Five Ways To Be Less Dependent On Sugar

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sugarIt happens to all of us. You are curled up on the couch watching TV and suddenly your brain starts nagging you for something sweet.  Without even giving it a thought, you walk into the kitchen to grab a couple of cookies, or some ice cream you’ve hidden in the freezer.

Or, it’s 3:00pm, you are at work and your stomach starts to growl.  You ignore it but when you walk in the door at 6:00pm all you can think of is the dark chocolate you have stashed away.  You rummage through the cabinets and eat almost half a bar.

Most of the time, eating sugar is driven by two forces: physical and/or emotional.  We eat something sugary because we are starving and our brains are craving instant energy, or we grab for the cookies because we are bored, tired, lonely – you pick the emotion.

Want to start losing your dependence on sugar?  Check out my foolproof strategies.

Strategy #1 Begin Your Day With Breakfast, and Make Sure There Is Protein and Fiber.

I am positive you have heard this before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Most successful people who have lost weight and kept it off start their days with breakfast (just FYI breakfast skippers are 4 times more likely to be overweight than breakfast eaters).  However, what you eat is equally as important. Start with sugary cereal, a muffin or a bagel and chances are you will be ravenous in a few hours. The solution is to start with protein and fiber – two key factors that help slow down digestion and prevent blood sugar crashes.

Strategy #2 Do Not Get Hungry

As far as sugar cravings go, skipping meals and snacks and getting ourselves too hungry is a guaranteed way to ramp up sugar cravings. Your brain is a sucker for carbohydrates and when you get too hungry your brain will want you to go for the quickest source of energy, which is sugar. Be sure to eat three meals and at least one snack a day for insurance.

Strategy #3 Know Your Enemy

Sugar hides everywhere in our food supply. It is in our fruit sweetened yogurt, muffins, bagels, bread, salad dressings, granola bars, fruit juice, ketchup and barbecue sauce. Nowadays food companies want to lure you in with names like “organic evaporated cane juice” or “agave nectar”. The bottom line? It’s all sugar. Learn the different names for sugar (click HERE to see a long list of names for sugar) and start weaning off of the packaged, processed foods that will wreak havoc on your blood sugar.

Strategy #4 Learn What Real Sugar Tastes Like

A juicy orange, a ripe summer peach. This is what real sugar tastes like. Yes, whole fruit contains sugar but in minuscule amounts. It also contains a whole lot of fiber which slows down the rush of sugar into your bloodstream. Learn to appreciate fruit for what it is.

hearts_in_sugarStrategy #5 Am I Hungry Or Am I Bored?

There are two types of cravings: physical and emotional. Since sugar makes our brains feel so good with instant energy, it would make sense that sugar would help your emotions too. The link between sugar and comfort is primal and it starts at a young age. Next time you are having a sugar craving ask yourself this:

  • Has sugar equaled love? Were you soothed with cookies as a child? And can you identify other ways you successfully soothed yourself – without sugar?
  • This is where mindfulness and awareness come in. The next time a craving hits you can ask yourself “do I really want this or is this or am I just feeding my stress?” before you make the decision to eat the ice cream.

What You Can Do Right Now

Start today by weaning off of sugar with these two tips:

  • Start plain and add in if necessary: unsweetened yogurt with a drizzle of honey or plain oatmeal with a dash of maple syrup are two good examples.
  • Still need some sugar? A piece of dark chocolate after a meal (not on an empty stomach) is an acceptable choice.

How do you handle sugar cravings and the overabundance of sugar in foods?  Let me know in the comment below!

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