If your sweet tooth is stopping you from losing weight, this article will show you secrets to quitting sugar cold turkey.
Unfortunately, quitting sugar is not easy. Maybe you have tried to quit it in the past without success. Well, it is not your fault. Research shows that sugar is addictive.
Luckily, there are little-known strategies you can use to quit sugar for good. But before we look into these strategies, let me explain why you need to quit sugar cold turkey.
Why you should quit sugar cold turkey
While some experts favor gradual sugar withdrawal, it is usually more effective to cut out all forms of sugary foods at once.
Quitting sugar gradually doesn’t work for most people because eating small amounts of sugar usually triggers more sugar cravings. When you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar spikes. Then after a few minutes or hours, blood sugar levels drop, causing a slump, which makes you crave more sugar.
This blood sugar-effect can make it impossible for most people to quit sugar gradually no matter how much willpower they have.
Another benefit of quitting sugar cold turkey is that your goal is clearer. You understand that you’re not gradually avoiding but totally avoiding every sugary food.
You won’t be tempted to eat a square of chocolate and say there’s only a little sugar in it. Rather than saying “I’ll only have a little of this”, you know that you’re not supposed to eat sugar at all, no ifs, no buts.
Furthermore, quitting sugar cold turkey will help you to make a rapid reset to your system and teach you other ways to find comfort outside sugar.
With that said, the first 72 hours after adopting a sugar-free diet will be all but “sweet”. You can expect many symptoms that may range from headaches to nausea, fatigue, hunger, anxiety, muscle aches, cravings, and even mood swings.
All of these symptoms will pass after 2-3 days and your body will start adjusting to the lack of excess sugar in its system.
Steps to quitting sugar cold turkey
1. Be motivated
Quitting sugar cold turkey requires a lot of mental resilience. You have to be motivated and mentally ready to cope with the symptoms that come with getting off a sugar high diet.
Attitude dictates action. If you believe YOU CAN quit sugar cold turkey, you will. If you believe you cannot quit sugar cold turkey, you won’t.
2. Have a plan
It is not enough to believe that you can quit sugar cold turkey. You need a concrete plan to keep you on track when cravings kick in.
If you usually snack regularly, carry healthy snacks with you everywhere you go. If you don’t, chances are you will reach out for sugary snacks. Eat fiber-rich snacks since fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Keep updating your plan along the journey. Once you identify a habit that makes you eat sugar, come up with a plan on how to deal with it
3. Remove all sugary foods from your house
Did you know that seeing sugary foods triggers sugar cravings? This means that you should remove all sugary foods from your house.
Don’t leave the fridge empty, though, replace sugary foods with veggies, nuts, and so on.
Healthy foods that can help curb your sugar cravings include cinnamon, coconut oil or coconut milk, tiger nuts, berries, and sweet potatoes.
4. Cook more often
Cooking your own meals allows you to choose what to eat and how much to eat.
5. Don’t use sugar substitutes
If you’re thinking sugar substitutes may come to your rescue, think again. Sugar substitutes are loaded with sugar and may trigger your cravings.
Artificial sweeteners are not option either. They may be low in calories but they are sweeter than sugar. Saccharin, for instance, is 500 times sweeter than sugar.
Don’t use honey, molasses, stevia, or any other sugar substitute.
6. Stay hydrated
Most people give in to sugar cravings when they are idle, keep a water bottle next to you while watching TV and take a sip whenever cravings kick in.
Water is also a perfect substitute for sugary drinks. Learn to quench your thirst with water instead of diet soda or fruit juice.
7. Avoid all sugary drinks
Sugary drinks are the worst source of calories. They add many calories to your diet without filling you up.
Don’t take any processed drink since 99 percent of them contain added sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Water is your only safe bet. Feel free to drink lemon water every now and then.
8. Eat protein and healthy fats
Healthy fats from avocados, seeds and nuts also promote satiety and ward off sugar cravings.
If you are used to eating lots of simple carbs, replace them with healthy fats and protein.
9. Don’t cheat and arouse your taste buds
As I said earlier, eating small amounts of sugar can trigger uncontrollable cravings. Therefore, don’t eat any sugary foods even when pressured by friends.
When tempted to eat a piece of cake, take out your emergency snack or drink a glass of water.
10. Manage stress and emotional eating
Write down all the emotions that trigger your cravings. Then find other ways to deal with them, that don’t involve food.
For instance, if you usually eat sugary foods when feeling depressed, start knitting whenever you feel depressed. If being lonely increases your cravings, read a book whenever you are lonely.
You may also want to use exercise, yoga, and meditation to reduce stress.
11. Avoid sugar-aisles in the supermarket
Do you have the habit of buying foods that are not on your shopping list? You can fix this problem by avoiding aisles with sugary foods.
Don’t walk down the junk food aisle if you don’t need anything from there. If you want to buy veggies, go to the grocery section, grab them, pay and then leave the supermarket.
The more time you spend shopping, the more likely you are to buy unhealthy foods. Spend as little time as possible in the supermarket.
Alternatively, you can buy fresh produce in the farmer’s market where there are no temptations.
12. Look out for hidden sugar
By now, you know that manufacturers use different tricks to hide sugar. When reading labels (something you should ALWAYS do), look out for ingredients that end with “ose”, these are usually fancy terms for sugar.
You should also avoid fat-free or low-fat foods. When manufacturers remove fat from foods, they add sugar to improve the taste.
13. A little support will go a long way
Quitting sugar cold turkey is not easy for anyone. Therefore, having a quit-buddy can help you stay on track when you feel like quitting on quitting sugar.
Ask a friend or your partner to support you in your journey. If the people close to you are not willing to support you, find a quit-buddy online. Many people out there want to quit sugar, just like you.
14. Start now
Don’t wait till tomorrow or Monday to start. Now is the best time to start.
The longer you wait the less likely you are to quit sugar. Start taking action today! Write down your plan right now, remove junk food from your house and start implementing all the other tips above.
Quitting sugar cold turkey is the best strategy for people with uncontrollable sugar cravings.
Don’t let the withdrawal symptoms stops you. After a week or so, the symptoms will disappear. And then you will start reaping the benefits of a sugar-free diet like faster weight loss and more energy all day.
Now, you don’t have to stay off sugar for the rest of your life. After a few months, you can add back small amounts of sugar to your diet. But be careful not to go back to your old ways.
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