I’m so glad I’m not alone in my sugar battle. Thanks for your enthusiasm for the Sugar Detox challenge!
Before we jump in on Monday, I wanted to share a few tips to help set you up for success. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments as well, so we can all help each other.
1) Drink more water– Sometimes it really is this simple. Most Americans are chronically dehydrated, which can bring on headaches and other symptoms that send us running to sugar. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it several times to ensure you stay well hydrated.
2) Identify your triggers: When do you want sugar? Mid-afternoon slump? Post-dinner? Is it a time when you’re tired, stressed, bored, sad, or feeling other emotions you don’t want to deal with? If you don’t know this about yourself yet, pay attention to your body and use this week to write down when your cravings hit.
3) Plan Alternatives– I find I’m drawn to sugar when nothing else appeals to me. Make a list of go-to foods that could be a replacement snack or dessert for you. Some examples might be an apple and cheese, trail mix with raw nuts and dried fruit, plain yogurt with banana slices or fresh berries, or sweet veggies (red pepper, carrots, beets).
4) Increase your protein: High protein foods and healthy fats are best for satiety and can keep you content, especially when combined with lots of vegetables. You can also incorporate protein rich whole grains, such as quinoa, amaranth or millet.
5) Incorporate Sweet Vegetables: It’s natural to crave sweeter tasting foods. Plan to include sweet vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, cooked onions). Other vegetables that can help stabilize blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings include green cabbage, red radishes and daikon.
6) Enjoy Nature’s Candy: Although some detoxes require you to give up fruit, this one is not that extreme. Whole fruit, especially with the skin, is packed with all sorts of nutrients, and can help satisfy a sweet craving.
7) Meal Plan: Put it all together in a meal plan with breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas. Make a list of snacks as well, and place it somewhere visible- on your refrigerator or a bulletin board in the kitchen.
8) Stock up your fridge!! Make a list of all the foods you need to have on hand by Monday to be successful, drawing on all of the above. And go get them!
9) Ask for support: Ask friends, family, coworkers, kids, etc to hold you accountable. Use the #sugardetox hashtag or feel free to facebook/tweet/email me for extra support.
10) Embrace the Challenge: Expect it to be hard!! But know that you can do it. Prepare yourself to stick to the plan, and know that there will be many moments you won’t want to. Tell yourself now that you’re going to do it anyway!
Oh, and one bonus tip… if at all possible, get the sugar out of the house!
Well, it’s easy enough to write the list… let’s go for it. In the past, I’ve given up all sweets for Lent, so I know I can handle 7 short days. And so can you!
What would you add? What has helped you in the past? What alternative foods will you stock up on?