How to Cut Out Sugar Part 1
Featured in Pilates Garage September & October Newsletter
Dylan offers Nutritional Consulting at the Garage. www.dylangoodrich.com
Summertime is when I am most tempted by sugar. I find myself eating ice cream or chocolate to give myself a boost from the heat induced lethargy. Also ice cream tastes really good! Weaning yourself off sugar can be hard. Yet, if you have a serious sugar addiction it’s important to bring attention to the problem. Sugar can be a factor in diabetes, obesity, and neurological decline. It also is terrible for your skin as breaks down collagen and can cause early ageing. Here are some tips to help you start September off right. Side note, never start a radical diet change if you are in the midst of a big life change such as starting a new job or going through an emotional crisis.
1. Do not keep sugar, sugar substitutes or white foods in the house.
Throw away all sugar. do not substitute with sugar free treats or sweeteners, as they stimulate your palate towards sugar. Stevia will keep your mind and taste buds locked on sugar. Lose yogurts with sugar, white pasta and white bread and crackers. This also feeds the sugar monster as it quickly converts into sugar in your bloodstream.
2. Eat fruit : any fresh fruit is wonderful. Organic is best, especially if eating the skin. Berries, pears and kiwi’s are all low sugar. For non-berry fruit, choose no more than 3 pieces of fruit a day while in this transition. If the fruit has skin, like an apple make sure and eat it as it contains good fiber.
Side note: It is important not to have juice while you cut out sugar. This means no fruit juice or vegetable juice. When you juice, you lose the fiber, which helps slow down the sugar consumption.
3. Get to the bottom of your craving: is it stress, and are you low in serotonin or dopamine? Or maybe you are lacking something in your nutrition. If you are a woman that craves chocolate you may need more magnesium. Chocolate has magnesium so we gravitate towards chocolate to fill that need. If you suffer from yeast infections or you’re a beer-guzzling guy you might have too much yeast in your system. Yeast feeds off sugar and can increase sugar cravings greatly.
4. Social and work life: when I worked at an elementary school there seemed to be a birthday cake every week in the classroom. I made a rule with myself the first day of work. Never eat the cake. For me one taste of cake can lead to a sugar-eating binge. Office parties and other events can make it hard to say no. Grab a glass of seltzer and know it gets easier.
5. Give up your sugar related activities: I know this maybe a hard one if you have children in the house. Have a friend or babysitter host the baking party or take the kids out for ice cream. You are not available.
6. Distract yourself away from the sugar: in the first week of giving up sugar nothing is going to be a good substitute. The fruit can help the sugar withdrawal from feeling so extreme and give your thyroid a gentle boost. But lets face it, fruit is not Ben & Jerry’s. Call a friend on the phone as you walk by your favorite bakery. Find a fixer-upper project around the house. Dive into a good book or podcast.
7. Cultural Contact: it’s important to surround yourself with other like-minded people. It’s really hard to get off sugar if your roommate is bringing home chocolate every night. Just by going to a Pilates mat class and seeing other people working out can keep you going. So can being around books and online groups such as blogs, magazines and you-tube videos that support a non-sugar lifestyle. In the October newsletter I will write about how to maintain your new “Sugar free” habit as a life long practice.
Resources: Read: Sugar Blues by William Dufty
Join: Caravan is a wellness online community. Owner Margi Douglas has been featured on Caravan sharing tips for Alexander. In addition, Caravan offers many wonderful experts who will inspire you to cultivate a healthy sugar free lifestyle. You can find meditation and mindfulness experts here as well. https://caravanwellness.com
Extra Support: Overeater Anonymous
How to Cut Out Sugar (Part 2): By Dylan Goodrich Holistic Health Practitioner.
For some people you may find after giving up sugar you can slowly over time bring it back into your life. Sugar may no longer hold the power over you as it did. For other people who have an addiction to sugar, it is best to abstain. If you wish to cut down on sugar or take it out of your life entirely here are some rules to follow.
Sugar “rules” to stay on track
Do not keep sugar in the house: with Halloween and trick or treat candy coming, offer your child to trade in the candy for a prized new toy. During the holidays, re-gift candy and cookies to neighbors or friends or just throw away.
Alcohol: can weaken your willpower and lead to a sugar-eating binge. It might make sense to give up booze the first month or two you are giving up sugar. Should you choose to keep drinking, avoid cocktails if they have sugar, tonic water and diet sodas. Remember in the last article it’s important not to use sugar substitutes. You are trying to retain your mind and taste buds away from sweet. Choose a vodka soda or a dry glass of wine instead.
Yeast-Connection Candida:if you drink beer or wine, you may crave sugar due to having too much yeast in your system. Yeast feeds off sugar and thereby increase your craving for sugar. This usually presents as feeling bloated or gassy, have a beer belly, athletic foot, and dry flaky skin and for ladies yeast infections. If this sounds like you, cut out all yeasty foods, drinks and sugar from your life. Take a high quality probiotic.
Hidden Triggers: recognize situations or foods for “hidden” triggers. Eating really savory food may over stimulate your palate. In turn then you will crave sweet. Brush your teeth if at home or request lemon water at a restaurant to cleanse your palate. High carbohydrate foods such as bread, cereal, and granola may also trigger you to eat sugar. If you find that to be true for you, then take out of diet while getting over sugar.
Create your own Rules: in last months article I mentioned how I created a rule for myself. “Never eat the cake.” I was working at an elementary school and there was always leftover birthday cake in the faculty lounge from all the children’s birthday celebrations. What “rule” do you need to create to stay true to yourself?
Checking In with your goal. My goal is to stop eating sugar. It is important to check in with yourself and make sure you are keeping your promise to yourself. “The minute you start keeping your promise and stop self-betrayal, is when personal healing can begin.”(from the holistic.psychologist Dr. Nicole Le Pera)
I arrive at work and there is morning coffee and doughnuts out for our meeting. I pick up a doughnut and then say to myself. Is what I am doing right now supporting my goal? No. I put down the doughnut and walk away.
I am hungry as I walk through the supermarket. I pick up a bag of cookies and put them in the cart. Once I am home I have already eaten half the bag. I say to myself. Is this checking in with my goal? No. I throw the rest of the bag away and take out the trash. I tell myself next time I will not grocery shop hungry.
After Sugar Addiction: if you feel like are in a place to allow sugar into your life here are some tips so not to overeat sugar. Eat healthy fats, such as nuts, avocados and salmon to help soothe your nervous system. Being grounded in your body is important to overcoming addiction which is why taking a Pilates, Alexander lesson or meditation can help. Eat fresh fruit during an afternoon slump or anytime you need a boost of energy. When buying chocolate, make sure it is 70% or more dark chocolate. I know this sounds wasteful but I throw half away if unable to giveaway. If at a restaurant, and have a glass of wine, do not have dessert. It’s one or the other as wine has sugar too. Only eat sugar on special occasions. If you have sugar once that week do not have it again.
With the changing of the seasons, it is a wonderful time to take an out breath and let go of your sugar habit.