Did you know that today, the average American consumes 2-3 pounds of sugar each week? Sugar is added to so many foods that we would never suspect like ketchup, bread, and even some peanut butter. Not only can too much sugar cause weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, impaired immune function, and a whole bunch of other chronic diseases BUT…it can also put you in a VERY BAD MOOD. Once you start making the “Food-Mood” connection, saying no is simple. It’s not that I can’t have it, I JUST DON’T WANT IT!
Rather than trying to give up sugar forever, start by just giving it up for a week just to see how it makes you feel. You may be surprised at the results! Here are 10 tips to get you on your way:
1) Understand your motivation.
Ask yourself “Why do I want to reduce the sugar in my diet?” Does it make you tired, sad, or always wanting more? Post the answer to this question in a place that you can see if often and remind you. It will keep you motivated to keep it going.
2) Try Sour.
Many times, after a meal, we crave something sweet. Sometimes it is just a habit. Try eating something sour instead like some lemon or a pickle and Bye Bye craving!
3) Get the sweets out of the house.
We are prone to crave things we see, so either give it away, have someone else hide it away, or throw it away! Make sure healthy fruits and vegetables are easily visible.
4) Eat Sweet Potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are super healthy, filling and delicious. They are naturally sweet and eating some with your main meal can help reduce sugar cravings later. Half of a small sweet potato should do the trick.
5) Explore the vast world of herbal teas.
Sometimes a cup of apple cinnamon tea, peppermint tea, or spicy ginger tea is a great way to end a meal when you are craving something sweet. You are also getting more water with each sip, which will help you feel fuller faster.
6) Beware of Sauce.
Be careful with sauces. Did you know that some barbecue sauce brands contain roughly the same amount of sugar as chocolate? Ketchup and tomato sauce can be culprits too. Check your ingredient labels.
7) Ditch the Fruit Juice.
A glass of apple juice contains the same amount of sugar as a glass of Coke. Eaten whole, with the fiber intact, we’re able to metabolize the fructose in fruit. But, when the fiber is removed, in the case of juice, we’re left with a whole heap of sugar that our system simply can’t process.
Of course you should be drinking lots of water all day long, but next time you are craving something sweet, drink a big glass of water immediately. First it will fill you up and furthermore it will change your focus on what you were thinking about and that craving may just disappear.
9) Focus on other areas of “Sweetness” in your life.
Life should not be focused only on what you can and can not eat. Get outside, spend time with people who make you feel good, read a good book, and use joy to sweeten your life rather than sugar.
10) Get Support.
Surround yourself with people who support you in your quest for looking and feeling your best.
Lisa Lewtan will be speaking on the Food-Mood Connection at the She Did It Boston event at Babson College on March 24th. To help with sugar addiction she offers one-on-one coaching and 7 Day Detox Progams in Weston, MA.