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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 August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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