In this post, I’m sharing with you 8 tips on how to finally get rid of that sugar addiction and start living a healthier life. I’m telling you everything I’ve done and all the tricks that helped me take control of my sugar intake and go from sugar “addict” to 6 months of No Sugar challenge and counting. 😉
I think we all know it by now, cutting down sugar is one of the best things you can do for your body – not only for looking amazing but most importantly, for your health.
One thing to know about me, I am the biggest chocolate lover (ahem ..addict) you’ll ever meet. I could easily eat one full Milka bar in one go.
Let me paint a very accurate picture for you – this is what the sugar intake of a regular day looked like for me:
- Breakfast – chocolate cereals with Stracciatella yogurt (yes, there is such a thing, and it’s delicious ;))
- Lunch: a couple of Nutella slices or peanut butter and jelly for dessert
- 4 pm snack: a Snickers or Twix
- Dinner: half a chocolate or chocolate-covered Oreos
My body was so used to receiving a sweet treat after every meal that it was craving it. The thought of not eating any sweets in a day was absolutely out of this world, simply inconceivable.
It wasn’t just the sugar craving after meals. What I also used to do- and this is pretty bad-, was to reward myself with a little sweet treat after a long, hard day because I deserved it.
And other times, I used to reach out for some chocolate chip cookies while watching Netflix, simply because I was bored.
It’s been like this for years, and, as much as I enjoyed it, I knew it couldn’t be good in the long run.
How I managed to cut down on sugar
I came across an amazing book called The Power of Habit, which made me realize what bad habits I had formed when it came to my diet and helped me become more aware of the causes.
For instance: why do I reach out for that 4 pm Twix- is it because I am hungry or simply because I want a break from work? If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it, it’s an eye-opener on how our mind works.
So by now, I knew (at least when I was paying attention) why I was eating so much sugar, but that wasn’t enough to get me to stop.
She talked about doing a 30 days sugar challenge and the great benefits that came with it. I thought to myself, it’s only 30 days. I can give it a try, I can do anything for 30 days.
Note, I had been thinking of cutting down on sweets for months now, but even the thought of a few days/week without any chocolate was absurd and could not be done in my opinion).
So, I decided to give it a try.
Why I decided to cut down on sugar
I wanted to do it not only to look good (aka losing a few cm here and there) but also be healthier, as all this sugar I was consuming was definitely not good for my health. The 3rd and most important reason was to break my sugar addiction – the constant craving after every meal for something sweet. That thought that I couldn’t possibly live without eating chocolate every day.
I wanted to prove to myself that I am in total control of what goes into my body, that I DO have the self-discipline to make this work. (wasn’t really sure how I’d do on this one, but I was determined to give it a shot).
Fast forward to 6 months later, I’m still doing the No sugar challenge, and I’m so glad I started! I’ve never looked better – I’m in better shape than in my 20s (I’m 36 now), and I have managed to significantly cut down sugar from my diet and get rid of that sugar addiction.
So if you’re considering to do the same, here is what has worked wonders for me and what I’d suggest.
8 Easy Tips To Help Reduce Sugar Addiction
1. Take on a No Sugar Challenge
What specifically is a No Sugar Challenge?
It means that you are reducing your daily sugar intake to approximately 20g per day. So, say goodbye to cookies, honey, sweetened tea, and so on. As you can see, it’s not a complete removal of sugar from your diet, but a substantial reduction.
And do you want to hear the best part:
YOU CAN STILL EAT CHOCOLATE!!! 😀
Yes, you read that, right! The only trick is that you should stick to the healthy version of it, meaning chocolate above 78% cocoa. It contains the lowest sugar quantity (generally varying from 0-15g), and it is the chocolate in its purest forms, the best quality one.
Ideally, you should limit yourself to 1-2 portions per day. If you’re not a big fan of dark chocolate, its strong taste will make it quite easy to stick to those rations.
I suggest you start with the 78-85% cocoa – Cote D’Or and Lindt are my favorites.
Once you feel braver, move to 90% one. If you’re feeling courageous, go for the 99%. It is such an experience altogether – there are even instructions on how to enjoy it properly inside the packaging. I loved it! (it’s very intense, one pack lasted me for about a month, haha)
If you’re thinking I don’t like dark chocolate; it’s not real chocolate, this won’t work for me, I hear you. I thought the same. But the fact that you can still EAT chocolate and NOT DENY yourself it’s such a big plus; it worked wonders for me as my brain was registering that we had our share of “sweets” moment of the day and was not in deprivation mode.
This has made THE biggest difference for me in being able to stick to this challenge and reduce my sugar intake (and addiction) for so many months.
I’d suggest starting with 30 days or even 7 days if this is easier. Just start. See how it goes and decide for yourself if you’d like to continue.
2. Tackle that sugar addiction by compensating with fruits
When those sugar cravings kick in (and they will believe me), make sure you always have some fruits at hand – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries are all great options.
They are a much healthier alternative to sweets and full of vitamins and antioxidants (great for your skin). Just watch out not to eat too many, as some fruits are quite high in sugar (like bananas, grapes).
I’m pretty sure I went slightly over the limit a couple of times, but that’s ok; don’t be too hard on yourself. Especially in those first days.
Freshly pressed juices are not recommended since they have a higher concentration of sugar.
3. Don’t buy sweets. Better yet, avoid the confectionary aisle all together
If you’re looking to take control of that sugar addiction, this is a no-brainer – you won’t consume any sweets if there are none around you. So simply don’t buy them anymore.
And to cut temptation completely, avoid the supermarkets’ confectionery aisle altogether—cutting temptation from the roots. Out of sight, out of mind 😉
4. Check the product labels
You’d be surprised to see how many products contain sugar even though you wouldn’t think so – like gluten-free bread, ketchup, soups, sauces, etc. For these types of products, try to go for the ones with 0 added sugar on the label.
Checking labels is also good for seeing how much of a particular product you can still consume during your sugar challenge (to add up to those 20g /day).
For example, I figured that 1 portion of gluten-free Petite Beurre biscuits contains 5g of sugar, so I decided to allow myself 2-3 biscuits per day (adding them up to the fruits and chocolate daily portions) it’s quite filling, and enough to satisfy that cookie craving.
5. Cut down on alcohol and soft drinks
Ok, I realize this might be a tough one for many people. I am not much of a drinker, I occasionally enjoy a glass of wine at dinner, but that’s it. I’m not a huge fan of how alcohol tastes, so it was easy to say No. Besides, If I couldn’t have my share of regular sweets, you bet I won’t be drinking that glass of wine.
If you really can’t give up that glass of wine, consider red instead of white, as its sugar levels are much lower.
6. Keep a journal and track your progress
When I decided to go for the 30 Days sugar Challenge, it was scary.
I wasn’t sure if I could do it or how hard it would be, so I decided to start journaling to cope with all the frustrations that might come from my lack of sugary treats.
I also did it to “protect” my boyfriend from me constantly whining about how hard it is 😉 (side note, this is actually how I discovered how much I enjoy writing and sparked the idea of starting a blog).
Tracking my progress was also fun, and I remember how proud I was of myself as days and weeks were adding up (“22 days in the challenge, woohoo!!). I lost count after day 27/28. As it became gradually easier, I decided to go for the next step: the 90 days Sugar Challenge.
You can also track the progress your body makes. I noticed visible results after 3 months.
7. Get your partner’s/family’s support
I think this can have a massive impact on your success.
It really helps if your partner, housemates, or family (depending on who you are sharing your house with) fully supports you or, even better, joining you in this challenge. It was very helpful for me not to see my partner eating sweets around me, so there was no temptation.
8. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Be kind to yourself. We’re already putting so much pressure on ourselves, and the current uncertain times definitely don’t make things easier.
Plus, remember, it’s not a 0-sugar challenge, and some days will be harder than others. But if you’re determined and put your mind to it, I have no doubt you’ll succeed.
(I remember dreaming of eating Nutella and getting upset I broke the challenge; I was THAT determined)
So, if you’re thinking of tackling that sugar addiction, trying the No sugar challenge, or simply cutting down on sweets, GO FOR IT! You’ll be so proud of yourself and of your self-discipline, trust me!
I hope these tips were helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, I’ll be happy to hear from you.
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