Break free of your sugar addiction

Self-care #1: Commit to 7-14 days of sugar-free abstinence

Donuts and a latte to start the day, pasta and a power drink at noon, and that constant craving for chocolate! Why have dinner when you can have a banana split- dairy and fruit are good for you, right? Every day your thoughts and mood revolve around your next sugar fix; you can’t really focus without it. Pretty soon instead of the recommended maximum of 10% of your calories, sugars make up 60 even 80% of your daily caloric intake. Additionally, the scale is out of control and you’ve either got a gut or a jello-looking backside, or both.

Face it – whether your 23, 43 or even 73, many of us have been or currently are addicted to sugar. It’s so easy. Sugar is available, cheap and tasty…but unless it’s fruits, lactose (the sugar in cow’s milk), molasses or some other sugar with added benefits it’s empty calories that steal space from essential nutrients and fiber. No question, excessive sugar intake is common and a key aspect of weight gain, malnourishment and the emotional yo-yoing that goes with spikes and dips in our blood sugar.

Over my years as an athlete I too have succumbed to excess sugar. Fortunately, by helping so many people break free of their addiction I’m confident – if you don’t have insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or serious addiction problems – that this cold-turkey approach will help you break through the sugar addiction syndrome.

What to do. Commit to 7-14 days of sugar-free abstinence (Minimum 3 if you truly have willpower and can return to only healthy fruits and whole grains).

  • No sugar, no corn syrup, no artificial sweeteners, no fruit. No pasta, bread, rice, or tortillas that so quickly convert to sugar in your body. Lactose, quinoa, whole oats, corn and potatoes are OK.
  • No alcohol: no hard spirits, beer, and absolutely no wine.
  • No more than two 8-oz cups of coffee or the equivalent of a stimulant that can affect your blood sugar metabolism.

Think 3:5:7. A tweaked low- sugar version of the 10 healthy habits of Wellness Compass Travel Guide.

  • Eat 3 wholesome meals a day with 20-40 grams of protein at each meal. For example (grams)
    • Start your day with a protein-fortified shake or vegetable omelet (20-30g)
    • Enjoy a large salad with 4 ounces of fish, lean meats, cheese and/or egg (25-35g)
    • Try meals with 50% cooked vegetables and 50% protein like a cup of chili, curry, stew or stir fry or have 4-5 ounces of meat and vegetables separately – just nix the carbs and sweet sauce (25-35g)
    • Snack on seeds, nuts, soybeans, or vegetable sticks and up to a ½ cup of avocado.
  • Aim for 5 servings of vegetables: all different colors if you can.
  • Drink 7 cups of pure water (ice and tea are OK, but no sweeteners)

Hints. Don’t change the rules! This plan works best if you don’t jump into it immediately but plan it a few days in advance so you can get rid of the junk, buy the foods you need, and share your commitment with others to help you avoid temptations.

To Ponder.

  • Do you need to cut back on sugar (or some other food addiction)?
  • How will you do it?
  • If you are thinking about going sugar-free for awhile, what will you need to do, buy, get rid of before you start?  

Feel free to post comments about your successes or challenges.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Break free of your sugar addiction

  1. The 7 day will power test is a good idea. if you are out the door five days a week at 6:15am (some are commuting earlier) and return home at 6:15pm (no refrigerator during day) — are there any grab and go breakfast /lunch ideas one could purchase on the weekend for the work week for breakfast and lunch ?

    I think the challenge most folks have is getting organized on the weekend to prepare for the week with so many competing things to do on the weekend.

    • I agree! Consistently eating well no only takes willpower, but the commitment to plan and purchase wholesome foods. It is not easy because, like you honestly identified, there are for busy working mom there are so many competing things to do.

      So just like most things, if we really want it, if it’s important, than we make it a priority and if it’s not that important, it will slide down our to-do list until it’s lost within the busyness of our lifes.