t go cold turkey: Doing too much too fast can cause a nasty backlash. Start by adding more fat, fiber, and protein into your overall diet. Then, cut sugary portions in half by mixing them with non-sugary ones. For example, mix plain greek yogurt in with your usual yogurt. Add protein powder to pancake mixes, toss chia seeds and protein powder into your dessert pudding. Add nuts and seeds into cookie batter, and reduce the sugar in the batter by 1/3. When you do eat sugar, make sure you combine it with protein, healthy fat, and fiber. Doing so will make the blood sugar spike less dramatic, causing you to crave less sugar.
- Exercise: If we are addicted to sugar, there is an excess amount of insulin in our bodies, which makes us store fat and crave even more sugar. The fastest way to get rid of insulin? Use our muscles! They will gobble up that excess sugar…and we will break a nice, detoxifying sweat, too. Win-win!
- Don’t go hungry. Don’t skip meals or eat too little calories. Eat your 3 squares a day, each complete with greens, healthy fat, fiber, and protein. When you give your body what it needs to do the work of living your amazing life, your cravings for sugar will decrease. Nourish your fabulous self.
- Stay accountable to someone: We are not meant to go it alone. The love and support of our tribes are essential to making any positive new change stick. Ask for help. You just might inspire someone else along the way.
As always, if you need further help in breaking the sugar cycle in your life, reach out to me for a personal consultation at: firstname.lastname@example.org