Sugar: it may be the hardest habit to quit. It’s everywhere. It’s in our desserts, condiments, and coffees. It’s at every party you ever go to, in the break room at work, and on your Friday night date.
You can’t escape sugar, even though you’d like to, so avoidance isn’t a good tactic. You have to deploy other tricks, if you see yourself ever being successful at quitting sugar.
5 TRICKS TO QUIT SUGAR
These are five tricks I use to give myself the push I need to make it past the challenges, over the hurdles, and to the finish line.
1) Question Yourself
Cravings are often born from one of four things
When you satisfy the first three, then you’re more likely to be successful in avoiding temptations.
When a craving hits, ask yourself, “Am I hungry? Am I eating because I’m bored? Or am I feeling stressed?” If you answer yes to any of these, then you’ll need to follow the questioning method to discover what your next step will be.
Hunger is an easy one to solve. If it’s close to meal time, then sit down and eat. If it’s between meals, grab a snack without added sugar like whole fruit.
You can solve boredom in ways that don’t involve food. Find work to do, talk to your neighbor, or watch a movie. There’s certainly no lack of activities to partake in. Give social media scrolling the green light in these situations.
Stress can create a lot of pressure. That pressure drives many people to relieve themselves through sweet foods. You’re looking for a kick of serotonin. Identify the stress. Then ask, “What else can I do to feel better?” Talk to a friend, read something inspiring, do a few breathing exercises, use essential oils, or walk in nature.
Replacing your sweet treats with healthier options is always a good choice. Maybe it’s not easy in the moment, but you can easily satisfy a sweet craving with a sweet fruit. Some may argue that it’s still sugar, but there’s a big difference. Fruit sugar is combined with fiber and vital nutrients. Because of that, your body breaks it down and uses it in completely different ways.
Any time I walk into the break room at work and there’s an array of donuts, cookies, cupcakes, cake, or pie (often kindly delivered by patient family members), I’ll grab my apple, banana, grapes, or nectarine. I stash several pieces of fruit in my lunch bag to enjoy throughout the day.
I already know that after lunch I’ll have a sweet craving or two, so I make sure there’s enough fruit to satisfy my craving. This tactic has been super helpful in diminishing any temptation for processed sugar and simple carbohydrates.
Rather than go cold turkey, give yourself some time to slowly move off of sugar. Try to limit your full-sugar items to once a day, every other day, once a week, every other week, and once a month.
Start where you are now, whether that’s eating multiple sweets a day to several times a week, and plan where you’d like to be, no sugar at all or only once a month.
Personally, I was guilty of eating high-sugar treats multiple times a week. The usual stories goes as such: it’s a family member’s birthday. The girl at work is having a baby. The family from room 711 thought we might enjoy donuts for breakfast. It’s nurses week. It’s night out with the girls so five margaritas is a must. I’m celebrating any trivial thing I can think of as a good reason to eat or drink my sugar.
I developed an awareness about my sugar habits, then I decided to wean from there. I went from multiple treats a week to only one. Now I’m eating a sweet treat about every two weeks, which happens to coincide with true celebrations (approximately). That way, I’m allowing myself to still partake in chosen festivities while maintaining sugar-free most of the time.
4) Buddy Up
You’ve heard this countless times, especially when it comes to exercise or in how to reach other goals. Finding someone to help you stay accountable – whether they do it with you or not – can make a world of difference.
For instance, my partner and I decided to fight the war on sugar together. We decided we wanted to only allow ourselves one sweet treat a week. That meant no added sugar in anything else. If it had added sugar, then it counted as a sweet treat.
We set these rules, and we stuck to them. It kept both of us accountable, and it gave us an opportunity to go on a sweet treat date each week.
When temptations hit in the workplace or at events I simply thought to myself, “I’m saving my sweet treat to enjoy with my man.” That thought alone helped me to resist temptation.
Similar to replacing your high-sugar items with whole food sweets, you can attack your cravings with water. Anytime a craving hits, whether its for food or sugar, down a glass of water.
The signal for hydration can be remarkably similar to the signal for food and sugar cravings. Hydrate first, then reassess whether you’re hungry or not. If the craving is still kicking, then feed yourself, be that a meal or a healthy snack.
As you cut back on sugar, you’ll notice changes in your body. Your taste buds will change. And your body’s response to sugar will be more sensitive.
I no longer enjoy full sugar sweets quite like a used to. I desire smaller portions and eat much less when they are offered to me. And a few times when I’ve caved into temptations, I felt horrible afterward. Not because I caved, but because my body felt sick after consuming something with such low nutritive value.
Take it one step at a time, and deploy as many methods as you need to help you fight the war on sugar. You can do it!