If you feel like the sugar demon has its grip on you, and you can’t see a way to break free, well, I’ve got some tips on how to slay that monster once and for all. You can kick the sugar habit in 30 days.
Why thirty days? Because, yes, you can do anything for thirty days.
Hey, I am not reading you the riot act. I am standing next to you, reaching out my hand (through my words) helping you, asking you questions, sharing bits of my story so that you can confidently confront and kick your sugar habit.
When I was five, almost every morning for breakfast, I ate a pair of Kellogg’s Danish-Go-Rounds. I still get a warm feeling whenever I think about the frosted spiral-shaped toaster pastry covered in rainbow sugar crystals like pixie dust.
Eventually, I graduated from toaster pastries to Entenmann’s glazed chocolate doughnuts. During high school, I continued to cultivate my sugary breakfast habit. Then off to college where the college meal plan offered a confectionery Mecca.
In my late twenties, I learned that the food industry and our early family experiences influence our food choices. So, my mindset started to change.
All of us, deep down, know that refined sugar and artificial sweeteners don’t offer any nutritional value. But time and again, we run to the doughnuts and ignore the fruit.
Okay, here’s how to slay the sugar demon
Set a date
Setting a date to take action helps you move from contemplating kicking your sugar habit to imagining your life once you change the pattern. Try scheduling your date as soon as possible while you have the momentum going.
Reflect on why you reach for sugary foods?
Be kind to yourself, but ask, “What’s the driving force behind your craving for chocolate and sweets? Are you stressed? Do you have a hormonal imbalance? or possibly a digestive issue (gut issues), all of which elevate your desire for sugar.
What is going on in your life at the time the sweet tooth demon appears? You are locating the strongholds, and journaling lets you expose them.
Dr. Tracy Davenport, who specializes in nutritional awareness, stress management, long-lasting change, and digestive wellness, affirms that with sugar consumption, there are emotional factors at play and physical characteristics.
The first step in changing the behavior is to become aware and acknowledge the feelings that stir your longing for sweets. Changing behavior takes work, hard work.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that strategies like journaling, “reinforce the identity you want to build.” Writing down your emotions and thoughts that trigger sugar cravings evokes awareness.
The beauty of journaling allows you to write down your feelings and thoughts, to identify them, to name them without shame or judgment.
I am a huge proponent of keeping a prayer and gratitude journal.
Once we become aware of the emotional triggers, then we can begin to dismantle them.
Prepare yourself (and your family and friends) for your change
Preparation for change increases your success in fostering a new habit or behavior. By taking steps to prepare, you are committing to the change and making it a priority.
Ways to prepare to kick your sugar habit:
- Tell your friends and family about your desire to slay the sugar dragon. By telling loved ones, you can elicit empathy and support. That way, if you have to decline an invitation to get ice cream with friends, no one will get their feelings hurt. Turning down invitations to get dessert will not be forever, just early on in your journey of habit change.
- Purge your pantry of any foods with sugar. It’s shocking the number of foods that contain sugar, so read the labels. Then replace the undesirable with healthy alternatives.
- If you need help, get it. You may benefit from hiring a health coach who can help you clarify your values and establish goals.
- During hurricane season, people prepare for an emergency. Well, you will want to do the same in terms of food. Buy a stash of no-sugar snacks to keep in your car or purse so that when hunger strikes or the sugar demon haunts you, be ready.
Exercise is a healthy substitute for problematic behaviors and habits. Instead of reaching for that piece of cake, go for a power walk.
If money is tight, don’t feel like you have to join a gym to get exercise. My husband and I bought used exercise equipment and created a workout room in our basement. We hold each other accountable to work out at least five days a week.
You can transform the urges or triggers of problem behaviors into cues for exercise. With that, do what you can to make exercise available and difficult to resist.
Keep a healthy distance
In the early stages of kicking the sugar habit, it’s best if you avoid places or things that could cause a relapse. Over the next thirty days, visiting your favorite ice-cream store could damage your progress.
Overcome your cravings for sugar with a healthful alternative. One of the best strategies for success in kicking a problematic behavior is to replace it with a healthier lifestyle.
Desserts are not forbidden forever, but they are until you learn to choose or prepare healthful ones. It may take some time for your palate to adjust to plant-based sweeteners. Your taste buds do change over time.
Add plant-based recipes like date truffles, coconut strawberry ice-cream, or a chocolate banana smoothie to your dessert menu.
Manage your stress
Stress can trigger your desire for sugar. Managing the strain of routine stress requires strategy. Here’s one for you:
Writer Scotty Smith often publishes prayers that address specific times of stress— times of devastating loss, periods of social, community crisis or relational stress (which includes your relationship with food).
During stressful times, it helps to meditate on a specific verse of the Bible. Whether you say the verse aloud or silently repeat it in your head, the crucial step is to focus on the promise of the passage.
Take a deep breath. Breathing techniques and relaxing the body facilitates a greater calm and clear thinking, which could help you say no to sugar.
S- Stop what you are doing
T- Take a few deep breaths
O- Observe what is going on with your body.
P- Proceed with something that will alleviate the stress
Use the 4-7-8 method
- First, let your lips part. Make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth.
- Next, close your lips, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to four in your head.
- Then, for seven seconds, hold your breath.
- Make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.
Detox your body
When I indulge in too much sugar, my body has ways to send me signals that enough is enough. So after years of eating foods with refined sugar, you may be experiencing fatigue, headaches, intestinal issues, and those are just a handful of ways your body sends out an S.O.S.
I could write an entire post on cleansing/detoxing. For now, here are a few detox methods. You can use detox teas, juice cleanses, fasting, or a detox food program. It’s essential to set a beginning and an end to your cleansing period.
Use your imagination
Experts in behavior change suggest using your imagination to concentrate on the negative aspects of your sugar habit. Picture yourself five, ten, fifteen years from now, and the potential consequences if you don’t change your sugar habit.
Think about what you will put your body through. Maybe, up until now, you denied or trivialized the seriousness of your habit. Imagine the risk factors of obesity, yeast overgrowth, and chronic illness, or a compromised immune system.
Recycle your relapse
If you’ve attempted to kick the sugar habit before, but find yourself relapsing, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Recycle the experience of your relapse into improving your action plan.
Sorry to say that going cold turkey isn’t a plan. You aren’t going to kick your sugar habit just by reading this post. You have to apply the concepts.
Ready, set, go
Ready to combat the sugar demon, then set a date so you don’t procrastinate. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Tell a friend or connect in my community on Facebook or Instagram about your intention to change.
Dear friend, you can do this. Step out in faith to cultivate a lifestyle of soulful healthy living so that you can continue to serve God and others from a place of wellness and wholeness.
My prayer for you is to have a profound sense of awareness about how you can apply your commitment to change in your daily life. How will kicking your sugar habit help you pursue your God-given purpose?