Is it just me or is the fall season sugar overload?
As we head into the fall and winter, sugary treats are everywhere. Every break room, hotel lobby, and friend has an obligatory dish of individually wrapped candy to celebrate the holiday. It can be easy to fall into a sugar trap of “just one” fun sized treat that quickly turns into ten. This “just one treat” mentality can quickly lead to a full on sugar frenzy that is not part of your balanced Paleo diet.
We know that many articles and studies have discussed the addictive properties of sugar and how it stimulates addictive brain centers. Yep, sugar is as addictive as you thought. Breaking your sugar habit may seem difficult, but here is how you break your sugar habit.
Put It In Perspective
As Melissa Hartwig from the Whole30 says … candy is not special. That’s right, that mini candy bar? It is actually available to us all the time but we can usually just resist the temptation. Good seasonal marketing and the ‘holiday feel’ just make us think that only in this month of the year can we get a fun sized chocolate bar. Often times, it is just not worth it. Grandma’s home made chocolate chip cookies? Yes. Warm, Homemade Pumpkin or Apple Pie at Thanksgiving or family holiday? Yes. A chocolate-caramel piece of candy eaten mindlessly from a co-workers desk?No.
Back Away From The Sugar Bowl
That’s right, give up the sugary stuff. Set a date and quit. I like setting a time limit such as one to two weeks to give up all sugar and treats, and then giving myself a date to reevaluate the plan. Setting a time limit will help you stay on track and accountable, with your eye on the prize. If you have an open-ended period of time, giving up sugar can often seem too intimidating and insurmountable. This sets you up to fail. So set a time limit, like quitting sugar for two weeks, and go for it.
Remove The Offenders
If you have bowls of candy on your desk, in your kitchen or in visible places that you frequent, beating your sugar cravings will be harder. Out of sight, out of mind is an ideal approach. Keep sugary treats out of arms reach to avoid caving into your cravings.
Eat Real Food
Start your sugar detox by planning to have three solid meals per day, focusing on whole foods. Be sure to include a vegetable and protein at each meal. Eating nutritious, wholesome food will help you stay energized, full, and keep you from reaching for a treat at 3pm. Also, be sure to have healthy snacks ready and on hand like cut up vegetables, egg muffins or hard-boiled eggs.
Include Sweet Vegetables
Make sure your whole foods Paleo diet includes starchy or sweet vegetables like squash, carrots, and sweet potato you will enable yourself to not fall off of the carbohydrate cliff. Enjoying a serving of these sweet carbohydrates with meals will help satisfy that sweet taste you may be craving until you can get off of sugar for good. My favorite is to have half a sweet potato topped with a dollop of almond butter and serving of protein like turkey sausage for breakfast everyday to start off on a great foot.
Be Prepared To Beat Cravings
Let’s not pretend a sugar craving isn’t going to rear its ugly head during the first few days away from sugar. Be prepared. Having adequate hydration on hand is a helpful hint for beating cravings. When the sugar craving hits, sit down, take a breath and have a glass of water. Taking a 5 to 10 minute walk is also a great trick to beat a sugar craving. Decide if you are feeling hungry, thirsty, tired or truly having a sugar craving. If you are hungry, go for a filling snack with protein and a vegetable. Try having half of a chicken breast with guacamole or a couple of hard-boiled eggs.
Other good tricks are having sparkling water like seltzer on hand with a squeeze of lemon or drinking‘spa water’ which is a nice tall glass of cold water with sliced cucumbers or sliced strawberries in it for a great tasting hydration help during the afternoon.
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