Is there any sadder title in a Bad Yogi’s world? I mean, sugar can easily become the life blood of a typical day and sadly, it’s only a matter of time before this turns sour.
In my world, I know when I’ve had too much sugar because my skin breaks out, I’m moody, and I don’t sleep well at all. So after noticing how much it had become a daily (ahem– hourly) habit for me, I knew I had to get it in check. When I first got to France, I was getting 2 huge scoops of ice cream every. single. day. Plus, the macaron and truffle here and there when I’d pass a patisserie, a pain au chocolat at breakfast, a full-fat full dairy cappuccino in the afternoon… you can see how this would quickly landslide in to disaster, right?
So, here’s what I did to tame the sugar monster inside before it really settled in.
1) Cold turkey for 7 days.
SERIOUSLY! This is the hardest part, but that was the extent of my personal challenge. I was like, “Okay, Erin. Make it through this week and then you can have whatever dessert you want at the end. Just prove it to yourself that you can do it!” After 5 days, I could easily talk myself out of having any sugary treats in the afternoon, and I wasn’t even craving my after-dinner chocolate which is normally my go-to time to dive face first in to whatever’s available.
2) Swap sweets for coffee.
Don’t pin this, haha. I’d bet this isn’t the best advice because you obviously don’t want to consume 5 cups of coffee a day, BUT! In my case, I swapped my afternoon chocolate with an afternoon decaf almond milk latte and that really hit the spot. So, is coffee a great health food? Debatable. But it’s better than sugar and dairy, I can tell you that! If the coffee idea doesn’t work for you, find a swap of your own like a really fancy tea, a smoothie, or sparkling water with fruit and mint… so many choices.
3) Write down WHY.
Can I be honest with you? I gave up sugar solely for vanity. Like I said: dairy and sugar make me break out like crazy, and I’m SUPER insecure about it, so I kept a written reminder of why I wanted to make this sacrifice and the importance to me always stuck. Your ‘why’ might be different, but make sure you can answer it!
4) Start smaller.
7 days can feel like an eternity if this has been an ongoing habit for you, I know. I tried to go 7 days before and failed miserably. Instead, make a 24 hour commitment. Then see if you can do another 24 hours and so on. The little victories boost your confidence in yourself, so don’t discount them. After 3 days or so you start to not want to break the chain of success and it fuels you even more.
If you’re treating your body right, you’ll want to feed it right, too. I notice when I get in a 30-minute yoga class or a 20 minute HIIT session, I’m WAY more likely to steer clear of mindlessly eating any naughty foods because of the work I just put in. Take care of your body, and in turn it’ll guide you towards better food choices, too.
6) LIVE your life without guilt!
Remember when I said I gave up sugar 100%? Well, that’s how it started. I took that as a way to reset my taste buds and now I don’t crave sugar the way I did before. I can be satisfied with a couple small pieces of dark chocolate after dinner with tea as opposed to needing a heaping serving of cappuccino ice cream… and I don’t feel badly about it AT ALL! Indulgence is such a luxury, but when we abuse our freedom of choice, it becomes harmful. So allow indulgence and make it special so you can be guilt-free around food.
Do you get what I mean here? Re-frame the way you think about sugar. Instead of standing in your kitchen, mindlessly munching through whatever you can find, ENJOY it! Don’t disallow it entirely, but eat it in moderation and literally every single cell in your body will thank you for it.
* I should mention that by “sugar” I mean stuff you add to your food. Sugar in your coffee/tea/smoothies, candy, chocolate, ice cream, cake, etc. NOT real fruit, obviously, though many people advocate eliminating that, too. For the record, not surprisingly: I do not agree 😉
Over to you! Have you ever tried to cut back on sugar? Any best practices to share?