Sugar Addiction (part 3)
In this 3rd part of a series on “Sugar Addiction”, the goal is to increase your commitment to avoid excess sugar. After taking a personal inventory of how sugar is affecting you, and learning what sugar sources to avoid, you may need a way to help you “kick the sugar habit”. After all, sugar is all around us, promoted on TV and billboards, and unlike drug addictions, sugar is socially acceptable. To help motivate you to change, it can be helpful to consider the pros and cons of your actions. You are obviously giving something up by not eating sugar or you would have done it already. Considering how your eating habit affects both your short and long term goals provides a better perspective. This can help you “say no” when a piece of candy or cake is in front of you. After the immediate gratification of your “sugar fix” wears off, there are some consequences.
So what are the reasons you want to avoid sugar? In the short-term, perhaps you will think more clearly, have more energy, or a better mood. In the long-term, you may lose weight, improve your physical health and be more free of sugar cravings. (An added bonus is that you might get a good dental check-up next time.)
At the same time, you need to be honest about why “abstaining” from sugar is so difficult. An obvious loss is missing out on certain foods. You may have to learn to appreciate the taste of other foods which have less sugar and are healthier for you. You may have to shift to viewing food as an energy source for nutrition and continue to find pleasure from people and activities. You may also have to learn new ways to cope without using sugar. These may be areas to work through using other resources, such as the staff at TriState Bariatrics.
Don’t expect your attempts to avoid sugar to be perfect, and don‘t beat yourself up when they‘re not. Just like with any addiction, there is a difference between a lapse and a relapse. If you “fall off the wagon“, get back on track right away. Go to a support group, enlist your surrounding support, get rid of the food that triggered your sugar habit, and re-buy your healthy food options. What’s most important is not to let one poor food choice turn into another where you continue to feel worse and essentially give up. These additional days (weeks or months) add up and will lead to weight gain. The occasional slip will not. Even at maintenance, you will have to be vigilant about your food choices and continue to forgive yourself as you lead an overall healthy lifestyle.