10 Simple Tips for Cracking a Sugar Addiction
By Heather K. Terry
The more we learn about the negative health effects of sugar, from depressing the immune system to heart damage, the bigger the incentive to cut down on this ubiquitous sweetener. Easier said than done, right? Not only are we conditioned to believe that sugar is the cure for unhappiness (“A cookie will cheer you up!”) and the stuff of celebrations (“I’m so proud of you! Here’s a cupcake!”), but sugar physically makes us feel good. When we eat sugar, feel-good hormones are released into our bloodstream and we’re as happy as can be. Until we crash—and crave more sugar. Ditching a sugar addiction can be more difficult than you’d think. The key is moderation and lifestyle change. The rewards will come quickly though, via longer-lasting energy and a more stable mood. If you are ready to get rid of those sugar cravings once and for all, these tips will help.
10 tips to beat sugar addiction
- Make up your mind that you’re ready to stop the madness. If you’re not 100 percent committed, I’m sorry but you aren’t going to succeed.
- Find your trigger. Why did you eat those cookies? Did your boss annoy you? Were you fighting the 2:00 p.m. slump? By identifying the triggers, you can recognize them when they pop up again.
- Drink up. Try a glass of water; sometimes a simple glass of water can provide an energy boost and a feeling of fullness. If the craving is still there, eat an apple and see how you feel.
- Phone a friend. If you’re experiencing an extreme emotion, call a friend and share your feelings. Simply talking to a pal can release the same kind of hormones in your system as eating a brownie. Chances are the craving will pass.
- Make small changes. If you eat 12 cookies a day, allow yourself 6. If you’re hooked on soda, switch to club soda mixed with cranberry or grapefruit juice. Making small changes will give you a greater chance of success.
- Ditch the HFCS. Remove every single thing in your house that has high-fructose corn syrup and/or corn sugar in it. This stuff is highly addictive and it’s in everything.
- Become a sugar snob. Treat sugar like Victoria Beckham treats shoes. (Hint: She doesn’t buy her shoes at Payless.) If you’re going to eat it, splurge on the very best chocolate or the ultimate dessert.
- Pay attention to portions. Buy pre-portioned desserts. There’s a reason these treats are small.
- Bring your own snacks. If you’re traveling and know you’ll be tempted by sugary snacks, prepare ahead of time by packing your own boiled eggs, fruit and trail mix.
- Find accountability. Let your friends know you’re quitting sugar, for support and accountability. Also, share your victories. The pride you feel will beat the sugar rush every single time. And you might inspire someone else to do the same.