Happy New Year to you all!
It’s that time of the year when we all review our eating habits and I think for lots of us one of the New Years resolutions is to replace a bad habit by a good one, may it be cutting down sugar, stop smoking, eat more fruit and veg or less meat, ditch the crisps, lose weight..
So you got your mind set to it, you’re ready to go, but how do you start and how do you make it a habit, an automatism without even thinking about it?
If you plan to stick to your resolution you have to pick the right strategy which suits your personality.
Even if your willpower is brilliant, the whole process will be a lot easier if you pick the right strategy. I will stick to the example of cutting back on sugar and all sweet stuff.
Ask yourself: Are you an “all-or-nothing”person, who in the past didn’t stop until the biscuit tin was empty? Is it difficult to have something in moderation? Is it hard to stop yourself after one biscuit? You might like the cold turkey approach.
Your strategy is easy to explain but make sure that you are prepared:
Clear your pantry of all the sweet stuff (that might include some savouries, too! Check the labels)
Try to avoid all temptations – bakeries, invitations from Aunt Mary who bakes amazing cakes, meetings in coffee shops etc
Give away all the remaining sweets, biscuits, chocolate
Take a deep breath and say (literally!) Good Bye
Stop. Now. For good.
Depending on how much sugar you consumed on a daily basis in the past, you may feel unwell and have some serious cravings. Don’t give up. There are counter strategies. I would encourage you to read Michael Grothaus’article. He went through a hard time but the results speak for themselves!
The other option would be to taper gradually – if you prefer to ease into it and the thought of eliminating your daily afternoon biscuit is causing stress, take it easy. In the first week have one biscuit every day, reduce the sugar you put in your tea and coffee, change your sweetened cereal for a porridge with cinnamon sprinkled on top, instead of a desert have some cheese after dinner. Reduce the fizzy drinks and gradually dilute your any sugar sweetened drinks with water. Please don’t have any artificial sweeteners!
In week 2 have your biscuit only on Monday and Thursday, on the other days have a handful of nuts. Chances for cheating are lower when you know you can have your beloved biscuit the next day. Make further reductions like cutting out the fizzy drinks completely and have your tea or coffee without any sugar.
In week 3 you should go completely sugar free.
Make sure you eat enough. It sounds funny but if you starve yourself you will crave not only for food in general but certainly for sweet things. Consume lots of vegetables, grains and have protein with each meal. If you really “need” something sweet, eat some berries or a pear with plain yoghurt (avoid bananas, grapes or melon as they contain lots of sugar).
Stay busy but not stressed and make sure you are not bored. Most of us eat when we are either bored or stressed. Have a list of things you can do when one or the other happens: go for a walk, do a quick meditation, call a friend, play a videogame, drink a glass of water with a dash of lemon, do a puzzle, read… the list is endless!
Good Luck – Life is Good