Here we are again, the beginning of the season of Lent. Just one year ago I made the commitment to give up sugar for this 40 day season in attempt to overcome my sugar addiction once and for all. This season of sacrifice provided me with a much needed reason to give it a try, and motivation to persevere through the challenges.
I learned a lot last year when I quit sugar for 40 days. There were many struggles, temptations and a surprising amount of successes.
Ironically, I sit here writing this post on Ash Wednesday, while I attempt to fast and wait patiently for my only meal of the day. Glancing through pictures of cupcakes and ice cream was nearly enough to make me give up altogether, before the season even begins.
So here I am again, willing myself to give up sugar yet again this season as I make plans to conquer my sweet tooth.
I am giving up sugar for 40 days.
Desserts and sweets have always been my weakness. For as long as I can remember, I’d sip on a cold Coke with dinner, snack on M&Ms and cookies, and end my day with a heaping bowl of ice cream. I never examined my sugar addiction too closely, since running made me feel like I’d earned all the treats.
My excuse was always that I’d consider taming my sweet tooth if I ever started to put on weight.
Well, here we are again. Still at the same weight, still logging the miles each week – and still addicted to sugar. I made progress in leaps and bounds last year. After conquering 40 days with no sugar and no cheating, I was motivated by my success and challenged myself to follow the Paleo guidelines for 30 days in the summer.
While my Paleo diet brought many positive results, I slowly began to incorporate “forbidden” foods (hello, desserts) after my initial experimental period of 30 days. However, I cleaned up my diet considerably and found a great deal of success during marathon training.
But as 2019 continues, I can feel my sweet tooth slowly regaining control. Those sugar cravings are becoming more and more frequent, and my sweet tooth could quickly return in full force if I don’t take control now.
So, as Lent begins, here I am making a plan to conquer my sweet tooth and give up sugar again for the next 40 days. Last year brought incredible success, and I am heading into this challenge feeling motivated and confident.
However, that’s not to say that every day will be easy. In preparation for those challenges, struggles and temptations, I am planning 5 strategies to use when things get tough.
5 Strategies to Conquer Your Sweet Tooth
Create a plan for substitutes.
If you’re anything like me, you’re most likely to experience sugar cravings when you’re bored or lazy. My sweet tooth always seems to arrive in full force around mid-afternoon, when my productivity has slowed and I’m feeling a lull from the day.
Sometimes, I find myself snacking on candy or chocolates because it’s just easier than taking the time to prepare something healthy.
Whatever the cause of your sweet tooth, creating a plan for substitutes is key. Stock up on something that is quick and easy to grab for those moments when your sugar cravings peak. Find a snack that’s easy to prepare and simple to keep around in excess.
When those sugar cravings hit, head to the cabinet and grab a healthier snack.
Clear out all the sweets.
Temptations and challenges will seem like they are everywhere when you first give up sugar. You’ll see sweet treats at work, driving home and on tv. Having desserts and sweets at home will just make this journey even more challenging, as your weaknesses and desires stare you in the face each day.
Before beginning the journey to conquer your sweet tooth, it’s essential that you clear out all sweets and desserts (or at least put them somewhere out of reach and out of sight). Stock your cabinets with healthy snacks and your refrigerator with filling foods.
Eliminating as many temptations as possible is key to success in the beginning phases of giving up sugar.
Stock up on healthy snacks that you enjoy.
Although sweets seem to bring the most joy, there have got to be some snacks or meals that you love and yet don’t involve sugar.
Make a point to stock up on snacks that you enjoy and plan meals that you look forward to during this time. Giving yourself something else to look forward to helps take some of the initial struggle and withdrawal away.
Spend your day snacking on your favorite non-sugary treats and plan ahead to prepare some of your favorite meals in those first few weeks without sugar.
Aim to consume lots of protein and healthy fats.
When hunger strikes, the temptation to cheat and indulge seems even greater. My sweet tooth somehow always grows when my stomach is rumbling.
To avoid these periods of weakness, fill your meals and snacks with plenty of protein and healthy fats. These nutrients help fill the void and keep you feeling full longer. Plan to snack often, and remember that prepping ahead or finding grab and go snacks will help make this transition much easier.
Plan non-food related treats.
When my sugar addiction was at its peak, I’d often think about dessert as a reward. I’d reward myself with a cookie after a long day of work, snack on some chocolate chips after a hard workout, and wind down each day with a bowl of ice cream.
Knowing that I would be indulging in a daily treat helped motivate me to complete various activities. To fill this void, plan lots of non-food related treats.
Rather than succumbing to your sweet tooth, reward yourself with your favorite TV show, reading a book, going out to dinner, listening to music or just relaxing. Find an activity that motivates you to keep going throughout the day and focus on this when things get tough. Plan special trips or activities with friends and family to help take your mind off that constant longing for sugar.
Sugar addictions can create a very real struggle. Sugar can hold us hostage just like any other addictive substances, such as alcohol or drugs. If you’re struggling with a sugar addiction, acknowledging the fact that your sweet tooth has gotten out of control is the first step.
Conquering a sweet tooth will no doubt be challenging, but taking the time to plan ahead, understand that there will be struggles, and create a healthy strategy will set you up for success.
More tips for conquering a sugar addiction:
- What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days
- What Happened When I Went Paleo for 30 Days
- 10 Healthy Snacks to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth