Updated: Feb 27, 2019
Many of my clients describe feeling addicted to sugar, and admit to snacking on high-calorie sweets when not hungry. When 500 additional calories per day could mean one pound of weight gain per week, some daily practices and adjustments can make a huge difference throughout the process of weight loss. Here are some tips to begin building a new relationship with sugar.
How to Change Your Relationship with Sugar to Lose Weight
1. Many of my clients report they are hungry soon after eating. Does this sound familiar? Consider this is due to not balancing your meal portions. You plate probably has too many starchy carbohydrates (bread, rice, potatoes, pasta), not enough vegetables (fiber), and protein. Balance your meals - focus your 1/2 plate on veggies and greens. 1/4 plate protein, lean meats, fish etc, and 1/4 plate starchy carbohydrate (rice, bread, pasta, potatoes). Challenge yourself to consume less processed foods like breads and cereals. Too many carbohydrates on your plate not balanced by fiber (fruits and vegetables) and protein will spike you blood sugar leading you to crash and feel hungry again. When your blood sugar crashes, sugar is the perfect survival fix! What time are you hitting the candy dish at work? Practice preparing balanced and healthy snack to eat between meals. Work on balancing your snacks as well.
2. Reduce juice, soda, and sweet coffees. They have tons of empty calories and will keep you in a cycle of wanting more sweets. Diet soda and artificial sweetener is even more sweet than cane sugar and will keep your palate wanting more. One 20 oz Coke daily could mean the difference between 20 lbs in one year. Juice has almost the same amount of sugar and calories as soda!
3. Many of the executives and managers I work with report snacking when not hungry. They describe being busy all day and experiencing cravings to snack as soon as they find a moment to rest. They discuss eating out of boredom, however, consider your brain is not board, it's just used to solving complex problems all day long. Our mind is wired to keep moving, and a sweet snack is a perfect fix to soothe our brains desire to do something. For many, this becomes a daily habit and a critical reason for weight gain. I recommend challenging your need to snack when not hungry- ask yourself, am I hungry, or is it worth it? If you're not hungry, what are you? Are you anxious, sad, restless? How can you handle these emotions without eating? Food cravings last around 10 minutes. After you’ve challenged your need to eat, distract yourself (drink water, call a friend, read a book, clean). Notice your craving going away in about 10 minutes. Practice daily!
4. Did you ever go shopping on an empty stomach? Had did that work out for you? Know your sweet triggers and practice avoiding. Don’t buy them and request that people you live with not bring home. My clients tell me they buy sweets for their children and grandchildren. First, are you avoiding them? Second, do the young people in your life really need the sugar? 5. Reduce all sweets including artificial. The more your palate experiences sweets and salt, the more it desires. The less you have, your palate will adjust. Soon enough, you will find candy, juice, soda and other sweets as too sweet.
Please let me know if I can partner with you in support of your weight-loss and wellness journey.
Sean Hayes, MBA
Sean Hayes Coaching