The Sugar Challenge
We have been chatting in the Facebook group this week whilst looking for a February challenge.
It seems that as the excitement of the New Year passes and we get back to normal routine we start to think more about day to day life rather than big goals.
When I asked about nutritional challenges it seems there is one thing that blocks our path more than any other.
One thing we all seem to struggle with to some extent and I am including myself in this!
We know we shouldn’t do it but frankly it is just so tempting!
It’s sugar, it’s everywhere and it’s getting in the way….
There is always a story in the papers about how we should cut the sugar from our diets it’s a good story to bring out again and grab the headlines when other news is slow.
This week it was compared to crack cocaine and we are told it is just as addictive.
Then there is our own guilt, we all know we shouldn’t be eating so much chocolate and our daily latte would be better without the shot of syrup so it can get a bit annoying when the papers are full of another piece of research that has shown we are eating too much.
There are actually some really simple things you can do to reduce your sugar intake so if you are feeling the pressure of the problem highlighted in another news report, put these into practice and then you can look that news story right in the face and say “‘ha’ that doesn’t apply to me!!”
And if you want some support on your personal journey (making these changes can be harder on your own) make sure you join out challenge in the group. We will be setting small achievable weekly goals to reduce sugar and I’ll be checking in with you every day…
1. Eat Natural
Processed food is probably the biggest thing that stands in the way of our sugar reducing efforts. Whether you are aware of it or not most foods that come from a factory have added sugar of one sort or another.
So the easiest fix here is to simple eat fresh unprocessed food as much as possible, food that has either walked on the earth or grown from it.
“Oh but I don’t have time” I hear you all cry!
I hear you, we are so used to living off convenience food that we often either don’t realise how easy it is to eat more naturally or we have forgotten.
Sugar is added to foods that don't even taste all that sweet, like breads, condiments, and sauces. And it adds up so choosing unprocessed alternatives will help.
I believe it is more of a mind-set thing, if we are going to eat more natural food then we need to get our head around the idea of changing our behaviour.
Start with picking one meal that you feel able to change and focus on. Nail it for a week before you begin to make any more changes.
It can be daunting to make a big changes to what you eat so start small if you think that will help you get started.
2. Eat Full Fat
This is a hard one to get your head around if you are a die-hard dieter. We have been brainwashed over the years to believe we should be eating low fat food.
The food industry has made a pretty good profit from all the low fat products on the market. They want you to believe it is much healthier to eat low fat products than the full fat alternative.
The truth is that you have to be careful about how they have made the product taste as good without the fat. Mainly food manufactures will need to replace lost flavour and often they do this with sugar, turning good healthy foods like yoghurt into processed sugar filled products.
And actually if you reduce fat enough in your diet you can face many other problems. Your body needs a certain amount of fat to function at its most effective.
A body that is fed a balanced diet with a good amount of fat that comes from healthy unprocessed food will function at its most effective.
3. Eat More Protein
Along with eating more fat it is a great idea to make sure you eat plenty of protein with every meal and snack.
Eating protein helps to regulate your blood sugar levels meaning you are less likely to reach for a sugary snack later on.
Make sure you have a snack to hand whenever you are out like nuts and seeds, boiled eggs or rice cakes and nut butter.
A little protein will help with those cravings and keep you on an even keel until your next meal.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
It’s a vicious cycle, when we are tired we tend to opt for more sugary options. Getting plenty of sleep can help your energy levels be more constant which helps you make better choices.
If you are avoiding sugar it’s a good idea to take care of yourself a little more than normal, extra sleep and rest will help you reach your goal.
So there you have it, pick your favourite tip and start there.
You are far more likely to achieve something if you are accountable to your actions so please join our challenge.
All you need to do is commit to one of the above actions a week, each week throughout February and I’ll be there to check on you every day!
I’m off to eat a nice bowl of full fat yoghurt with some nuts and seeds, that should keep me going for a bit.
See you in the group.