Wednesday, June 24, 2015

9 Tips for Cutting Out Sugar

I love sweets. Even though I am not a chocolate person, I can name any number of sweets that I crave in any particular day — cheesecake, ice cream, yum! I love them all, but I don't eat any of them. You read that right, I don't eat them. I haven't always been off sugar and I sometimes slip off the bandwagon (ESPECIALLY when I am pregnant,) but in general I stay away from sweets and candies.

I know cutting sugar out completely isn't for everyone, but I do it because of how it makes me feel. I feel better and have more energy when I am not shoving candy bars in my mouth and also because I stink at sugar moderation. Why have a slice of cheesecake when you can eat four, right? Sadly, I am pretty sure that is how my subconscious seems to work, so I avoid it all together. I am an all or nothing kind of person.

Here is my guide to going off and staying off sugar.

The first few days of a sugar fast are the hardest. This last time I kicked sugar to the curb I ended up with terrible headaches for a few days. Isn't it sad how much my body thought I needed it?

Ways to Curb Cravings:

Stay hydrated: Get all 8 of your water glasses for the day. Dehydration can do some crazy things to your system, like making you crave sugar. Make sure you are drinking water and obviously not soda. It is so easy to consume and over consume sugar when drinking soda.

Exercise: When I work hard to keep my body in shape I naturally want to eat healthier. When you are feeling good you want to keep feeling good.

Eat fruit: The sweet in the fruit keeps me going when I want to reach for a candy bar. My favorite snack is fruit and Greek Yogurt. I like Yoplait Plenti Yogurt because it is Greek Yogurt with whole grain oats, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds already mixed into the yogurt. It is a high-protein snack with just a touch of sweet. I love the coconut flavor. It is a fairly new product, but my local Kroger type store stocks it. If you are like me and a little iffy on the tangyness of traditional Greek Yogurt, try this one. I am not normally a huge Greek Yogurt fan but I really like this one.

Eat on a schedule: If you let yourself get into starvation mode you are going to want to grab whatever is easiest, and that is probably sugar. Don't starve yourself. Eat good, nutritious calories and snacks in between.

Chew Gum: If I am having a moment where I absolutely can't stand being sugar free for one more second, I pop a piece of gum in my mouth. The action of chewing helps me take a step back and reevaluate. Try a good sugar-free chewing gum.

Tell people you are cutting out sugar: Make yourself accountable to someone. Sometimes it is the fact that people know that I don't eat sweets that keeps me from taking a cookie at the party I am at.

Get enough sleep: Not only is it harder to resist my cravings when I am tired, but I tend to gravitate towards sugar for a pick me up. Get enough sleep for your body or use natural pick me ups like a 10-minute walk.

Get rid of the treats: It is almost impossible for me to stay off sugar when I am visiting my parents. Why? Because there is sugar everywhere. Seriously, they usually have at least four different kinds of Oreos at once. You don't need that kind of temptation. You can't eat it if you don't have it.

Find a replacement snack: Find something you can grab when you just need to eat something. I like baby carrots. They are crunchy and often sweet without being a candy bar. If you need something high protein you can try nuts or a string cheese.

Remember if you absolutely can't stand it and need a cookie, eat one, but realize it is a treat and not a daily thing. If you can help your body realize you don't need a treat every day it is easier to walk away from sugar.

Be patient with yourself and be willing to start over if you fall off the wagon. The first three days are the hardest to get through, but once you do you will feel so much better in the long run.
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