Me: I’m quitting sugar!
Also me: *pours chocolate flakes into oatmeal*
I thought my sugar addiction was nearly nonexistent until my recent breakout, loss of energy, and the realization that it might be tied to the box of cookies I devoured when my boyfriend left for Mexico. I follow all of the obvious steps that everyone suggests: I don’t drink soda or really sugary drinks; I eat lots of fresh foods and greens; and I’m mildly allergic to soy and milk, so that cuts out a lot of sugar products too. I even stopped my old habit of eating entire bags of gummy bears by myself right before bed, getting a gremlin-like-sugar-high, and then crashing. ::hair flip:: I’ve made some serious strides in my nutrition habits.
Yet, my skin still looks like high school picture day at least 10 days each month. Part of that being hormones, of course, but still–there’s got to be a cure and I’m determined to find it! There have been some months where it ain’t no thang, and others where it’s E-VERY-THANG. Here I am, though, not letting it rule me. I’ve cut back immensely on the sugar addiction lately and here are the steps that have worked for me.
Step 1: Avoid the binge.
When I ate that box of cookies, it really did me in–my energy levels went completely out of whack. I took three naps that week, THREE! That’s not okay. It also brought on, even more, cravings that made it even harder to come back to my normal self. Avoid binging, no matter how good it seems at the time, you’ll pay for it afterward.
Step 2: Pinpoint the perpetrators.
Where is unnatural sugar “sneaking” into your body? Sometimes, certain foods because so habitual it’s second nature. Next time you use whole milk and 6 packets of sugar, take a step back from the coffee and think. Also, be mindful that when you buy foods, they can have a lot more sugar than you realize–even if it seems healthy (I’m talking to you, smoothies), it can have tons of sugar hidden in it. Other habits can be ˆhow or why you eat treats. Do you emotionally eat, and if so, why? Do you eat sugar because you’re tired and are looking for a pick-me-up? Or maybe out of boredom?
Step 3: Slowly wean yourself off.
My body and I can agree on one thing–don’t rush into a diet change. With sugar, you have to keep in mind that quitting cold turkey will shock your body. You’ll experience mood and energy changes, even feel discomfort at times. It’s also hard because it’s so much work for your mind and if you have a moment of weakness you start back at square one.
Step 4: Balance your tastebuds.
Start eating meals that cover the 6 Ayurveda flavors: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. If you eat meals that capture each of these flavors well, you WILL notice the difference. Your taste buds will be satiated and not urging you to retreat back to the treats to finish off the meal.