The average person consumes over 130 POUNDS of sugar annually!
Sugar is being implicated in a long list of health issues ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s and of course, weight gain…the list goes on.
It’s important to get control over sugar cravings.
I could literally give you a list of reasons why we crave sugar.
But I want to keep this short and sweet. (ok, bad pun)
Years ago I had a sugar addiction
My sugar of choice? A large 3 Musketeers bar and a Vente Latte. Decaffe Vente Non-Fat Latte (no sugar). Decaffeinated coffee still has caffeine…that’s a story for another day. It did pair nicely with the sugar though. I used to get the candy out of the vending machine 4 floors below my office. I took the stairs down and back up with that candy bar in hand. The candy bar outweighed the good of the stairs, but the stairs made me feel better about the candy.
How did I quit that routine? Here are some things I did that may also help you.
Identify and own routines that aren’t supporting you
My snack provided a respite (for a few minutes) from stress I was feeling and had become routine. But the weight was packing on and the snack needed to go, or at least get an overhaul. My unhealthy snack was a symptom of bigger things. I cleaned up my eating patterns including the snacks, began addressing the stress and ended up dropping a ton of weight. What routines don’t support your goals?
Determine where you can get the most leverage and think about that before you reach for the sugar. For example, you may be dreading the morning closet routine as you try to find clothes that look good vs OMG, my pants don’t fit! Would you rather buy a new closet of bigger clothes or rock that bathing suit at your upcoming warm weather vacation? See yourself on the beach in that bathing suit to help keep the momentum going.
Once you have the groundwork set, bring in food and lifestyle changes to help out.
Eat Regularly Scheduled Meals
It’s really important to eat meals on a regular schedule, regardless of how busy you are. Skipped meals or jumping from snack to snack can cause you to be “hangry” …that’s a mix of angry and hungry all at once. When that happens, we wind up grabbing for just about anything and usually that’s junky food, sugary drinks, fast food, fried things and salty/sugary snacks.
Ditch the Sugary Treats and Added-Sugar Foods
While we want to cut out the obvious sugar from the bakery, desserts and candy, added sugar is hidden in lots of foods today. Ketchup, peanut butter? Yes. Read the label on the back of the package before you buy and opt in for those products that don’t have added sugar, or the lowest sugar. The first place to look for the added sugar is in “processed foods”, or foods that are pre-made, frozen or in a box. Also watch out for sugary drinks and coffees with flavors. But please don’t grab the zero calorie, sugar-free labeled foods. They mostly likely contain a sugar substitute that can be worse than sugar, (more on that another time).
It’s easy to become sedentary. We get into our cars and drive to everything from the drive thru to the pharmacy. We take the elevator to the n’th floor, sit in front of our computers, TV’s and smart phones. Starting now, park further away, take the stairs, walk somewhere. The process of moving will help to reduce stress and reduce cravings. You’ll feel good about taking action, burn some calories and create some momentum. Challenge yourself to do more each week.
Did you know that sugar is addictive?
When we eat sugar, or even foods that convert quickly to sugar in the body such as pasta, we experience the release of feel-good hormones from our brain such as dopamine. We find these “rewards” pleasurable and once we know where to get the feeling, it can become easy to come back for more sugar. Now that you know this is occurring, it may be easier to control. Knowledge is power. Instead of sugar, find healthier, feel-good replacements for sugar that can trigger the dopamine release such as listening to music, taking a bath, getting some exercise, doing yoga, getting extra sleep, or meditating.
As you cut out the sugar, it will take a few days to push past the sugar withdrawal (cravings, headache, etc.) and build in new routines. You can do it! You’ll get off the sugar roller coaster and likely drop some weight to boot. Hello bathing suit!
What is your sugar journey? Comment below or send me a note at Mary@MaryWallaceWellness.com.