Around this time of year we are all sitting around in our elastic pants and wondering if all the holiday treats were worth it. Let me answer that question for you: yes, they were totally worth it. Now, instead of getting angry at yourself for eating all those delicious holiday goodies, be proactive and get back into your regular routine. Be thankful for all the good food that the Lord and your family provided for you and move on. Easier said than done, I know. At the beginning of the holidays I found myself in a really good place with sweets. I hardly found myself craving sugar and would only eat things that were my favorite or what I consider to be totally worth the calories. Now, after the holidays I find myself craving everything and having to resist a lot. It’s not a great feeling. I know that the increased amount of sugar I had over the holidays has made my blood sugar irregular. To make it simple, when we eat increased amounts of sugar it raises our blood sugar resulting in our body releasing mass amounts of insulin, rapidly dropping our blood sugar. The low blood sugar causes our body to miss that sugar high and the cravings start. It’s a vicious cycle. In this post I’m going to give you my top ways to kick the sugar cravings.
1. Learn How to Read Food Labels
How are you going to reduce your sugar intake if you don’t even know how much sugar is in the food you’re eating? Essentially, there are two things to look for when reading a food label: serving size and sugar. You can usually find the amount of sugar pretty quickly on a food label. While a label may say there is only 5 grams of sugar, it’s really dependent on the serving size. If the serving size says 10 servings, the sugar intake just went up to 50 grams. That’s a big difference! Make sure you pay attention to serving size on your food labels, people! I will go more in depth on reading food labels in another blog. Another thing to consider is how much sugar is too much? The American Heart Association says that the maximum amount of sugar you should have a day is:
Men: 37.5 grams, 9 tsp, or 150 calories
Women: 25 grams, 6 tsp, or 100 calories
Also, take a look at the ingredients list. The ingredients are listed in order of how much of that ingredient is in the product. So, if you scan the list and see sugar or syrup as the second ingredient, that means the product is filled with a hefty amount of added sugar.
2. Remove Temptations
After the holidays, everyone has a mass amount of sweets just laying around their home. It’s time to purge your house of those treats. I’m sure all of you are saying, “Okay, tomorrow I’m done eating all this crap”. You wake up the next day and to your surprise, those chocolate chip cookies are still laying on the counter. Then, you give the whole, “tomorrow,” speech again and again and again. Time to stop. Throw all the treats in the trash or give them away. Once you take the temptation away, it gets a lot easier.
3. Eat More Whole Foods (Protein and Healthy Fats)
When you eat whole foods, it is unlikely there is going to be any added sugars – which is exactly what we are trying to stay away from. Eating whole foods gives our bodies the nutrition it needs and helps us stay satisfied so we don’t go reaching for those unhealthy snacks. Foods that have loads of protein and healthy fats can especially keep our body in balance.
Let me start off by saying I know fruit has sugar in it, but this whole post is about reducing added sugars. Fruit has always had a huge part in helping me to reduce my added sugar intake. The sugar cravings are unavoidable, but there is a way to cheat them. Fruit is such a healthy and natural alternative to sugar. The fruits with the lowest amount of sugar are; blueberries, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, peaches, and raspberries.
5. Low Sugar Snacks
If you’re not a fruit person, then make sure to have some low sugar snacks around the house. I know it isn’t easy to say no to cravings and sometimes it can just be impossible. When those sugar cravings do come knocking you’ll have something to munch on instead. I usually reach for carrots and hummus, cheese, or mixed nuts.
6. Don’t Drink Your Calories
I can’t say I never drink my calories, because I’m a sucker for hot chocolate and a good coffee. I just want to give a fair warning that most drinks contain a lot of sugar. Even drinks that claim to be healthy such as smoothies and juices, can be packed with added sugar. That is why it’s very important to learn how to read nutrition labels.
7. Don’t Restrict!
I love this one because you guys know I’m all about moderation. I can promise you (because I’ve been through this) that if you restrict yourself too much, it will come back to haunt you. You will end up binge eating sugary foods and create an unhealthy relationship with food. Sugar shouldn’t be feared, we should learn how to work with it and how to control our cravings. I usually don’t keep any sugary treats in my house except for Hershey’s chocolate kisses and Ghirardelli squares. If I’m really craving some sugar, I will have a couple of those and I feel much better. Learn how to live with the sugar and not how to hide from it.
Time to put these tips into action and quit the addiction! If you liked this post, go check out my Weight Loss Tips post!