Sugar can be a tough craving to crack, but with enough consistency and determination - you can find a way to push through and break your sugar addiction.
The first step in breaking any type of craving is to increase your water intake. Why? When you drink more water, the water flushes your body out faster than anything else. This means the water is going to help cleanse your body of sugar and that is a major first step.
When you’re serious about breaking the habit – get rid of the temptation. Try as hard as you can to get sugar out of the house. No snacks, cookies or even the sugary drinks like orange juice. Make your kitchen a sugar-free zone so that when you’re feeling tempted, you can’t simply step into the kitchen to relieve your craving. If you have a family full of sugar-lovers, try to get the family to crack their sugar habit together. After all, having a support system is the best way to accomplish any goal you set for yourself – and it’ll help them be healthier as well!
Trade your energy bars in for food with a little more substance. Read the labels on the back of your food before you buy it to see how much sugar is contained. Even better, bring snacks into your house that are wholesome – avocado, fruit (which has a lot of natural sugar already), vegetables and hummus – instead of processed. One of the ways sugar sneaks into your diet is when you snack on sugary things between meals. Processed foods are also incredibly high in sugar (and salt). Take the few extra moments to read the label at the grocery store and you might be surprised at just how high they tend to be… When you start to focus on avoiding sugar and ridding your house of sugar, you’ll notice just how many snacks are full of sugar.
Make the time to meal prep. When you can plan your food out for the week, your body will thank you and you won’t go reaching for those foods that you swore you would avoid. It takes a little bit of time on Sunday to do this, but I’ve put together a blog that might be helpful to anyone interested in getting help with their meal prepping: 3 steps to your perfect meal prep (click here).
Try adding more magnesium to your diet – especially if you’re craving chocolate. Dark and leafy greens, tofu, quinoa, avocado and nuts are all magnesium-rich foods that can help curb your chocolate craving. (PS – if you absolutely MUST eat chocolate… go for 85% dark chocolate rather than binging on a Snickers bar. The dark, dark chocolate is much better for your body than milk chocolate. Try eating a small piece with some fruit and eventually, you’ll only need the fruit.)
Help increase your mineral intake. There is a difference between mineral water and mineralized water, so be sure that you double-check what you are buying at the store, but try to include this in your daily diet. Filtered water filters out trace minerals which help keep your body hydrated. This can help with your cravings a lot.
Chromium is another mineral that you can add, either in tablet form or if you can find mineralized water with it included, that will help curb your cravings. It also helps to regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Foods that are naturally rich in chromium include broccoli, apples and sweet potatoes among other whole grains.
Zinc is an important mineral to keep your sugar cravings down. It helps to stabilize your blood sugar because zinc processes your glucose. Whole grains, pumpkin seeds and other nuts are rich in zinc.
Healthy fats are another way to stabilize your blood sugar when you’re avoiding sugar. Avocados, nuts, eggs, etc – all foods rich in healthy fats. If you love fish, salmon has the best bang for your calorie with healthy fats and protein.
When you’re cutting a craving – cut all of the sneaky ways it slips into your diet until you have it under control. This includes your wine. Remember that you aren’t cutting it out forever but that you need to avoid alcohol while you get your sugar cravings under control so they don’t trigger you to reach for sugary items again. However, don’t be too hard on yourself. Moderation is always going to be key in any diet change.
A really common misconception in cutting sugar out of your diet is that if you use fake sugar, you’ll be okay. The problem is that fake sugars still spike your insulin, pushing your blood sugar level lower – and increasing your craving for sugar. Avoid the sweeteners if at all possible. Plus, they can be just as addictive as sugars. Your sweet tooth will become more sensitive over time and a juicy piece of fruit will taste sweeter, and better, than any sugar-ridden object you used to love. Plus, they’ll make you feel better and you’ll avoid the guilt.
Finally – be kind to yourself. As with any change in diet or lifestyle, it takes at least 21 days to stick and even longer to become a habit. Be kind. When you fall off of the wagon, try not to fall into a cycle of binging because “it’s just a bad day.” Remember that a healthy body starts with being kind to yourself and increasing your mental strength. Don’t beat yourself up over a cookie – move forward and choose for something different next time. Life goes on – you always have more opportunities to make healthy choices again and it is easier each time if you forgive yourself for past mistakes.
*always consult your doctor before going on a diet
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