Do us a favor. The next time you get hungry, repeat this phrase: sugar is not my friend. Say it three times. Because it isn’t. It really isn’t. Sugar leads to weight gain, cavities, diabetes, all kinds of gruesome things. The trouble is it can be hard to avoid. It’s in that box of Krispy Kremes to be sure. But it also shows up in less obvious places, like instant oatmeal and fruit juice. It’s pesky that way. The good news is there are ways to identify it and eliminate it from your diet. It just takes a little knowledge and determination. Let us point you in the right direction.
- Be Wary of Packaging Promises. It’s the height of irony when a packaged food says it’s healthy when it isn’t, at least not completely. An example is instant oatmeal. You may see enticing words about fiber and heart health on the box and think this is a no-brainer. But read the ingredients and you’ll find that flavored oatmeal is often loaded with sugar, about three teaspoons per packet. This is the case with many popular packaged foods. Read labels. That’s how you win.
- Indulge in Healthy Fats. The science is simple:high-sugar foods cause blood-sugar spikes. Follow this down the rabbit hole though and you get into a nasty cycle of cravings, spikes, and more sugar. Think about substitutions. One smart one is to go with healthy fats instead. Avocado on your morning toast or olive oil with your evening pasta. Such substitutions can make big differences in your sugar intake.
- Educate Yourself. Here’s where things can get tricky. There are 56 names for sugar and the food industry uses all of them. A company will often tinker with the product’s formula so sugar shows up further down on the ingredient list, often under a different name. But make no mistake: sugar is sugar. Look for it carefully. This goes for sugary beverages as well, including soda and fruit drinks.
- Consider Why You’re Eating Sugary Foods. This has less to do with what you’re eating than why you’re eating. Do you reach for sugary foods when you’re stressed out? When you’re sad? Can you identify an emotion behind your choices? That can be a key to breaking unhealthy patterns.
- Love Yourself More Than Sugar. You may find yourself wanting to binge on a pint of ice cream after having a rough day. But stop and think before you scoop. Do you end up feeling guilty and shameful after binging? If so, it’s not worth it. Replace the behavior with something healthier, such as a trip to the gym. You’ll feel better.
- Boost Your Serotonin. A hormonal imbalance may be contributing to sugar cravings. Stress and multitasking can deplete your serotonin levels. If you sense your mood is dipping and your food choices are unhealthy, check in with a Snap Fitness trainer. Aerobic exercise is a great way to get your serotonin back where it should be and we can help make that happen.
- Use Exercise As Your Reward. An exercise high is much better than a sugar high. Replace snacks with endorphins and you’ll be living your best life.