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6 Ways ANYONE Can Beat A Sugar Addiction

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.

5) Exercise!
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?

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22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dee

    March 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I use raisins as my step down drug. When I want sugar I eat raisins. After about 5 days I can cut out the raisins or cut them way back and get to very low or no sugar relatively easily.

    I’ve done this for years after thanksgiving or holidays and it always works for me.

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      March 19, 2016 at 5:53 am

      Good idea! I did granola for a while, haha 😉

  2. Avatar

    MandyLeigh

    March 19, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Oh yeah, I can relate to that! I mostly crave sugar when I’m really stressed (mostly at work) or when I’m bored. First step was to not buy any candy for myself anymore so that when the craving comes I’m forced to eat/drink something else. It took a while but it worked out so far. I even cut back sugar in my coffee which was a big step for me.
    I can tell I had way too much sugar when my digestion gets funky and when my belly is looking like I’m pregnant. Both are things that make me really insecure even though I love my body. Candy also was always a quick alternative when there was nothing else in the fridge so I started food prepping my food for a whole week in advance so that there’s always something yummy and fresh I can enjoy instead of eating crap. I need to SEE the good fresh food in front of me and then I start craving it. And now it’s totally different when I have a piece of chocolate or a piece of cake and I can fully enjoy it 🙂

  3. Avatar

    Anna Kertesz

    March 19, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Hi Erin,

    Di you still eat for example cakes that are made with sweetener/stevia?

  4. Avatar

    Lucia

    March 19, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I eat vegetables and fish or meat for dinner (no bread, noodles, Rice) and drink water. At the next morning I’m not really hungry and after one week potatos for dinner are also fine. If I got the felling O Need chocolate, I drink a glass water, tea or coffe.

  5. Avatar

    Laura

    March 19, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I actually found out that the coffee switch works well for me! I make extra coffee in the morning and put it in a travel mug with almond milk and bring it to work. I put it in the fridge and have it in the afternoon when I’m craving something sweet! It’s been a huge help!
    And thank you for this list! It’s something I think most of us struggle with so its nice to know we’re not alone and have some helpful suggestions!

  6. Avatar

    Bridget

    March 19, 2016 at 9:20 am

    For my coffee I do the sugar free creamer or even better almond milk mmmm but lately I’ve been bad and using the regular creamer.

  7. Avatar

    Michele M

    March 19, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    While I could cut back on sugar a bit, my problem is more with soda than anything else (which I guess is pure sugar, haha). I might have to try cutting soda out cold turkey for a week and seeing how it goes. I’ve been trying to cut out soda for a while and keep finding my way back it. Perhaps this will help!

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      March 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      oh my gosh YES!!! do it!! 😉 it’ll be tough at first but by the end you’ll wonder how you even drank the stuff!

  8. Avatar

    Stefani Hendricks

    March 19, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I have to say that day 1 is a killer! All I can think about is having something sweet. So far I have excersied twice, done an hour of yoga, paced the floor and drank a ton of water. Who knew it would be this hard?! I’m hoping that day 2 and 3 and so on are going to be easier…

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      March 20, 2016 at 4:48 am

      so true! lways takes me 4-5 days to feel like it’s pretty easy 😉 good luck!

  9. Avatar

    Kathy Rojas

    March 19, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Ah, I wish I could have read this before I did this own challenge myself. I did a blog post of my own experience! But I will definitely take in these tips for the next time I do something like this but I plan to actually succeed hah.

    http://www.tomyunderstanding.net/2016/02/my-sweet-disappointment.html

  10. Heather Hurd

    Heather Hurd

    March 20, 2016 at 11:00 am

    For a while I was doing this about once a month, going cold turkey for a week, and it kept me nice and balanced because the 3-4 weeks in between each one was right about the point when I’d start to ramp up my sugar again. I’ve tried again recently and didn’t make it past 3 days, so I think I’m going to try for a 2-day goal now, and then see what happens.

  11. Avatar

    Chelsea

    March 20, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Seriously I eat wayyyy too much sugar I need to try this! I have been breaking out too so maybe that’s why! I can’t remember the last time I went to bed without having ice cream before =(

  12. Avatar

    Susan Rood

    March 20, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I am currently on day 3 of no sugar and no starch. I am going to try your coffee trick right now, because a bit of dark chocolate would make my day! Time to refocus, thanks for the suggestions.

  13. Avatar

    Amanda S.

    March 23, 2016 at 11:20 am

    My sister-in-law and I are going cold-turkey for 7 days, as you suggested. We started on Sunday. I forgot that I was planning an evening at a winery this Friday with some friends…so my question is…does wine count as added sugar? 😉

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      March 23, 2016 at 11:56 am

      haha! i’d say: allow it 😉

  14. Amanda

    Amanda

    March 23, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    I am a dessert-lover, for sure! One thing I do is make my own sweets that use healthy ingredients (coconut, homemade coconut milk, raw cacao, nuts-only nut butter, etc) and maybe just a bit of honey. They’re super satisfying and I feel 0 guilt about them.

  15. Donna May

    Donna May

    March 25, 2016 at 9:48 am

    If I feel like I reeeeeeeeally need a sweet, I take a tablespoon of peanut butter and slowly eat it lol. I’m set after that!

  16. Avatar

    Dumpling Love (@cscc28)

    March 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Does this include honey? I’ve always wanted to cut sugar but just can’t live without my honey!

  17. Avatar

    Amanda

    March 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    The headache that comes on when I cut out sugar is the WORST!!! However, it makes me realize how terrible my sugar dependence is AND how terrible it is for me. Seriously…if I could, I would live off the stuff. Not a coffee drinker myself, but I’m sure I can find another replacement. I am going to have to psych myself up for this challenge! Easter in our house (3 kiddos) is killer, the Easter bunny does NOT approve of no sugar. Wish me luck!

    ps. what do you do with ALL that darn holiday candy???

    1. Avatar

      margee

      September 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      save the real choc if you can find any in Holiday sweets.
      Throw the rest out, cuz you wouldn’t wish it on anyone else either! Your kids will get it, and will begin to sort it themselves. Have some bit of dense yummy choc waiting for them as they toss the trash…and good for them to hear some of the details of what they’re learning to avoid.
      Good job! We are all on this long learning curve, and our rewards will come in better health and long lives so we can enjoy our grandchildren growing up and having their own healthy children!! Yes!

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