Below are some of my top 5 tips that have helped me decrease my amount of sugar intake. BUT FIRST! I am not perfect and I have had plenty of “slips,” more like indulgences, but overall I have been able cut A LOT of sugar out of my diet.
Starting with tip number 1..
1. Read your labels!
Do an early spring cleaning and go through all your food items and take a look at how much sugar is in your food items. I think you will be surprised! For example, I eat a lot of oatmeal. Well, to my surprise the oatmeal I was eating had 5g of sugar in it. Now that’s not THAAAAT much, but it’s so unnecessary to have sugar in oatmeal! Plus, everything adds up!
Use common sense when you’re at the grocery store. If it doesn’t sound like it should have sugar in it, look for the item with the least amount of sugar. Better yet, not sugar! A good example of this is beans. There are brands of beans out there with added sugar?? I don’t need sugar in my beans! Different sauces is another common culprit with a whole range of sugar amounts in them. Also take a peek at the other ingredients and don’t fall for those marketing tactics. For example it might say “No added sugar” But then have a whole boatload of other not great ingredients. Less ingredients the better! Another one is bread… check the amount of sugar.
I tend to be all or nothing, so I went through and just threw out the food that had added sugar. If you feel bad about throwing food out, then just finish and replace it next time you go to the store.
2. 2R- Replace then Remove!
Find things to replace your craving with and then work on removing it!
I don’t recommend this, but at first I would get cheese curls to replace my sugar cravings to feel like I was having something “bad.” Of course, I would recommend finding a healthier alternative. For example, I would dip a date into some almond butter when I had that sweet craving. When I first heard/saw dates I thought they looked like a large raisin or a shriveled up turd! Just close your eyes and take a bite, they’re good! If you’re craving ice cream, a chia seed bowl can be very satisfying!
Now, at night I enjoy apples with almond butter and some cacao powder (I know I can’t get away from chocolate!) I have also been buying Lily’s chocolate because it’s sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. While this is not ideal, as I recently learned that artificial sweeteners, while we don’t get that blood sugar spike we still get the same insulin response, I was still able to get rid of my major symptoms. However, this is important to keep in mind that this is just temporary and not a long term solution and while this worked for me it might not work for you! Our long term solution is eliminating sugar cravings!
3. Fill up on the good stuff!
When you’re thinking of making/ordering a meal- think of 3 main sources– protEin, vegetabLes and Fat (see what I did there, capitalizing letters ELF 😉 ). Don’t be scared of fat! It REEEEALLY helps diminish cravings and keeps your body feeling full and calm!
If you’re full, it’s going to be a lot easier to not think of and say no to sweets. This has helped a lot for me at night. I always used to crave something sweet after dinner. Side-note- If you’re cutting out sugar and replacing it with healthy food, don’t worry about gaining weight! I went into this saying to myself, “if I gain weight trying to get rid of my chocolate addiction, I’m okay with it because in the long run I’ll be healthier and then I can always get back on track after.” Well I haven’t gained any weight. In fact, I’ve lost a little (that should give you an indication to how much chocolate/sweets I was eating!)
I’m sure you’ve heard it over and over again… exercise! But really, go exercise! Exercise gives you those great endorphins that sweets do too! It also keeps you busy and helps with stress that can be a downfall to your sweet tooth. Stress hormones make us crave sweets and tell your body to store fat around your organs! That’s why when so many of us are feeling overwhelmed at work or something is going on in our personal lives, we want to run to the grocery store and devour a whole bag of cookies or chocolate!
If you’re not already doing some sort of exercise – find something you enjoy doing! There are so many options out there these days- Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Weights, CrossFit, Cardio, Pure Barre, Orange Theory, Meta Fit etc… While I have my staples I definitely need to switch things up every now and then. I’ll try a different workout program or a class. Next on my list is trying Pure Barre!
I know I mentioned this in my previous post, but it’s worth mentioning again. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ahealthyelf88-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0013OXEKK&asins=B0013OXEKK&linkId=edfcdb751bfc331d112db48ee2eb729b&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF“>Glutamine! I find it helps take the edge off and stabilize your blood sugar. I usually add it to my smoothie in the morning and then one of my water bottles that I sip on throughout the day at work. Try it!
These are just some tips that have helped me get through that first phase of trying to cut sugar out! I wouldn’t recommend stuffing your face full before you go to bed as a long term solution or replacing sweets with cheese curls! These tips just helped me the first couple weeks when you have those intense craving. Then you want to slowly move towards healthier solutions such as making nice and healthy meals or grabbing an apple instead of a chocolate bar when you are feeling something sweet and being satisfied with that apple!
I know at first when I read through different tips, a lot of them may seem like “yeah I already do that, that and that.” However, take a closer look. For example, exercise. You might already be telling yourself I already go to the gym, but is the exercise you’re doing something you really enjoy doing? I know when I have my Orange Theory class or start a new program I get excited (most of the time! I do have my days too!). When you’re excited about something, you’re happy and when you’re happy you don’t feel the need to stuff your face with sweets as much!
If you don’t enjoy the workout you’re doing you’re probably procrastinating and getting stressed over it. You don’t want to do it, but feel you have to and then you feel anxious about it and before you know it there goes a whole bag of chips because you’re feeling out of sorts but don’t understand why! So find something you enjoy doing! That also means finding an instructor you like and motivates you! I love Orange Theory (they should just pay me to advertise at this point!) but if I have an instructor that doesn’t really motivate me, the class becomes very blah.
I know they have ClassPass now that can be great for people around the city. You pay a price and can try out different classes and gyms etc…
There are just 5 basic tips. I was going to do 10 but then it got too long and we all have places to go and people to see! I’ll have more tips coming!