I deserve this I mumbled defiantly as I bit in to a size of my face vegan chocolate chip cookie.
I eat tons of vegetables.
I don’t smoke.
I don’t even drink for crying out loud.
I deserve this!
Two days in to most of my attempts at sugar detoxing, sugar free living, whatever 30 day get me of sugar challenge I’ve signed up for this usually happens. I’m kinda angry, totally frustrated and then pretty much over it.
Here’s the number one problem: cold turkey.
That’s not my personality. I hate being told what to do and my brain is really aggressive about being told no when it wants something.
When I started my weight loss journey it was about calories and restriction for a long time, until I realized focusing on eating 7-9 veggies and fruits daily just felt better. Keeping the weight off for 12+ years was easy with that shift in mindset because there wasn’t good food bad food.
I dropped the guilt, I kept the pizza.
For some reason it took me way to long to understand how to do this around sugar. But it was right there in my face: I didn’t have to forsake all sugar forever. I needed to get a grasp on it and make choices around it.
Conquering Sugar Tips
Now knowing that cold turkey doesn’t work for my mindset, I found some great tips from Angela in her Feel Better Sugar Detox. Now a few months since making the shift, I’m finding it much easier to keep my sugar down, which has helped my mood, aches and I dropped the 2lbs I’d been up since getting injured last year.
Here’s what worked for me:
I dropped the quick grab hot tamales. I LOVE chewy candy, but didn’t realize that one serving of it was more than the added sugar I needed all day! Now I might allow myself a few during a long run for quick sugar, but I won’t snack on them like I was. A habit I acquired because they were “fat free” and fit my macros. OYE.
Evaluating Current Foods
- I took a second look at all my cereals and decided I was just fine with Cheerios rather than Honey Nut Cheerios.
- Most of my nut butters are just nuts, but I was shocked to see the sunflower version had added sugar. Bye bye.
- Grab and go bars are part of our life on the weekends as we spend hours on the trails. I found that Kind Bars often only have 5 grams and so they’ve become my choice when I’m not noshing on jerky or something like that.
Eating Some Sugar!!
I ALLOWED myself up to 25 grams of added sugar each day, which mean there was no guilt in having the couple pieces of dark chocolate or even a cookie. I found the Cappello’s cookie dough was massively satisfying for me at just 5 grams of sugar. (also more expensive than our normal candy so I go slow and savor it).
Also to note I could have up to that, but tried to keep it to 20 or under most days.
A Little Fruit
I’m just not the person who will ever call fruit a dessert, but I also realized I wasn’t eating that much fruit in general. Adding in a piece each day provided not only nutrients, but curbed some of the cravings because my hard working body was getting more carbs and fiber.
You don’t have to track forever, but I think that first month it’s really key to record everything so that you know exactly how many grams of sugar you’re eating! I used the free MyFitnessPal and it helped me get better at seeing my added sugars vs total sugars.
Again so much of this is the same mindset and techniques that helped me lose weight and keep it off. I focused on what I could DO, instead of what not to eat. I focused on making choices that felt good. I focused on the bigger picture.
Over the last two months, I’ve even traveled 3 times, which is when I would normally find myself really having a hey day with sugar. I love buying gummy treats at the airport and then always hitting up a great vegan dessert place, but this time I didn’t. Instead I found some incredible dark chocolate, I enjoyed a few more pieces of sourdough bread and yup I came home happy, healthy and not a pound gained.
So yes, I do still have some sugar and maybe that won’t work for you. Maybe some sugar always leads to lots of sugar, if that’s the case then start where I did. Cut your added sugars to 25, then to 20, and so on.
Slowly quitting sugar means I can let it go, but also not feel guilty if I do have some! This isn’t a life long sentence, it’s about our day to day choices.
Don’t Stop Here
With sugar, I fully believe the more you know, the easier this process is.
Previously I did a big series on understanding all the ways sugar impacts us, so instead of trying to shorten all of that down, I wanted to share a link to each one here. You can pick which one’s are going to most help you!
These were from when I first tried a complete zero sugar week and nearly lost my mind, but LEARNED a ton.
Kickoff: Defining your why for success with kicking sugar
Day 1: Understanding why sugar is an addictive substance
Day 2/3: How to handle emotional cravings
Day 4: Managing detox symptoms
Day 5/6: How to change when change is hard
Day 7: Running is not a free sugar card <<not if you want to run for life!
Confessions of a sugar free failure
How do you stay on top of your sugar in take?
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