By the time I publish this it’ll be the first week of 2015 but whether giving up sugar is a New Year’s Resolution or just something that’s a long time coming here’s a few simple tricks to make the transition successful.
First though you need to face the hard facts. If you are thinking of giving it up you clearly know you have a problem. Sugar is addictive, some people even goes as far as to say it’s a toxin, and whether you are on the side that says you need it or not the fact you’ve come this far suggests you know something in your life needs to change. I’ve heard suggestions that sugar is more addictive than heroin or nicotine but I’m not sure about that, not that I’ve ever tried heroin in order to give it up! It’s probably a personal thing too, some people have very addictive personalities, compulsive behavior and others will be strong willed enough to give things up cold turkey. Whichever category you feel you fall into you don’t need to make things more difficult than they need to be.
Go cold turkey. Don’t think sugar is something that you can wean yourself off. In my experience you will just have to suffer the “sugar hangover” or your brains way of trying to trick you into thinking you need more sugar. From experience the cravings for sugar can be very bad but be strong!
Drink plenty of water and eat foods high in fibre. Flush your system. I’m not a fan of fancy detox’s, I think you can achieve the same results by just eating clean but that’s not to say I’m right, I think again this is something that works for some and not for others. You can eat a normal diet but I would be careful of anything sweet for the first few days and this includes fruit as it still contains sugar, albeit a healthier natural sugar, but something your body needs to be rid of. The other advantage of consuming these is they tend to make you feel full.
The key component for me is exercise. Depending on your current activity level you should just be looking for a gradual increase in volume. For example if you don’t normally exercise all you need to do is a fast but short walk, then aim to go a bit further the next day. If you’re like me you probably don’t need to worry about exercise, but it is part of my job! Resist the temptation to go too hard too soon as you are building your body up for a shock which will make ignoring cravings even harder.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this for long. You will notice the cravings reduce fairly quickly, just don’t think about rewarding yourself with a treat! Whether you reintroduce fruit back into your diet is your choice. I eat a lot of fruit but I like mainly berries as they tend to be lower in sugar volume. Also you need to be on full guard against hidden sugar. Read the label. Most healthy options or reduced fat dishes are actually loaded with sugar. Get to know the many names refined sugar goes by too. If you will struggle to remember then look at the sugar content. Any more than 5% sugar then it’s probably not good for you, I’m sure there are exceptions to this!