Nutrition Challenge 6- Kicking the Sugar Habit
I love sugar. I would definitely say I have a major sweet tooth. Half the time a food doesn’t interest me unless it has ample amounts of sugar. Unfortunately, when trying to lose weight, sugar can be your worst enemy. It should, for the most part, be avoided. Cutting sugar, of course, is way easier said than done. I’m not saying we should give up sugar completely (remember, cheat days are good!) but addictions to sugar do need to be overcome.
One of the major problems with sugar is that when we eat a sugary food, we typically don’t eat just a tiny amount, we usually eat it in bulk, consuming much much more than we need. When we eat sugar our body doesn’t dip into fat stores for energy, like we want it to, instead it uses the sugar we just consumed as the main source of energy. Adding insult to injury, the sugar that we don’t use gets stored away in the fat cells, so not only does sugar keep us from burning fat but it also adds to our fat stores. Not exactly what we want to happen when trying to slim down. As difficult as it may be to treat your sugar addiction, it can be done. The following are suggestions to help you get control of your sugar habit.
1. Giving it up Cold Turkey– Many have tried, but few have succeeded. The first few days may be a bit overwhelming, but if you can hold out, you will find that your cravings will start to lose their intensity and your taste buds will be able to handle sugarless foods. One time in high school I decided that I was going to completely give up sugar for 40 days. If you remember back to the beginning of this article, I am in love with sugar, I always have been, so completely giving up sugar was a big deal to me. I won’t lie to you, the first week was a challenge and I almost gave up several times every day. But, after the first week it became easy to not have sugar and for the rest of the 40 days I felt better than I ever had.
2. Mix and Match- Because sugar is not very nutritionally dense, you can eat a lot of it in one sitting without feeling full and receive zero health benefits. Try mixing your sugar snack with a healthy food. Some good mixes may be almonds mixed with chocolate chips or an apple with a little caramel.
3. Fruits not Forbidden- Fruits are a great way to get a sweet fix while still consuming good amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Not only will you be putting nutritious things into your body, but your mind will be tricked into thinking that its addiction is being fed.
4. Chew Gum- Chewing gum is another good way to trick your mind into thinking you are eating sugar. Just make sure you are getting the sugar-free stuff and not stocking up on bubblicious.
5. Remove Yourself– Sometimes the best thing to do is to run away. If a craving strikes take a lap around the block. If all of your friends are getting together and you know there will be tons of sugary foods that you won’t be able to resist, just let them know that you won’t be able to make it this time.
6. Five Meals a Day– Eating five small meals throughout the day will help you avoid feeling the hunger pangs, which are usually coupled with sugar cravings. Try to keep your meals healthy and fresh without refined and processes food to avoid the hidden sugar content.
Find a strategy and use it to take our enemy, sugar addiction, down. Teach your body how to use its fat stores by stopping the sugar intake and you will be surprised at how fast you will start to see results.
If you are not a part of our 12 week Shape Up Challenge, this is the nutrition article for Week 6 of the Shape Up Challenge. Click here to join.