10 Tips for dealing with cravings and sugar withdrawal
Decreasing the amount of sugar in your diet can help with stabilisation of energy levels, weight management and hormone regulation among other health issues. But how do you deal with cravings and withdrawals? Here are some tips from new book Sugar Free – The Complete Guide to Quit Sugar & Lose Weight Naturally that will help you get started.
1. Start the day with a good breakfast
Your mother was right— breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start out with a nutrient-dense, high-protein breakfast, and you’ll set yourself up for success all day long.
2. Eat protein at every meal
Protein is the key to balancing blood sugar with insulin and eliminating cravings. Nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, and legumes are all good sources of protein.
3. Eat fat at every meal
Fat—the good kind, of course—makes you feel full, helps balance your blood sugar, and is necessary for absorbing many important micronutrients. Good sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut (milk, oil, and butter), avocados, and fish.
4. Snack often
Eating every few hours helps keep your blood sugar at an even keel, and helps prevent the spikes and crashes that make you crave a quick fix.
5. Steer clear of temptation
Just like a recovering alcoholic wouldn’t keep booze in the house, a sugar detoxer will find success difficult to achieve when surrounded by off-limit foods. Whenever possible, avoid situations where you know you’ll be tempted to cheat. When avoiding the situation isn’t possible, plan ahead and show up armed with a strategy for staying on track. For instance, if you’re going to a party where you know there will be lots of sweets and other off-limit foods, be sure to eat a good meal before you go, and bring along an approved snack.
6. Get a good night’s sleep
When your energy flags from lack of sleep, the easiest thing to do is to reach for a high-carb snack for a quick burst of energy. Avoid snacking, and ensure quality sleep by avoiding caffeine, turning off electronic devices an hour before lights-out, and creating a soothing sleep environment.
Just like sugar releases feel-good chemicals in your brain, so does physical exercise. Exercise also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate depression, and improve sleep—all factors that otherwise cause you to reach for the quick fix of sugar and carbs. Even just 30 minutes a day of exercise—from brisk walking to running, swimming, or dancing—can make a major positive impact on your energy level and your outlook.
8. Drink lots of water
Drinking water flushes your system. It also keeps you feeling full and fights dehydration, which can cause your energy to flag. If you get tired of drinking plain water, add a squeeze of lemon or lime, try sparkling water, or switch to herbal tea.
9. Prepare for emergencies
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day you’ll find yourself stuck in an airport or held up late at the office, and you’ll be hungry. When your blood sugar crashes, you’ll reach for whatever is most convenient to stop the fall, so make sure you have an emergency snack pack with you at all times. Fill it with good sources of protein and fats, like packets of nuts, seeds, or jerky—beef, turkey, salmon are all great—so you’re never at the mercy of a vending machine or fast-food outlet.
10. Don’t cheat! It’s easy to rationalize having ‘just one taste’ of a sweet or high-carb treat.
But don’t do it. The most important thing in any kind of substance-addiction recovery is to eliminate the addictive substance completely. Just like a recovering alcoholic can’t have ‘just one drink,’ and a recovering smoker can’t take ‘just one hit,’ so, too, does a recovering sugar addict need to go cold turkey. Just one brownie or scoop of ice cream will only trigger your intense cravings for more sugar. So do yourself a favor and just say no.
Used with permission from Sugar Free – The Complete Guide to Quit Sugar & Lose Weight Naturally, Sonoma Press, RRP $29.99.
Recent scientific studies have proven that consuming too much sugar can have serious, long-term consequences on both health and appearance. This book will help you eliminate sugar deliciously, safely and thoroughly with: 175 delicious recipes and all the tools you need to break unhealthy sugar cravings once and for all.
Available from www.exislepublishing.co.nz and wherever good books are sold.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – phasin