Lately, I’ve been evaluating my life with the express purpose of cutting out the bullshit so that I can actually accomplish some of my goals for 2018 rather than wasting the year away. As some of you would know, I’m a huge advocate for healthy eating but something I struggle with, until this day, is sugar.
It’s not that I’m addicted. Actually, I am. It hit me today, like a ton of bricks, that I am reliant on the consumption of sugary goods despite eating a fairly healthy amount of vegetables on a daily basis.
I drink a ton of water, I exercise regularly to clear out my lymphatic system, I supplement, I juice and blend vegetables but I cannot seem to quit sugary treats.
If I go without any processed sugar-laden treats, I start to obsessively think about it to the point of giving myself a headache and extreme pangs within my stomach. In my estimation, if you can’t go without something for an extended period of time and it physically plus psychologically affects you, then you’re addicted or obsessive.
1. Start By Replacing Processed Sugar And Treats With Fruits And Natural Sweeteners
I know some people debate over the fact that sugar is sugar, whether it comes from a can of soda or a fruit, it’s still the same thing but I have to strongly disagree.
You have to consider the fact that you’re not just consuming sugar alone, most sweet products on the market come with a bunch of synthetic, genetically modified and unhealthy ingredients within them that react poorly in your body as compared to a fruit.
Fruits may contain fructose but they also contain fiber and a bunch of vitamins and minerals. It’s not all bad like a can of soda.
So, going forward, swap out your traditional sweet goods for healthier choices. Start by finding alternatives and then swap out those alternatives for fruits and natural sweeteners like honey and xylitol. Oh, stay away from low-calorie sweeteners like aspartame, they’re worse than regular white sugar.
2. Limit The Quantity And Time Frame In Which You’re Allowed To Consume Any Form Of Sweet Items
You don’t eat an elephant in a day, you eat an elephant bite by bite. Ordinarily, addicts or people with obsessive tendencies wean off the addictive substance or activity over time.
They take smaller doses and reduce each dose as time goes on. Why? Because it minimizes the symptoms of withdrawal and minimizes the psychological stress people are placed under during a time of change.
When it comes to a sweet tooth, you have to wean yourself off sweet foods and drinks over a period of time and you can start by reducing your daily consumption by 20%. Do this for a week or so before cutting down another 20%.
Furthermore, since we are dealing with an addiction or obsession based on erratic cravings, I noticed better results at quitting something like eating sugar by limiting the time frame of which you consume it. So, rather than eating something sweet whenever the craving hits you, set a specific time or hour of the day in which you can and stick to it.
This enables you to exercise some self-control which is easily accomplishable. This small achievement will compound over time and create a characteristic needed for success, Discipline.
3. Consume Nothing With Sugar (Of Any Form) Every Alternate Day
When you’ve successfully implemented the abovementioned techniques, I think it’s time to skip any form of sugar every alternate day.
You’ve probably mustered up enough momentum to attempt this successfully but it is essential that you don’t go crazy on your days when it’s okay to eat something sweet.
Try this technique for 2 weeks before skipping more days in a row.
The goal isn’t to quit sugar for a week or two but to quit it indefinitely which is why I encourage you to let the process play out over a few weeks.
If you push yourself and go too hard from the start, the chances of you quitting and binge eating junk is high, especially if you have a history of doing so.
Approach this with a logical and sustainable plan.
4. Eat Something Sour Or Tangy When You Crave Something Sweet
More than anything, don’t you feel like the struggle with quitting something stems from your mind? When you’re hungry, your brain is responsible for the kind of foods you think about and start craving.
If someone has always eaten fruit when they crave something sweet, as time goes on, that’s the first thing they’re going to think about, fruit, not soda or cakes.
Your actions make and break the thought patterns you have.
So, if you are feeding yourself bad stuff whenever you crave something sweet, the solution would be to feed yourself something entirely different to reprogram yourself.
The next time you want to eat a chocolate cake, go and eat some pickle or cucumbers. Keep doing that over and over again until your brain is forced to erase chocolate cake from your thoughts during cravings.
5. Opt For More Protein In Your Diet
Often, I find people who are trying to quit sugar are usually motivated by losing weight or getting healthy but in doing so, they don’t really have a good handle on their macronutrients.
Look, one way to counteract heavy and intense cravings is to eat a good amount of protein (and even healthy fats). They are usually satiating and protein helps to stabilize blood-sugar levels. I know a lot of people who would trade a useless handful of candy for a healthy serving of steak with grilled sweet potato fries.
In my opinion, the best way to cut something out of your diet is to add more of something else. In this case, protein is a good option. And if you’re a vegan, opt for pea protein powder, especially those flavored with cacao. Throw in some unsweetened coconut or almond milk for a delicious milkshake free of added sugar.