I’ve known for years that eating sugar isn’t all that great for your health. But I’ll be the first to admit that I’m completely addicted to it, especially now that most of my energy gets sucked up by taking-care-of-baby time every day.
It’s not that I eat a whole row of Oreos in one sitting. Or crave soda like I used to. But I certainly have been leaning on sugar and sweets far more than I should for an energy boost during the day.
In fact, if I’m being completely honest, my desire for sweets during the day have become more of a habit than a craving. After a meal, I think “hmm, what kind of sweets do we have around?” Or I’ll think to myself “I’ve had a long day, I deserve a treat.”
See, I’ve gotten so used to reach for sweets as a reward instead of a once-in-a-while indulgence. Something I’m not all that proud of as a health coach.
After all, I already know that eating too much sugar has negative consequences for your health, like:
- Suppressing the immune system
- Contributing to obesity
- Increasing cholesterol
- Leading to ovarian cancer
- Contributing to diabetes
- Aging our skin
- Causing headaches and migraines
- Causing depression
I’ve decided now is as good as any other to hone in on my sugar struggle and cut back on the sweets in my life.
These are the 5 strategies I’m using to conquer my sugar habit:
Identify the most common craving times
I sat down and started thinking about when I crave sugar the most during my day. Not only did I think about the cravings, but also where I’ve come to rely on sugar as a habit.
I realized that I most commonly crave sugar after dinner, as a reward for making it through a long and tough day as a stay-at-home mom. I also reach for sugar more on the weekends, when my husband is around – and we both decide we need to “treat” ourselves. Usually with cookies or ice cream.
Ask “What am I really craving instead?”
After the realization that I often use sugar as a reward system for myself, I’ve been doing a little more reflection when that feeling comes up during the day.
Instead of heading for the kitchen, I’ll think “what am I really craving right now instead? Am I bored? Am I hungry? How else can I reward myself today?”
Make a plan for alternatives
Since I’m doing my best to reach for less sweets, sometimes I’ll still feel the need to have something in my hand to keep from feeling completely deprived.
On those times when I realize that I just want to feel rewarded and comforted, I have been drinking a cup of this really yummy cinnamon tea I found recently. Not only does drinking this tea make me feel like I’m still treating myself with a quiet and realizing moment to myself, but it’s a much healthier alternative than candy or cookies.
Another alternative I’ve been using is making up a fruit smoothie or having a piece of fruit instead.
Keep the excess sugar out of the house
This strategy is the big “duh” for anyone cutting back on anything. I’ve found that I do best with cutting back on sugar if I don’t have much around the house.
Sure, I still have natural sweeteners around (like honey and maple syrup), but I’ve been eating a lot less cookies, sweet snacks, and candy than I was when it was sitting in my pantry. Sometimes just having it available makes it that much harder to avoid.
Make sure I’m getting enough protein and fat
I’m currently breastfeeding, so I’m hungry more often than I normally am. Before, I would reach for the sweets to bring my energy levels back up when I hit a lull during the day or evening.
Now, I’m learning that eating more protein and healthy fats throughout the day helps me to stay full, energized, and less likely to crash later on.
When my energy already hits highs and lows with taking care of a little baby all day long, eating sugar isn’t helping me feel any more lively. With these few strategies in place, I hope to start cutting back to eating far less sugar and having far more energy to keep up with my son.
Are you a total sugar addict? Have you ever tried cutting back before? Tell me about it in the comments!