This upcoming Monday our sugar free challenge starts! I am looking forward to it (really! I am!) and I hope that the hundred plus people signed up for it so far are too . I have some exciting posts planned for you next week, but meanwhile we need to be preparing over the weekend for eating sugar free. Here are five tips for preparing well.
1) Eat Well This Weekend
The tendency we have before a sugar fast is to want to binge on sweets. Like polar bears preparing for a long winter, we build up our stores in the hopes that it will be enough to get us through. While this may make you feel so yucky physically you will more clearly see why you should cut down on sweets, it’s not a good plan! It will make your sugar fast harder. So over the weekend, you may want to slowly cut back on the sugar. Then hopefully you will not shock your body on Monday. If you eat a lot of sugar on a consistent basis, this is especially important. View the next few days as transition days.
2) Gather Supplies
To have success, you will need to carefully shop for food. If you eat a lot of packaged foods (including store bought bread), make sure you carefully check labels. Sugar is in just about everything. Buy quality protein, whole grains, butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and lots of vegetables and fruit. Think of buying ingredients rather than premade food. You don’t want to be hungry so make sure you buy plenty. Concentrate on all of the wonderful foods you can eat.
3) Menu Plan
It’s also important to menu plan. Make sure you know what you are going to eat for all of your meals so you aren’t left stranded hungry with no food in sight except a candy dish. You will probably want to have snacks on hand too. Nuts, beef jerky, apples- whatever suites your fancy and fits within the challenge. Just remember to keep your menu plan simple so that it’s sustainable. Another tip is to feed your family (and yourself) familiar food as much as possible. Obviously you will need to eliminate some foods, but try to feed them meals that they already like so that they don’t feel completely deprived.
4) Get Rid of Temptation
Step one to success is actually having something sugar free to eat, the second step is to take away temptation. If you have bags of cookies and/or candy or other sweets lying around, when the craving hits it can be very hard to resist. Throw or give it away, or at least put it in a out of sight cupboard or in the freezer.
5) Prepare your mind
Keep a positive attitude towards this challenge. This is also important if you have children doing the challenge with you. Be prepared for it to be difficult if you do eat a lot of sweets on a regular basis, but prepare to meet those cravings with courage and (hopefully) self control. If you do slip up and eat something sugary, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on the bandwagon! Your mindset is so important. If you got into the challenge thinking “This is going to be terrible and I am not going to be able to do it”, you probably won’t succeed. But if you present the challenge to yourself as something you can do, even though it is hard and keep a positive attitude, it will go a long way.
Those are some of my tips for success. I would love to hear from others on what helps them succeed! Please share!
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I’m going to splurge this week and buy macadamia nuts — they taste sweet to me, and I love the richness. I might also buy a little more fruit than I usually eat, since it’s my only sweet, and having an apple in the afternoon is preferable to dipping into my coworker’s M&M jar.
I also love macadamia nuts! I’ve found that rich treats (such as those) really help satisfy me and help me not reach for the candy jar. 🙂
Heading out to the fruit and vege shop today – going to make sure there’s lots of fruit! Breastfeeding 2 children at the moment so need plenty of snackable things on hand for when the urge hits!
Have things ready to snack on- I think that’s the most important hint~ If you don’t have things ready to eat when you want to snack, it will be too easy to fall back into sugar/snack mode. Make up some cut up veggies, dried nuts, fruit, even dried coconut is so satisfying. We dice up cored apples and toss with some coconut oil- cook until they are soft. It’s a wonderful warm snack, and turns into a pudding like dish as it cools. It’s so easy and so satisfying. Frozen bananas and grapes are also a wonderful sweet snack.
If you freeze the banana and then mash it, top with a dollop of yogurt and some dried coconut and nuts, it’s like a sundae, but much healthier!
Stocked up on things today. I feel mentally prepared. I hope everyone succeeds. Good luck. The first time I did this it was very hard but worth it. I am glad to be back on the road again.
a fruity tea can be a nice sweet thing.
I’ve found that the first four days of a diet change like this (especially sugar) is the hardest but after then it’s easier because you have less cravings. I think the most important two tips are get rid of the foods you’re trying to eliminate completely and have plenty of replacements on hand. Now is the time to buy or make some special snacks and meals that you don’t normally that will feel like special treats when you’re transitioning your body and your routine.
Oh! I take that back, the most important tip is to make sure you really believe the reason you’re doing it is important. If your heart is not in it when the cravings hit and you don’t believe your half-hearted pep talk you’ll give up.
Wondering if we will have enough fruit and dairy products available in the local vicinity after the recent flooding crisis….
You all can do this!! I did a healing cleanse last spring and had to cut out sugars, etc. and still follow it today, with the occasional mishap….I DO feel better! I just made sure to have LOT’S of raw nuts(some salted for a real craving fix!) and veggies cut up on the table for when the hunger hit me….or I saw sweets in the grocery store that were calling my name like old times…..set yourself up for success and trust me, you WILL have more energy, lose weight naturally, and the sugar cravings will almost disappear! Good luck<3
And here was I, working hard to finish off that last bag of Christmas chocolates before Monday… 😉
I think it’s important to note here that anything that simply tastes sweet will cause an insulin response and will also make you crave more sweets. It will be much harder to keep away from sugar if you, for example, drink tea sweetened with stevia. For some even the mild sweetness naturally found in nuts and grains will set off serious sugar cravings. I really find that the less sweet tastes I encounter, the easier it is to break the addiction. Lots of savory, meaty foods that fill you up and satiate is the way to go. Snacking all day is bad for insulin levels as well and can cause sugar cravings. Just my two cents!
Also, what is possibly most helpful for quitting sugar is to be reminded of all the reasons we want to. I’d love to see a post that details just how damaging sugar is. Kind of the equivalent of a smoker looking at pictures of diseased lungs. I am heavily motivated by being reminded of why it’s so important to consume less sugar. If I don’t keep that information in the forefront of my mind I am more likely to think “oh what’s one more piece of chocolate really going to do to me…”
Scroll down for 76 dangers of sugar:
I find that when I have an irrational snacking urge (as opposed to the need for a snack because I need food), particularly a sugar craving, a strong cup of hot tea normally takes it away.
I’ve found things like hummus or avocado/guacomole & a good quality cracker/bread or vege sticks a great filling snack. Plus trying not to eat much dried fruit as it’s so concentrated with natural sugars. Good luck everyone!
Great tips! Sometimes when I know I am going to be removing something from my diet, I eat a lot of it right before I start. #1 is so true! It only makes it way I harder!
Sorry to burst the sugar free bubble but if you are going to go t-total you can’t have fruit of ANY type. Some fruits are lower in sugar than others but ALL fruit has some sugar.
So what are you trying to say here? Just what is the menu/ snack plan to be?
Geez!! Sorry – I need to add to my previous comment. I just re-read and sound b**chy and doubtful and did not mean that at all!
I guess I want to know if you were going for low natural sugars and no processed sugar. Eating fresh fruit (perhaps a list of those lowest in natural sugar) and using honey as a sweetener perhaps?
Again, sorry! My bad!!
It can be hard to achieve the right tone in comments! I’ve sounded upset in a comment before when I wasn’t at all, so I understand. 🙂 I personally don’ t have a problem with unrefined sweeteners in moderation and fresh fruits too. If you are dealing with a sugar/yeast issue, yes, you do have to cut it all out (and for much longer than a week!).
Melissa @ Dyno-mom
I am doing your sugar free challenge. I plan on enjoying fruits and sweet potatoes this week. My kids LOVE sweet potatoes in all incarnations and I am planning more baked ones. A sprinkle of nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon and a pat of butter and I have satisfied my needs!
sounds yummy! I also like to roasted diced yams and apples together with a bit of cinnamon and coconut oil. So good.