We have sort of a love/hate relationship with sugar, wouldn’t you say? It’s absolutely delightful. I’ll give you that. It tastes amazing on most everything I’ve ever tried it in/on (don’t judge) and when I think back to even childhood, treats and desserts often associated love… grandma bakes because she loves you… if you’re good, you’ll get xyz… dessert was spent in front of the tv, laughing with family… heck, we had dessert parties! To hell with the entrees!
But then, oh the dread… the belly aches, the headaches, blood sugar crashes, weight gain, and for many, as a result of that unhealthy lifestyle, very extreme health conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, etc…
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s no big secret that too much sugar can cause a lot of problems for our bodies. What most of us don’t realize is that sugar is a hidden culprit in some of our favorite foods. Foods don’t necessarily have to be ‘sweet’ in order to have a lot of sugar. Take a look at some of the nutrition labels on your favorite snacks, and you just might be surprised.
So, if you’re trying to kick sugar in the ass for good, what can you do? It’s not as impossible as it may sound, as long as you keep a few helpful tips in mind.
- Be Naturally Sweet
Keep in mind that the ‘bad’ sugar we’re talking about here is refined and processed. Eating real, whole, natural foods is never a bad idea. So, look for foods that are naturally sweet, like fruits. While they still have a high sugar content, their other nutrients help to offset any negative aspects. Eating whole fruits will help to give you vitamins, minerals, fiber, and so much more – plus, they can satisfy a sweet tooth craving.
- Break Habits
Oftentimes, we eat things because we’re used to them, or we’ve fallen into a routine. This could be a piece of chocolate after dinner, sugary cereal in the morning, etc. It’s easy to step into these routines and not even think about the amount of sugar we’re consuming. It’s just another reason why it’s so important to read labels. If your routine is sabotaging your sugar strike, it’s time to break the bad habits for better choices. Instead of coming straight home from work, go to the gym and get a nice workout in. Meet at the park with a friend, and take in the beautiful day. And carry a bottle of water with you, everywhere. Stay hydrated. Drink water when you want that ‘regular’ snack. You’ll quench that craving, and hydrate your body/skin at the same time!
- Be Prepared
It’s easy to reach for a sugary snack or hit the vending machine when we’re hungry or bored. One way to prevent yourself from doing that is to prepare snacks in advance. If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, have a ‘meal prep’ day that also includes preparing snacks for the week. Your snacks could include things like nuts, a piece of fruit, hard boiled eggs, etc. When you have healthy options on hand without having to search for them, it’s an easy switch. The ideas here are endless. Make it fun. Think of 5 new ‘healthy’ snacks you haven’t tried and pack yourself those as a treat/backup. You deserve it!
- Keep Emotions in Check
Emotional eating is a problem for a lot of people. The worst part? Most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. What do you reach for when you’re feeling (HALT) Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? More often than not, when you are ‘hungry’ for an emotional reason, you’ll find it’s for either something salty or exceptionally sweet (and usually, not very good for you!).
While it may not be possible to keep your emotions in check 24/7, try to be more aware of what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling it. Then, try to discover an alternative to reaching for a sugary snack. Take a walk/run, walk the dog, meditate, call a friend, listen to music, sleep (if you’re genuinely tired) or GET A GREAT WORKOUT IN!
Taking refined sugar out of your life as much as possible can be difficult at the beginning, but once you start to consciously read labels, and make choices with thought, it can be easier than you ever would have imagined. Plus, you’ll love how your body feels after just a short time without so much sugar.
Now, go kick sugar’s ass!