As a little girl, I learned that as a girl, I was made of sugar and spice, and everything nice. What I did not learn is that the dose makes the poison. A little sugar may be sweet, but a lot of sugar, well, that comes with it a whole lot of not so sweet.
Cavities, diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, and before any of that, weight. I could list a whole host of other ailments that are directly related to sugar, but if you are here reading about unlearning the fear of quitting sugar, you are probably dealing with some of them yourself.
As a former, very sweet girl, I know the fear of quitting sugar is very real. If I can’t have sugar, what CAN I have?
Well, there are artificial sweeteners, but those are a chemical shit storm. There is fat, but I’ve heard all my life that fat will kill me. There is salt, see also, things that will kill me. It is so frustrating! I guess I’ll chew on this twig and look at my fridge magnet that says “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” which is a frickin LIE. Have you never had cake?
Let’s look at artificial sweeteners. They are good for your blood sugar, turns out NOT TRUE. They are a chemical shit storm in most cases. They are derived from coal, petroleum products, contain chlorine, and the list goes on and on. There are new artificial sweeteners on the market made from corn and sugar beets, but that opens the discussion of genetically modified organisms, and whether we have enough research from reputable sources that we can trust. I am not convinced that GMOs are safe. We are just now entering the second generation of Americans being raised on GMO food, all the while, rat studies show there are significant birth defects associated with the offspring from the second generation.
I don’t even have to put on my conspiracy theorist hat to blame the sugar industry for demonizing fat. It makes sense if you can take out the competition of fat and salt, there is only one place to go. Yes, you may fear the fat, but one question, how is sugar consumption going for us?
Not well, but quitting sugar…. that’s a commitment. It is everywhere. What exactly do I have to quit to get sugar off my back? Sugar in its direct form. Corn sugars. Grains that convert to sugar in the body. Fruit.
Deep breath. You can do this.
“Alright, I’m going to be strong and power through this.”
Nope. We will not be utilizing ANY willpower. Willpower is finite. You can willpower your way through breakfast, maybe lunch, but come 2:00 if you are still on the willpower train, your chances of succeeding go down each second. ESPECIALLY if you have any stress in your life at all. Kids, job, spouses, traffic, running a house, you are going to want to reach for your energy boost at some point.
So, what do we do????
First, know that sugar is going to be a part of your life forever, You will have to dance with it for the rest of your life. You MAY be able to power through a day, or a week, or if you are some sort of alien goddess make it through the month, but this isn’t about this powering through, only to binge like a crazy person come November 1 – Halloween anyone? So get comfortable with that. Sugar isn’t going anywhere.
Secondly, realize that the sugar cravings are your body’s way of asking for energy. Which can be derived from other sources. Fat is a great energy source, and your body has a regulatory system in place to assure that you don’t consume too much. It’s called “disaster pants”.
Third, let’s discuss the sugar cycle. When you start consuming sugar, your blood glucose goes up. If it goes over a certain point, your insulin kicks in to control it, which leads to less blood sugar, which leads to the energy dip, which leads to the sugar craving, which leads to the sugar consumption, which starts the whole process over. The best advice that I can give you here is that the longer you can hold off on sugar during the day, the less you will crave it.
If you are like me, my main sugar came in the form of Coke, which I had for breakfast, every day. It put me on the sugar roller coaster, needing to refeed every two hours. And despite what you’ve heard, you will not die if you don’t eat 7 times a day.
I utilize intermittent fasting now, but that may be months or years off for most people. The habit of eating is huge, paired with the BS that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. (misleading marketing) So, I will take you back to the beginning of how I ate to quit the sugar.
Breakfast should consist of fat and protein. Eggs, bacon, sausage, from the highest quality source you can afford. Pastured, grass fed, is best. But do not beat yourself up if you want to start with factory farmed. We are not zealots here, we are establishing the habit. Do what you can do to get it done. No bread, no fruit, NO JUICE. Drink water or coffee. If you have to have 80 lbs of sugar in your coffee, you may want to skip it until you can alter your taste for sugar. If you need that jolt of energy, I have had really good luck with nicotine gum. Yes. I never smoked, but this is a great hack for when you need to be alert and focused.
Lunch should also be mostly fat and protein. You can add in some veggies. Which are technically carbs, but the lower your net carb intake the better. Again, the highest quality you can source, local organic is best, but if the only vegetable you can find is a can of green beans, I will jump up and down and be happy for that. Quality will improve with habit. Now, here is the important part of consuming vegetables. Cover them in butter. Lots of butter. They will taste amazing. Kerrygold butter is the only brand nationally available that is grass fed. Again, drink lots of water.
Skip the afternoon snack. You can do it. If you find yourself needing a snack, go ahead and have one, but up your fat intake for breakfast and lunch the following day.
Dinner, you can carb it up at dinner. With vegetables. Try to stay away from pasta and bread, at least for the short term. Lots of butter on everything. Even the meat.
The more fat you consume, the longer you will feel full. I know it is scary, but give me a month to convince you. Let’s say I’m wrong here, which I don’t believe that I am. Can it make you feel any worse than sugar is making you feel at the moment? If you don’t like the way you feel at the end of the month, you can always go back. I consume roughly a stick a day. My good cholesterol is up from 45 to 52 this year. My non- HDL cholesterol went from 139 down to 86. My triglycerides have gone from 71 down to 56. I will be redoing my blood test at the end of the year and expect all of those numbers to continue in the right direction.
To recap, sugar is here to stay. How we dance with it is about to change. Get more fat into your diet. It will help with the sugar cravings. Even if you don’t enjoy the higher fat diet, it will change your sugar cravings and you can phase out the fat once your NEED for sugar passes.
Drink lots of water.
Breakfast should not contain any carbs, no fruit, no breads, not oatmeal, no juice.
Lunch should be high fat, moderate protein, low carb.
Dinner should be high fat, moderate protein, moderate carb. If you go overboard and get too much sugar, you can go to bed when your sugar roller coaster crashes down. Use the sugar crash to your advantage.
Skip desserts and snacks for now, but if you feel that you can’t, don’t think you’ve failed.
There are no “cheat” days in life. We are grown ass women who can eat what we like, when we like. You know you want to eat better, so evaluate whether you “need” something or not. If you decide that you do, in fact, need a Coke, enjoy the hell out of it.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Until next time,
My name is Annie, I am a Fitness and Nutrition UNstructor. I help women unlearn the bad habits, bad science, and misleading marketing that is keeping them from reaching their health goals.
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