Reduce sugar cravings in a week? Seriously? Sugar addiction is a real struggle for many of us. It tastes great, causes a temporary high and helps to numb emotional pain. It’s been said that sugar cravings are actually a form of chemical dependency. For me, it’s been an ongoing problem since childhood.
I began by following Trim Healthy Mama for awhile at the end of 2016. I did really well for about six months and lost 20 lbs. Then I feel victim to the “just a little won’t hurt” mentality and I got sucked back into the destructive cycle. For someone like me, one treat is too many and a thousand not enough.
I was able to get back to it and wound up losing about 40 pounds until my ulcerative colitis diagnosis earlier this year. Since I couldn’t do many aspects of Trim Healthy Mama any more, I decided to switch gears and began doing the Gaps diet, a very strict protocol for people with digestive and mental health issues. But when I got a little better, I started eating Gaps friendly treats in excess and I knew I had to do something.
So now I’m doing Ketogenic Gaps. I have to track every. single. thing and this seems to be working for me (so far). I’ve read a lot about mindful eating and while it’s certainly part of the process, I seem to need the accountability of tracking. And my sugar and carb cravings are diminishing.
How Long Does It Take to Stop Craving Sugar?
I don’t have a pretty answer for this. For me, I had to go cold turkey, ride it out and within a couple of weeks I was feeling better.
Whether you go cold turkey or do it gradually, believe that you can do this. You are going to feel so much better when you’ve gotten the sugar out of your system and are eating clean, whole foods. You’ll lose weight and your skin will look amazing.
Here’s a simple 7 day plan to reduce sugar cravings within a week.
Day One: Create a Plan
You’ll probably want to spent a few
days weeks beforehand researching food plans. I loved Trim Healthy Mama when I was able to do it. I got to enjoy enjoy foods like oatmeal, lentils, low carb wraps and desserts that kept me from craving the sugar. Though honestly, I did become a little too dependent on sugar alcohols.
Nowadays I’m doing Keto. This isn’t because I’m trying to be trendy. I’m doing what I can to (hopefully) keep myself from some of the more serious aspects of ulcerative colitis.
Day Two: Get All the Junk Food Out of the House
Remove all forms of sugar and processed foods from the house. Added sugars are lurking in many prepared food products. Start getting into the habit of reading labels and avoiding things like low fat salad dressing and ketchup because those things have a loads sugar. Words like glucose, fructose, and high fructose corn syrup – pretty much anything ending in -ose will alert you to added sugar sources. Cook what you can from scratch to have control over what goes into your food. Follow this advice and youíll be free of that sugar habit in less than a week.
(Note..if you have uncooperative family members, try moving the treats to an out of the way spot or ask your spouse to hide them. Ask me how I know!)
Day Three: Begin to Increase Protein at Every Meal
Instead of grabbing a bowl of sugary cereal, breakfast bars or donuts, choose a high protein option. My go to these days is 3-4 oz of protein, a fermented veggie or small salad and a cup of bone broth.
Day Four: Eat Every Three Hours
Plunging blood sugar can easily lead to a cheat or even an all out food binge that you’ll feel awful about afterwards. If you’re out and about, this will take some planning. Carry snacks like fruit, almonds or approved yogurt with you.
Get to know a few local places where you can get a low carb meal option. Bunless burgers have become more available at places like Hardees and Red Robin, and you can get grilled chicken tenders or chicken salad at Chick-Fil-A. You can also find low carb friendly offerings at Chipotle.
Day Five: Watch for Emotional Triggers
Learn to expect the unexpected and roll with them as they come. Practice mindful living and you’ll be better prepared to handle life’s stresses in a positive way instead of stuffing your aggravation.
Day Six: Find Healthy Replacements For Your Favorite Treats
I totally enjoyed the Trim Healthy Mama dessert options but with sweets severely curtailed for now, I’ve come to enjoy fat bombs. If you don’t have this restriction, find a few things you enjoy. If you’re craving chocolate, grab a bar of 85% dark chocolate or a Lily’s bar and allow yourself one or two squares a day. Moderation is key with these healthy sweet treats.
Day 7: Treat Yourself and Keep on Trucking!
You’ve made it this far and the worst of the cravings have probably subsided. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Always have a plan for your day. Take it one day at a time and you’ll continue to feel better as well as watching the pounds and inches drop off.
And if you goof up? Kick the dirt off your shoes and keep walking. The folks at Trim Healthy Mama encourage us that our next healthy meal is only three hours away!
Start Your Keto Transformation
If you’re a busy mom or have limited energy, I highly recommend the 5 Week Keto Starting Plan from Health Home and Happiness. Though I’ve known about the Keto diet for quite awhile, I was put off by the complexity of it and living with chronic illness myself, didn’t want to have to worry about two sets of meals for my family.
In her upcoming 5 week workshop, you’ll you will learn how to start keto quickly, how to enter ketosis within 24 hours if you wish, essentials about electrolytes to prevent the keto flu and muscle cramps, and how to know if keto is right for you!
A few weeks in and the recipes from Starting Plan are family approved (even The Cuban!) I’m not cured or in remission, but I do feel better with improved energy. (I’m actually updating this post at 8:00 pm. Usually I’m in bed by now!) And best of all, I’m feeling more confident that I can do this for the long haul.
<<Learn more here>>
(this post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated to reflect the change in my health situation!)