Overcoming sugar addiction is not easy. I read recently that the average child in America (younger than 12) consumes 49 pounds of sugar per year!
Sugar addiction is a real problem & it is starting young.
Part of the problem is sugar is added to just about everything anymore, as a preservative, even things that we wouldn’t consider sweet like tomato sauce.
My youngest is the absolute worst sleeper I’ve ever had so that means I don’t get a lot of sleep. Unfortunately, and I hate to admit it, I turned to sugar to make it through the day.
I didn’t even notice that I had come to depend on it until it was too late. I was addicted. Not only was I using it for energy but I started to crave it and would think of nothing else until I finally had a bite. I tried to stop I know very well that it isn’t good for me and I knew I shouldn’t be eating it.
So why couldn’t I quit?
- My body had been conditioned to crave sugar. My brain and body chemistry had been altered making it extremely difficult to resist sugary foods.
2. I didn’t have a real plan and had stopped meal planning & meal prepping so when my body needed energy I went for the easiest, quickest fix … sugar.
I had to make a change and I chose to do a sugar detox.
The first thing I did was to let people know I needed help overcoming sugar addiction. I had to quit cold turkey and I needed their help and accountability. So on March 6th, of this year I stopped eating all forms of added sugar. which means no processed convenience foods, natural sugars like honey and “fast” carbs, that turn into sugar quickly in your body. I still had whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes, beans & fruit.
Overcoming Sugar Addiction Tips
1. Create a meal plan that is quick & easy. I choose a super simple meal plan my first week. I basically cooked all of my food for the week the day before I started because I knew I would definitely not have the energy or desire to cook that first week.
2. Take a day to meal prep. Prepare all of your breakfast, lunches & at least half you dinners for the week. Also, plan snacks, my go to was apples with peanut butter (I like to make my own or Fred Meyer and Winco have a machine that grinds the peanuts or almonds for you so the only ingredient it that nut, no added oils or sugars).
3. Make sure you have plenty of healthy fats, filling vegetables and slow burning carbs (optimizing your blood sugar & insulin levels) Adding plenty of good fats helps with cravings significantly!
- Slow burning carbs are plant-based foods that are high in fiber.
4. Don’t try to lose weight or limit calories during this time. Focus on one thing at a time. Getting rid of sugar is most important and should be the only goal you are focusing on. If you try to limit food and allow yourself to get too hungry it could be detrimental to your detox. (plus I think you will find losing weight is a natural side effect of cutting out sugar)
5. Try to limit your fruit to low sugar fruits like apples, berries, underripe bananas (still fairly green) and grapefruits. Try to have only 2 servings a day. However – it is better to have a third serving of fruit than a cookie, or two or three. 😉
6. Drink lots of water.
7. Don’t be afraid of seasonings & salt to enhance the flavors of your foods.
- Reducing your intake of sugar by just 2 tsp. a day lowers your risk of high blood pressure by 77%! While removing salt only makes a nominal difference. Sugar puts more stress on your blood vessels.
When you are ready slowly begin adding foods back to your diet that have some sugar.
- Pay attention to the ingredient list. Try not to have any form of sugar in the first 5 ingredients.
2. Pay attention to the nutritional values. Try to make sure that the total sugar listed is lower than the total of protein and fiber combined.
- These first two tips will help make sure any processed food is not too heavy laden with extra sugar.
3. Be mindful of how your food makes you feel & how your body reacts to it. That way you can know if it is a trigger food for you and you should avoid that particular type of food. Read How to Practice Mindfulness Exercises.
People eating a high-sugar diet are 2 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease!
Excess sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins in your body, damaging them and making them brittle which can cause excess signs of aging, like wrinkles and saggy skin.
This is serious stuff and it is crucial for your health and wellbeing that you get help with your sugar addiction.
The less I was exposed to sugar, I noticed that overcoming sugar addiction became easier. My taste buds started going back to being able to taste the sweetness from other things without the added sugars. I am confident the same will happen for you.
I want to be completely honest with you though, it is not easy! The first week I wanted to curl into a ball and sleep all day. I was somber and had sloth-like reflexes. The second week was sooo much better. I had just as much energy as I had when I had been consuming sugar. By the third week, I felt like I could do so much more. While it might be hard the payoff is worth it in the end.
So if you can just hold on for those first 7 days you’ll make it through the worst of it. If you “fall off the wagon” don’t beat yourself up, do your best to jump back on as soon as possible.
You can do this! Let me know if you need help overcoming sugar addiction. We can connect via social media and I will be your confidant.