After a recent speaking engagement all about the woes of sugar addiction in gluten-free folks, a woman approached me asking if I recommend a 100% sugar-free diet if one wanted to kick their sugar habit. She rattled off a list of her own issues and said she tried kicking her addiction to sugar several times, but could never make it stick.
Her problem? She’d end up binging on sugar, right back where she started and feeling totally horrible about her own sense of self control.
Though I feel for her and many others just like her out there who have tried to kick their sugar habit (or even those who periodically contemplate it, but haven’t yet given it a go), there’s a really simple reason why. It’s because going 100% cold turkey is way, way, way too restrictive for 95% of people out there. Even for health nuts… it’s too difficult.
Why a Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Diet Won’t Work
As you probably know from listening to me talk about sugar addiction, it’s not a one-size-fits-all fix to go from sugar addict to being totally back in control of your cravings. I’m going to be honest with you (as many out there in the wellness world aren’t) – it will take some effort and time, but the reward is well worth it.
Why do I know this? Because in 2009, I was struggling with a candida overgrowth and adrenal fatigue. A local practitioner suggested a 100% sugar-free MONTH (which honestly felt like a prison sentence). It was the most difficult, trying month of my life. Yes I felt much better, but I couldn’t live like that considering that I do enjoy an occasional dessert now and again.
I figured that this was best for everyone who needed to beat their sweet tooth and foolishly thought that it was what I should offer clients. And you know what? Most of them couldn’t finish the protocol I had completed on myself. They felt angry and frustrated at me and themselves because the diet I was suggesting was so incredibly restrictive. So when you think that going 100% hard-core sugar-free (this means not even having fruit) is your answer to a long struggle with your wicked sweet tooth, I have one thing to say to you…
Good luck with that.
Reality of the “Sugar-Free” Diet Trend
I don’t mean to piss off those who claim to live sugar-free (though most aren’t really living sugar-free because they aren’t honest about what sugar-free really means), but the reality for most sugar addicts is that being incredibly restrictive and controlling about what you eat will cause you to yo-yo in the total opposite direction. It’s a sad situation for many to face and totally demoralizing especially when you felt so inspired to clean out your gluten-free diet in the first place.
One of my star clients (we’ll call her P.C) said that “one of the best things for me was loosening up the idea that not a grain of sugar (in any form) can pass my lips – that a more relaxed, gentler approach actually assured more success for me.”
And she’s right! Even though it might sound totally counter-intuitive, loosening up about an area that you direly want to control because you feel so out-of-control in it… well… let’s just say that great things can happen.
Just as I had to loosen up on the idea that gluten-free sugar addicts like myself needed to be 100% sugar-free to kick the habit, so do my clients who find more freedom and control by approaching their addiction from several different directions. It all spearheads the heart of their sugar addiction so that success finally comes within grasp instead of seeming like a cute fantasy.
And those who are curious — I’m being clear and up-front… the Gluten-Free Sugar Cleanse isn’t 100% sugar-free. It’s low-sugar and it makes the process not only bearable, but actually an enjoyable avenue to change your diet, sustain your progress and grab the reigns back from your current wild cravings.
4 Unexpected Ways to Reduce Sugar Consumption
1) Eat dinner for breakfast. Most “breakfast” foods set the tone for the rest of the day to continue eating sugar and sweets. I ran an experiment with a group of coaching clients for 2 weeks wherein they were to eat no sugar for breakfast. Not only did many lose weight, but they noticed a dramatic decrease in sugar cravings for the rest of the day.
2) Eat less fruit. It’s easy to forget, but there’s sugar in fruit. Stick with one or two servings each day and if you need a snack, opt for veggies, eggs or something other than fruit to curb your craving.
3) Go to bed an hour earlier. A study from the University of Penn found that people who don’t get enough sleep crave more sugar and junk food. Their ability to make good choices is reduced and they actively seek out easy sources of energy because they’re lacking the natural kind that would come from sleeping well overnight.
4) Eat more fat. Low-fat diets leave people with a hole on their plate looking for energy-giving calories. That usually translates to them eating way to many starches from grains and white potatoes. Add healthy fats like avocado and coconut to your meals and get ready to stay full longer.