As we near Easter, as does the temptation to splurge on sugar laden chocolates. What was once an innocent celebration is now being exploited in a major way with products such as double choc chip hot cross buns and gooey choc eggs everywhere we turn. It really has turned into a battle of the wills.
Wouldn’t it be nice to enter the Easter period feeling in control of your sugar habit?
Great, then let’s do this! I have teamed up with Promise or Pay with a campaign to
“Do the sugar free challenge”
Promise or Pay encourages you to publicly set a goal to help make you accountable. If this goal isn’t reached, well, the money goes towards charity. Money is a powerful driver!. Are you up for the challenge? Of course you are!!
So, what does this entail?
- Avoiding refined and added sugars for 7 days (white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar)- check labels for other disguised sugar names. Sweetners are included in this and will dampen your efforts as it will create a craving for more sugar.
- Limit fruit to 2 pieces a day. Fruit is ok as is milk in moderation due to the lactose content. Dried fruit has a lot of dense sugars so be wary not to overdo these and only eat small amounts. Naturally occurring sugars are ok in moderation.
- It will help to have a mindset that opts for savoury over sweet meals and snacks.
- Alcohol is also off limits for the week!
So, to do this properly we need some strategies in place, you can’t expect to just enter into something that has probably been an unconscious part of your everyday life without some know how.
There is some good news though!
Willpower has nothing to do with what we are doing.
Willpower is an awesome skill to have in regards to work, competitive sport, study and other short term goals. But who wants their healthy habits to be short-term? Healthy nutrition and fitness are lifelong behaviours that require habits and strategies to be sustainable. Willpower is like any muscle and fatigues if used too much, and each day we’re faced with decisions that require willpower. That’s why is always so much easier to eat a healthy breakfast but hard to say no to the cookie jar by late afternoon. Makes sense?
Sugar is a funny beast. Joseph Campbell once said ..
If you want to know who your god is, ask yourself what you cannot do without for 2-3 days…..
What’s coming to light is that excess added sugars are in fact what’s leading the obesity rate and a myriad of other diseases that was once blamed on saturated fats. Just recently the World Health Organisation updated their recommendations that adults half their sugar intake to less than 10% with 5% being preferable. That is only 6 tsp a day (fresh fruits, vegetables and milk not included as these are considered healthy). Crazy to think when one small yoghurt tub can contain that in one sitting.
Be sure to watch That Sugar Film. It’s a must see and will help you better understand the impact “healthy” eating is having on our society. Here’s my interview with That Sugar Film producer Damon Gameau on how he faired during his experiment to eat 40 tsp a day. Not pretty!
Sugars are hidden everywhere in products that are being marketed as “healthy” so it is up to each individual to become their own sugar super sleuth and not be fooled. Here’s a handy sugar calculator to give you an idea of where you’re at.
Strategies to help overcome excess sugar intake
- Build awareness around what you’re eating each day. The best way to do this is by charting a food diary. This can be confronting so beware!
- Eat regularly including protein at each meal to sustain blood sugar levels and satiation.
- Catch yourself in the moment – why are you reaching for sugary foods – is it due to boredom, tiredness, anxiety or stress? What other strategies can you put in place to divert this energy? (Have a glass of water, read a book, go for a walk, pat your dog!)
- Make buying snacks at the supermarket a no –no and don’t let them into your house to tempt you!
- Clean out your pantry and fridge checking all labels. Usually if sugar is listed in the first 4 ingredients it’s in the bin. Remember that sugar has many disguises under other names . When looking at labels 4 grams = 1 tsp.
- Include healthy fats in your diet such as avocado, coconut oil, seeds and nuts. This will help stop the cravings.
- Eat fruit in its natural form for something sweet but no more than 2 serves a day
- The less sugar you eat the easier it will be to avoid. Eating sugar promotes cravings so use this as motivation.
Accept the fact that this won’t easy and will take a solid month after this challenge to really kick the habit and know your triggers and ways to beat the cravings. Building mindfulness is the first and most important step. It will take some effort but I know you can do this!
To help motivate you one lucky person that makes a pledge to do the SUGAR FREE CHALLENGE with Promise or Pay goes into the draw to win a Nutrition, Fitness and Lifestyle assessment with Karla Gilbert Wellness valued at ($300).
Karla Gilbert is your Lifestyle, Nutrition and Fitness personal assistant to help guide you on your way to wellness. Through tailored programs that are developed around your key areas, I will make you accountable to your goals through encouragement, education and support while creating healthy behaviours and habits.
So take the challenge and don’t think for a second you can’t do it.. a commitment is where it all starts!