Do you have a love/hate relationship with sugar? The moment that bit of ice cream, pastry, or chocolate hits your tongue you revel in all its sweet, sugary goodness. Then, a hour or two passes and you’re thinking “I would love a nap right now!”
The sugar roller coaster has many passengers, and once it’s picked you up it becomes the ride from you-know-where. Sure, it’s fun while you’re moving, and yet so frustrating when you’re not allowed to get off. So goes the affair with sugar. You have a blast for a little while – filled with energy and thinking that you got just the pick-me-up you needed. However, when the sugar crash hits or when you step on the scale, you swear you’re going to stop eating sugar for good. Yet, you just can’t seem to kick the habit.
We feel your pain. Have you pledged to quit so many times that you just don’t want to lie to yourself anymore? But why are you a prisoner of your own sugar cravings? We’ll tell you; and even more importantly,we’ll show you how you kick the habit for good.
This is Your Brain on Sugar
Certain areas of the tongue are designated for certain tastes. Your tongue registers sweetness primarily toward the tip. Nerves then send a message to an area of your cerebral cortex that identifies the sweetness. Your brain’s reward system is then activated. This reward system is the main reason why we tend to repeat doing things that make us happy.
Your brain instantly thinks “That was good. I must do it again!” However, overactivity of this reward system leads to increased dopamine, which leads to addiction. Over time the brain is less likely to respond the same way to the same amount of sugar. You will need more and more sugar to maintain the same high. Basically, it means you lose control.
If you’re a more visual person you’ll find this TED Talk video helpful.
This doesn’t mean you should throw in towel because you’re at the mercy of chemical reactions that occur in your brain. No, you’re not off the hook. We’ll help you fight your addiction.
Fight the Powers That Be
Sugar can have a lot of power over you, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Some have stopped eating sugar cold turkey. If you find that you are in too deep with the sugar mafia, you may have to sneak out slowly instead of making a mad dash for the door.
First, realize that you are fighting an addiction. You may slip up, but over time you will conquer the addiction. Start by getting your mind in gear. This may take days or even weeks. Knowledge is power (and brings motivation), so the more you read about the dangers of sugar addiction the more you will be motivated to stop.
Next, pick one day to go without sugar. Perhaps a day when you’ll be really busy and less likely to just sit around thinking about how much you want that doughnut or double mocha latte. Make sure you give yourself an eating plan for the day. Don’t leave it to chance. You need to be prepared, making sure you eat all your meals on time (to avoid blood sugar dips) and having on hand plenty of wholesome snacks. Some healthy suggestions include:
- whole fruits
- gluten-free crackers and cheese
- low-sugar protein bars (Try a brand like Quest which contains minimal natural sweeteners)
You may have more of a sweet tooth than you realize. Packaged foods often include sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy sweeteners. Try these healthy food swaps to replace your sugary snacks:
- sugar in your coffee for stevia
- strawberry-banana home made ice cream for store-bought ice cream
- pina colada pops for popsicles
- real peanut butter (almond butter is even better) for fake peanut butter
- coconut water for energy drinks or sodas
- kale chips for microwave popcorn (yes, even microwave popcorn often contains sugar)
- coconut-nutmeg pudding for rich desserts like creme brulee
Whatever you end up choosing, remember that the more fiber it has, the fuller you will feel – and the less likely you will reach for a sugar-laden snack.
So… you made it through one day! Congratulations! Next time try two days, or a week. Keep in mind that it can take up to eight weeks before your body is rid of the sugar addiction. You’ll be sugar-free before you know it!
Of course, not every plan is one-size-fits-all, and it’s not fool-proof. So let us help make your health dreams a reality. During your free consultation we’ll talk about your goals together and see how we can help you achieve them.