Yeah, I don’t know. Still working on this one! 😉
All kidding aside, this is something I still struggle with. I will be very good for an extended period of time, but then fall off the wagon when a birthday or holiday comes up. Sometimes even a really bad day can make me succumb to my sugar cravings.
But, fortunately those instances are much fewer and further between than they used to be. There are many programs out there that cut all the sugar immediately. The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet is one I tried. It is a fantastic book and I learned a lot, but the approach didn’t work for me. With a busy lifestyle, it just became too much for me to do in such a short amount of time. (To those of you who can do that, and stick with it, I commend you…and I am a little bit jealous!)
I do want to share with you what has worked for me. I have talked multiple times about The Compound Effect, and how that book changed my life and the way I viewed getting healthy. I applied this approach to my sugar addiction. Small steps taken consistently over time lead to massive results.
Tips to Beat Sugar (and Stay Happy)
Here are a few tips that I found to be helpful and really let me make the most progress.
- There are many people out there who tell you to give sugar up all at once, but that is not the only path to successfully quitting sugar. I can understand that this could help with cravings, and therefore you might be more successful. For me, though, that was a recipe for failure. I have tried it that way. Multiple times. It didn’t work, and that is okay. If you are like me, please don’t put the pressure on yourself to be perfect right away. It was a huge breakthrough for me when I realized this.
- Start small. My first step was quitting Cokes. I know I said start small, but this felt like a tremendous step for me. I felt like it was tied to my happiness. So I focused all of my energy on never having another Coke again, and it stuck. I haven’t had one in over 2 years.
- Get the first step down, then tackle another. I realized I replaced Coke with sweet tea, which isn’t much better, so the next thing I quit was sweet tea. It is all about taking steps and consistently following through with them.
- Cut the carbs. For a long time, I thought cutting carbs was a kind of unhealthy way to lose weight. I mean, tons of eggs and bacon doesn’t seem healthy right? Well once I made the connection that carbs turn into sugar in the body, then I realized how healthy it is to limit them. And, there is a right and wrong way to do low carb. Don’t get all the processed items labeled “low carb” or “sugar-free” that are loaded with other nasty stuff. Just eat whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Get your carbs from leafy vegetables. Treat fruit as a dessert. (I love it when the kids ask for dessert and they mean the watermelon that is on the table.) Keep in mind that too much protein also turns to sugar in the body, so make sure you are getting plenty of healthy fats in your diet. This is key to the happiness part (more on this in a minute).
- Try a sugar replacement so that you can still make some sweets. I sometimes pretend that this tip is for the kids, but really I have a sweet tooth just as much. I have used erythritol and xylitol or Swerve in making and it has worked out pretty well. You can also use stevia glycerite which doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste. See posts here and here on ideas for healthy, sugar-free sweets. These have similar taste to sugar, without the harmful elements.
- Supplements can help with your sugar and carb cravings. I highly recommend the book Keto-Adapted. Maria Emmerich talks about a lot of supplements that help. Two of the supplements she recommends are L-glutamine and a probiotic. She says to take three grams of L-glutamine 30 minutes before eating to reduce cravings. She also says once you become keto-adapted (which is burning fat instead of sugar for fuel), your cravings will go away. That is a great benefit! In addition, I have been drinking Keto OS every morning. It puts you into ketosis in minutes, improves your energy, and helps curb your appetite and cravings.
- Try essential oils. I love looking on Pinterest for ideas for using essential oils. Peppermint and dill have been shown to be effective against sugar cravings, and help suppress your appetite as well.
- Find an accountability partner. This really helps! If you know someone is going to be asking you about your progress, you will think twice before cheating. Plus, it is free, so give it a try. And, you can help someone else get healthy at the same time.
Sugar Can Make Us “Happy”
I added the “stay happy” part because sugar can make me feel happy. So happy. At least in the short term. And quitting it can be a depressing journey. When I was in a job I hated, I would have a Coke every morning. If something happened and I couldn’t have one, it really made me sad. I am pretty sure I was unhappy with my life at that point anyway, but the drink was a symbol of happiness for me. I would have one if I had a bad day to make me feel better. I would have one on a good day to celebrate.
It was an addiction…my drug of choice. It has been well documented that sugar is more addictive than cocaine, and it is secretly added in almost everything. So, don’t feel bad that it is difficult to give up.
I quit Coke cold turkey several years ago now, and (finally) don’t really miss it. And now, I focus on all the positives in my life and feel so much better! Plus, it is much easier to be happy when you don’t feel like crap all the time. I am definitely not perfect, but I just keep trying to make progress. See this post on finding joy in healthy eating.
I am sharing this with you because so many people out there look like they have it all together and are perfect in their diets, and for me that was discouraging and made me feel like a failure. Which then led to me giving up. I don’t want you to give up. Even if you take two steps forward and one step back, you are still moving in the right direction. Keep it up!
Resources mentioned in this post: