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This Happens When You Break Your Sugar Habit

This Happens When You Break Your Sugar Habit

You may have quit a handful of bad habits over the years—smoking, unhealthy relationships, or over-spending on clothes or coffee. However, quitting sugar might be the most challenging habit to break.

What research says

We know that sugar is “bad for you,” but did you know that it can affect you physically and even mentally way beyond just getting a little chubby? Your intestinal balance can be thrown completely out of whack from eating too much sugar, leaving you susceptible to autoimmune problems and chronic intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, IBS, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and, of course, diabetes. 

Breaking your sugar habit is hard to imagine because we’re biologically hooked on the stuff. It’s essentially a drug, according to this article and studies like this.

Socially alienating

Sugar is also standard in our culture. There is sugar in almost every packaged food, and turning down a co-worker’s offer for a doughnut is practically a slap in the face. If you really want to lay off the sugar, you have to be resilient through relentless temptation.

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The good news is that once you’re past the withdrawal, over the social awkwardness, and label reading becomes second nature, you find that life opens up in some unexpected and delightful ways.

Here are 5 ways quitting (or at least cutting back on) sugar can make life more enjoyable.

1.You won’t always be itching for your next hit.

Like any addict, you’ve probably found yourself in a state of urgency when you “need” a piece of cake to give you that happy feeling and ease a building irritation.

It’s subtle sometimes, and easily disguised as a normal desire all wrapped up in our own urges and a longstanding relationship with really good marketing.

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Being free of this desire puts you on an even keel. Essentially, you’ll be a more stable and balanced person who can focus more and delve into tasks without turning to a substance to take the edge off.

2. Your sense of taste will be heightened.

Sugar and cigarettes are powerful and they both numb our tastebuds over time. Smokers cannot taste food as well as non-smokers. The same is true for sugar addicts.

People who are addicted to sugar often say that they don’t like foods like vegetables and whole grains because “they’re bland.” The fact is actually that they can’t taste them! If you give up the hard stuff, like cigarettes or sugar, and then try them again, you’ll find that they’re too rough. It takes a while to build up a taste for cigarettes, whisky, and even sugar. It also takes some time to normalize your tastebuds again.

But, when you do quit, you’ll notice nuances of flavor in natural food that you really enjoy. You’ll actually crave things that are beneficial to your body and you will have a healthier, more in-depth relationship with both food and your own body.

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3. Your daily life experience will be enhanced.

Sugar can affect your mental clarity, making you feel “foggy” or chronically tired because your body is constantly working overtime to balance itself out.

When you remove the fructose-driven veil, your sense of the now and your ability to absorb it will be more thorough and enjoyable. You’ll actually breath easier and see clearer than you have in years.

4. Your memory will improve.

There’s mounting evidence, as outlined in this UCLA Newsroom piece, stating that high sugar, low fat diets are linked to memory problems, even Alzheimers.

By eating sugar, you’re actually slowing yourself down mentally and maybe even doing long-term damage to your memory centers.

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The good news is that by eliminating or decreasing the amount of sugar you consume and increasing the intake of DHA (healthy fats that protect the synaptic nerves), you can heal and maintain a healthy memory. You’ll be sharper, quicker, and mentally stronger, even as you age.

5. You’ll feel top-notch most of the time.

Nothing feels as good as not just being up to task but raring to face the day. Sugar is an inflammatory food which can be taxing on your entire system. Intense spikes of insulin to address sugar intake and flux of your internal systems can wear you out over time.

When you cut out or cut back that extra pressure you’re putting on your body, you’ll find that you’re a much healthier person than you thought you were. Not to say that you’ll never have a lazy day again, but it’ll be a more pleasant and purposeful one. Rather than thinking “I feel like crap. I don’t want to get up.” It’ll be more like, “I’ll just give myself a few extra minutes here.”

To sum up

Quitting sugar is not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight and it sucks at first, but it’s absolutely worth it when you get to a point of independence from the most common and troublesome drug.

You’ll really appreciate the natural sweetness of berries, apples, and other fruits, which also give you tons of health benefits. They’re packed with vitamins and boost the immune system when you enjoy them in small amounts. They also meet your body’s natural desire for a little something sweet now and again. Because, let’s be honest, what’s life without the sensation of sweet?

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Hannah Glenn

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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