Sugar is extremely difficult to cut out of the diet. It impacts neurochemistry just like other drugs of addiction – cocaine, nicotine, etc. And since its so culturally acceptable, I would say that it is the hardest of all the things to step away from. None of us are alone with this addiction. To get sugar out of your diet, you must take that first foundational step, which is realizing that sugar is a component of your diet which really needs to change, and having you isolating it. Keeping your “eye on the prize” concentrating on this one aspect of your diet/health will likely pay dividends in the future.
Moderation in this case, isn’t key
A lot of times what happens as we start working with a diagnosis like this is that ALL THE THINGS that we could do, or SHOULD do overwhelm us and those things that are most ingrained, or give us the most comfort always remain – because they are what we turn to when we’re overwhelmed. So. . . I would say what has worked for me, concentrate on this one thing (because its a huge component). And instead of trying to moderate, which if you are anything like me, only serves as a slippery slope to overindulging (even if its one day a week, which leads to two during the holidays, an the next thing I know I can’t get out of bed because I’m too tired, or I can’t sleep because I’m too wired). when I need to cut sugar out from my diet – I look at it like tobacco or alcohol, or another substance that can really harm me (which sugar can if you have RA, or other inflammatory conditions), and cut it out completely. I don’t eat anything that has sugar in it, including most things from a box.
Variety is the spice of life.
I have found something that really works for me to make this possible – and it works especially well for anyone who has a consistent schedule from day to day. Its especially difficult for people that “need” variety in their diet however. – I have about 5 different meals that I prepare – 10 grain cereal with bananas, apple, cinnamon, hemp seeds and walnuts, an omelet with tons of veggies, an oatmeal (that I put lots of fruit and nuts in), a spaghetti squash meal with fresh sauce (tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, celery, mushrooms), fresh salsa (homemade) and tortilla chips, taco salad (all homemade, grass fed beef from a local ranch), and baked chicken with sautéed or baked veggies. When I say “veggies” I typically mean anywhere from 5-9 servings of veggies in a single sitting. If I’m not eating a lot of bread products, it takes a lot of veggies to meet my carbohydrate needs for the day (this is in actuality, what the “paleo” diet is supposed to be). Each of these meals takes between 15-20 minutes to make (except the squash needs a little more planning). Because they are so quick, its a lot easier to cook all my meals and rely less on ready-made food. This helps with the tendency to reach for something with sugar in it.
The next difficulty (and this is my real trouble) is that I have to be disciplined about not eating outside meal-times (this may not be a problem for you). I find that intermittent fasting protocols are very helpful for alleviating sugar cravings as well – mostly because they have a powerful ability to bring greater awareness to my relationship with food/meals/eating.
Good luck on testing the waters of eliminating sugar from your diet. I hope this blog gave you some helpful tips as to how best to give sugar the “heave ho.”