Probably the number one way I’ve had success when trying to lose weight was by cutting out sugar. A few different times I’ve cut out sugar completely for a period of months, and I always see a big result. Several people have mentioned to me that they would be interested in doing this as well, so today I thought I’d share some tips for cutting out sugar.
It can be tricky to cut out sugar, because almost everything has some sugar in it! A good rule of thumb is to not eat anything that lists sugar as one of the first four ingredients. The last time I cut out sugar, I wrote an update after four months, and I gave some specifics about what I was eating and not eating, so feel free to check that out if you have questions.
Tips for Cutting Out Sugar
1. Go cold turkey and commit to at least 6 weeks
I don’t believe in “cutting down” or “cutting back.” Not at first anyway. If you want to see results quickly, cut it out completely. Cutting out sugar is always going to be a healthy choice, but the visible results from doing so are most drastic in the first few weeks.
A 6 week period is a good way to “restart.” You’ll lose your sugar cravings, you’ll lose weight, and you’ll be healthier overall. And you’ll stick with it because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Just plan for what you’ll do after the 6 weeks ends, because if you go right back to your old habits, the pounds will come right back to you!
2. Pick the right time to start
If you want to cut out sugar for a full year, think about when it would be best to start (or end). Would it be best for you to start right before the holiday season, because then it’s out of the way and you won’t be tempted for the remainder of the year? Is there a big event coming up that you’d want to be finished by?
When I did a year of no sugar, I started halfway through the year, and I think that was a good choice. If I had started at the beginning, I’d just be looking forward to a whole long year of no desserts, but since I started in July, the new year felt like just the final stretch.
3. Don’t substitute sugar-free treats
It might be tempting to just switch to diet Coke and indulge in sugar free cookies and candies, but diet Coke will leave you bloated, and sugar free cookies and candy have lots of calories. Both have no nutritional value. Go ahead and have these every once in awhile if you’re feeling deprived, but just switching one for the other isn’t a good idea in the long run.
4. Find some good substitutions
Giving up sugar is hard. So while I think cutting it out cold turkey is best, find a couple of “kosher” things that will lift your spirits every once in awhile. An all-fruit smoothie will give that sugar boost you want. A slice of pizza is good on a rough day when you really want to down a giant candy bar and a bottle of soda.
5. Distract yourself
Feel a craving? Become actively engaged in something. Read a book, research something interesting on the internet. The busier your mind is, the less you’ll think about food. When I get really into working on my blog, hours can pass without me eating anything. As soon as I get bored, I find myself wandering into the kitchen and opening cupboards!
Overall, just keep your goals in mind, take it one day at a time, and remind yourself that each day you stick to the plan, you are getting closer to where you want to be!
Day 8 of “Baby Steps to a Better You” is all about the sugar beast. Today’s challenge is to go one full day without sugar. This may seem like a walk in the park to some people and a major undertaking for others. Either way, you can definitely do it.
You may feel so good that you decide to do another day! But, chances are you will have some cravings. I’ve found three days to be the lucky number; the first three days I’m grumpy, but after that I stop craving the junk. That’s the “sweet” spot you want to find.
One day, no sugar. Let me know how it goes!