How to Break Your Sugar Habit – Step 3: Throw Out the Sugar!

How to Break Your Sugar Habit - Step 3: Throw Out the Sugar!

We are continuing with our series on 5 Steps to Eliminate Your Sugar Habit and now we are on to step 3 – Throw out that Sugar!

This  was probably one of the harder steps for me to accomplish because I’m so cheap.  I really had to struggle with the idea hat I was “wasting” food and tried to convince myself it ok to have around “just in case”.  I’m so glad that I just bit the bullet and chucked it all because there were a few times that if I had anything in the house, I definitely would have eaten it.  Not only that but I’m sure I would have convinced myself that eating it was a good thing because I had been so good and needed a little reward.  Addiction really screws with your head!

Here are a few tips I used to get through the process and get my house free of sugar.

1.  Decide How Far You Want to Go

When I first started my sugar free journey, I was convinced that fructose was the root of all my problems and got rid of everything containing it from my house.  But I also bought a huge bag of dextrose (sugar that is pure glucose, no fructose) from Amazon that I used in place of sugar.  It took a lot more education for me to begin to realize that the issue with fructose was that it was everywhere but glucose had its own problems.

As I’ve progressed and sugar has less and less hold over me, I’ve been able to remove more things from my diet that caused me health problems and weight gain.  Just to give you a quick overview of how I’ve come; in the very beginning I stopped eating fructose, then removed sucrose as well, then I started taking out simple carbs that cause blood sugar spikes like grains and potatoes, then last month I finally stopped drinking Coke Zero and any other sugar free soft drinks.   My plan for the near future is to be able to drink my nightly glass of tea without Sweet n’ Low and then I think I’ll be right about where I need to be.

My point is that you shouldn’t feel bad about taking baby steps.  One of the first recipes I posted on this site was for Sugar Free Bread that I worked really hard on at the time but now would never consider eating.  If you think you can jump in with both feet into the keto diet and remove everything that will cause an insulin response, then by all means do it.  But I know that if I had done that, I probably would have just given up.  I had to slip into it like a hot bath.  Now I love the feeling that being in ketosis gives me and I love what the scale tells me every morning.

2.  Make Sure you Understand Sugar’s Different Names

Sugar is tricky.  Food companies know it has a bad rep so they give it all kinds of different names to try to trip you up  You’ve probably heard of High Fructose Corn Syrup, but how about Sorbitol? or Inulin? or Litesse?  They point is, sugar hides so you need to keep this list of all of sugar’s different names handy.

Also, it is wise to know the difference between sugars that contain fructose and those that don’t.  That way if you have to make a choice, you can choose the product that has the sugar that doesn’t contain fructose because it does less damage.  For instance, my wife loves Ranch Dressing but they all have sugar, except for the canister of dry powder mix.  The packets have fructose but for some reason, the canisters just have maltodextrin, a sugar containing no fructose, only glucose.  It’s not something I will eat but since Dian has lost all the weight she wants to lose, we keep it around for her.

3.  Get Help

Life is a team sport and the important things are always done in community so don’t feel like you need to go at this alone.  Get a friend or family member to help you throw out the junk.  You might need help prying those Oreo’s out of your hands.  Enlisting help will also give you someone to be accountable to.  If you know your helper is going to ask you how the diet is going next time you meet, you will feel a greater sense of obligation to see it through.

4.  Check Everything

Sugar is in EVERYTHING so don’t forget to check all your foods.  I vividly remember the night I made my first sugar free meal and at the end of it, I grabbed my trusty bottle of garlic salt to season my food and after I used it, I happened to look at the ingredients and right there snuggled between the garlic powder and salt was sugar.  Who puts sugar in garlic salt?  It’s crazy but it just goes to show you how prevalent it is.

5. Donate What You Toss

Just because you aren’t eating it, doesn’t mean someone else can’t.  There are probably shelters or communal pantries around you somewhere that could use an influx of free food.  Do a google search or make a few phone calls to find someone who would love to take it.

If you are deciding to cut the sugar out of your diet, please contact me and let me know how it’s going or if I can help in any way.  I also have a handy checklist you can use to get rid of the sugar and feel free to subscribe to my daily email to never miss a post.  Thanks for reading!

 

How to Break Your Sugar Addiction–Step 2: Eliminate Bad Habits

How To Break Your Sugar Addiction Step 2 Eliminate Bad Habits

So we’ve looked at a 5 step process to break the sugar addiction and discussed how crucial it is to have the right attitude, now let’s look how to eliminate habits associated with eating sugar.

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!

5 Steps to Break Your Sugar Addiction!

How To Break Your Sugar Addiction

So last week we looked how to tell if you have a sugar addiction and if you were being honest, you probably saw you have a problem.  So now you know that sugar is dangerous and you are addicted to it, now what?

I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty tough to break the habit.  The first few days after I cut myself off, I was pretty much fantasizing about cinnamon rolls and Hershey’s bars every night.  The good news is that it can be done!  You can get those cravings out of your system and break through to a more healthy diet with just a few easy steps.

1.  Have the right attitude.

Attitude is SOOOOOO important.  If you see this as an exercise in deprivation, it will not go well.  You are not depriving yourself of something awesome, you are getting rid of a dangerous toxin that is slowly killing you.  Keep your eye on the future you that feels better, has lower BP, lower BMI, has lost weight and looks great.

2. Eliminate Habits Associated with Eating Sugar

This was HUGE for me.  I had to look at where I was most prone to eat sugar and either get rid of them or at least be aware of what was going on.  If I went to the movie, I had a Coke, popcorn, and maybe sneak a Snickers bar in as well.  When I went to a church fellowship event, I sampled a few of the awesome desserts the ladies would bring.  3PM Energy crash?  That’s when a Reese’s peanut butter cup and a Coke come out.  I had to look at each of these and figure out what I was going to do in each situation.  Mentally go through your day, figure out when you are most prone to eat sugar and come up with a plan to either avoid the situation or avoid the sugar.

3.  Eliminate Sugar from Your Fridge and Pantry

As long as you’ve got a package of cookies in your pantry, this is never going to work.  Start reading ingredients on the back of packages looking for these sugars and starting chucking them in the trash.  I know, I’m a frugal guy so the idea of wasting anything is anathema to me but you gotta do what you gotta do.

4.  Withdraw from Sugar

This is the big moment.  Intentionally eat the last bit of sugar you will ever eat and begin your new lifestyle.  It’s not going to be the easiest thing in the world.  Sugar causes a chemical addiction so there will be a chemical withdrawal.  You are going to have cravings and want to cheat a little   Don’t!  Once a sugarholic, always a sugarholic and eating a little, especially in the withdrawal phase, could cause you to relapse.  All I can tell you is that after a week or so, everything changes.  I have no desire for sugar and am able to see it for what it is, a dangerous substance that can only hurt me.

5.  Restock and get on with your life.

Don’t just through your food away, get new healthy food.  I am convinced that part of the reason I’m feeling better is not just the absence of sugar from my diet, it’s also the fact that I am eating so many more whole foods and fresh produce.  (If you are worried about price, there are ways to save on meat and produce)  In fact, we went so far as to join a co-op that keeps us stocked on fresh food.  Life is good, we eat better, we feel better, I’m losing weight, there are no cravings for sugar and my doctor likes what she is seeing.

If you are interested in cutting the sugar out of your diet, let me know either in one of these ways or in the comments.  I’d love to keep in touch and encourage you through this process.

A special thanks to David Gillespie for these helpful steps.