Have you ever battled a sugar habit? I know I have! If you were to ask me to name one thing that has hindered my health and fitness goals throughout the years, my answer would be sugar.
One year I went about 9 months without having any refined sugar at all... then I went to my annual family reunion and had to wean myself off of it all over again. Over the years I've had to come up with all sorts of ideas in order to stay free from it. I'd like to share my ideas with you in hopes that they will be a help to you as well.
- Find healthier replacements for the sugary foods you love the most.
- Educate yourself about refined white sugar and what it does to your body. Having an understanding of how harmful sugar is definitely takes the fun out of eating it.
- Procrastinate. Have you ever put off a project until later? Well, why not use procrastination in a good way? Put off having that dessert until tomorrow. Sometimes 'tomorrow never comes'.
- Eat something every 2 to 3 hours. Skipping meals and snacks can trigger sugar cravings and binges.
- When sugar cravings arise, try eating something that is a good source of protein. A piece of clean fish or a leafy green salad with quinoa, feta and vegetables may actually be what your body is craving. Try it! You may be surprised.
- Have a great workout instead. Getting your body moving and oxygenating your blood may leave you feeling like you don't want to sabotage your hard work with an unhealthy snack.
- Replace a good memory...with another good memory! Sometimes that thing we love to eat takes us back to a happy moment in our lives. So many emotions can be tied to the foods we enjoy eating. For example, years ago, after my children's birthday parties, I would wake up and have cake and ice cream for breakfast. Anyone knows that's not good for us! But it made me feel really good. I would think back on the previous day and how much fun all of us had together. With that in mind, I try and do simple little things to make healthier food more enjoyable. For example, when I make my healthy chocolate shake for a friend or loved one, I put it in a nice glass with a straw just to make it a little more fun. If you have children, imagine the tremendous favor you will be doing by creating pleasant memories that include healthy food rather than junk.
- Make your own flash cards. I expound on this more in my video. I have flash cards with facts about sugar and little reminders to keep me on track - it's a very powerful tool.
- Reach for a piece of fresh fruit. A pear, an apple, something you don't have to peel, cut or cook is a quick alternative.
Have you ever craved cookies then sat down and ate the entire bag all at one setting? That craving was not necessarily a bad thing. Your body was trying to tell you that it needed something. By trying to fill that need with a bag of cookies, you are actually creating a greater deficiency in your body. If you reach for some pitted dates the next time this craving strikes, I guarantee you that you will not need to eat the entire bag of dates to feel satisfied.
A few interesting facts about sugar...
- Sugar increases the risk of coronary artery disease because it inflames the linings of arteries to the heart. 'High sugar levels impair the arteries' ability to respond to the heart's need for more blood flow and make both arteries and platelets "stickier," increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.' - Jennifer Berman, MD.
- Ingesting refined white sugar creates a process called glycation, which ages and weakens your skin and causes wrinkles and sagging.
- 'Sugar is poison to the body.' - Dr.Robert Lustig
- Having one can of soda a day can increase your chance of getting diabetes by 29%, as well as adding 15.9 pounds of fat in unwanted places over a year's time.
- White sugar is the most destructive and degenerating of all, because it is usually 'refined' with the use of sulphuric acid. - Dr. Norman Walker
- Sugar can damage the delicate filtration system of the kidneys. Thus it is no surprise that diabetes is one of the main causes of kidney failure.
- Sugar can aggravate arthritis by pumping inflammatory cytokines into your blood stream.
- Sugar can rewire the reward pathways of the brain. A study in the British Journal of Psychiatry concluded that people with processed, sugary diets had a 58% higher risk of being depressed.
The things I've shared with you today have been very effective in helping me be more aware of what I'm putting in my body on a regular basis. I figure since I'm like most people, perhaps there is something in all of this that may help you fight back against unhealthy cravings and addictions and achieve the level of health that you envision for yourself in the future.