If you would like to move away from sugar but don't know where to begin, here are five ways you can start to shift your thinking and develop a new perspective.
Educate yourself about sugar’s impact on the body. We live in a culture that is largely unaware of how sugar harms various body systems, promotes disease and accelerates aging. Understanding some basic science in this area will fuel your determination and goals for moving away from sugar. There are lots of articles online and many books that address this topic. A very readable and helpful book in this area is Healthy for Life by Dr. Ray Strand.
2) BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE NOW
Determine what the biggest sources of sugar and refined carbohydrates are in your diet and how often you are most likely spiking your blood sugar into the unhealthy range. (Foods to look at include sweetened beverages, candy, baked goods, chips, pretzels, white bread, white rice and white pasta.) Acknowledge habits like bingeing, hiding food and going out of your way to satisfy your sugar cravings for what they are.
3) THINK DEEPLY ABOUT YOUR “WHY?”
Develop your own personal “why” for moving away from sugar and write it down. List both physical and intangible benefits that feel important to you. (Keys 1-3 above will help with this.) Consider your “why” a work in progress that can be added to or changed as your thinking evolves. Review your “why” often.
4) TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO SUGAR
Most people who feel addicted to sugar and white carbs use those foods to either escape or change what they’re feeling in the moment. When you feel the urge to reach for sugar, pause and get curious about what’s going on inside you. Journaling may help with this. Look for patterns in your behavior and explore questions like: 1) What emotions am I feeling most often when I reach for sugary and refined carbohydrate foods? 2) How does the sugar help me manage these emotions? 3) What is a better way for me to engage with what I’m feeling?
5) CULTIVATE A “JOURNEY” PERSPECTIVE
Think of your movement away from sugar as an evolving journey of learning more about your body, your habits, how you engage with your emotions and how you process life. Be gentle with yourself and rather than obsessing about “falling off the wagon,” celebrate any movement in a better direction. Be committed for the long haul, and revisit your “why” often. Realize that change in this area takes time, but is also very worthwhile.