When You Decide To Stop Eating Sugar Is A Very Personal Choice
Let me be clear about this article…I don’t want to stop eating sugar because it seems like fun or it’s a necessity like I have Diabetes. This is also not a how-to-totally-remove sugar from your diet article. In doing research, I reviewed some of those articles; and let me say, removing sugar from your diet entirely means looking at everything you consume from your bread to your drinks to what kind of condiments you use. I am not there yet. Why do I need to cut down on my sugar intake? I feel chronic pain in my body, and I believe my chronic pain is the long-term result of spinal surgery as well as having Degenerative Disc Disease. But from everything I’ve read, the massive amount of sugar I consume can only be harmful and cause more pain.
The issue? I love sugar. I love all desserts – I don’t discriminate. I eat sweets every single day. I spend too much money on sweets and the calories I eat daily are probably more made of sweet calories than anything else. Over the years, I’ve learned to live without the french fries dipped in mayo, the cheeseburgers, the lasagna, and the side of bread. But, I’ve never seriously tried to lose the sugar dessert, candy, sweet snacks, etc. because I love them. In other words, making a change is really hard for me.
How To Stop Eating Sugar. Slowly
I’m not the cold turkey type and I never have been. I don’t need to suffer unnecessarily. That means, cutting out sugar completely and overnight is not an approach I’m willing to take at this point in time. So, where does that leave us? With creating a strategy. My biggest problems are the sugary drinks. Any meal out is an opportunity to order a Coke, which is not too often but still unhealthy. Starbucks is a danger zone across the board. I like the 400+ calorie drinks so that’s going to be a challenge, as I sit here slurping down one of the last Chestnut Praline Lattes of the year. Desserts are equally an issue. I love cake, pies, ice cream, cookies even the sugary crackers are terrible. Then, there’s candy. Candy is delicious and everywhere. But, I have to begin to give these things up because I have finally accepted the following things:
- Sugar is a drug. It gets you high and low and I crave it. I know I’m addicted.
- It has no nutritional value and rots your teeth. I’ve had at least a dozen cavities filled in recent years.
- It is a major offender of pain in your body. It causes inflammation and all kinds of other badness.
- Weight management – other than sugar, my diet is healthy yet sometimes there are a couple of unwanted pounds. It has to be the sugar.
How to Stop The Sugary Drinks
Don’t get fooled into thinking switching to juice from soda is a healthy idea. Some juices are just as bad, and there’s nothing at Jamba Juice that should be replacing a soda, milkshake, or Starbucks-sweetened drinks. I know this because I tried. Also, do a little research on what kind of sweeteners you’re comfortable eating. Ordering, or making, the sugar-free version of drinks you love but then loading them up with Sweet ‘n Low can have other negative effects on your health. Make sure whatever sweetener alternatives you’re using aren’t terrible for you in other ways.
Water, Herbal Teas, Coffee
Water is always the best choice. Your body needs it and you will feel better if you drink more water. This tip is even in my book because drinking water is so important for people in recovery. It was very hard for me to start drinking plain water. A Hydro Flask has made it easier because it keeps the water cold and close to me all day. I also use add-ins like Crystal Light, but these days I use them in moderation. One with dinner. If you like the bubbly water, congratulations, you have a million options. There are also all kinds of new drinks available in the supermarket that taste great and have low sugar but some of them get pricey so buyers beware!
Put Down The Candy
I know tons of people in recovery who have switched to sugar or candy addictions once the alcohol is gone. Make no mistake, most alcohol has sugar in it so you may have been feeding the sugar addict all along but never realized until you stop drinking. I know a sober person who has a giant bag of M&M’s in the freezer at all times. I know several people who have candy drawers, as do I. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but candy is sold everywhere. Wherever you can check out these days, there’s candy. I don’t want to stop eating candy, so the first thing I’m going to try is to find some sugar-free candy. I’ve also read that keeping fruit, dried fruit (although that can have a lot of added sugar too so be careful), nuts, gum (I hate gum so no for me), and any other “snacky” but healthier alternatives in the house can help with the transition. As for the candy and bakery aisles in stores, avoid them as much as you can, and when you are tempted play the, “not for today,” game.
Remember, the voice that sounds like you telling you to eat crap is not you–it’s the addict. You don’t have to listen to that voice anymore because it doesn’t want what’s best for you.
Healthy Candy – Here’s an article listing the 12 healthiest candies. Start there if you’re doing the drop-down method like me. Many of these look good and I will be trying.
How To Stop the Desserts
Again, for me, this is not about stopping but rather finding a healthier version. I heard a nutritionist once say, “Make the healthier choice.” I’m going to apply that to desserts. I will explore sugar-free desserts. We have a multitude of healthy bakeries in Southern California – this won’t be hard to do. I don’t often order desserts in restaurants because I already have something at home so I’m not worried about that. As far as my daily life, I’m going to avoid the bakery aisle just like I avoid the alcohol aisle until I feel stronger. It’s also a good idea to avoid grabbing coffee at my favorite dessert spots too.
They say after a few weeks, you won’t crave the sugar anymore, so we’ll see about that. It also came up over and over as I was reading about this that having a healthy diet and eating regularly will help. Obviously, if you’re starving yourself all day, the way I can, it’s much harder to resist sweets at night. Don’t do that. Eat healthy meals throughout the day and limit processed foods as much as possible. What’s processed? If you can’t pronounce what’s in it, it’s processed. Processed foods makes us crave more processed foods.
This is the beginning for this sugar addict. this is a plan that doesn’t terrify me because it seems manageable and doesn’t take away sweets, which are a great pleasure for me!!
Check out my book 100
Tips For Growing Up
Take this test from Psychology Today to see if you engage in any self-sabotaging behavior.
More Articles to Read about Sugar and Habits
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