Did you know the more you give in to those sweets cravings, the more cravings you will have? Do you know what to do to get rid of those cravings? Kick the habit with the seven sugar detox tips below.
Breaking the sugar addiction habit cycle
Man did I eat way too many sweets leading up to Easter and for a whole week after!!! It was getting ridiculous I needed to get a hold of myself but habits are SO hard to change. I read a really great book that explained in-depth how our habits are so engrained, that we do them with minimal brain activity. We aren’t truly in control unless we engage our minds and somehow break the habit cycle. In order to break the cycle we have to recognize it and replace it with a new habit.
There are three parts to the habit cycle, the cue, the habit itself and the reward. What happens is a cue or a trigger sets you into auto mode, during this time the actual habit occurs with minimal or no thought and it ends in some reward. Think of all the food cues there are, the ice cream truck noise, the smell of pretzels in a mall or popcorn at the movies. Then there are all the psychological triggers, boredom, stress, lonely, sad, tired, whatever it may be. When one of our triggers occurs we go into mindless action and our eating or sugar habit occurs and we get our reward. This is an immediate reward like the excitement of the ice cream truck or mindless crunch of the popcorn. Another version of this internal reward is if you were bored and now that space is filled, or you are distracted for a moment when you’re sad.
The physiological response to sugar is an even stronger reward. When we consume sugar, which is a carbohydrate, we get a quick burst of energy and our brains release the dopamine that makes us feel good, it’s a drug in this situation. We get this momentary overwhelming feeling of happy but are suffering the long-term consequences such as weight gain, heart disease, depression, guilt and the gross overgrowth of the bad bacteria in our bodies.
So here is the challenge I present to you. Figure out what your triggers are, write them down on a post-it if you have to and keep it in front of your face. Put it on the fridge or on the box of candy or tempting treat. Better yet, throw that tempting shit out unless you’re keeping it to bribe your kids with, no judgment here haha. Once you recognize the triggers you can work to switch off the auto response and let a new habit emerge to replace the previous sugar addict habit. Here are a few tips for things to focus on making it easier to break the sugar habit.
- Drink water ~ when you are fighting that sugar craving, drink 8 or more ounces of water. Don’t just wait until you have a craving to drink water either, create a new habit of drinking water all day. Get a fun water bottle or add some lemon if that entices you.
- Eat more protein and fat ~ Protein is your friend! Carbohydrates are not bad in the correct amount but you need the protein and fat to back them up. When you eat carbs (sugar is a carb) without the fats and proteins to back them up your body reacts by feeling good at first and getting that burst of energy but then you crash and your body craves more.
- Eat the right snacks ~ This goes right along with number 2. Have balanced snacks available that fit into your meal plan (If you need help with meal plans please reach out and I intend to write more about that soon). Enjoy snacks with a good mix of proteins, carbs and fats. There are so many options to fit your tastes or cravings, nuts, yogurt, protein bar or shake (I am loving cafe latte Shakeology right now). Enjoy an apple or celery with peanut butter and that covers the crunchy, salty and sweet. Fruit is not the enemy, have a piece of fruit. NOT juice, you want the fiber from the actual fruit to help your body digest the sugar more slowly aka lower glycemic index.
- Cut out the sugary drinks ~ stop drinking soda and fancy sugary coffee drinks. save yourself the money AND the calories by switching to water. Every time you cave to the sugary drinks you’re feeding that craving cycle and your body will just want more. There are studies that even artificial sweeteners cause you to crave sugar.
- Eat more regularly ~ When you let yourself get too hungry you are more likely to grab whatever you can to give you a quick energy boost. If you spread your intake out and don’t get to that hAngry state of mind, your chances of success are much higher. Be sure you aren’t overeating though, this is where having a plan and knowing how much and what to eat is important. I find tracking my food helps me be honest with myself and my portions to see where I am lacking and get the best results.
- Stop restricting ~ Now this might seem counter intuitive because the whole point of this is to break the sugar addiction and habit, but we always want what we can’t have. The first few days you may have to restrict but long-term don’t tell yourself you’re never having cake again. Instead allow yourself special occasions and fit the treat into your food plan. Count these treats NOT as a cheat, that is an unhealthy mindset, rather count them as a refuel for your mind, breaking that I can’t have it so I want it cycle. Don’t get carried away, be honest with yourself about how much you will consume and how often. When you cheat you are only cheating yourself. You have to live life and enjoy it. Living balanced is the way to go.
- Community ~ Find a friend or support group to do this with you. Even just put it out on your social media that you are doing this and the positive peer pressure to succeed can help propel you forward. We are stronger together.
These are pretty basic but changing habits is extremely difficult. Take things one day at a time and if you fall off, get back on! Every day is a fresh chance to start over. A Sugar addiction is so hard to break but you can do it. You are worth it!! I would love to hear how you are doing on your journey to quit sugar and beat those cravings. Connect with me on Facebook under One Diesel Mom or Liz Morin to stay in touch or be added to my free online fit family. You can also enter your email to receive new blog posts emails or comment to tell me about topics you would like to read about here. XO