3 New Habits to Develop to Help Fight Sugar Addiction - dummies

3 New Habits to Develop to Help Fight Sugar Addiction

By Dan DeFigio

Sometimes the idea of changing your daily routines can seem daunting. People often report that in the past they felt overwhelmed by all the things they thought they had to keep track of when they tried to improve their eating habits.

Don’t despair! Developing new habits isn’t as complicated or overwhelming as it may seem. Don’t try to change everything at once, and don’t think that from now on you have to eat perfectly all the time and deprive yourself of your favorite foods forever.

Following are three simple habits you can adopt to stay on track with a quality eating plan.

Decide what and when to eat instead of eating reactively

The biggest challenge most people face is eating purposefully instead of reactively. To get off sugar and eat healthfully for the rest of your life, you need a new mantra: Decide, don’t react! You must learn to eat with purpose. If you lose control over your food intake every time something unexpected or stressful happens in your life, you’ll never be able to sustain a healthy eating system.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is one of the most important habits you must develop to eat purposefully. Before you go to bed each night, take a minute and go through your meal planning for the next day. Write it down at first, especially if you find that you feel overwhelmed with planning meals in addition to everything else on your to-do list.

Make sure that you’re prepared for the day’s eating schedule with this checklist:

  • Breakfast: A breakfast high in protein helps control your blood sugar levels and staves off hunger more than a breakfast of all carbohydrates (cereal, waffles, bagels, toast, and so on). A protein-packed breakfast might include eggs from pasture-fed hens, hormone-free breakfast meats (sausage or ham), a whey protein shake, or some Greek yogurt.

  • Snack: To keep blood sugar levels stable and to avoid cravings, the best snacks combine a protein and a carbohydrate. Examples are an apple with almond butter, a cup of cottage cheese with some raw vegetables, or a homemade whey-and-vegetable-juice shake.

  • Lunch: Don’t forget to load up on the veggies at lunchtime! Here are a few good lunch examples:

    • A chicken or turkey sandwich or wrap with whole-grain bread and lots of green lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, olives, onions, peppers, or whatever other veggies you like. To minimize the amount of bread, try an open-faced sandwich with just one slice of bread.

    • A salad of mixed greens with grilled salmon and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

    • Mixed vegetables and diced chicken sautéed in olive oil.

  • Snack: Like your morning snack, your afternoon snack should combine protein and carbohydrates. Many people find that something with desirable mouth feel helps keep them satisfied during the afternoon. If you like creamy, try Greek yogurt. If you like crunchy, try some apple slices or celery sticks with almond butter.

  • Dinner: Be sure to have a healthy dinner planned, so you’re not grabbing unhealthy convenience foods when you come home hungry after a long day. Having fresh fish or a turkey breast ready to cook allows you to put together a healthy, speedy meal.

  • Be careful not to eat too much late at night, especially the starches. You should think about what you’re going to do for the next four hours and plan your dinner accordingly. If all you plan to do after dinner is watch TV and go to bed, you don’t need many calories!

    When you eat too much food before bed, you don’t have a chance to burn off those calories, and they’re simply stored as body fat.

In addition to the list of what you’re going to eat, make sure you have

  • Plenty of distilled water to drink throughout the day

  • Any other approved sugar-free beverages you desire, like mineral water with citrus, or green tea

Obey the ten-minute rule

When a craving strikes, always wait ten minutes before acting on it. The ten-minute rule gives you time to decide on something smarter to eat, gives you a few minutes to distract yourself with a positive substitute activity, or allows you the opportunity to figure out what you really want besides food.