7 tips to getting off the addictive white stuff:
1) Go cold turkey! OK, this may not be the best way to go for everyone, but cutting out all the sweets, habits and ties to sugar all at once can be an inspiring and challenging way to get over the hump, fast. Be warned, this isn't easy but it can really kick start whatever healthy changes you wish to incorporate in your life, starting NOW!
2) Start slowly. Cut down your consumption of your favorite sweets although this doesn't always work for everyone. Sugar has a sneaky way of increasing in your diet if you're not extremely careful. Your dopamine rushes often demand more sugar to get the same effects as time goes on. Drink 2 soda pops a day? Cut it back to 1. Eat 3 cookies after lunch? Cut it back to 2 and sub in something healthier (maybe a few strawberries?)
3) If you're a complete mess and drink soda pop, eat chips, cookies, chocolate, drink all weekend in binges and feel basically crappy, you may need to spend some time doing research on your favorite junk-foods to really understand what they're doing to your health! For example, did you know, for a typical male, one should not exceed consuming 35 grams of sugar per day? You will get this amount of sugar in one can of soda pop! Drink 2 per day? Plus sugar in your coffee? Plus a couple of cookies after lunch? Plus a beer or three in the evening? Plus, plus, plus? You could be on your way to some serious health issues, yup, even if you're only 22 years old! Start with the article I wrote previous to this one and add these couple of indicators of poor health due to poor eating habits: do you have a relatively foul body odor? Are you exceedingly stinky in the mornings (sorry but this is relevant)? Do you have some strange itching in strange areas? These are all indications you really need to cut down on the sugar. Start with the soda pop!! This is a HUGE step. Get rid of it from your diet completely! We'll count this entirely as Step 3.
4) Do one thing at a time. Once you have figured out your sugary soft-spots, start with one item at a time. Check the sugar content of your favorites and start with the sweetest of them all - the one with the most grams of sugar. If you cannot identify which has the most sugar content, ask yourself, 'what do I crave, daily?' Is it a specific item? Start with this item and work your way through your list about a week at a time. Maybe more if you find yourself falling off the wagon.
5) Keep a journal of your mood, your hunger cravings, how much you think about food during the day, your 'hangry' episodes, your food comas, your body odor (!) and other indicators mentioned, for a couple of weeks. Start a gentle, slow cut-back of your sugary snacks and keep track of all the changes your body goes through. As much as this sounds like work, make it simple with a little guide for yourself - use bullet points on the indicators mentioned in the previous article and simply fill in a few words for answers, daily. You'll realize what a HUGE change you go through once you empty the sugar from your system (including how much you eat and weight you lose!)
6) Add in other unhealthy habits to your sugar-kick. Drink too much caffeine? Or caffeine at all? Try cutting this out too (easier said than done, understood). And what about alcohol? Haha, no.. I'm not kidding! If you only read up on the effects of alcohol on the brain and mood, you'd know why I even mention this... do you smoke? Yup, this is another item you can add to your list. If you try doing everything at once, be prepared to feel fairly crappy for at least a few days to a couple of weeks. Remind yourself it's the adjustments in your body that are making you feel so badly but that the feelings WILL improve. Remind yourself why you're doing this and again, keep a journal if you can to keep track of your progress. It will be tough for the first little while but in only a couple of weeks, you may find you have more energy, you can go up stairs like never before, and your general health just feels better!
7) Substitute, substitute, substitute! You're going to have cravings. Get going on the water! Try drinking 3-4 liters of water every day! This not only keeps you full, but it flushes out your system and rids your body of harmful toxins. Every time you have a craving you could drink a bottle of water! If water isn't doing the trick entirely, keeping your body feeling full is the key and nuts can help. Try non-salted, either dry-roasted or raw nuts where walnuts can even help with brain function. And of course, almonds have some amazing properties such as the ability to help lower blood sugar levels.
All the best in your sugar-free quest! Feel free to add any tips you have to the comments below :)