It’s now almost one week since I said good bye to sugar, and let me tell you – it’s hard when you’re going through some ups and downs in your life. In fact, I’m not very proud of that, but I actually already broke many rules of the challenge. And yes, I did eat some pastries and honey.
But what do we do when we fall off the wagon? We dust ourselves off, learn from what happened and get back on the wagon while it’s still there. No waiting for the next one.
So I’m not a robot who can quit all sugar from one day to another. Big deal. I’m not gonna beat myself up because of that. The point in doing anything is anyway to get better at it. Not to be perfect. So even if I couldn’t resist sugar altogether these last days, at least I ate it more rarely.
Here’s what worked for me and what didn’t last week.
A few things helped me avoid eating sugar all the time. While I wasn’t successful at not eating ANY sugar, these 5 “tricks” really made a difference in how much sugar I ate.
Lemons are weird creatures. I used to hate their guts, but the more I ate them, the more I liked them. And now I love them. Funny enough their strong fresh, but sour taste helps me a lot when it comes to avoiding sugar. I guess some people explain this with the fact that lemons are acidic and slow down the breaking down of sugar. Which then makes you crave sugar less.
Whatever the reason, lemons help me the most with sugar cravings.
What I would do (when I can) when I crave something sweet is just juice a lemon and add it to a glass of water. I then feel fresher and am not in the mood for a cake. This is very counterintuitive and I have to make myself do it, because it’s cold outside (help me, help meeee) and the last thing I actually “want” is something fresh. But once I’ve juiced that lemon, it works.
2. Eating mango or banana when I crave something sweet
If you have ever eaten a chocolate and right after that a banana, you will know what I mean here. That banana doesn’t taste sweet at all. But. Eat a banana when you crave something sweet – it’s super sweet and it actually will solve your cravings. I’m now on a new wave and have switched to mangoes. Next week probably pine-apple. All delicious and fresh. All these fruits do have a lot of sugar, but they’re also very antioxidant-rich and if you stick to 1 serving (about 1/2 cup) you don’t eat too much sugar. Plus, come on. We didn’t get in that whole sugar trap because we were eating too many mangoes.
3. Drinking water
I don’t nearly talk enough about water here. In fact I never talk about water. And there’s a reason for that. I think it’s boring. After all every healthy eating article online and offline tells us to drink more water.
Now I know that it’s boring, but drinking more water really helped me with my sugar cravings. It actually helped me avoid sugar. You see, funny enough, when I drink enough water and feel hydrated I never crave bad stuff. I never crave sugar. I would crave something fresh like an organge, but never cake or chocolate. Of course just a sip of water doesn’t work. I had to drink at least a glass. But hey, it’s a double win for my skin and body – not only don’t I ruin my collagen with sugar, I also moisturize my skin from the inside.
4. Eating more nuts, oats and nut butters
Sounds like I’m trying to get fatter here, but these foods are all actually shown to also help with weight loss. Since I know I like more cakes, doughnuts, muffins (I think you get the point) than actual sweets (chocolate, candy or gummy bears <- I hate those small freaks) – these foods work for me perfectly.
On my best mornings I’d eat a banana oatmeal (recipe coming up!) with some nuts and then not crave sugar at all during the day. And sometimes I’d even eat that oatmeal later in the day, because it’s warm, sweet and satisfies my cravings for a sweet and comforting dessert.
5. Preparing smoothies as a snack
It’s very hard for me to eat sweets after I had something as refreshing as a smoothie. I mean, it’s not impossible, and I can totally force myself to eat cake after that smoothie, but it’s less likely. So for me the time when I crave sweets most is late afternoon. Around 3-4pm. I just need something. And what do we have available? Yes, sweets. That is if you’re not prepared. If you’re prepared and have a smoothie or another healthy snack (even if it’s one with veggies like this one).
What didn’t help
1. Sitting for too long
One of the things I hate most about the way we all live today is that we sit most of the time. That sitting is like a poison on its own, but as often in life it comes hand in hand with another evil creature – SUGAR. Whenever I sit down to do something on the computer or to watch a movie I start craving sugar. I see all those instagram pics of healthy food next to a laptop and I’m thinking: “Yeah, right. Where’s the doughnut?”. I don’t believe them. And quite honestly, I don’t think eating fruit when I’m working at the computer will ever work for me. But who knows. I might as well try it. Maybe it doesn’t just look pretty, but works.
Anyway. My bet is I get physically bored when I’m sitting for a longer period of time and I need something to make me happy and tell me that I will survive this boring period. So yeah. Sugar.
So for this week I have made it my mission to not sit for long periods. But while I do it I’ll drink water or lemon water. And maybe I’ll try to eat other fruit to post that on Instagram.
2. Waiting too long to have a normal meal
It’s ridiculous. I sit all day long and think about food most of the time. Yet. I somehow still struggle to find time to eat a proper meal these days. This being or feeling busy all the time thing is annoying. One of the more serious reasons I ate sugar last week was because I hadn’t eaten anything else. It was easy, it was there and I was hungry. So again: Have some healthy snacks with you if you’re also trying to quit sugar. Be prepared. And don’t let yourself get too hungry because once you go by a store or see a chocolate bar anywhere – you’re gonna buy and eat it.
So this week this is my thing. Have healthy snacks and don’t let myself get too hungry. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Eating out
I think some time needs to pass for me to be able to eat out without craving any sugar. See last week I ate at my favorite Asian place a Thai curry and it was all healthy and satisfying. But…when I’m eating out, I still need something sweet afterwards. That’s no different than when I eat at home, but at home I have some yogurt and berries, nuts and can fix myself a really healthy “treat” quickly. I can’t do that when I’m eating out. And also there are so many delicious looking choices. It’s just easy to get a muffin, when it’s right there. So for this week: no eating out, until I’ve reset a little.
4. Drinking coffee
Besides being dehydrating and bad for my thyroid, coffee always brings his jerk friends sugar and milk along. So while there might be some people who love coffee and feel that it helps them crave sugar less, for most of us – who are weak and like the less bitter acidic version of coffee – aka cappucino it’s not a friend. It’s a trigger. It’s a trigger to desire more sugar. Because, hey if you don’t pour in at least a tsp of sugar into your cup, you’ll probably have something sweet on the side. So yes, another thing to keep my eye on – coffee.
5. Eating bread (I KNOW!)
Last but not least – I eat pretty clean, but…Bread is something I need in my life. And, no I don’t mean whole grain bread. Yes, it’s good too, but white bread? Come on…whoever you are, if you posess some taste buds, admit it! But bread is not that beneficial for weight loss and I noticed it actually makes me want sugar more. On top some breads are actually made with sugar. And that’s the last thing I’m gonna watch out for this week…I’m even afraid to say it – I’ll eat less bread (crying a little).
And that’s it. Those are all the things I noticed. I also noticed that I haven’t done any exercises last week and they’re also supposed to help with sugar. So I’ll have to try different options and report.