Step 1. – Identify the Habits
You know, before this whole process started with me, I would have bet you money that I really didn’t eat much sugar. I mean sure I had a candy addiction but I had switched to Diet Coke years ago (Now it’s Coke Zero), I didn’t put sugar in my tea and didn’t eat too many sugary snacks. Now I look back on what I was eating and wonder how I didn’t get bigger than I did.
What I didn’t realize was that I had so many sugar habits. Little ways that I would add sugar to my diet every time I did certain things that would add up. What was so important for me to do was to identify the “triggers” or what I was doing while eating the sugar. Here are a few examples.
- If breakfast was a piece of toast, I put jam filled with sugar on it. If it was oatmeal, maybe a little brown sugar was sprinkled on.
- If I ate lunch at home, maybe I had a peanut butter sandwich and of course I would buy the brand of peanut butter with all the sugar. (What brand is that, you ask? Dang near all of them. Now I use Adams all natural peanut butter. Good stuff and it’s just peanuts, nothing else.)
- If I stopped at a gas station to get gas, I usually walked out with a Diet Coke and a candy bar.
- If I stopped at Starbucks, I got the sweetest thing on the menu. (Frappuccino anyone?)
- A little dessert after dinner meant way too much ice cream, possibly with Magic Shell and a little whipped cream.
An on and on it went. Once I identified the habits I had developed over the years, I was ready for the next step.
Step 2 – Replace Old Habits with New Ones
Once I could clearly see the areas that could trip me up, I had to start making a plan to get around these areas where I could easily be tripped up. Here’s what I did to break those old habits.
- I made sure my breakfast was no longer a bunch of carbs I wanted to pour sugar on. I switched to a protein-based breakfast. A normal breakfast for me is an egg, a piece of bacon (Be careful with the bacon as most are cured with sugar. I looked a long time to find Pederson’s Farm bacon) and what ever veggies I can chop up and throw in the skillet.
- Lunch was similar. No more sandwiches, usually leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. Lots of protein, lots of veggies.
- If I’m at a gas station and want a snack, now it’s almonds instead of a Snickers bar.
- Trips to Starbucks mean black coffee with a little cream. Not only does this save me a couple bucks per trip, (black coffee is like $2 where I was usually spending $4+ before) but now I can have unlimited free refills and because my taste buds have changed so much, the cream is all the sweetener I need.
- Dessert is a few almonds, maybe a spoonful of Adams peanut butter, this frozen banana ice cream, or sometimes a slice or two of cheese.
So once I took a hard look at what I was eating and when, I could systematically go after each of my problem areas and create a plan of attack that would help me make it through the day without being tripped up by my sugar addiction. All it took was just a few weeks of being careful before I was able to break my addiction. Now the thought of smearing sweetened peanut butter and sugar filled jelly on to a piece of bread made with sugar has absolutely no appeal to me at all and the thought of eating an entire Snickers bar turns my stomach a little.
You can do this also! Take a look at what you eat, figure new ways to eat that don’t involve sugar and stick with it for just a few weeks. Once the hold that sugar has on you is broken, you won’t want it anymore.
Have you made the plunge to the No Sugar life? Let me know in the comments below!