There are many ways to overcome sugar addiction. However, they can be broken into two categories: Physical and Mental. (Or maybe Logistical and Emotional.)
1. Physical/Logistical - These are easier changes to make.
Remove hidden sugars from your diet.
Check sauces, breads, all breakfast items, all snacks, pretty much all prepared foods. Compare ingredients across multiple options, and choose the one with the least sugar, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, a short ingredient list. If you simple check the grams of sugar you will almost for sure be buying something with worse ingredients.
Look for ways to replace, reduce, or remove things that are intentionally sweet.
Do you put sugar in your coffee? Cut it in half, then cut it in half, then cut it in half, until it is not very sweet, or, if you still like the taste, not sweet at all.
Do you like something sweet after dinner? Find out if you can have some slices of fruit instead of ice cream. Or, like the coffee, start with a plate that is half fruit and half ice cream, then reduce the ice cream further, then substitute sweetened yogurt, then move to unsweetened yogurt.
2. Mental/Emotional - These are all the things that make it seem impossible to do the changes I've described above.
These are the days you feel so stressed out and overwhelmed you pull out the whole tub of ice cream and eat it straight from the carton.
These are the moments when you sit in front of the TV after a long day and suddenly the entire box of Chinese take out has disappeared.
These are the afternoons when you just can't make it without a giant latte or chocolate bar; this is what gets you through the day.
This is the part of the equation when you tell yourself you're going to change... and you don't.
This is the struggle of deciding to stop, and then you can only think about the thing you are stopping. And when you finally "give in" you eat three times as much.
Some people can just decide to do the physical changes and they are done. For other of us, including me, the mental changes MUST be addressed to lay the foundation for the physical changes to succeed.
The mental changes are addressing the problem behind the sugar. The problem behind the sugar may or may not be known to you. The problem behind the sugar may or may not be clear when you think about it. You can begin by looking backward over the past week and thinking about what PRECEDED the sugar binge or failure to stick to your resolution.
Bad day? Fight with the spouse? Kids going crazy?
Horrible boss? Lonely? Bored? Angry? Tired? Annoyed?
If you don't know, or you do know, but still can't seem to make headway, then you should seek support - read, ask a friend, find a professional, whatever it is that helps you find a clear path and system to address the problem behind the sugar.
I love to collect fun little treats for the boys' easter baskets, some wind up animals, pinwheels, always books (yes we are nerds), and a few little treats. Enough for ONE day.
We also like to have brunch either on our own, or with friends or family.
I love to make Quiche. It is easy, I always have the ingredients, and you can throw anything in.
Buy a pie crust. It's true they are simple to make, but it's much faster to buy one, and you and I are both busy. Just make sure it doesn't have a bunch of weird crap in it. I like to keep Trader Joe's Pie Crusts on hand for quiche or pot pie. (Oh and when I DO make a crust, I double the recipe and freeze one of my own!!!!)
Double the recipe and you will have breakfast or lunch for the week!
Do you do meal planning? Have you tried but found it overwhelming?
I'm so excited to share a guest post today from Erin Kendall! What I love about Erin is her commitment to making it easy to workout, despite the challenges you face of finding that work-life-family balance! Here is a FIVE MINUTE - just FIVE MINUTES - workout to get your energy up. Replace your afternoon croissant and coffee with this for a week and tell me how you feel!
5 Minute Energy Boosting Workout
When you're eyeing that cookie simply because you are in need of a quick jolt of energy, think again! There is an alternative that will do you much better than a quick sugar fix. Use this quick workout to get oxygen rich blood flowing and a happy hormone boost. Using your legs and any other major muscle group when short on time is a smart move because those muscles require the most blood flow. This is the kinda energy that will carry you for the next several hours instead of the next few minutes like that cookie. If you're still feeling fatigued and exercise just isn't cutting it take a look at your sleep patterns. I recommend a minimum of 6 hours sleep. 8 hours of sleep on most nights is ideal.
Erin Kendall is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer with 2 little toddlers at home. Erin has been a personal trainer since 2009 and works with clients in person, online and maintains a community of other Fit Moms through an inspiring and motivating Facebook Group; www.facebook.com/groups/fitmomgo
"Friday morning I weighed in at 177 and over the weekend I only walked maybe 4-5 miles total (not exercising just out and about) and I wasn't dieting. I ate what I wanted and this morning I stepped on the scale expecting to see 180 but shocked it said 176! Yes I should be happy but something's off here and I gotta figure out how.”
Does this sound familiar? I can tell you when my clients first come to me (the ones that are coming to me for weight loss), this is what they worry about. They worry about a few pounds up or down.
The truth is, anything under 5 pounds is irrelevant.
I don't say that to diminish losing 5 pounds, I say that keep expectations realistic... 5 pounds weight loss does not mean the same thing as the scale measured 5 pounds different in a week.
Your weight fluctuates several pounds in a day. Water intake, how big of a poop you took, and other basic functions can be measured in a day.
Personally... I think the scale is deceptive. You will know if you are losing weight or not. You will know based first on how you feel and later how you look.
I encourage all my clients to get rid of their scales! Literally, gone & out of the house! It's a big mentality shift, but can be extremely freeing.
But then, I also discourage counting of calories/macros/anything else, and focusing on quality and how your body feels as the guide.
When I was in the peak of my sugar addiction, I had extra weight. The few attempts I made to count sugar grams or calories were not long lived. It’s not something I could ever do, personally.
That being said, the weight, while disconcerting (especially when others commented on it, as many did), was not my primary reason for changing my habits. I had acute but recurring throat infections that drove that change.
However I do understand the attraction to counting, and I did attempt it, especially with grams of sugar… it feels like something you can control.
When you can’t even control the sugar that you eat, you can count it. But ultimately, it does not usually last as a means to limiting the amount of food or sugar that you eat. In my experience, it is simply a distraction from whatever the real problem is. In my case, it was the emotions behind the sugar binging. In almost all my clients' lives, it is either an emotion, a habit, or pattern.
(There ARE people who simply need nutrition education, but those are not the people I meet. If this is you or someone you know, counting can be a means to learn appropriate portions. However, if you don't move to a whole foods based diet, counting remains just a distraction.)
Getting rid of your scale and giving up counting calories is not the mainstream approach, but it is an approach that most people can really live with forever.
One day, even a whole weekend, will not actually affect your weight. It is what you do 90% of the time that creates your body.
Stay focused on the long game! Stay focused on the quality of your diet, identifying the patterns that are not serving you, and you can let go of counting.
Sound scary? Want to know more about how it can work for you?
I want to talk about clarity.
Clarity is the absolute essential step to achieving success in ANYTHING.
But here is the deal… it is exactly when we are FREAKING OUT about something that gaining clarity will catapult us into the next stage. And if your FREAKING OUT includes binging on sugar, or overeating in anyway, or if what you are freaking out about IS the sugar or food or habit around it, then I know you feel…
Out of control and unable to eat right.
On a roller coaster that you can’t get off of.
Like you can’t stay on track no matter how many times you try.
Like you just can’t DO it anymore.
That you want to just give up and eat shit because it’s not worth it anymore.
All of these come from lack of clarity.
Now, let’s look at the other side.
Let’s take a party you are planning for a friend. You know who to invite, you know you need a venue, you have to take care of food & drinks. You do it all, and the party goes off without a hitch.
Now, don’t you wish everything was that simple?
And the reason such an event goes off without a hitch is because you have CLARITY. You know what to do, and you do it.
(If party planning isn’t your thing, think of another multistep task that was smooth and easy for you… I’d bet big bucks it was easy because you had great clarity about what to do.)
Imagine what that would feel like with your health.
If you know what steps to take and how to STOP the mental anxiety about your food, then the roller coaster stops and you can get off.
If you know what your triggers are and how to end your reaction, you can move through them without fearing them
When you know what your craving is actually telling you, then you know how to make the right choice instead of the one that sabotages your effort.
But life is complicated, and we don’t always have that clarity on all aspects of our life.
And I am actually here to help you get clarity.
If you feel bad about what you are eating, if you feel bad about the state of your health, if you feel bad about not achieving your goals, and especially if you feel bad about something in your life and turn to sweets to help yourself through it, then get help.
Whether it is me or another health coach or just someone in your life who loves you, spend some time to figure it out. Hire a professional if it's beyond what you can figure out on your own. When you know what steps to take, your health and your life will be transformed.
Here are a few notes from recent clients and how they've trasnformed their lives through working on getting clarity with their health.
I'm so honored to welcome the third in a series of guests posts from the awesome Boss Mom community! Thank you to Amy Napoli for this week's post!
We hear about it on the news, in magazines, and from our doctors. We know we should minimize its impact on ourselves and families.
Our bodies are wired to manage stress. However, we live in an age of where it’s occurring continuously, throughout most of our day. The body is set up to respond with various hormones and physical responses when it feels stress, but it’s unable to discern between stress of work and being chased by a lion. It just knows it’s being stressed.
So. what’s the big deal? How is it effecting our health?
Uncontrolled stress can lead to health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Physically, we can feel symptoms of headaches, fatigue, stomach issues, and change in sex drive, to name a few. Stress can also affect our mood, focus at work, and relationships with other’s.
5 areas to help manage your stress:
Sleep: Lack of sleep or deep sleep affects stress levels and in return, stress can cause insomnia. Implement healthy sleep habits – wake and rise at the same time, minimize exposure to blue light in the evening (turn off those electronics), and limit alcohol and caffeine. Make sleep a priority in your schedule so your body has time to rest and repair.
Nutrition: Improper nutrition can cause us to be foggy headed, irritable and cranky due to sugar spikes and drops, and decrease our immune health. Look to fuel your body well with a balanced diet of whole foods (think lean protein, veggies, and whole grains). Minimize cravings and mood swings by avoiding highly processed, sugar foods. So often, when we are stressed out we will reach for comfort foods or unhealthy options. Ask yourself HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) and be aware of why you are choosing the foods you are picking.
Exercise: Get up and move! Exercise is known to help lower stress levels by producing endorphins in our bodies, promoting better sleep, and stabilizing moods. Pick the exercise you enjoy and schedule it into your daily agenda. Take mini-breaks throughout the day to walk around the block or stretch.
Prep & Plan: Help control daily stressors by having a plan for the day. Some of the biggest added layers of stress come from our hectic daily schedules and meal times. Once a week sit down and look at where everyone in your house needs to be. Schedule into the calendar and look for potential pitfalls before they occur. Have a plan to ask for help so you are not double booked and running in two different directions. Plan dinners for the week and take time over the weekend to begin prep to make meal time smoother. Cut veggies and cook meals that are nutritious and can be reheated easily. Always have a plan B! Even the best prepped plans can derail with unexpected changes. It will be so much easier to change focus when you know you have a plan in place.
Self-Care: This is the most overlooked area of managing stress. First, it’s not selfish, it’s essential. We have plans to take care of everyone else, but in the end our own batteries are depleted. Ultimately, we have nothing left to give those who need us most. A day at the spa or a fabulous vacation could be the cure, but not reality for most of us. Try to incorporate daily moments of self-care that are simple and require minimal time. Sit for 5 minutes with your eyes closed and breathe deeply, meditate, or read a book. Small moments will add up to a calmer day.
There will always be stress in our lives, but our ability to handle or minimize it greatly influence its impact on our health. Set yourself up for success and begin to incorporate the above techniques. Habits take time to become part of our routine, so continue to focus on fitting them in daily. You are so worth the effort!
Keep in touch with Amy on Facebook!
I am a certified health coach. And I hired a health coach!
I have struggled with neck pain for many years. Before my children were born it was only occasional and infrequent. But after my second son was born, I became debilitated by the pain. I could barely move! I could not carry my child in my arms!
So I went to physical therapy, and learned about the upper back weakness that I had, for years, was then exasperated by two pregnancies, hormones, and babies. Physical therapy helped, but it is slow work to retrain years worth of habits.
And of course getting childcare, driving to physical therapy, sitting around in wait room for 15 minutes, getting 20 minutes of physical therapy, driving home again, paying babysitter...well, I can't do that 2 times a week forever. Or really for very long at all.
So I went for a while and then focused on making those habitual changes at home. Which works, but of course is still slow.
Then I began to get headaches. And I thought it might be related, or might be dehydration... but I didn't feel I needed a doctor. They were mild. And I didn't want the commitment of physical therapy again.
I ignored the pain for a while, hoping it would go away. But I knew, especially as a health coach, that ignoring pain is ignoring important information that my body is trying to tell me.
I thought to myself "I just want someone to help me figure this out."
And then--- SMH!
I realized I needed what I help people do. I needed a health coach!!!
So I found one! And she was super helpful! And since we had the same training, she told me to do many of the things I do with my clients. I kept a journal of various factors, I reflected upon it with her.
But guess what - having someone else tell you to do them MATTERS!
I actually learned that it was lack of sleep that was causing the headaches, which I had not suspected! And lack of sleep triggers my neck pain, too!
And, yes, I do have to teach myself that lesson again sometimes, but the good news is that it only takes once and I remember :) That is the beauty of coaching - she helped me learn it, so I can remember it for myself.
My coach helped me recognize a pattern that had been causing me pain and discomfort.
Curious how a coaching process can help YOU unlock patterns with your diet that you may not have recognized?
Let me know what questions you have below!
I am so excited for the second in a series of guest posts from my fellow Boss Moms! What I love about Lauren is that she is very honest about how the same struggles affect ALL of us, and giving clear examples and steps to overcome them. Like this post on perfectionism... who hasn't fallen into this trap before? I hope you enjoy her insights!
PERFECTIONISM: ONE LIE & A TRUTH - BY LAUREN COPELAND
Perfection is a bad boss. As in, a micromanaging boss that is always breathing down your neck. I remember when I first considered becoming a Life Coach, and a thought that crossed my mind was, ‘I’m too introverted, why even try?’. There was NO way I had all the traits that a perfect coach needed.
I mean seriously, what does a ‘perfect’ coach even look like? I didn’t know. However, my inner critic was whispering that it was anything but me.
Perfection is lying to us.
The lie? That we can and have to ‘obtain’ it (perfection).
But there is a truth.
The truth? Perfection is not something we obtain. It is a PERCEPTION.
A perfect workout looks different for you than it does for your best friend. A perfect dinner looks one way for me, a different way for you. Maybe yours is a frozen lasagna, hot out of the oven with no kids whining over the chunky tomatoes; while mine might look like a 4-course meal with an epic dessert. The truth is, is doesn’t really matter! We beat ourselves up over perceptions, and sometimes we let it scare us enough that we never even get started in the first place.
I can think of a million conversations that never started because I was fearful of sounding ‘foolish’.
I can think of a thousand workouts that never began because I didn’t have ‘enough’ time.
I can think of hundreds of projects that were never finished because they were not turning out ‘right’.
Do you have some things coming to mind, too? Perfection makes life HARD. It eats at us. And it wears us down until we give up, walk away, or stress ourselves out never being able to get things good enough.
But what if perfection didn’t have to be our boss? What if we chose, right now, what side of the perfection perception we want to be on? (That’s a tongue twister, huh?)
What would it look like?
What would you choose?
Life CAN be perfectly imperfect. What if we let go of the lie, and started chasing the truth?
Send that email you still think isn’t good enough (even though you’ve tweaked it 10 times).
Start that project you’ve been putting off because you don’t have ‘all’ the supplies.
Wear that shirt you love, even if Sally at work probably won’t like it.
Do that workout even though you only have 10 minutes instead of 30, today.
To help you quickly discover what perfectly imperfect means for you and your life, I put together this simple guide sheet, so that you can get started chasing the truth, right now! Grab it HERE!
There is power in answering the tough questions and digging deeper. And there is unmeasurable power and peace that comes from finding perfect imperfection for yourself. I’ll see you on the other side of perfection! (And don’t forget your guide sheet!)
XOXO – Lauren
I'm super excited to welcome my first guest post! I went to a the Boss Mom Retreat in January (like a conference but so much better), and was uplifted by the amazing community of women that came together there. One of the most exciting things was finding other women with messages that I loved, and that I knew you would love, too! Thanks to Rochelle Bohannon for this great insight on the importance of self care!
SELF-CARE FOR THE SOUL
As women (and especially as moms) we tend to do all the things. We spend much of our time caring, planning and implementing for others. We’re inherently good at multitasking, so it only makes sense to embrace this. But often times, we lose sight of something very important in the process: the ability to care deeply and intentionally for ourselves.
Many of us are conditioned to believe that anything related to the “self” is, in fact, a selfish act. We are taught that selfishness is a bad thing. It often carries a stigma of greed and narcissism. But this is so far from the truth.
Self-care is an act that allows for us to maintain the integrity of our lives. Without it, we aren’t able to feel happy, productive or fulfilled. If we neglect it, we might feel anxious, empty and overwhelmed.
Self care helps is to feel grounded and balanced, even when life is not. I think of it like this: You need to put on your oxygen mask before you can put on someone else’s. If you aren’t breathing, there’s no way that you can help anyone else do anything.
You are the leader of your life, and you need to exist as the best, well-fed version of yourself. Life is demanding and oftentimes, throwing us many balls from many directions. In order to avoid burn out, we must look inward to think about what it is that we need from ourselves and from the world.
There are many facets of self-care:
Many of these things, like sleep, exercise, affirmations, meditation and chores will be things that you might need to do on a daily basis in order to stay sane. But there are other areas that might only need your attention less often. There are an infinite number of ways to incorporate self-care into your daily life. My favorite method is to think of it this way:
What is one thing that you can do today to take care of yourself?
Since there are six aspects of self-care, I find it easiest to try and address one area specifically each day of the week, with a “freebie” day thrown in as well. For example:
Sunday - Spiritual (church, yoga, a walk in nature, etc.)
Monday - Emotional (affirmations for the week)
Tuesday - Mental (wake up early to read or journal)
Wednesday - Practical (do laundry, get organized)
Thursday - Social (coffee date or dinner with friends)
Friday - Physical (face mask or a massage)
Saturday - Whatever area of your life that needs a little extra love this week!
Keep in mind, this is a loose guideline of how it might look. Each week might be different for you, depending on what you have going on. There will be times that life might not allow you as much self-care as you hope for, but that’s okay. Remember that it’s not about being perfect; it’s about being intentional and simply recognizing that you need that extra love. That’s the first step to being able to implement self-care.
Ultimately, your personal definition of self-care is what matters. Regardless of what it looks like for you, self-care should involve two things: tuning in (to yourself and your needs) and tuning out (of the outside demands from life and others).
Ultimately, by caring for yourself, you are allowing yourself to live authentically, stay engaged and feel productive.
So cheers to you, your health and your self!
Find Rochelle Bohannon on Facebook.
Whether you binge on sugar or you "Just" chronically overeat it... sugar "addiction" is simply an extreme version of a habit.
And you can look at that habit and say "I don't have a problem" and keep on doing what you are doing, and that might be fine for you. For many people it is.
Or you can look at that habit and say "I QUIT." and try to give it up forever. Unfortunately "abstaining" doesn't work for most people when it comes to sugar.
On all this speak from personal experience. I had many years in my early 20s when I both chronically overate sugar AND binged on it AND denied having a problem AND tried to abstain!!!!!!
Guess what. NONE of that was okay for me. I was gaining weight (not that much, I was in my 20s, but enough that I wasn't feeling good in my body). I also developed chronic lung and throat problems that I denied left and right and anything to do with sugar!
And yet it was the gentle but constant urging of a holistic health care provider that I was seeing that made me realize that I DID have a problem, and that sugar was CAUSING problems, too!
But I knew "abstinence" didn't work. And so I began the long journey of discovering what DID work.
The good news is that your journey doesn't have to be as long. I've compressed that journey into a short program to give up ALL guilt and lay a solid foundation to turn your sugar "problem" into a normal, everyday relationship that allows you to enjoy celebrations without ever binging again.
Learn my 5 secrets to overcoming emotional eating here!