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Five Tips to Curb Your Addiction to Sugar

My name is Shira and I am a sugar addict. Sad to say that is just the way I was raised. Little Debbie was a close friend during childhood, as I inhaled her chocolate covered goodies like some people breathe air. Songs glorified this substance, from the Archie’s retro “Sugar, Sugar” to the 1980’s Def Leppard anthem “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” It soothed my soul during break-ups and other trials and tribulations. No wonder I was 50 pounds overweight by age 26.

Now 18 years following my weight loss, sugar still pops up from time to time to tempt me. When I avoid the processed stuff, my moods stay upbeat and my brain operates clearly. But start piling on a big hunk of tiramisu during a dinner party or too many samples of baked goods during our Sunday shopping excursion at Whole Foods, and the problem rears its ugly head once more.

In talking to experts for the book I’m writing and following some really cool blogs, I’ve compiled a few ways to stop the sugar dependence/addiction.

How to Break the Sugar Addiction:

1. Substitute natural sugars for the “bad” kinds. Not all sugar is created equal. That bowl of Captain Crunch cereal that delighted your childhood breakfast palate is just about guaranteed to cause a blood sugar spike and crash. Turn to natural sugars like fruit and real maple syrup (a staple for my morning oatmeal) instead.

2. Keep a food journal. Writing down what you consume each day makes eating habits apparent. Are you downing donuts with co-workers in the break room at the 10:00 a.m. call, or automatically scarf a Snickers bar at 4:00 p.m., only to find yourself exhausted within an hour? Identifying these patterns is the first step to stopping them.

3. Try non-food responses to cravings. Perhaps you crave sweets after dinner as the “reward” for surviving another hard day – or it is just seems more fun to watch American Idol with a bowl of ice cream on your lap. When the sugar urge manifests, try soaking in a tub, talking to a friend or doing something else fun instead to relax.

4. Get right back on the saddle. Eat half of the batch of cookies you prepared for your kid’s school bake sale? Don’t get sucked into feeling like a failure and giving up on healthy eating completely. Work out a bit longer the next day and eat as clean as possible to keep healthy habits the norm.

5. Stay educated. Chance are the more you learn about sugar and new evidence of health risks will cause you stay moderate in your intake. Keep reading studies, intriguing news stories and blog posts to stay informed.

Is sugar a challenge for you? How have you handled or stopped cravings?

Shira Miller is healthy lifestyle blogger, writer, speaker, public relations expert and pop culture addict. Her interest in wellness started in 1992, after she lost 50 pounds through exercise, eating better and eliminating Oreo cookies as a primary food group. Currently working on a funny book about life after weight loss, Shira coaches individuals and promotes companies who make the world better, healthier or more livable. Visit www.thelighterperspective.com to learn more.

8 Comments

  1. Dawn

    April 17, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I can really identify with being hooked on sugar. What worked for me was to stop having sugar with anything. Once I did that, I found the craving almost disappeared.

    It hasn’t gone completely and rears its ugly head and the first spoonful in or on something – one spoon and I’m right back to wanting my sugar fix. But by not having sugar (or a sugar substitute) in my coffee or on breakfast cereal etc has really helped tame the sugar-monster.

  2. Natural Health Goodies

    April 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    To go along with number 1 I’d say avoid artificial sweeteners as well as they are deceiving – often times (if not always) they are more harmful than regular sugar. Sugar is such an addicting substance it sure is hard to stop eating it – especially since everything is so high in sugar these days, and a nice piece of chocolate cake still tricks me into eating it every time. :)

  3. ann at hcg drops reviews

    April 7, 2011 at 12:29 am

    It is not easy to change your lifestyle especially with the foods that we eat everyday. Even though you can find a substitute to it. Perhaps, little by little you will learn how to avoid it. And following what you have written in the food journal is a good practice.

  4. Delena Silverfox

    April 5, 2011 at 3:52 am

    The food journal is the one that I keep running away from, time and again. I can think I’m being totally fantastic, and in my mind maybe I am. But those teenie allowances I give myself add up.

    When I *don’t* give them to myself, however, the frustration explodes and I toss the whole “healthy eating thing” out the window.

    Substituting sugars never worked for me. And breaking the carb habit was an exhausting year-long trial, but it was one I couldn’t fail at because I found out I have gluten sensitivities. But when I want sweet, no amount of raisins or fruits or real maple syrup, scrumptious as it is, ever satisfies me the way one real cookie or brownie can. Even gluten-free.

    Delena

  5. Shira

    April 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Mitch – #4 is one of my preferred methods too. I know it must be a very hard challenge for you in terms of diabetes too. Thanks for sharing your own health journey on your blog.

  6. Mitch Mitchell

    April 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I have massive sugar cravings, so obviously #4 would be my favorite to do. I don’t eat fruit so that doesn’t work for me either. Maybe I need to go back to a food journal, which I kept for about 2 months last year.

  7. Health Blog

    April 3, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Make yourself conscious every time you are about to eat sweet food that yo are not eating sweet but huge calories. I thought I will add another point to avoid sugar addiction other than your excellent practical points.

    • Shira

      April 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks for the insight! Just stopped by your blog and appreciated the recent tips on cell phone elbow too. :)

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