Through my own personal health struggles, I know first hand how addictive, controlling and challenging sugar can be. And I hear about it every day from clients who are caught in sugar’s tricky, sticky grip – the cravings, mood swings, and searching for that next sweet fix. This can create overwhelm, worry and frustration, along with some pretty serious health conditions.
I look at it this way. When you eat a food, it is either contributing to your health or taking away from it. And I believe sugar definitely takes away from it and can cause harm.
Sugar and refined processed carbohydrates have been linked to most of the chronic diseases plaguing millions of Canadians including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
I believe sugar is one of the worst possible things you can eat and that removing it from your diet, is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Here are my top five tips for breaking up with sugar:
1. Decide and commit. Have you been thinking about breaking up with sugar for awhile now? Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Has your doctor suggested you get your blood sugars down or you’re headed for type 2 diabetes? These are all great indicators that you’re ready to begin the process of kicking sugar to the curb. The first step is to decide in your heart and mind that you are going to do this once and for all.
2. Don’t go it alone. Chances are you know someone else in your life who is also struggling with sugar. Tackling a dietary and lifestyle change like this is so much easier when you have support, encouragement and don’t feel all alone. Find a friend. Grab a buddy. Get an accountability partner. Maybe you need a professional to guide you through this process?Determine who the right support is for you and and reach out.
3. Go cold turkey. I know this may sound harsh, drastic and extreme. But the most effective way to quit sugar is to get it all out of your system at once. If you go slow, piece by piece, it’s like death by a thousand cuts. It can be painful, frustrating and torturous. Going cold turkey will be intense and uncomfortable for a few days, but once you get over that initial hump and the detox symptoms pass, you’ll start to feel better, energized and motivated to stick to it.
4. Ditch the processed refined foods. The biggest contributors of sugar in many diets are processed refined foods. Candy, pop, baked goods, desserts, sweets and treats all contain high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. In place of these, add into your diet more real whole foods. The ones found in farmer’s markets and on the outside perimeter of your grocery store. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, eggs and some whole grains.
5. Eat more healthy fats. These are the key ingredients to breaking your sugar cravings. Healthy fats will keep you feeling full and satisfied when you start eliminating the sugars. My best tip is to make sure with every meal or snack you have a combination of fat, fibre and protein. Some of the best sources of healthy fats are organic butter from grass fed cows, olive oil, coconut oil, raw nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, avocado, and wild oily fish.
I’ve dedicated my entire health coaching practice to helping people break up with sugar and balance their blood sugars naturally. If you’ve decided you are ready to make a sugar shift, I have a number of ways I can support you through this health and wellness journey and would be honoured to guide you.
Over to you. What’s been your biggest challenge in breaking up with sugar? Please tell me in the comments.
This post first appeared here in the Halifax Citizen on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.