Giving up sugar can be an incredibly beneficial step in your health journey and play a big role in helping you lose weight. But it’s not easy, especially if you are used to having a lot of it or used to having it frequently as a regular part of your day.
If you’ve made the decision that you are ready to give up the white stuff, here are 5 things you can do to help you be successful
1. Eliminate all culprits from your house
Don’t leave that box of cookies up in the cupboard that you promise you won’t touch, or the jug of maple syrup. Don’t leave the ice cream in the freezer or the granola bars in the cupboard – get rid of it all!
Starting out, you need to eliminate all sources, including natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey. You may be able to add those back in later, but to reduce your cravings and addiction at the start, cut out everything cold turkey!
Cutting out your sugar is not about how good your willpower is, and trying to prove to yourself that you’re strong enough to not eat the sugary treat even though it is in the house, it’s about eliminating all the culprits so you can’t even entertain the idea of caving. Here's a handy list of 10 foods you should stop eating!
2. Find a buddy
This doesn’t necessarily have to be someone else who wants to give up sugar with you, but just someone to help hold you accountable. Someone, who when you are tempted to pick up the sweet treat, or eat the cookie or order the Frappuccino, will say “doesn’t that have sugar in it?” You know it does and the little nudge may be all that you need to make you rethink your behavior and not act in the moment, ruining all your hard work.
3. Sub fruit (but portion it out)
When it is sweetness that you are craving in your quest to cut sugar, fruit can be a good alternative. Fruit has naturally occurring sugars, which are lower on the glycemic index than refined sugars and therefore cause less of a spike in the blood sugar and prevent that cyclical pattern of a high, followed by a crash, followed by a craving. In particular, apples, berries and orchard fruits are lower on the glycemic index, and you can eat them a little under ripe so they have less sugar. If possible, avoid bananas and tropical fruits, and dried fruits are not a good option either, as the sugar is very concentrated. With this in mind though, do eat them in moderation and portion accordingly, as there is still sugar content in them which contributes to overall caloric consumption.
4. Find an alternative snack
The process of breaking your sugar addiction will happen in steps. One of those is substituting other snacks in for your sugary ones – even if this means extra snacking, it’s better to be snacking on sugar free options than the sugary ones. Once you have successfully given up sugar, then you can reduce your snacks, and you will find it quite easy to cut back on these options. For the snack alternatives, find things that will give you satisfaction – maybe they are crunchy, like nuts or fruit (see above), or creamy like a protein milkshake, or involve chocolate like chocolate protein smoothie. Whatever the case, don’t expect to be able to give up sugar and replace your sugar snacks with kale leaves – it won’t work. Instead, ease yourself into it gradually and make healthy alternative choices.
5. Find a distraction
If you find yourself with bad cravings, and are worried you are going to cave and give in, find a distraction. It may be as simple as leaving the kitchen or rooms near the kitchen and going into a different room. It may be going outside, or taking the dog for a walk, or even calling a friend. Anything that will take your mind off the thought of food for a little while. Eventually the craving will subside and you’ll forget how badly you wanted it.