THE MORE YOU EAT, THE MORE YOU CRAVE. STOP THE VICIOUS CYCLE.
I quit refined sugar a year ago in February, 2016. I don’t remember the exact day of my last treat, but it was before the Valentine’s Day. No more sweets and products that have added sugar since then. It was the best health decision I’ve ever made, seriously. Please, do yourself a favor, try this challenge, and hopefully turn it into your lifestyle.
Read below about how addicted I was, reasons to quit sugar, my 21-day & 66-day journeys, how to get mentally motivated, unexpected foods that contain sugar, some fun science, and people’s reaction to my change.
CONFESSION OF AN EX-SUGAR ADDICT
In the beginning of 2016, my goal was to lose some weight. I turned into a gym rat that was obsessed with making healthy food choices most of the times. Nevertheless, regardless of how much I tried, sweets here and there prevented me from big results. Well, maybe a bit more than just here and there. In fact, a lot more. I remember running to the cafeteria between my classes to get a brownie. Man, those brownies at SBCC tasted so heavenly that I got addicted.
Every day I’d go to college fantasizing about having that brownie on my break. On the days when I didn’t have it, I felt exhausted and couldn’t think straight without a pick-me-up. My feet would take me to the cafeteria, hands would grab that brownie, then slide a credit card, and then 2 minutes later I’d sober up and find myself removing crumbs from my sweater. So, I decided to finally make some drastic changes to prevent gaining extra 100 pounds and getting a heart attack.
WHY YOU SHOULD QUIT SUGAR
- Once you quit sugar, you will reach much deeper connection with your body.
- Your taste buds will become more sensitive, so meals will have stronger & enriched flavor.
- Fruits and honey will taste really really sweet.
- You’ll automatically eliminate a big chunk of junk food, since virtually all junk food has sugar in it.
- Your skin will look radiant and get brighter.
- It’ll be much easier to eat healthy when temptation for sugar is gone.
- Sugar makes you more likely to overeat.
- Sugar deactivates immune system, destroys liver, leads to diabetes, heart problems, and cancer.
FORMULA TO RESIST A HUGE TEMPTATION: MY JOURNEY
I’ve set myself a little challenge: going sugar-free for 21 days. You might have heard of the theory that doing something repeatedly for 21 days can either make or break a habit. Some people believe it, some think it’s a myth, some think that 66 days is a period when a new behavior becomes automatic. I wanted to make a self-experiment to see what will happen on the 22nd sugar-free day and also test my will power. I was keeping a food journal, so every day was tracked.
The first few days were miserable. It was super hard to resist brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and mochi ice-cream. But I knew that it will get easier, so that thought helped me to go through the 1st week. Then it got a bit easier, but still hard to eliminate all other products that include refined sugar: salad dressings, fruity yogurts, and pasta sauce. By the end of the 3rd week, I didn’t need sweets to feel energized.
On the 22nd day, it wasn’t a magical morning when I woke up and forgot what sweets taste like for good. Nevertheless, I felt in control. I didn’t follow my feet that took me to get brownies from the cafeteria. I was living my life without the desire to purchase sweets, yet when I saw someone next to me eating them, I’d still feel tempted. So, my second goal was going sugar-free for 66 days. On the 67th day I didn’t crave sweets anymore.
GET MOTIVATED AND POWER THROUGH IT
Avoiding sugar will get easier and easier and will feel so rewarding! How can you eat sugar after that? You’ll be happy and proud, healthy and free. I did it, so can you. If my post inspired you, then just go ahead and start as soon as possible. It’s important to stop eating sugar when you’re motivated and inspired to do so, because this challenge is extremely mental.
You must want it really bad to stay committed. As soon as you power through the first week or two, body changes and reduced addiction will help you to stay on track. Watch some documentaries about sugar on YouTube if you need an additional spark.
SCIENCE BEHIND SUGAR ADDICTION
Diagnosis: sugar addiction. It is real. But it’s possible to break. Start today.
I remember in my psychology class we were going over a brain chemical dopamine. Pleasure that you get by eating desserts increases the dopamine release and creates a dependency. Later, you want more and more of it since sugar increases levels of dopamine more than cocaine or heroin. 93% of lab rats chose sugar water over cocaine. Can you imagine that?
Nevertheless, by turning down sugar every time, we pretty much train a brain muscle up to the point when that choice becomes effortless and subconscious.
Our ignorant society makes it seem like eating sugar is not a biggie. Hey, we are all eating it and are still alive, so it’s acceptable. People are terrified when it comes to heroin addiction, but they fail to see sugar addiction (which is stronger) as a problem. Luckily, nowadays there’s more awareness and health-conscious people realize the danger of sugar.
THESE PRODUCTS USUALLY CONTAIN SUGAR
- fast food items
- frozen dinners
- salad dressings
- cough drops
- pancake mixes
- breakfast cereals
- pasta sauce
- most of food court meals
- fruit drinks
- canned meats
- flavored yogurt
PEOPLE’S REACTION TO IT
- Sugar is absolutely necessary for your brain.
- Do you know that the apple you’re eating has sugar in it?
- You may develop diabetes from a lack of sugar.
- Sugar is one of the essential products in our diet.
- You aren’t overweight, why would you quit sugar?
is something that I get to hear pretty often. I try to explain a huge difference between natural sugars found in fruits and honey and refined sugar. And, that quitting refined sugar is a great health investment, not only a weight loss strategy.
Facts like refined sugar has zero nutritional value and our ancestors were very healthy before refined sugar was invented don’t seem to be convincing for those people. So, be ready for such reactions, but remember, it’s very insignificant compared to the benefits of quitting sugar.
My grandma still gets surprised when I turn down cookies and candies, although I told her that I quit sugar many times. She asks, “Oh, you aren’t going to try even a little bit?” or says, “I didn’t add much sugar in this Brownie Fudge with Caramel Sauce, so you should try it.” 🙂
PARADOX: QUITTING SUGAR IS EASIER THAN LIMITING IT
I’m the kind of person who would either eat tons of sweets or not at all. Moderation is just not an option when it comes to sweets. There were so many times when I tried to limit my sugar consumption, and guess what? The longest it had lasted was a week or two, and then… gorging on a key lime pie or a bag of brownies or Hershey Kisses.
If you struggle on limiting the amount of sweets, then the best solution is: GO COLD TURKEY. Just do it. For the sake of a hot body, health, and good habits.
It’s hard and takes much will power to constantly limit the amount of sweets and not eat that extra cookie. So just ditch it for good. You probably think, easy to say – hard to do. Well, nothing is easy in this life, but I promise – quitting sugar is possible if you want it. The key is to want is so bad that you find yourself enjoying a sugar-free state more than enjoying a dessert.
There are many other sugar-free foods, you can buy and make sugar-free desserts (ex. Fantastic Baked Nutty Pears) that will help to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Do you want to quit refined sugar completely or you’d rather indulge in sugary desserts occasionally? Do your friends and family consume lots of sugar? Please, share your experience if you tried to quit or limit sugar at some point in your life.
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