Many of my clients come to me with a goal of kicking their sugar “habit.” They are not alone; the harmful effects of sugar have been making the news more than ever lately, on CBS, CNN and in Health Magazine, just to name a few.
I’ve been working with several clients to help them tame their sweet cravings, and I’ve put together a list of Top 10 Tips that really work:
- Don’t keep sweets in the house! Sounds simple, right? If you don’t have cookies in the house, you won’t eat cookies in the house. It is simple and POWERFUL! But you’d be surprised how many clients tell me they have to have [cookies, cupcakes, candy] in the house for their kids or their spouse. If you must have them in the house, buy treats that YOU DON’T LIKE. But the best choice is not to buy it for your family, either. If they want an occasional treat, they can go out for ice cream or dessert and buy just enough for one portion that they can eat there!
- As seen in Health Magazine, try saying “I don’t eat that” instead of “I can’t eat that.” The first is a powerful statement of choice and preference; the second makes you the victim of denying yourself.
- Preparation is key! Many of my clients have committed to getting up an hour earlier in order to boil eggs, slice peaches, chop veggies. Others have started doing all their grocery shopping before the weekend, and using Sunday afternoon to prepare several meals (and extras for leftovers!) for the week ahead. Try these whole grain cooked staples that will last in your refrigerator all week: quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat. Meals that will keep in your freezer for three months include vegetable soup, chili, turkey burgers, etc.(freeze in small portions!).
- Start strong. A healthy breakfast really does set the tone for the day. Try my breakfast smoothie, which takes just minutes! Two other client favorites are: oatmeal topped with cinnamon and blueberries or apples and walnuts; and Ezekiel English muffins with an egg and spinach.
- Practice conscious eating. Instead of mindlessly grabbing a handful of peanut M&Ms, choose something healthy to eat first, and after that, take time to decide if you still want that treat. Sometimes you will, and sometimes you won’t. But at least you’ll be more aware (and in control) of your choices.
- Keep track of how you feel after you eat something sweet. Write it down. Headache? Congestion? Fatigue? Foggy-brain? Next time you reach for the sweet, remember how you will feel afterward and ask yourself if it’s worth it. Especially if you have a big project due at work or an event to attend or a date that night with your significant other, you may want to forgo the foods that make you feel “bad” so you can feel good and do your best work, be your best self.
- Drink water throughout the day. That’s it. This is one of the easiest, healthiest changes you can incorporate into your life. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and then wait a few minutes to see what happens.
- Eat “sweet” vegetables and fruit. They are healthy and delicious. If you incorporate two to three into your day, the less you will crave sugar.
- Get physically active. Start with simple activities, like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. It will help balance your blood sugar levels, boost your energy, and reduce tension without medicating yourself with sugar!
- Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways! Your body does not biologically need sugar, but it does long for hugs, time with friends, outside time, workouts, massages, etc. When life becomes sweet enough itself, no additives are needed!
I hope these Top 10 Tips help YOU break the sugar cycle. I’d love to hear what tips have worked for you! If you have a moment, please leave me a comment (and to thank you, click on my healthy “cookie” recipe!) Thank you!