Why Eat Less Sugar?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the biggest sweet tooth! While most people seemed to be satisfied with bits of sugar here and there, I felt like I could never get enough. In my late twenties, I knew I had to change my lifestyle before I did irreversible damage to my health. So, I began looking for ways to eat less sugar and to eat more nutritious alternatives.
Focus on Eating More, Not Eating Less
So often, when we embark on the journey to eat less sugar, we focus on what we are NOT eating rather than what we ARE eating.
Here are a few reasons why this doesn’t work:
- increased irritability due to the “diet” mentality
- Feelings of self-deprivation
- Increased sugar cravings
- More temptation to “cave” and eat sugar
Keep in mind this metaphor: If someone tells you not to think about a pink elephant, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? I’m betting it’s a pink elephant!
In the same way, when we focus on what we can’t have, the harder it is to live without.
Focus, instead, on filling your diet with as many nutritious fruits, vegetables, and lean meats as possible. Your brain will direct its attention to how good these new foods make you feel, rather than how much you are craving a milkshake.
Reject Feast or Famine Mentality
We know by now that yo-yo dieting is a failed system for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The more we deprive our bodies of the things we want, the more we crave them!
Yet, we know we can’t continue down the path of eating whatever we want whenever we want.
What is the solution?
Many people (myself included) have found success in adopting a 90/10 balance between healthy and processed foods. Within a week, that would mean that two meals could consist of processed, high sugar or high-fat ingredients.
By choosing to eat 90/10, you can focus on a nutritious diet without feeling like you have no leeway to treat yourself.
Acclimate Your Body
The more of something you eat, the more your body craves it. For example, the more sugar and fats you eat, the more intense cravings you have for sugar and fat.
The good news is that this is true for whole foods as well. After two weeks on a whole food diet, you can expect your body to start craving healthier foods! By the fourth week, the sugary foods you used to inhale without thinking about will taste sickeningly sweet.
I used to be a big beer drinker….
I would go for a sugary mixed drink once in a while, too. After starting to eat Paleo foods, I began drinking wine even though I really didn’t enjoy the taste.
Eight weeks into my Paleo journey, I was out of wine and decided to treat myself to a green apple Smirnoff. Want to guess what happened? I could barely finish it! My body reacted strongly to the concentrated corn syrup and artificial flavors, which I had barely noticed before.
Surprisingly, I found myself craving wine!
Remember, treat your body right, and it will respond in ways you never imagined!
Get Creative in the Kitchen
If you’re not a cooking junkie like me, feel free to skip ahead! Cooking, however, is one of my favorite ways to beat my cravings.
There’s no reason to entertain the idea of binging on cupcakes when there’s delicious, holistic food on the table.
From Paleo butter chicken to cauliflower garlic mashed potatoes, I’m always creating new recipes that get me pumped to eat my veggies. The challenge of only cooking with whole foods excites me to get outside of my comfort zone while cooking.
Whether you want to buy a cookbook or invent your own recipes, making your own delicious food at home will save you money and eliminate the temptation to eat out.
For emotional eaters like me, there’s no question that we think of sugary and fatty foods as something of a comfort blanket. However, when we look at the statistics, it’s easy to see that nothing is comforting about sugar!
According to a recent article by Harper’s Bazaar, a high-sugar diet directly causes:
- Premature aging
- Constant cravings
- Low energy
- Weak immune system
- Weight gain
Consuming large amounts of sugar over time also contributes to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, acne, heart disease, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
I don’t know about you, but none of those sound like a good time to me!
It’s time to stop thinking of sugar as comfort food.
There is nothing comfortable about damaging your health!
Finding ways to eat less sugar is so beneficial to our overall well-being.
Track Your Progress
When we track progress, we see results. When we see results, we are more likely to continue forming good habits.
There are many simple ways to track your health journey. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a picture of your body once a week
- Photograph your face often to monitor your skin health
- Keep a journal of how you feel each day
- Rate your energy on a scale of 1-10 each day
- Log your meals in a food journal
- Take your body measurements once a week or once a month
Eating less sugar will have a profound impact on your health, so make sure you document the journey! Reflecting on your successes and celebrating them will help you continue forward with confidence.
Find New Treat Foods
So what to do when those pesky sugar cravings DO hit and hit hard? One of the best ways to deal with sugar withdrawals is to find a new food to treat yourself with.
My treat food is watermelon, and I eat tons of it during watermelon season. In fact, I’ve eaten three or four watermelons in a week at times! Yes, it’s packed with natural sugar, but also tons of water to keep me hydrated and energized.
Now that my sugar cravings are fewer and farther between, I don’t need to eat as much watermelon to keep temptation at bay.
Some of my treat foods are wine, homemade green tea ice cream, honey nut banana bowl, and garlic seared broccoli. Can you say yum?
Eat Less Sugar: Start Now
I often use this tip in my blog posts, but that’s because it rings true in many areas of life. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start an elaborate meal plan. Don’t spend weeks planning an intense exercise regimen or negative-calorie juice diet.
Because when you apply pressure, things break.
The more pressure you put on your meal plan, diet, or fitness program, the less likely you will stay the course.
This isn’t to say that you can’t succeed, of course. But the path to long-lasting change is marked by small consistencies.
Look around your world TODAY and make healthy choices TODAY. One small decision leads to another, and it is this momentum that creates a healthy lifestyle.
Take charge of your health today, because today is the day you can control!
You’ve Got This
Whatever the reason you have decided to eat less sugar, you are not alone! Eating less sugar is a goal that millions of people worldwide achieve every day – which means that you can do it too!
I’m proud that you’re taking meaningful steps to invest in your health.
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