It’s probably the number one thing people address when trying to lose weight or become healthier.
One thing that often happens when attempting to cut out sugar, is the focus is totally on the *not* eating the sugar. And probably also a secondary focus on simply trying to eat less of everything else too…..
But this doesn’t usually work (at least not long-term), and cravings get crazy and hunger prevails. If you’ve ever been there, you know how frustrating and miserable this cycle can be….
Here’s three simple strategies you can start using TODAY to help manage sugar intake – without making you crazy or deprived:
1. Avoid simply substituting one form of sugar for another.
Using honey instead of table sugar or choosing “diet” cookies over the regular variety doesn’t necessarily create a healthier body or more manageable relationship with sugar – in fact, it usually just perpetuates the issue. The body responds in the same way, regardless to the form of sugar or refined starch – and especially if you’re replacing foods you actually enjoy with less-then-optimal choices on the satisfaction scale, then you could be setting yourself up for more cravings. Also keep in mind that ALL forms of sugar / carbohydrate contain the same amount of energy (calories) — so switching one for the other is not going to change your intake.
And in reality, most people never totally *eliminate* all forms of sugar, so learning how to manage intake and reduce cravings is a much more effective and balanced approach for long-term health and weight management.
My advice: get to know your food and start to look at when and how you are getting what you need – and what you really don’t need. Especially if you are looking to lose weight or get healthier, then it’s more beneficial to improve your overall macronutrient (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) intake rather than just swap out similar sugar-based foods.
2. Manage stress and watch for triggers.
This element is often overlooked, but it is often the driver for sugar cravings in most people. Stress can trigger a perceived need or craving for sugary or fatty foods. For others, the trigger can even be a physical stressor, like over-exercising (especially long-duration cardio such as marathon training), which can increase cravings for starch or sugar. In reality, both emotional stress and physical stress can cause sugar cravings and throw off the body’s response to these foods.
My advice: find ways to relax, do moderate amounts of short-duration, intense exercise as well as more long, restorative walking, andget plenty of sleep and fresh air. A healthy mind-body balance is a crucial part of setting your body up for effective weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Micro-managing your choices can be stressful in itself, and actually work against your goals – and it does not always lead to a healthier perspective and awareness of your body’s needs. Often when we feel calm and more satisfied in all areas of our life and being, we begin to naturally crave less for food, and so the attraction that sugar once held becomes less important to your daily routine.
3. Take a look at your overall diet.
What are you eating?
Are you getting plenty of protein and fibre at each meal?
Do you drink water throughout the day?
Are you eating unprocessed foods primarily, along with lots of vegetables?
This is an important step because while reducing sugar is beneficial, it help make it easier if you are eating enough of the “good stuff” first. Focus on boosting the nutritious foods in your diet BEFORE going on a total sugar elimination. Reducing *everything* in your diet blindly is a recipe for disaster. Add more nutrient-dense, filling foods to give your body what it actually needs.
My advice: Avoid following random commercial “diet” advice. Diets just don’t work – you need nourishment and practice navigating your own educated choices.
A great place to start is with my e-book: The Real Girl’s Guide to Good Food for Your Figure — this is all about helping you move past the frustrating cycle of dieting. This is not for people who have it all together and find change easy….this was written with the average woman in mind, who faces real-life challenges and needs real-time solutions.
THE REAL GIRL’S GUIDE focuses on small, do-able modifications that serve your whole health so that you have a place to start when your long term goal is consistency.
(Get more details HERE)