Beat the Sugar Craving: #2 of 69 Challenges

 It’s that time of the year again ~ exciting End-Of-Year-Do’s and heartwarming get-together with neighbors, friends, and family. For me, it involved in the past weeks of baking (yes I made that gingerbread house myself a few years ago), and consuming tons of sweets and chocolate.

No surprise then that I am battling the bulge for as long as I can think back. I have lots of convenient excuses, from growing up with buttered sandwiches with sugar to my pet-excuse: Hubby is buying all this stuff. Yes, he is one of the unnatural people who can have a bar of chocolate and eat only one piece and then not touch it for another week.

I went sugar-free once for about seven months – during my last pregnancy. On doctors orders, who threatened I would give birth to a twenty-pound baby. That was all the incentive I needed back then. So I know I can do it. Although at the age of 68  the chances of another pregnancy are about zero.

Thus for my 69 Challenges leading up to my 69th birthday, going sugar-free is #2 and probably one of the highest hurdles to take. Starting before the full-on-Christmas-indulging-sweet-stuff seems a wise idea. I’m sure–no, I hope rather than being sure–my body will thank me for it because next May I’m going to walk part of the Camino in Spain, and the less weight I’m lugging around, the easier the walk will be.

The good news is, there is enough research showing that we can learn how to resist the lure of chocolates and icing coated cakes. Like any other addiction, it takes some preparation and research. I can work. Thousands of people have proven it. It’s not rocket science. I am particularly encouraged by a research that stipulated that intense cravings stop after two to three days for half of the participants and 87% reported no withdrawal symptoms after six days.

So here is what I came up with while looking for ways, crutches, and strategies to beating the sugar craving. I’m not a nutritionist, so do your own research. This is what I found as I looked for things that could help me!

  1. Clean out your pantry >> If it’s not in the house, it’s more unlikely to end up on your hips. A very sensible suggestion. Get rid of all the temptations makes abstaining so much easier. You might still sneak out at 10 PM and sneak over to the petrol station for a candy bar or an ice cream, but I put my money on my laziness.
  2. Cut out artificial sweeteners >> They say artificial sweeteners change your palate. the effect of cutting out sugar and sweeteners seems to be that your ‘normal’ food actually tastes sweeter.
  3. Eat food high in minerals >> A big part of sugar cravings could be related to a lack of certain minerals in your nutrition. Making sure you take in enough
    1. magnesium (leafy greens, raw cacao, nuts and seeds, brown rice, avocados),
    2. chromium (broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, whole grains, free-range eggs)
    3. zinc (whole grain, seeds, nuts, free-range eggs, oysters)
  4. Consume healthy fats >> (coconut oil, avocados, nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, free-range eggs, salmon) Try putting coconut oil in your salads, smoothies, soups, or stir-fries.
  5. Go easy on coffee/tea and alcohol >> caffeine and alcohol are said to cause dehydration of our bodies and therefore prone to cause mineral deficiencies. So it’s back to water and herbal teas. I like both, and in summer I always have a pitcher of water ready with some cut lemon pieces and fresh mint leaves from my garden.
  6. Upgrade your lifestyle >> say goodbye to long nights in front of the computer or TV. Instead, make sure you get adequate sleep, put some regular exercise into your daily schedule, and manage your stress levels.

Looking at the six points – it’s all do-able. So today is my first day.

Do you have any further suggestions how to beat the sugar cravings? My goal is to be sugar-free in 2018. What about you? Please, use the comments for your suggestions. I’ll give one of my e-books free to a commenter each week.

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