I hear this more and more, the dangers of sugar, that sugar is a poison, it’s sugar that makes you fat, sugar causes diabetes. Sugar is ultimately the culprit. Correct on all fronts. We all know sugar is the culprit, so what are the solutions to beat it and stop those sugar cravings?
1. Ask Better Questions
Over recent years, having developed effective weight loss programs, helping hundreds of clients lose a lifetime of weight and some reverse their early onset of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, I have found that one of the most effective strategies to achieving any goal in life, not just in relation to health, training and nutrition, is asking better questions. Every time you are tempted by the sugar devil, ask yourself questions related to your goals.
“Will eating this food help me to achieve my goals?”
“How will I feel after eating this….. cake?”
“Am I prepared to sacrifice all my training I did today, just for this 2 minutes of satisfaction?
These are all just examples, you can see where I’m going with it.
2. Freeze Your Fruit
This is a great tip, and super easy. I hear you, yes fruit is sugar! After all though it is natural and if anything be aware of how much fruit you are eating and limit how much you eat. Freezing your fruit will help you to limit the total amount of fruit you eat. Now obviously throwing a bag of apples in the freezer isn’t going to be so effective. I find that certain types of readily edible fruit such as grapes and cherries work the best (Especially if when you dip them in dark chocolate) ;). The frozen fruit ensures you eat just a few, it services your craving, limits your sugar consumption and you learn fast if you eat too many too fast – Brain freeze!!
3. Go Sugar Free
This was a great tip from a client of mine, and it works really well. Sugar free gum is readily available and services its purpose. If you are still working on your mental mind set training, and still developing your strength of the mind, then this can help with your transition from being a sugar addict to being sugar free. Keep in mind though that chewing gum will trick your body into thinking there is real food coming and starts the digestion process. So don’t be surprised if you your tummy starts to grumble. To overcome this, chew for just a couple of minutes and throw it away. Limiting the chewing time will ensure you get your fix, and not start playing with your belly’s emotions and physiological responses.
4. Intermittent Fasting
The human body responds to sugar by increasing the production and release of insulin. Insulin’s role is to shuttle that sugar which is now circulating in your blood stream to the working muscles for energy production and to replace your glycogen stores. Intermittent fasting is becoming an increasingly researched topic. Not just because of its fad status, not just because top athletes and celebrities are doing it, purely because it takes us back to our evolutionary roots. At the end of the day, plain and simple, it works. Studies show that realistic and simple fasting even just once per week has a profound effect on your blood sugar levels. These various studies show different responses, and that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to fasting. There are lots of options out there, from 16 hours fasts to 20 hours fasts, and whole day fasts. The key is to experiment safely and gradually. Have your last meal at 8pm, and ensure your next meal is not until 12 noon the following day. That would be a 16 hour cycle which very easy to complete. Try that every alternate day for a couple of weeks and gauge your results. Keep in mind also that we are not talking about extreme fasting here, and this is very different from an extreme ‘detox’ of any kind.
5. Plan Ahead
One of the biggest challenges with eating clean and being inspired to get that sugar fix is ensuring we have the right type of food available at the time we need to eat. This requires very simple planning and only a short amount of food preparation time the night before. A better solution is to plan 3 days of meal in advance, taking into consideration your schedule, where you will be, what type of activity you will be engaged in and also remember to consider your current eating habits. Gone are the days where you need to eat every 2 hours. This in itself is a big myth, and although it works for some, this strategy doesn’t work for all, and it is essential that you find the balance of meal timing and frequency of your meals that suit your metabolism and lifestyle best.