7 Ways to get 'off' sugar
Until I did a lot of research, I never understood how addictive sugar could be, how addicted I once was to it, or how hard it would be to break my dependence on it. Through time and a great deal of education, I learned how to break the addiction. I’m happy to share with you, the quickest steps to get through sugar withdrawl.
In order to break the addiction, it’s first important to know the following:
-Sugar messes with our bodies-mainly, by damaging our hormones. Our hormones are like a finely-tuned machine. Sugar is like a rock thrown directly into that same machine, causing a host of systemic problems to follow. Swinging insulin and cortisol levels, which decrease then increase blood sugar, not only cause your system to crash but set up a cascade of abnormal hormone functions. In other words, the problem with sugar is not the calories; it’s the damage that it does to our hormones. It can take from several days up to a couple weeks to fairly regulate those hormones once ‘off’ sugar.
-Sugar is a behavioral addiction as well. Hormone systems aside, our brains become wired to a certain stimulus (i.e., beautiful colors of the doughnut sign, argument with our spouse, irritation with our boss, etc..), which triggers a reaction (reaching for the donut, Twinkie, can of Coke, Snicker bar, etc….). This is why people can kick the cravings for sugar, only to find themselves eating it again when they can’t figure out why. These brain patterns take longer to change than the physiological component, often times ranging from 3 weeks to 6 months.
So, how do you make the changes to get through sugar withdrawl?
1 Get rid of all the sugar/processed carbs around you. You’re not fooling ANYONE by thinking you’ll just keep just a little “something” in the cabinet or desk drawer, and not turn to it during a full-blown sugar craving. Clear it out from your desk, locker, pantry, refrigerator, freezer, and ANYWHERE else you may hide it.
2 Use cinnamon, chromium and B vitamins as tools to help. They have strong abilities to control blood sugar swings, and ultimately help to decrease cravings. Cinnamon is a great spice—a sprinkle in the morning in your coffee or fruit can work wonders on your blood sugar. Follow it up with another sprinkle on your fruit during the later part of the day, and you’re maximizing cinnamon’s benefit. Chromium picolinate-1000mg per day can have a great effect on regulating blood sugar levels, and avoiding the large ‘swings’ found during the detox. B vitamins-They’re powerful as well in overcoming constant cravings. 25-100mg daily of a good B-complex can be enough to do the trick.
3 When going through sugar withdrawl, give yourself permission to eat as much natural food as you like. Many people make the mistake of attempting to not only eliminate sugar, but also cut their calorie consumption in half at the same time. Because of the drastic change, they ‘rebound’ and once again fall back into the ‘sugar trap’ all over again. However, once sugar cravings are under control, you can always begin cutting back on the calories you ingest from your overall diet.
4 Eat small meals every 3-4 hours. This will aid in controlling blood sugar levels of our body.
5 Understand that at the beginning, it’s going to be pure hell. You’re going to feel like the whole world’s falling down around you, and nothing other than your favorite sugar-laden concoction will put it back in order. This is the physiological component of addiction at work. Accept it, know that it only lasts a few days, and get over it.
6 Write down some new habits to replace the old ones. This is the long-term (behavioral) aspect of addiction most people don’t consider which is why they don’t keep the weight off. Begin a yoga class in exchange of one of your weekday ‘movie nights’, where you’re more susceptible to eating sugar. Think of the events where you most frequently eat sugar, and choose new behaviors to replace them with. i.e., having raw almonds instead of the afternoon Snicker bar, replacing dessert with a cup of organic tea when eating out, etc…. As stated above, habits take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months to change, are frequently overlooked, but are extremely important.
7 Eat plenty of fresh organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, nuts, and meat. They’ll provide nutrients that’ll help you feel full, decrease cravings for junk, and bring your hormone levels within normal balance.
Hope this helps!
Dr. Mike Tremba
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