Sugar is gaining more and more attention these days regarding weight loss. The problem is that sugar is in EVERYTHING — bread, crackers, cereal, cheese, smoothies, etc. Then we are also consuming stuff that we know has sugar like soda, cake at the office party or drinks after work. So what ends up happening is we are double dosing on sugar if not more.
How are sugar and weight gain related
The first problem is sugar in the morning. Without giving you a physiology lesson, what happens when you eat sugar is your body doses out some insulin to help digest it. Our bodies work so well that when you have a big spike in sugar, you inevitably have a big crash. Once we crash, we feel shaky, tired, and irritable and crave what? Sugar! Our bodies crave that high, just like a drug. That brings us to the next problem with sugar. Researchers have found that sugar lights up the same area in the brain as cocaine. So, to break this down, our bodies crave the high for metabolic reasons as well as mental. Fighting those two bodily functions and limiting something that makes you feel so good is really difficult. I’ve never been a drug addict, but I have been a sugar addict, and I can tell you that the withdrawal is not easy.
Why sugar makes you gain weight
So, we know why we can’t stop eating sugar, but why does it make us gain weight in the first place? Sugar is surprisingly high in calories, empty calories, and are most commonly found in fatty foods. By the same token, these foods are less filling, leaving you hungrier quicker. This rebound hunger can then cause over eating. Essentially the main cause pertains to what eating sugar makes you do with a small side being related to the actual sugar molecule and how its digested.
Cutting out sugar is very hard. I’ve heard it’s actually is similar to detoxing from drugs. This will not happen overnight unless you want to have a really bad few days. Cold turkey will leave you with shakes, headaches, irritability, fogginess, and extreme cravings. My challenge to you is to go through your fridge and pantry and read the labels. Read the sugar but also read the number of servings. A bag of cookies that has 8 servings and you normally eat it in 2 is a problem. As this becomes more and more publicized more companies have gone “transparent” making labels easier to read and even going as far as revamping recipes to have less sugar. You don’t need to purge all your food, just be aware of what is in each serving. Once you run out of the items, you have then do some homework and read some labels in the grocery to see what’s best.
I am fully aware that time is of the essence. We don’t have time in the day with all of the other things going on to spend 2 hours in the grocery reading labels. There are a few resources to help make it easier.
- Stick with health food stores such as Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers (or whatever you have nearby). These stores are a bit easier to find low sugar options because they will carry a larger selection. In comparison, our big box department stores carry more mainstream and less healthy options making it more difficult to access the options.
- Thrive is an online market with an abundance of health food and natural products. You can outfit your entire pantry with this website. For the most part, it is also cheaper than what you find at the supermarket. To get the discounted prices, you have to become a member which is $60 a year. Here is a link that will give you 25% off your first order: http://thrv.me/zapatasbees
- The last option and probably the most expensive is to hire someone to teach you how to shop at your preferred grocery store. This person will walk around the store with you explaining the do’s and don’ts of healthy, low sugar eating.
How to detox
Here is the best process on how to successfully detox. Relapse will be your worst enemy. This is something you really need to commit to. Although there are just a few steps, the entire detox should take a month, minimum. The faster you do it, the more likely you are to relapse. If you do it slowly and take your time getting it out of your system, you are much more likely to succeed.
- The biggest step is to stop buying the sweet stuff. The things you know are wrong, like candy and ice cream.
- Find what you consume in your normal day that has the most sugar. For most people, this will be cheese, milk, soda, bread, coffee drinks, and alcohol.
- Every time you crave the item above distract yourself by chugging water. Chugging won’t always work, and you will give in, that is a part of the addiction. Just make a mental note to do better next time.
- Once you have eliminated the worst item from daily life, you will sail through the rest. Next step is replacing other sugary foods with better options (i.e. Almond milk instead of cow’s milk). There are lots of options so play around a bit until you find what you like.
- Throughout the entire thing make sure you are drinking a minimum of 64oz of water a day. Optimal is closer to 80oz.
- Night time is the hardest. After dinner munchies cause us to make really bad decisions. This is when your will power will be tested. Drink water, and brush your teeth early. This helps deter from succumbing to the temptations.
Detoxing from sugar is extremely difficult. I don’t say that to invoke fear. It is difficult, but it can be done. I just want to make sure you go into this knowing you have to climb uphill before you can run down it.
You will be amazed at how much better you feel at the end of all of this. Your energy will be higher, your mind will be clearer, and making healthy decisions will be easy because that’s what your body will crave.
Give it a go and remember if at first, you don’t succeed, try again.