One of the biggest struggles I hear people facing when it comes to their health is kicking their sugar habit…
And – believe me – I get it!
Over the past few weeks I’ve allowed more and more sugar into my life – mainly in the form of chocolate – and now it’s like an ever-present thought in my mind… When will I get my next fix?
When stress is high, many of us lean on sugary foods to soothe our emotional state, but it is a double-edged sword and the sugar habit AND consequences can build up quickly.
Now is a great time to give your health a boost, and kick your sugar habit!
Here are 5 tips to help kick your sugar habit!
UNDERSTAND WHERE THE CRAVINGS COME FROM – The way that sugar impacts your brain is no different than other addictive drugs like cocaine, heroin, tobacco, alcohol: sugar targets the same receptors in the brain and releases the same brain chemicals. And those brain chemicals gives us a short term sensation of pleasure, happiness, satisfaction – a lift! But it is short-lived and just like any other drug, you are quickly waiting for the next hit.
KNOW WHY YOU ARE DOING THIS – It’s gonna suck, at some point… it’s going to get hard and you’re going to want to cave to the cravings… and that’s where your purpose needs to shine through. Why are you doing this? For me its freedom… freedom from the need of this drug called sugar. And also I just feel better physically when I’m not consuming sugar.
RALLY YOUR SUPPORT – Tell your closest friends and family what you’re doing and WHY. Bring them into your story, let them know you’re going to need help to stay on track. Tell them the best way they can support you is to help keep the typical triggers out of sight – don’t offer sugar-laden stuff, cakes, and baked goods.
PREPARE FOR SUCCESS – Have some healthy snacks on hand so you have a good alternative. Prioritize higher nutrient dense foods like some protein (jerky, sausage, handful of nuts), or a piece of fruit.
TURN FAILURE INTO OPPORTUNITY – Let’s face it, at some point in the next 30 days you are likely to go off track and eat something with added sugar. But it’s not the sugar we consume that’s really the bad part, it’s the ensuing emotional battle that we wage against ourselves that is far more destructive. Even the language we use like ‘weakness,’ ‘failure,’ ‘lack of control’ and ’no willpower’ all have a distinct self-abusing overtone.
Apart from taking all the fun out of the challenge, I know when I allow this kind of negative self-talk to take over, it quickly brings out the crappy emotions like guilt, shame and disappointment. And what quickly follows is complete derailment from my goals.
Here’s what I have found helpful in this situation: When you go off track and start to feel the negative emotions above, just stop and observe without judgement.
Instead of hating on yourself, practice some self-love and self-empathy.
Cutting out sweets is HARD, and it’s going to involve some failure.
The most important thing is to observe the triggers for WHY you went off track. Decide whether it’s a choice you would make again in the future. If the answer is no, then decide on the strategy(ies) that will help you to overcome the situation next time. For ideas, see #1-4 above!