Since sharing that I was going processed sugar free for the first month of 2017, I’ve gotten tons of questions. These questions range anywhere from simply, ‘What is that?’ to ‘How can you survive without chocolate for that long?’ So, here’s the post about how to make living without (or with minimal) processed sugar much easier.
For those of you who don’t think you can do this, or are thinking ‘well of course you can do it, you’re a trainer, you’ve probably always loved healthy food,’ I’m going to tell you a bit about myself. Or, I guess, my past self (who still occasionally surfaces on holidays like Christmas :D). I grew up eating candies, desserts, and all things unhealthy. Healthy eating just wasn’t as big of a movement as it is now. As I got older and expectations were to eat a bit better, I kept my ‘kids menu’ taste buds. I ate pizza, french fries, and chicken fingers constantly. In high school I would have a giant bowl of ice cream after practice daily, and you can guess who was first in line at the soft serve machine in college. This type of eating went on until I was almost 23 years old. I have not always been healthy. I did not grow up eating vegetables. In fact, I adamantly refused so much that my mom tried to hide green beans in my food as a child. My saving grace was activity. I was always highly active, racing cross country and track from 13 to 22. But I realized that if I didn’t change my nutrition it was going to catch up with me in one way or another. I tell you this because no matter how much you love sugar, fried food, or pop, if you really want to make a change, you can. I truly believe that and in your ability to do it!
So now to the point: starting a healthier eating pattern is going to be more challenging at first, but as you go it gets easier. Your body stops being stuck in that processed sugar spike cycle of crave, eat, crash. Basically, when we give our body processed sugar or processed carbs like white breads, etc, our brain gets high on it. It releases a happiness hormone, and so when the sugar crash comes that hormone is what our brain wants. That’s what it knows will fix the ‘crash’ problem. Once you get away from the processed stuff for a while it gets easier, because you’re not stuck in this cycle. It’s your brain and your body telling you it needs this! No wonder it’s so tough to resist!
If you want more info on nourishing your body check out The Get Fit Food Guide! It’s got lots of recipes and tips! 🙂
Here’s some things that will help you to stay on track!
Get the processed food out: This one can be tough because it feels really wasteful (I’m someone who tries to eat all my candy on Christmas so I don’t have to get rid of it). The fact is, relying on willpower is not a good bet, mainly for the reasons explained above. When your body is saying it needs something, it’s going to be massively hard to resist! Rather than having it around tempting you daily, clear it out. Then when you decide you’re going to have a treat, just get enough for that time! I find it’s best for me not to even walk past the Oreo aisle at the store :D.
Stock up on whole foods to nourish your body: Here’s where things get fun! There are ways to show your sweet tooth some love; they’re just not going to come from the shelves of the grocery store. Besides your basic veggies, lean meats, fish, eggs, fruits, nuts, etc, it’s great to have around a few prepared snacks. The more prepared you are the easier it is to stay on track. Here’s some links to my favorite home made, processed sugar free treats:
Date Paste Sweetener (An amazing alternative sweetener for your baking needs)
So basically here’s how your sweet tooth will be satisfied: fruit, (any and all kinds!) and recipes like these. All of them are easy to make and tasty! You can also find whole food snack bars like LaraBars or RxBars (the latter being a little pricey). Pinterest is an amazing resource for ideas as well, and I’m also working on a few more recipes to share, so be sure to check back!
Keep healthy food available: If we make sure that the healthy choice is convenient, there’s a much better chance of you choosing it! Have things ‘prepped’ or mostly ready for whenever you plan to be eating. Take some time before the week starts to make it as easy on yourself as you can! This also applies when you’re not home; bring healthy snacks!
Stay hydrated: This may not seem like something that would help, but being dehydrated can induce cravings. Making sure to drink enough water throughout the day will help. Carrying a water bottle around at all times is a great way to stay hydrated and a good reminder to stay hydrated, too!
Creating a healthy lifestyle is not a temporary quick fix; it’s a long term thing. That means that you will occasionally go off track and that’s ok. It’s ok to have the occasional time when you forget what’s best for your body and just enjoy the ice cream or the Christmas cookies. When we allow ourselves the flexibility to indulge every once in a while rather than being super restrictive, we don’t have to binge on what’s ‘forbidden’ when we finally have some. When you eat those treats or cheats, enjoy them! You can live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy yourself. Find your balance!
Sweat, Smile, Repeat!