How to take Sugar out of your diet to live a healthy lifestyle – reduce cravings, lose weight and feel SO much better!
We all know that sugar is ‘bad’ for our health and doesn’t really fit into a healthy lifestyle, but many people are actually addicted to the sweet white stuff. There are ridiculously alarming stats out there about how much sugar the average person consumes daily, weekly and annually and half the time people don’t even know how much they actually consume.
Yes, all sugary foods are yummy and tempting to most people, the reason why is the more sugar you eat/drink, the higher your tolerance becomes. If you have a sweet tooth or a lot of sugar cravings, don’t try and blame genetics or you were born that way, it is most likely your eating habits that has created this sugar monster!
If you think you are addicted to the stuff – do you always think about sugar or foods with sugar in it (chocolate), do you find that you always go back for more – the more you have the more you want. Even when you try and stay away from it, it finds its way back into your mouth? If any of that sounds familiar, don’t worry, here are a few guidelines you can take on board to try and get rid of the nasty sugar addition – it will reduce your cravings, you could lose weight, and you will feel SO much better for doing it.
Don’t despair, it can be reversed in just a couple of weeks. Once you have been sugar free for a few weeks, if you then taste or eat something sweet you will notice how different it will taste! You might even experience a sugar high.
Here are a few steps you can take to reducing your sugar intake and becoming sugar free (and then experience the rewards!)
1. Identify sugar and what products contain sugar & get rid of them
This means checking all the labels on food and being aware of all the different forms of sugar (the closer it is to the start of the ingredients list, the more sugar there is in the product. There are a lot of hidden sugars in food. Learn to read food labels and if you see things like the following in a product*, chuck it out, and don’t buy it again.
Brown rice syrup
Cane juice crystals
High fructose corn syrup
|Corn syrup solids
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrate
|Grape juice concentrate
As a general guide, here is a small list of the types of foods to avoid
- Sugar/sweetener in coffees or tea
- Soft drink/fizzy drinks
- Alcohol (bugger!!)
- White, wholemeal, brown breads
- Milk & milk products
- Anything that is in a packet and has been processed
2. Fill your fridge and cupboards with sugar free food
Once you have taken all the bad stuff out, it’s time to restock with the good stuff! So what can you eat?
- Veggies – lots of them – all different colours
- Free range/organic Chicken, fish, lean red meat (in moderation)
- Pesto (make your own)
3. Manage the cravings?
You are stronger than a craving. You are in control of what goes into your body. You are the boss. Don’t let anyone (even that naughty voice in your head), tell you any different. Try doing something different – go for a walk, have a glass of water, go have a bath, brush your teeth, hang the washing out – distract yourself. If you are actually hungry (there is a difference between a craving and hunger), have a small handful of nuts or seeds, or some raw carrot/celery etc in hummus.
The first week will be the hardest, get ready to expect that. If you are conscious of it, it will be easier to distract yourself, knowing it’s only a craving or a habit and you can get past it. After a few weeks of being sugar free, the results will start to kick in – you will ask for a peppermint tea, rather than a hot chocolate or some nuts instead of a chocolate bar. And of course you will notice your clothes will be looser!
4. Don’t let sugar rule your life again
Once you have been sugar free for a couple of weeks, make sure you stay strong. Having something sweet in moderation is ok, as long as you feel strong enough to control it. You don’t want to get back into the sugar addition spiral. You can do it, if you set your mind to it. Once you see and feel the benefits of living sugar free, you won’t want to go back!
5. What is ok in moderation?
As many of you will know, fruit does contain sugar. Yes, it is a natural sugar, but it’s still sugar, so in this case should be only eaten in small amounts, if at all. I know, you have probably heard you need to eat fruit every day bla bla, but why not substitute it for veggies? Loads of nutrients, no sugar, and you won’t get the sugar rush after eating it.
6. What does a food diary of a sugar free diet look like? (This is a typical day for me)
- 7am ish – Hot lemon water
- 7.15am ish – Breakfast – Porridge made with oat milk & water, cinnamon, seeds, & LSA
- 11am – Snack – if I feel like one (not very often, because my bfast fills me up. I might have another hot lemon if it’s a cold day or a small handful of nuts/seeds. Or carrot/celery/cucumber sticks with some hummus, or if I have made some roast veggies, I will have a few of those (Sweet potato, zucchini, egg plant)
- 1pm – lunch – Salad of spinach, corn, grated carrot, avo, walnuts, seeds, roasted veggies (or quiona, or brown rice) with tin tuna, or grilled salmon, or grilled chicken, or boiled eggs (this one is the easiest, so tend to go with the eggs!)
- 4pm – arvo snack – same as above or savoury muffin (homemade), or veggie slice (homemade) – or might steal a few veggies when making my daughters dinner.
- 7pm ish – dinner – oven baked salmon, green beans, broccoli, roasted or mashed sweet potato
- I am usually in bed by 9pm!
- I also drink 2L of water as a minimum each day.
For more ideas on eating a sugar free lifestyle (or minimal sugar), and you need some recipe ideas, check out the Healthy lifestyle eBook series – http://www.blueskyfitness.com.au/services/ebooks-on-line-coaching/