This blog post is for me just as much as it is for you. Yes, in fact, post-holiday season, I am experiencing a resurgence of my once-forgotten sugar addiction. During the holidays, I decided that I would allow myself to enjoy the candy, cookies, pies and other sweets with the promise that I would “get back on track” after the new year. I must imagine that I am not alone in these promises I make to myself. Now, here we are in January 2021 and I have been finding it incredibly difficult to get back to my pre-holiday healthy diet, something I was so sure I would easily be able to do. I am a health coach, after all. However, I am also imperfect and in the first week of January, I have come to the conclusion that I have once-again become totally addicted to sugar, an addiction that I had previously overcome and thought was long gone.
So, in 2021 I have already learned an important lesson. You may beat a sugar addiction but it can come back over and over again. Believe it or not, I am grateful for this past week. I felt out of control, grabbing a pint of ice cream at the corner store and reaching for ingredients in my cabinet to make sugar cookies. It was during one of these episodes when it occurred to me that my problem was a sugar addiction. Now that I know what it is, I can address it. It is true that self-revolution occurs when we hit a low.
So, I have begun a sugar-detox. If sugar cravings are familiar to you, I hope you will benefit from the tips I am about to share. Maybe you have a sugar addiction that you have never been able to tackle. Maybe you are like me, once having tackled a sugar addiction and finding that you need to do it again after the holidays. Or, maybe you do not have an addiction but could simply use a little less sugar in your life or you are feeling like you could benefit from a sugar cleanse. In any of these situations, this is for you.
To kick a sugar addiction, you want to spend a focused amount of time, usually 14 days, sometimes 21 days, eating virtually no sugar. This can be most easily done by focusing on eating whole foods, such as leafy greens, fresh whole vegetables, fruits and lean proteins such as chicken and fish. Additionally, whole foods include beans, quinoa and brown rice. If you keep a laser focus on eating whole foods only, you will, by default, be eliminating processed sugar from your diet.
*Side note, fruit is healthy. Fruit is, in fact, a whole food and an excellent natural choice to satisfy a sweet craving. When I refer to a sugar addiction, I am referring to harmful processed sugars, not natural sugar found in fruit.*
If you eat whole foods, you will find that most of your foods do not come with a food label. Generally, the less food labels, the better! However, you may want, for instance, salad dressing. Be sure to read your food labels, you want to see 0g sugar.
Here are some other tips to set you up for success when it comes to eliminating sugar cravings:
- Stay hydrated! Sometimes cravings are simply a sign of dehydration.
- Use fruit and sugar-free chewing gum to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Get 7-8 solid hours of sleep each night; sometimes cravings are a sign of fatigue!
- Check your protein intake. Great protein sources include chicken, fish, eggs and beans. Notice your protein sources. Sometimes too little protein or protein coming from the wrong source for your body can lead to sweet cravings.
- Be wary of “low-fat” or “fat-free” options, they often include higher amounts of sugar to keep their flavor.
- Daily movement reduces stress and can reduce the chances of emotional eating.
- Create a new post-meal ritual. Instead of ending the meal with a sweet, choose an ACTIVITY to do that you find SWEET!
As always, I offer one-on-one coaching if you want extra support. I work with clients one-on-one to beat sugar cravings, emotional eating, weight issues and body image issues. I am currently offering a free discovery session to anyone who is interested in learning more about coaching and what it can do for you. If you found this helpful and you believe you could benefit from more individualized and completely judgment-free help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free discovery session.