By Joan Kent
New Year’s Resolutions are upon us, but that doesn’t mean clear sailing. Things that can waylay resolutions are everywhere. Christmas candy will be on sale till early January, when the Valentine candy goes out and will be on display till February 14. February 15 it goes on sale. That brings us to March, when the Easter candy appears – even in years that Easter is late in April. And so on through the year.
Everyone offers tips for sticking to your resolutions. Ideas for quitting sugar, for example, may include (Don’t take notes here!) having fresh fruit instead of juice or dried fruit; flavoring plain yogurt with fruit or honey; using artificial sweeteners; switching to dark chocolate from milk chocolate; limiting sugar to desserts only; weaning yourself off desserts by reducing the weekly number; substituting wine or spirits for high-sugar mixed drinks.
Those tactics don’t – and can’t – work for those of us who have a sugar addiction. Here are a few suggestions – and some of them are just common sense.
1. Keep sugar and other junk food out of the house. Totally. Don’t buy it and tell yourself you won’t eat it. Don’t buy it and tell yourself you’ll have just a small portion. Don’t make your kitchen a binge blowout waiting to happen. Just don’t.
2. Stop putting your willpower to the test. I keep reading that we have only limited conscious self-control, limited willpower – and it certainly appears to be true. Instead, look for ways to change the situation. Ask the waiter to remove the breadbasket from the table (white flour = sugar). Don’t even ask for the dessert menu. Reread Suggestion 1. The fewer willpower tests you have each day, the fewer lapses you’ll experience later that day.
3. Train yourself to end a meal without dessert, no matter what time of day it is, no matter what everyone else is doing, no matter what others think, no matter what other say, no matter what habits you learned as a child. It takes practice, but it’s worth it.
4. Lie. (That’s fun to say because it grabs attention.) Don’t worry – I’m definitely not telling you to become untrustworthy and lie for no reason or about important matters.
But, seriously, sugar is a need-to-know issue. Does everyone at the dinner table need to know that you’re turning down dessert because you’re addicted to sugar? Or trying to lose weight? Both reasons will bring out every form of sabotage your “friends” can serve up:
“You’ll eat less tomorrow.”
“You’ll work out harder tomorrow.”
“Just a little can’t hurt.”
“But I made it myself.”
Harsh as it may seem, anyone who sabotages you is not a friend. If you have to pretend to want the food, claim to be full from the terrific dinner and ask for a doggie bag. On the way home, stop at the nearest trashcan and dump it. Don’t take it home and tell yourself you’ll make it last several days. Reread Suggestion 1.
5. That brings up another important point, covered in a previous article: Learn to throw away food, especially stuff that’s not really food, but junk. No compunctions here. The U.S. overproduces food significantly, and on a daily basis. Tossing the junk is survival, NOT a sin, as you may have been taught.
6. Little things add up. Focus on short-term actions – what you can do right now to avoid sugar. A recent study showed this approach – versus thinking about the long-term goal – was better for weight loss. It works for quitting sugar, too. Plan your next meal: how can you make it healthy? Buy nutritious foods when you shop. Develop an end-of-day ritual for the first 20 minutes after you arrive home to keep you out of the kitchen.
There won’t be any sugar in there, anyway, right?
As I’ve written in a previous article, motivation is not necessarily enthusiasm. It also tends to fade when daily life presents its daily challenges. But using these suggestions consistently can be transformational.
Enthusiasm is entirely optional. In fact, it’s often the result of consistent action.
You know how people struggle with weight, blood pressure, diabetes and more — but can’t fix the problem because they’re stuck on sugar?
I’m dedicated to helping you conquer sugar addiction so you can transform your health and stay healthy and addiction-free. I’d love to help you change your health, your weight, and your sense of “you” in the new year. Please visit http://www.FoodAddictionSolutions.com and go to Services>Coaching.