This post is by OYS writer Melissa. You can read more about Melissa here and see all of her other posts here. Check out Melissa’s blog Nutrition and Wellness for Life. She offers wellness consultation services that focus on helping you eat better and exercise more. She also has a FB page!!
Quitting sugar is one of the top goal/problems I encounter as a nutrition consultant. People want to quit their sugar addiction so badly, but they just can’t seem to break free of it. I have already written posts explaining why you should quit sugar, ways to help you quit sugar, and foods that can help you quit sugar. Now it’s time to talk about some habits that can help you quit sugar. When I say habit, I’m talking about something you plan to do regularly in order to make a change in your lifestyle. A habit is not a fad or trend that you try once and then never think about again. Each of these nine habits take time to develop. Give yourself about 3 weeks. If you’re still doing it, then you can call it a habit. Maybe you already do some of these, which is great. You might just need to add one or two of these habits to up your game. Just don’t try to introduce all ten at one time. Stick to one or two.
Habit #1 – Give in a little
When trying to break free of sugar addiction, it is not really a good idea to go cold turkey. Sugar is like a drug to your body. You will go through withdrawal and most likely end up bingeing down the road. Give in to your sugar cravings…but only a little bit. If you snack on chocolate regularly, allow yourself a small piece when the craving hits. Eat it slowly and savor it. Then do something to distract yourself, like take a walk or calling a friend. Once your body has time to realize it has received some sugar, the craving should pass. You need to give it enough time to travel through your bloodstream.
Habit #2 – Combine sugary foods with healthy foods
Ok, so you need that chocolate now! Think about adding a few chocolate chips to cottage cheese, dip a strawberry in melted chocolate, drizzle a little melted chocolate on air-popped popcorn. You don’t just have to gorge on chocolate. Try to make most of the snack something healthy, and add just enough of the sweet stuff to cure your craving.
Habit #3 – Chew gum
For a lot of people. It’s just about having something in your mouth to chew. Try chewing gum in between meals to keep your mouth moving. Or try waiting until a sweet craving hits, and pop a piece of gum then. Make it minty gum. The mint flavor will overpower your mouth, and hopefully the thought of putting anything sweet in your mouth will dissipate.
Habit #4 – Walk
I truly believe that walking is the cure for many of life’s problems. I find myself giving this advice for so many different reasons. Overeater? Take a walk. Depressed? Walk more. There’s just something about this simple activity that can change your life in complex ways. The best walks are done outdoors in the fresh air, but if weather doesn’t allow it, a treadmill or even a lap around the mall can be helpful. Walking can help by taking your mind off things. It can also make you feel so good physically that you just won’t want to put junk in your body. It can also make you feel happier, which is a much longer happy than the high you get from a sugar rush.
Habit #5 – Eat regularly
I eat every three hours, pretty much on the nose. My body knows when there is food coming. When you allow your body to become accustomed to an eating schedule, your blood sugar levels remain at an even level, without the highs and lows that cause cravings. You also don’t ever let yourself get so hungry that you’re ready to eat your arm off, or any candy you can get your hands on. It helps to be really prepared at all times. Keep snacks in your purse, like fruit or nuts.
Habit #6 – Reward yourself
Celebrating the little victories in life can go a long way. If you truly struggle with a sugar addiction, set yourself some short- and long-term goals. Set up a reward system so that you can celebrate any time you achieve one of these goals. To read more about reward systems, see this post.
Habit #7 – Take baths
I love taking baths. I definitely don’t do it as much as I should though. Baths are so relaxing and can literally melt away any stress you are feeling, including cravings. You have to go full cheesy with your bath though – scented bubbles, relaxing music, dim lights. The mood is everything. The goal is to make you relax so much that you can’t even remember that you wanted a candy bar in the first place.
Habit #8 – Keep a journal
If you have not figured out what triggers your sugar cravings, keeping a journal may be the way to go. You would write down everything you eat, like in a food journal, but also any events or incidents that cause you stress or unhappiness. You want to figure out if your cravings hit at a certain time each day, if certain people trigger the cravings, or any other common factor in play. Once you identify your triggers, you can make a plan to make changes. If you need the help of a professional, don’t feel ashamed.
Habit #9 – Meal plan
In case you didn’t notice, OYS is all about meal planning. Yes, it is helpful when you want to lose weight or have a more organized life, but it can also be very helpful when trying to conquer a sugar addiction. Planning out what you are going to eat for the week can take the stress out of trying to figure it out each day as you go. Less stress should lead to less cravings. If you have a healthy meal plan all mapped out, you are more likely to eat healthy. You can build small treats right into your meal plan so you don’t feel deprived.
All of these habits won’t work for everybody. Try a couple and see what happens. Try a couple more if you need to. But if you stick with it, you should see a difference!
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