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 Archieâ€™s retro â€œSugar, Sugarâ€ to the 1980â€™s Def Leppard anthem â€œPour Some Sugar on Me.â€ 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 Iâ€™m writing and following some really cool blogs, Iâ€™ve compiled a few ways to stop the sugar dependence/addiction.
How to Break the Sugar Addiction:
1. Substitute natural sugars for the â€œbadâ€ 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 â€œrewardâ€ for surviving another hard day â€“ 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 kidâ€™s school bake sale? Donâ€™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?