Getting Back to Living Sugar-Free in 4 Easy Steps

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Living sugar-free is a healthy choice. But, it isn’t an easy one. So what do you do when despite your best intentions you can’t stop consuming too much sugar?

You use these 4 sugar-busting strategies to get you back on track and living sugar-free.

IS IT GOING TO BE EASY?

There are two types of people: those who can resist sugar and those who can’t.

The ease with which you banish sugar from your life is going to depend on what kind of person you are.

Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

TYPE A: Sugar? I can take it or leave it.

This strange (to me) bunch can walk by an entire plate of their favourite cookies and not even taste one. My husband belongs to this group, and to be perfectly honest it kind of bugs me 😉

For these folks living sugar-free is easy as pie – and they might not even eat the pie.

TYPE B: You mean you can choose to not eat the pie?

This is the group that I fall in. It doesn’t even occur to me that I don’t have to eat the pie. Plus, I might only eat one piece of pie, telling myself that it’s enough, but I’m not really fooling myself. By the end of the night, I will have eaten every piece.

For those in this second group, living sugar-free is a bit more challenging – to say the least.

WILL IT BE WORTH IT?

Absolutely. If you’re with me in the second group, those who can’t walk by a sugary treat (and if you’re like me, you actually can feel the sugar calling), it’s freeing to break free from the grip of sugar.

Sugar causes me a lot of guilt, and I’m going to go out on a limb that if your relationship with sugar is similar to mine, then you probably feel it too. I know sugar isn’t good for me. It isn’t good for me just in general, and it’s terrible for my chronic condition. So when I eat it, I feel guilty.

Guilt aside, sugar does all kinds of wonky things to your body. For one, it messes with your blood sugar – which can be quite a roller coaster ride. For two, it puts you at a higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. There’s even some research suggesting that sugar is linked to dementia (High sugar and dementia and Nutrition and Dementia) – scary stuff. Once your body is free of the sugar, you’ll feel better. You’ll likely have more energy and mental clarity. Perhaps you won’t even need your mid-afternoon coffee or nap because your blood sugar won’t be crashing out on you.

Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Trying to be sugar-free? Succumbed to sugary temptation? Try these 4 Sugar Busting Strategies to Get You Back on Track! Click To Tweet

4 SUGAR BUSTING STRATEGIES TO GET YOU BACK ON TRACK AND LIVING SUGAR-FREE

  1. FORGIVE YOURSELF

You’ve fallen off the sugar wagon, and you probably have some pretty negative emotions banging around inside of you. But in order to get back on the straight and narrow, you need to cut yourself some slack.

Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

Forgiving yourself might not seem like a concrete strategy, but it’s crucial to finding your footing again. You can’t move forward if you’re beating yourself up over your past.

You’re human and sugary things are so delicious. Plus, they’re everywhere. It’s not surprising that you’re going to have some bumps on the road to living sugar-free.

If you’re like me and your relationship with sugar goes past the way it makes your taste buds sing, then every day is a challenge. And unlike when people are recovering from other kinds of addictions, like alcohol and drugs, you’re constantly surrounded by easily accessible sugar – packaged up to be so tempting.

I have some thoughts on sugar being everywhere in our society. You can read about it in my post Of Course We’re Having Candy Apples: Sugar 1 – Me O.

Yes, I’m aware that sugar isn’t really fully recognized as an addiction, but check out what this article on The Recovery Village, a website dedicated to addiction treatment, has to say about the link between sugar and alcoholism.

Yes, you’ve stumbled in your quest to be living sugar-free, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue the journey. You’re still moving forward, even if you’re only crawling.

So be gentle with yourself – and forgive, so you can get back on track.

  1. REMOVE TEMPTATIONS

We all know that if someone has a problem with alcohol, then the best approach is to remove temptation. The same holds true for sugar. It’s so much easier to not eat the pie, if the pie isn’t sitting on your counter where you can see it every time you walk by.

And when I say remove, I mean banish the sugary temptations from your home. If they’re in your cupboard you’ll be keenly aware that they’re there. In fact they will be singing a siren song to lure you into taking a bite.

One of my biggest challenges in living sugar-free is being an adult. Yup, the fact that I make my own money and have a vehicle makes the sugar super accessible. Especially now that grocery stores are open 24 hours. Plus pretty much everywhere I go has a vending machine spotlighting the sugary delights that await me.

But, let’s be honest, even though I could conceivably run (drive) to the store at any time and indulge my sugar cravings, I’m much less likely to do it than if the sugary delights are right in my kitchen.

BONUS TIP: Don’t carry change. If you don’t have change, you can’t buy things from a vending machine. Of course, this doesn’t always work anymore because some genius designed vending machines that take bills and credit cards. Let’s just not talk about the horror.

THE SECOND PART TO REMOVING TEMPTATIONS

There’s a second part to removing temptations. Whenever I find myself back sliding towards a high-sugar diet, I can track it back to some small decisions I made around sugar. For example, I might have indulged myself by putting a bit of honey in my tea. On the surface this action is harmless. There’s nothing unhealthy about putting a bit of honey in my tea now and then.

But for me, honey in my tea is ‘gateway’ sugar. That little bit of innocuous sugar paves the way for other sugar indulgences until I’m scarfing down the white stuff like it was a vegetable.

Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

So, besides removing the obvious sugar from your house, you need to examine the small habits you have that might be sabotaging your efforts.

When you’re examining your behavior for potential saboteurs, don’t forget about the people you interact with. Try to spend time with people who help you in your quest to make healthy decisions rather than those who undermine your attempts by tempting you. Sugar saboteurs are a real thing.

  1. ADD THINGS RATHER THAN TAKING THEM AWAY

Naturally, when you’ve decided to start living sugar-free or in this case get back to living sugar-free, your first response is likely to banish all the sugar. But, this isn’t necessarily the best approach.

Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

Focusing on what you’re giving up is likely going to make you extra hyper aware of all the sugary options around you – your cravings will go through the roof. Instead, focus on introducing new and delicious foods into your diet.

When I learned that limiting my sugar was critical for the long term management of my chronic condition, I was coached by my naturopath to start increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables that I was eating each day until I was up to 6 cups. She said that by focusing on adding the vegetable and fruits in, I wouldn’t feel deprived.

Plus, when you start eating that amount of vegetables, you just don’t have room to eat all the sugary treats.

And an added bonus is that eventually your taste buds will start to change too. You’ll find the flavours of the vegetables and fruits to be amazing, while the sugary things you used to love start to taste sickly-sweet.

  1. SET YOURSELF A SUGAR-FREE CHALLENGE

Forever is a really long time, and if you’re committed to living sugar-free that’s how long you have to resist its lure.

Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

You don’t have to focus on the forever part. It’s not helpful – probably actually just makes you want to give up.

Break forever down into doable parts. Click To Tweet

I like starting with a 30 day sugar-free challenge. I pledge to myself that I will go 30 days without eating any overt sugar. At first, I don’t count things like bread and pasta that my body processes like sugar. It’s important to keep it as easy as possible, because it’s going to be hard enough as it is.

Each day I record the number of days I’m at. I like to count up, but you might prefer to count down. Mark the number somewhere prominent so you can see it – I use my journal.

I like 30 days because I find that it’s long enough that by the time I get there living sugar-free has started to be a habit. Often, when I get to the 30 day mark, I’m ready to keep going to 45 days.

Be gentle with yourself and honest about your ability in this moment. If 30 days is too much, then start with a lower number. The point is to succeed.

So set yourself a sugar-free challenge! Click To Tweet

WHAT ABOUT IF YOU’RE JUST STARTING OUT?

The above strategies, while meant to get you back on track, can also help you if you’re just starting on your living sugar-free adventure. For additional concrete strategies for reducing/eliminating sugar from your diet you can check out the following posts:

LIVING SUGAR-FREE – 5 strategies for waging the sugar battle

KEEPING MY KIDS SUGAR-FREE – 8 strategies for breaking the sugar cycle

SO WHERE AM I AT?

I’m in the process of getting myself back to living sugar-free. Living sugar-free is a struggle for me. Keeping the white stuff out of my diet is a big challenge.

I would go so far as to say that I have an unhealthy relationship with sugar. It isn’t just a delicious treat for me. It somehow has become a psychological coping mechanism for when my anxiety is high; which is a pretty hard connection to break, especially when I have an anxiety disorder.

Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

I don’t really know if sugar addiction is a real thing. There are articles on both sides of the debate. But, I do know that it feels like an addiction to me.

It takes a little while for me to recognize that I’ve fallen back into the sugar trap and need to get back to living sugar-free. But once I’m aware that I’ve fallen back into old ways, I pull out my sugar busting strategies and get busy getting healthy.

SO WHAT WENT WRONG? WHY AREN’T I SUGAR-FREE AT THIS MOMENT?

There were probably a multitude of little things that resulted in me falling off the wagon, but the biggest one was a down-turn in my chronic illness. When my pain levels are high and I’m overwhelmed, I start craving sugary things. Eating them does nothing to make me feel better, except for about five minutes after it hits my taste buds, and I can feel my mind relax.

Plus, when I’m struggling with pain or anxiety, I just don’t have the strength to resist. One more reason to banish it from the house!

WHAT ABOUT TODAY? WHAT’S MY NEXT MOVE?

But now I’m back to being committed to making healthier choices and living sugar-free. I just feel better when I’m not ‘high’ on a sugar rush. When I’m not indulging in sugary foods, I don’t wake up with a ‘sugar hangover.’ Plus getting off the blood sugar roller coaster does wonders for my energy.

I hope my 4 Sugar Busting Strategies will help you get back on track to living sugar-free.

Do you have strategies you use to tame your sugar demons? I would love to hear them – please share in the comments below.

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Article with tips and strategies for getting back to living sugar-free, sugar limiting, healthy eating, healthy living, living sugar-free

28 thoughts on “Getting Back to Living Sugar-Free in 4 Easy Steps”

  1. This was completely needed for me today! While I do not understand the need for sugar (I am very much like your hubby), the need for chips is what does it for me. And although not the same as sugar, the calling for me to eat it is the same… definitely going to do the “challenge” to get myself eating better again. And if my hubby lets me, not buy anymore…
    Loved reading this!! <3

    1. Chips are just as tricky as the sugary stuff! Good luck with your challenge. The first few days are usually pretty tough, but I’m cheering for you (and suffering right alongside 😉 )

  2. If I have a choice between sweet or savoury I’d always go for the savoury option. That said I still think desert is the best part of a meal.
    For me it’s everything in moderation. I’m not sure I could avoid sugar totally. It would take me more willpower than I possess. I totally understand your reasons for avoiding sugar and wish you the best of luck with this. I’m sure you’ll manage it!

    1. Thanks Lucy, I agree that moderation is best, but for me, sugar is a whole other thing – but I’ve got this! Take care.

  3. Thanks, this was really helpful. For me, temptations are everywhere, and I can’t really resist if there is some candy in my home. The longest time that I have lived without sugar was 10 days when a doctor suggested me to try it. My skin and body felt happy about this diet, but it was mentally hard. If I have to choose between a good skin or sugar, I choose the tasty stuff. 🙁

    1. I certainly hear you. Even when I know that giving up sugar will make me feel so much better, I constantly have to fight with myself. Besides, cutting out everything that’s enjoyable doesn’t make sense. I only cut out all sugar (and not all the time) because I can’t seem to manage moderation, so I try an get my “treats” in other forms – like salty things. Popcorn anyone?

  4. Hi, I love your post! 🙂 I also have chronic health conditions, and I find your post to be quite useful. Thank you for reminding me that it is a waste of time to beat yourself up when you “fall off the wagon” and eat sugar. My problem is that I love both sweet and savory. 🙁
    One of my New Year’s resolutions is to drink more water. Hopefully, this will fill me up and decrease snacking (sugar intake).
    Wishing you good luck and a healthy new year!
    Christina

    1. I’m so glad you found this article useful 😊. Drinking more water is a great resolution. Just a thought, if you like tea, making your own iced tea from herbal teas that have a bit of sweet flavour naturally might do double duty – hydration and sating your sugar cravings.
      Good luck with your health and resolutions in 2018! When you like sweet and salty it’s doubly tough! Take care 😊

    1. These are great ideas! Raisins and cranberries handle the craving, but the sugar impact isn’t quite as devasting. I haven’t managed to get a taste for dark chocolate – maybe one day…
      Take care and good luck with your sugar cravings in 2018!

  5. I have always had a sweet tooth so clearly I belong to the group that cannot live without sugar, LOL. You have some really great advice here on the ways to limit the amount of sugar intake into your daily diet. Hopefully I can try to implement a few of those but mostly I think it’s the technique of remove all temptations from the home. Lol

    1. Welcome to the can’t live without sugar group. It’s very sweet around here 😉. I completely agree that removing tempatation is the most critical step! Now if only the rest of the world would get on board because it’s every where taunting me!
      Take care 😊

  6. When I first did a Sugar Detox my body went into total shock. I could not believe how much my body was addicted to it. Since then I have learned to really watch what I put in my mouth and create healthier alternatives for me to have at my fingertips.

    1. Sarah, it’s amazing how much sugar actually affects our bodies. It’s in so much that we eat, that most of us don’t even know how our bodies feel without it. I know that I feel so much more focused and just generally healthy when I’m “off” sugar. Having healthy alternatives readily available is a great plan. One of the challenges I have (besides the constant cravings) is that most sugary things are really quick to grab. Take care :-).

  7. I wish you all the best with this personal challenge to cut out sugar! I have removed it from my coffee and tea (milk only now) and don’t even miss it anymore there. I do still like desserts though.

    1. Thank-you 🙂 . Cutting sugar from my tea was the first place I started back when I realized it was time to get rid of the sugar. It’s funny how your taste buds change. Now, sweetened tea tastes funny to me. Take Care 🙂

  8. This is really helpful. I’ve been doing well in resisting sugar on a normal day, but I’m tired like a lot of times TBH. The temptation then goes back and I tend to reset my sugar resistance. I only resort to sugar as a reward after a hard day of work.

    I’ve also done my own take on sugar free snacks, hope you’d like to check it out too: http://bit.ly/2DHk0QC

    1. I’m so glad you found some helpful things in here! I checked out your article! You have some really good straight forward advice on fitness 🙂

  9. I feel better when I don’t have sugar for a long time, but I’m one of those people who can hardly turn it down! I was so angry all of the time when I couldn’t have any, that I”m not sure its worth it 🙁

    1. The first time I managed to go sugar-free for a long period of time, I was so surprised at how much better I felt. It’s interesting that you feel angry when you can’t have the sugar – I’m the opposite; when I’ve had a tough time and find myself back on the sugar rush, my emotions get very volatile – maybe it’s my blood sugar being out of whack. I agree with you that if giving up sugar makes you angry then it’s probably not the exact right approach for you. Take care 🙂

  10. I think I fall somewhere in between A and B. I know that sounds weird, but there’s one part of me that is just like eh, it’s sugar. But then there’s another part of me that is sees something on a good sale and caves. And don’t even get me started on the “hidden” sugars. Okay, I’m fooling myself, probably. Let’s just call me type b like you. I wish getting rid of it were easy, but the people that I live with? Ha, they would never even consider getting rid of their candies. I may not be able to go sugar free completely but I can cut back dramatically with these tips.

    1. Welcome to the Type B club 😉 . It certainly makes it tougher if the people around you are not also sugar-free. But hey, cutting back is what’s really important! You don’t have to give it all up, as long as most of the time your diet is healthy 🙂 . For me, I find that if I let myself indulge, I’m suddenly indulging all the time. So I give myself sugar-free challenges to get myself back on track – then I can have a few treats when indulging isn’t a habit anymore. Take care 🙂

  11. This is sooo me too! If I have one taste of sugar it’s like I’ve had drinks and I don’t stop till it’s all gone. Then I buy more and more and I gain 10 lbs in a month. Then I realize my pants don’t fit and I go on a very strict no sugar meal plan. Then it will happen again. I think sugar is very addicting. I have recently started my no sugar diet again and I find the only way that works for me is to convince myself that even a lick of sugar will cause me to gain 10 lbs. lol. No sugar!!! Lol. Thanks for your great post. I’m glad I’m not the only one! ❤️

    1. Your definitely NOT the only one – there’s a whole tribe of us out there. I have that same 10lb battle – and I usually notice it when my pants don’t fit lol! It’s amazing how quickly they fit again when you cut out the sugar! Maybe when need a fit back into our pants support group for us sugar-lovers! Take care 🙂

    1. Welcome to the Type B club – it’s very exclusive 🙂 . I’m with you on removing the temptation – now, if I could only get the grocery store to remove theirs too – lol! I’m with you on how shocking it is what you can find sugar in. Reading labels can get a bit depressing when you’re trying to avoid the sweet stuff. Take care 🙂

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