I'm overall a pretty healthy eater: I love vegetables, whole grains, fish, and tofu, and don't mind substituting most low-fat dairy for the richer stuff. I've got a dirty little secret, though, and I'll bet you do too: My sweet tooth. I do fine for awhile staying off the stuff, and then if I let myself slip, I'm suddenly having something sweet almost daily.
I think it truly is an addiction, as tough as kicking cigarettes or booze, although no one is bringing in cartons of smokes to the office to celebrate birthdays or keeping bottles of vodka at their desk to share, but temptation in the form of sweets is everywhere.
So I found this story on Yahoo about overcoming sugar addiction to be really helpful, and I'd add a few more tips of my own.
The biggest, unsurprisingly, is to get sugar and sugar products out of your house, and that includes things like honey and maple syrup. I find that is key for me; if it's not in the house, I can't eat it!
Another one that should be a no-brainer that isn't? Eat enough healthy food to satisfy your hunger. Eat sweet-but-healthy things like carrots, red peppers, and fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth, and eat slowly and mindfully.
The story looks at a lot of the underlying issues that cause people turn to sugar and encourages learning new ways of stress management and how to cope with the emotions that can trigger a sugar binge. It also talks about the importance of getting regular exercise, plenty of sunlight and enough sleep. I completely agree; if I haven't slept my eating habits go straight to hell.
The article goes on to suggest: Maintain a steady blood sugar level by eating three regular meals which include healthy fats, lean protein and complex carbohydrates; take a multivitamin supplement and consider chromium picolinate or l-glutamine, which can ease cravings; and don't be too hungry when you go out.
I'd add to drink tons of water, and to avoid sugar substitutes because they're still reinforcing that need for a hit of sweetness.
One of the biggest things to be aware of, too, is the need to be kind to yourself: accept slip-ups and move on. "The best sugar substitute is genuine self-acceptance," Dr. Jeffrey Rossman, the story's author, concludes. And he's right. A healthy self image is better than a cookie any day of the week.
Image via norwichnuts/Flickr