Ladies, it’s time take stock of where we’re at. Summer is pretty much over, and we’re facing the long, dark winter grind. Time to take a good, hard look at our lives and reprioritize. What’s important? What do we have time for? What do we want to commit our limited energies to?
Hold the phone…energy? I have been feeling a little, well, slow lately. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just don’t feel like my normal peppy self. What gives?
Lots of us put pressure on ourselves to not just do it all, but to perform at the highest level possible, whether we’re working, hobbying, recreating or child-rearing. No matter what the sport, we’re trying to go Olympic, and we won’t accept less. In order to continue to perform at this level in every aspect of our lives, we rely on caffeine, sugar, nicotine–whatever will get us through. And while we might think we are being more hardcore by perservering (this is what we grew up with, after all), we are actually doing more damage to ourselves by not throttling back once in awhile and taking the time to take proper care in the form of good sleep, solid nutrition and regular exercise.
One of the biggest culprits for us busy, active gals, believe it or not, is sugar. Now, there’s no judgment here, honestly…I am a repeat offender in the worst sense. To put it plainly, I love sugar. Seriously. In a devour-a-bag-of-Twizzlers, survive-on-jelly-beans, feel-incomplete-without-chocolate, kind of way. I mean, what happens to me? I have never really understood it until recently, when I started doing some research.
Turns out, there’s a reason why we crave sugar so much. Put simply, it is an addictive substance…and it’s in everything. Even “healthy” stuff can have hidden sugars that will sneak up on you and leave you wondering why you’re dragging ass. That strawberry yogurt? More sugar than a bowl of Frosted Flakes. The fruit juice you opted for instead of soda? There’s a reason why it tastes so good…and why you’re even thirstier after you drank it. Furthermore, that afternoon slump you might be fighting through? Depending on what you’re eating and drinking throughout the day, it could be a sugar crash. It might seem paradoxical, but all the crap we put into our bodies to fuel them and give ourselves energy to “make it through the day”, is actually sapping our strength and making us tired.
So, this week, I have a challenge for you. I’m not going to ask you to go cold-turkey–that could be a nightmare. But I am going to ask you to try cutting back on your sugar intake, and to practice checking out your food for hidden refined sugars. The key here is to become more mindful of what you’re putting into your mouth. Instead of reaching for that energy drink, try drinking more water. Instead of noshing on candy midday to help keep yourself awake, try bringing things like grapes, berries, andd other fruits that will help fill not just your sugar craving, but also your “snack” impulse. Add more protein and whole grains to your diet, to help even out your blood sugar and reduce cravings.
There’s no new recipe this week, but below are a few suggestions to help you survive the sugar challenge. As you wean yourself from refined sugars, you will find that you have more energy and focus, and you’ll be less moody and more even-keeled as your blood sugar steadies. Longer term, your sleep will improve and your weight may drop as your body’s hormones regulate.
Tips For Kicking the Sugar Habit
*Slowly replace your sugary foods with healthier options. As you eat more balanced, whole foods, your cravings for sugar will decrease. This concept is called “crowding out”: creating healthy behaviors by replacing detrimental habits with beneficial ones.
*Add complex carbohydrates, fiber and proteins. This will help you feel full, and stablize blood sugar to reduce cravings.
*Eat breakfast, and eat regularly. When you eat breakfast, your metabolism kicks into gear for the day. This is important for keeping hunger at bay later in the day, and for maintaining energy, therefore making you less likely to reach for sugary alternatives.
*Limit alcohol intake. I’m not saying you have to quit, although that might not be a bad idea either. You can have a drink…but the more you imbibe, the more sugars you take in. As your body metabolizes the alcohol and the sugars, you willl find yourself craving more sugar as the effects wear off. It’s easy to find yourself in a vicious cycle.
*Get regular sleep. This might sound off-topic, but when you get more sleep, your adrenals regulate, your cortisol levels even out, and your stress levels fall. What this means is you feel less fatigued overall, and are less likely to turn to refined sugar to save the day.
You might find this difficult at first; we consume sugar almost blindly, and getting away from it can seem impossible. But give it try and see how you feel. This life is an endurance sport; with less sugar instead of more, I think that you will find yourself better equipped to go the distance.
Was this helpful? Would you like more tips and guidance on how to rebuild, renew and refresh? I help busy women re-prioritize their health and well-being in order to gain confidence, lose weight, and have more energy…and have fun doing it!
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