This is part 1 of 3 of the Sugar Leash Series.
Alight! I bet you clicked on this post because there was a tiny glimmer of hope that you CAN eat as much sugar as you want and STILL lose weight!
Haha, that’s what I would have hoped for a few years ago!!
So I talk to a LOT of my clients who tell me they want to lose weight, but they just can’t give up sugar. Or cheese. That’s a big one for some reason… Who ever said you need to give up sugar to be healthy(or cheese)?! Sugar is not bad. Too much of it is. Too much of anything is bad. I am not writing this to help people stop eating sugar. That’s not my way of living. I am writing this to help people who feel like they are out of control–and want control–regain it.
I eat sugar whenever I want. So why am I still slim, vibrant, effervescent and (I’m just kidding!)?
It’s not just genetics, trust me. This picture proves it. This is when I was not in control. I’m not obese or even overweight. But you’ll see a difference in a later picture. I know that I didn’t feel so great back then.
So what’s the secret??
The big bad secret is….(drum roll please)
I just don’t want sugar all the time anymore.
That’s it (yeah right)!
I am in control of sugar now.
Sugar is NOT in control of me anymore.
That doesn’t mean I don’t crave sugar once in awhile. I think that’s fine. But in the first picture, I ate sugar whenever I wanted…and the problem was, I always wanted it. In any amount. And I couldn’t resist….and that was really, really frustrating.
If we were in the same room together, I was physically, mentally, chemically, and emotionally drawn to it. I felt out of control, and I hated that. I watched myself gain weight and could feel myself plump out.
I want to emphasize this– In the first picture I am not fat. That’s a healthy, happy weight for many people. And that’s great! I personally didn’t feel healthy at that weight because I had been healthier before and knew that it felt better for me. I liked bending over and not having a pooch in the way. At the same time, I’m also not saying slim is beautiful.
What’s beautiful is you feeling healthy, whatever weight that is.
It’s you finding your own balance and feeling in control–stress free.
I have tried to explain to people how to get to the point where you become the one in charge (not wanting sugar all the time anymore because you are addicted). Where you don’t have to eat it whenever it is offered to you, or whenever you are alone at home in a dark room. It is SO hard to explain how to overcome the pull and find the balance. This is me giving my best shot.
Why do I not want sugar all the time anymore?
Or even better, how do I like it, and eat it, while keeping my body balanced, happy, and healthy?
1. Tune into your body
You can ‘read’ what your body needs. Seriously! Sounds crazy, but that’s how I live. I believe my body (once it’s free from addictions which would deceive it) can sense which nutrients I need or can have. I really do feel like I need sugar sometimes, and I think that’s cool. It will be tough at first to decipher if your body really needs sugar, or just wants it. Practice makes perfect. Check out a previous post, Do you need to eat or do you just want to eat for tips about that!
3. Learn how to compensate
This is tricky to explain. I think I am good at knowing how to compensate because I am aware of how certain foods will affect my body. I have taken enough nutrition classes to know what nutrients do what in my body, and how fast they get stored. With that knowledge, I know when I need to compensate.
Compensate means making up for my ‘over indulgences,’ which I don’t regret, and you should not either. Eating unhealthy once in awhile is good for you in my book.
So here’s an example of compensating: If I eat a hamburger and fries (and let’s face it, I’ll have to order a Frosty too), I will compensate by eating clean the rest of the day–and often the next day or two. It’s something your body will be able to feel. Your body will want to return to the clean feeling it once had–kinda like the principle of homeostasis. Start to be aware of how you feel inside, and you’ll see what I mean.
4. Ask yourself if you are just thirsty
I can’t even tell you how many times I have reached my hand into a bag of chocolate chips and stopped and asked myself, “Am I actually thirsty??” And the answer was YES. After I drank water, the desire to eat chocolate was gone. Chocolate is not bad. But if my body doesn’t really need it, then it won’t make my body feel very good after. I like to imagine how my body WILL feel after I eat something…futuristic thinking. Helps me a lot!
5. Never say no
Never strictly restrict yourself from sugar. Look at kids. Whenever their parents tell them not to do something, what happens? They want to do it even more!! Same with sugar. I like the idea of saying, “Maybe later,” instead of, “No, I can’t have sugar.” It’s more positive, and you don’t panic that you won’t get that big amazing gooey brownie. You’re still not eating sugar, but you’re not suffering the addictive impulse that comes from self-denial.
It’s such a mental game.
I would also suggest to never tell anyone you CAN’T have that dessert. Instead, put the accountability on yourself. It’s YOUR choice. No one is forcing you to avoid sugar. When you think to yourself, “I choose not to have that brownie,” you will feel incredibly empowered and free. When it’s your own choice, your body and your mind will be eager to ‘obey’ and ‘please’ you by accepting your decision calmly and cooperatively. You won’t feel the familiar scream inside your body when it’s truly your desire and choice.
6. Savor the flavor baby!
They say that the first 3 bites are the most flavorful and enjoyable. Sometimes that’s really all you need. If you really want something unhealthy, and you know you don’t need it, then eat it slowly and ENJOY the flavor. Just take 3 small bites for the flavor sake. Consider all the different ingredients you can taste. Enjoy it to the extreme.
If you find that you can’t stop once you start….then maybe this tip is not for you.
7. Be realistic
Consider appropriate portion sizes for desserts. Know how much makes you personally feel gross, and stop before that! Figure out what makes you gain weight, and choose what/how much you eat accordingly. I went to El Salvador for 6 weeks and ate from the bakery every day. I came back 15 lbs heavier. I knew what my problem was:)
It’s all about figuring out your own tricks. It’s trial and error. Experiment with different methods until you see something working for you. Don’t give up! Sometimes you just need to wait for the right reason to lay off the sugar. Be patient, and love yourself.
So that’s my before and after.
The words “In control and stress-free,” come to my mind when I think back on the change that took place between those two pictures. It’s not about the looks. It’s about finding your own healthy state, so that you don’t feel addicted to any one item anymore. You know you get there when you aren’t worried about how you eat or how you look anymore. You naturally want healthy foods, and a healthy lifestyle. And you just do it. Because it feels good. And you are happy.
My secret for losing weight and keeping it off is that I figured out how to break my own addiction to sugar. It’s tough to do. It doesn’t happen over night. Now I know what a balanced body feels like, and I nourish that feeling. So so hard to explain, but I’ll keep trying.
Hope this made some sort of sense. I’m excited to get into more details about it all.
Check out my guest post on 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Sugar Addiction.
Check out my wellness coaching site to learn more about overcoming sugar addiction.
Part 2 of the Sugar Leash Series, Beginning to Break the Leash
What is your own experiences with sugar, or your own ‘addiction’?
Maybe you relate to feeling like you are or were controlled by sugar?
What methods worked for you??