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20 Tips to Toss Sugar

1 - Prepare.  When you get hungry you will likely grab something quick and easy.  If you have pre-cut up veggies and healthy snack and meal options available, the chance that you will grab a sugary snack is less likely.

2- Avoid Blood Sugar Crashes.  When you crash you crave simple sugars.  Avoid crashes by eating whole grains earlier in the day and having small healthy snacks throughout the day.  Aim for one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon.  More on when and what to eat later. 3- No Diet Drinks.  These are never a healthy choice.  Most research confirms that these actually increase your sugar cravings.  Instead, go for water or sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus or fruit infusion.  Also, try homemade unsweetened iced tea made with herbal teas.

4- Go on a Flavour Adventure.  Try new tastes.  Exploring new flavours makes you think about something other than sweet.  It's exciting and usually very satisfying.  It will stimulate your taste buds the way sugar can't.

5- Sniff Vanilla.  Oddly enough, this is something that works for some people.  The sweet smell of vanilla may be all you need to get past that craving and on to something better for you.

6- Read labels.  When trying to quit sugar, avoid all sugars; glucose, fructose, honey, syrup, malt syrup, dextrose, etc.

7- Do not sub.  Do not train your body that it will get a sweet taste when it wants one.  Do not use stevia, or Splenda, or honey in place of sugar.  To succeed, find what works that is not sweet and use that to rid your craving.  You will never stop craving sugar if you keep trying to satisfy the craving with sweet alternatives.

8- Eat Before You are Hungry.  This ties in with number 2.  Don't let yourself get hungry and grab for the first snack you see.  Eat small healthy snacks mid-morning and mid-day to avoid crashes, cravings, and hangry outbursts.

9- Always have a Backup Plan.  You know exactly when you are craving and so have a plan for that.  Is it the ride on the way home?  Keep a healthy snack in your purse or a small bag of nuts in your car, or maybe chewing gum.  Is it late at night? Get used to drinking a cup of fruit/herbal tea, or maybe some bubbly water with berries.

10- Chew it.  Sometimes chewing gum gives you the action you need to satisfy the snack craving and you really are not craving sugar at all.  Sugar just might be a preprogrammed easy snack for you.  Gum!  Try PUR gum, it is natural-ish with no aspartame and best of all... it's Canadian. 

11- Spice it.  Adding spices like cinnamon or vanilla to drinks can make them taste different and may just make that cereal, hot beverage, or plain yogurt more enjoyable.

12- Plan Snacks.  This ties in with food prepping, but weigh your portions.  Pre-package a bag of almonds or cut up carrots.  If you snack when you are hungry, you may still overeat and get too much natural sugar or too many calories.  If weight-loss is part of your goal along with ditching sugar, this is a very important step.

13- Cold Turkey, or Ease in.  If you are one of those people who jump in with both feet or do you slowly wade in hoping to not feel the initial shock.  Know which one you are and put that plan into place so you succeed.  Whatever you do, don't sway from one to the other, and don't take longer than a week to phase it out.  3-5 days is optimal for a slow exit strategy, anything longer and you are more likely to not succeed.

14- Sleep.  Getting adequate sleep will allow your brain to function more efficiently, it will give you more energy to deal with cravings and more energy to prepare for them.  This is probably one of the most important tips on this page.

15- Walk.  Get off the TV and your phone.  Don't sit and veg-out.  Move.  Walk after dinner, dance around while you do your dishes, but don't sit and veg - because then you will want to eat.  Plan an activity of any sort and if you need to wind down, plan for 30 minutes to an hour of non-screen time right before you fall asleep.

16- Think differently.  Sugar should not be a reward.  The reward is that you care about your body and you are loving it.  Don't wish you could eat that oreo, think I am proud that I am making myself better and not putting junk into it.

17- Plus Five-A-Day.  Eat vegetables.  I tell people that most vegetables we don't count toward caloric intake unless you add something to them like hummus, or fry them in butter or oil, or add butter to them once they are steamed.  Eat as many as you want of low Glycemic vegetables.

18- Mindful Eating.  Don't think about dessert while you are eating dinner.  Just like with happiness, be in the now with your food.  Appreciate the flavour and company at dinner instead of thinking about the desert you are going to skip. 

19- Make it.  There are lots of hidden sugars in pre-made foods, enough to make you start craving again if you've been doing really well.  So skip freezer meals, canned stuff, and packaged sauces.  Make them yourself so you can omit the sugar and stay in control.  You will appreciate them more if you make them yourself.  That also ties into number 18.

20- Make an if plan.  Not plan-B, IF I crave this is what I will do first, and then I will do this.  For example, IF I crave sweets on the way home from work I will have a drink of water.  IF the craving doesn't go away and I can't deal with it I will try a piece of gum because I don't want to eat extra calories from the emergency bag of nuts just before dinner. IF you do this, you will succeed! 

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