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How to End a Love Affair With Sugar

How to End a Love Affair With Sugar

It’s 3:00 pm, and you are seriously craving sweets.

But you promised yourself that you wouldn’t eat sugar anymore. And ever since you made that commitment, sweets are all you can think about. The pull is so great that you can’t concentrate, so you cave. You eat it anyway, and as you eat it, you tell yourself “it’s just this once; tomorrow will be different.”

But it’s not just this once. You’ve been telling this to yourself for quite some time now: the sugar cravings are now controlling your behavior.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

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love affair with sugar

    Willpower doesn’t work

    You intend to quit sugar, but for some reason you still eat it. The trouble is, you’ve been relying on willpower and you’re discovering that willpower alone doesn’t work in the long term. Your motivation must be powerful enough to overcome any desire to eat sugar, and you need a way to curb the chemical side of sugar cravings.

    Who says you have to quit eating sugar?

    I’m quitting sugar because ___________ says I should. How would you fill in the blank?  Why does that other person say that you should quit eating sugar? Here are some examples:

    • My family says that I should quit eating sugar because I have mood swings.
    • This diet book says that I should quit eating sugar because I will lose weight faster based on (these studies).
    • My doctor says that I should quit eating sugar because I am diabetic, and it could kill me if I’m not careful with my blood sugar levels.

    These motivations originate from other people telling you that you need to quit eating sugar, and if this is your motivation, you are more likely to fail.

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    The motivation must come from you

    The driving force must come from you if you are to succeed at this. 

    For example: I need to quit eating sugar, because…

    • I want to be a good role model for my toddler (who wants to eat everything that I eat).
    • I cannot stop myself from eating when I get sugar cravings.

    But what if their reasoning is solid? Isn’t that good enough? Yes, however, you need to tweak the motivation so that it comes from you.

    For example: I need to quit eating sugar because….

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    • my mood swings hurt the people that I love.
    • I cannot shed weight any other way.
    • I want to live a long, healthy life, and my diabetes will kill me if I don’t quit.

    See how this is different? To make this work effectively, your tweak needs to come from you, and it needs to be powerful enough to overcome temptation when it arises. Once your motivation is clear, you need to have a plan that will help you on the chemical side of things.

    Reduce sugar in stages

    Toss out the “all-or-nothing” mentality—it doesn’t work. Doing it in stages is the most effective way to quit without having uncontrollable sugar cravings.

    Stage 1: Eliminate most forms of sugar

    At first, you need to stop eating most forms of sugar, but you need an emergency sweet  that will work for you when you get a craving. This sweet should not send your blood sugar as haywire as with sugar. If your ideal diet does not include the items in stage 1, you can tweak it in stage 2, once you have control of your cravings.

    • Eliminate all sweets (including sugar substitutes), except fruit, organic raw agave nectar, stevia, and maple syrup. 

    This will eliminate a lot of the problem foods, yet allow for some indulgences that you can purchase at a health food store.

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    • Eliminate (or drastically reduce) pasta, rice, and bread. These complex carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, so they contribute to sugar cravings and the mid-afternoon slump. They can also make you feel very sleepy if you eat them for lunch, so it’s best to eat other carbs for now.
    • Create a supportive environment. Remove everything from your home that you are not allowed to eat. If it’s not in the house, you’re less likely to go out and get your fix. Or, if you do, you are more likely to go to a health food store and buy something that is consistent with your plan.
    • Hold yourself accountable. Post your intentions on Facebook, Twitter, or post a comment here. Explain your new way of eating to your friends and family so that they can support you.

    When will you be ready for stage 2? You’ll begin to feel in control of your food intake and your cravings, and this level of control may surprise you. Once you’re in control, you’re ready to tweak it, if you wish. (Or, you can just stay with it like this. It’s up to you!)

    Stage 2: Be clear about your ideal, and tweak your diet to fit it.

    Clearly draw the line so that there is no doubt of what you will eat and and what you will not:

    Will you allow…

    • sugar substitutes? (xylitol, aspartame, saccharin, stevia, sucralose)
    • less processed sugar (succanat, turbinado, evaporated sugar cane juice, etc.)?
    • milk? (Lactose is a form of sugar.)
    • beet sugar?
    • grains?
    • vegetables? If so, will you only eat leafy greens, or will you include legumes, tubers and roots?
    • fruit? If so, will you limit your intake of fruit to certain kinds of fruits?
    • sweet syrupy substances, such as high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, or agave nectar? If it’s agave nectar, does your answer change if it is raw and organic?

    Once you have your ideal in mind, write down what forms of sugar you will allow yourself to eat on an ideal day. Now, tweak stage 1, and you’re golden!

    Readers: What do you plan to eliminate at stage 2? Hold yourself accountable here by posting a comment below!

     

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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