Cutting out sugar has become a hot topic in the health world. When it comes to weight loss and health, cutting out that nasty white sugar seems to be the most obvious answer… but how?
Do you need to kick sugar?
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You are the only person who knows the answer to that question. The fact that you clicked to this page should also be taken into your consideration – intuition and ‘gut’ thinking is important – you know your body best.
How do you Know if you Should Quit Sugar?
Ask yourself the following questions to guide yourself to find if pursuing a sugar free diet is your best option (it may not be!):
• Do you have PCOS or similar fertility concern?
• Are you having trouble conceiving?
• Do you want (or need) to lose weight?
• Do you lose energy throughout the day or constantly feel tired?
• Are you unable to stop yourself eating things full of sugar?
• Do you feel like you need something sweet after dinner or even lunch?
• Do you feel like you simply eat too much sugar and don’t think you can stop?
What are the Risks of Eating Sugar?
Sugar has scientifically been found to do huge damage within our bodies. Some believe that sugar is a poison and our body does not know what to do with it.
Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine, and lights up more of your brain when you use it (1).
If you feel like your body is not healthy or heading down the track of these risks, then please consider if cutting out sugar is the right call for your body.
Eating sugar can increase your risk of:
• Wrinkles (who wants those!)
• Liver Disease
• Type Two Diabetes
• Heart disease
• Obesity / Being overweight
• AND MORE…
Why is Kicking Sugar Difficult?
We know that cutting out sugar is the best choice we can make for our health, but why is it so difficult? The answer is fructose.
Our body cannot tell when we have had enough fructose as it does not trigger the “Hey I’m getting full here” signal to the brain like other foods do.
If your brain is not signaling that your stomach is full, then you will eat, and eat, and eat as your appetite does not switch off… this naturally causes obesity. This also explains why many of us can eat a whole box of cookies or a whole bag of sweets without feeling ‘full’.
Sugar and Your Body
The body uses sugar as fuel (energy), when the body is given too much sugar it stores it as fat. Natural sugars from fruits, honey, maple syrup, and some plant based foods can be fine in small amounts.
The problem is that our culture has adapted a process to add sugar to food to ‘make it taste better’. As our taste buds adjust to years and years or historic sugar eating, we truly believe that it does taste better!
Sugar is highly addictive. It is believed that sugar is as addictive as cocaine! – I believe that sugar is worst that cocaine, because at least we don’t give our children cocaine. We get so caught up in the sugar cycle – we reward children with sugar, who then grow up to reward themselves with sugar, then they have children and reward their own children with sugar! – This is a nasty cycle.
But I eat a healthy diet…
I was shocked to find that my low fat yogurt was full of sugar! It is very interesting to look at the food labels and add up how much sugar is actually added to our ‘healthy’ foods that we eat.
We believe that these ‘low fat’ options are fantastic in aiding with weight loss.. take a moment to read the label, it will shock you. Added sugar is lurking everywhere! This added sugar is very dangerous.
First Steps to Reduce Sugar
Stop drinking sugar!
Other than water, most drinks contain sugar. These sugar filled drinks are refreshing and great pick me ups through the day – how bad can it be to add sugar to your coffee and have a soft drink with your lunch each day?
The answer is VERY BAD! There are many, many studies that show that your risk of obesity increases to roughly 60% if you drink sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks are often the go to on hot summer days or to give you a boost on a busy day. We use them as a reward after a long day at work.
Giving up soda is difficult, but one of the best things you can do in terms of health and weight loss.
Don’t be Sucked in by Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are often the place that we reach to during our sugar addicted diet fads. The chemicals alone in these artificial sweeteners should put you off.
They are called ‘artificial’ for a reason – they are not natural, they are man-made and full of chemicals that cause dis-harmony in the body. Love your body and stop drinking down those chemicals in that “diet soda” drink that you love to reward yourself with – It’s hard, I understand, I’ve been there too.
Read Food Labels
Sugar is lurking in places advertisers wouldn’t want you to look. Ignore the front of the food packaging and look at the label on the back.
Check how much sugar is in the product. If there is sugar think to yourself “will this food nourish me” if the answer is yes then buy it, if it’s no, put it back on the shelf.
Don’t get Ravenous
When you become ravenous you will want to eat everything in sight and no longer care or think logically about it. If you feel like you might bite someone’s head off if you don’t get that chocolate bar you need to quickly fill your stomach with ‘happiness’.
I find that the key to avoiding this scenario is to ensure that I don’t get to this stage of hunger. I keep little snacks on hand (in my handbag) of nuts or a natural bliss ball to top me up naturally until my next meal. Ravenous = Dangerous!
When those cravings set in, and trust me – they will! Hold on to your why. Why are you doing this, Why do you care so much, why do you want to reduce your sugar?
This why will keep you motivated. It will be the steering wheel to keep you on the right road. Write this why down and place it somewhere you will look at each day. Repeat it in your mind until it becomes a natural thought.
Fat is Your Friend
For some reason fat has become the enemy when it comes to eating healthy. Ft fills you up and keeps you full for long periods. By having fat in each meal, you don’t need to snack between meals and you will continue to feel full.
When buying foods that say low fat, ask yourself if there is no fat in here then where is the flavor coming from?
The likely answer is sugar!
Thinking about cutting out sugar altogether? Try the Ketogenic diet and reap it’s amazing benefits.
Cutting sugar out of your diet is one of the best health moves you can make. Understanding the benefits and side effects of quitting sugar is important.
Cutting out sugar can be overwhelming.
What to Expect when you Quit Sugar for the First Time
I was surprised at the effect that quitting sugar had on my body. It surprised me because I didn’t realize how badly addicted to sugar I really was until I took the sugar away. Understanding the benefits and side effects of quitting sugar can help you over come challenges along the way.
To give you some perspective I was eating what ever I wanted (junk food, fast food, sweets, everything!) and washing it all down with at least 3 glasses of soft drink a day. I was not in a good place. I decided to give up sugar for 8 weeks and this is part of my experience:
At the Start of my 8 weeks:
One of the first things I noticed on the 1st day was that my eyes twitched constantly. My left eye would twitch every now and then, but my right eye twitched constantly. It was a very unusual feeling and made me very conscious or what I was doing (cutting out sugar). The twitch lasted about 7 days and then gradually faded away.
From day 2-4 I had an upset stomach and needed to be close to a toilet. it was manageable but worth noting if you have an active job.
From day 2 I also felt my hands slightly shaking at times. This stopped after about 24 hours.
Looking back at these symptoms it truly shows me how addicted to sugar my body was. These physical signs was my body crying out for sugar and also my body detoxing.
I need to add here that none of these conditions were unbearable or made me want to stop. I had a clear purpose of what I was doing and why I was doing it and I was determined to see it through.
Mid to Late in the Journey
Change in taste
I noticed that my taste had changed. I no longer craved sweetness and I noticed that I didn’t need a glass of soft drink with my dinner.
I felt free of sugar and it didn’t have a hold over me. My body was no longer showing signs of withdraw and I felt healthy. I wanted to eat more vegetables because I loved the way that they made me feel.
I experimented with new meal ideas and truly trusted the process. There were days that temptation was put in front of me (shared morning tea at work was very difficult!) or tempting thoughts came into my mind. But, I got past these and kept moving forward.
Quitting Sugar: My Experience Living Sugar Free
After 8 Weeks of Sugar Free
I felt so proud of myself. I had lost 18 pounds and I felt really healthy. I then had to process what this journey would look like moving forward. I knew I didn’t want to be strictly sugar free because I wanted to live with choice rather than restrictions.
I now live in moderation – I no longer buy bottles upon bottles of soda at the weekly food shop and I don’t full my cart with sweets. I live in moderation, which is peaceful.