Have the holidays left you with a craving for sugary snacks and desserts? Like so many of us you may be experiencing the sugar roller coaster with your blood sugar. Non-diabetic people who are trying to be more mindful around their sugar (and processed carbohydrate) consumption the pattern often emerges where we feel tired, grab a sugary bite to energize only to have our energy tank a short while later which can start the entire cycle all over again. To begin to steady the yo-yo effect of sugar in our diets, let’s look at some simple ways to substitute better options progressively over time.
- Observe. Without changing anything begin to notice what you are eating and drinking. I keep a food journal for this process, just jotting down (without judgment) what I am consuming. Bringing to our attention what is really happening can be enlightening.
- Account. After getting into the habit of journaling your intake, take a few minutes either as you are eating/drinking or at the end of the day to make yourself aware of the ingredients in these items. You will be surprised at the unexpected places where you will find sugar in your diet. Log the amount of sugar in your journal next to the item. Again, just bringing awareness to the process.
- Define. Looking over your food journal, begin to ask which treats, habits, drinks look like they are making the most impact on your sugar roller coaster. Is it the soda at noon, the snack at 10:30PM, the dessert habit at dinner, etc.? (For myself, I find that when I haven’t slept well, I reach for sugar in the afternoon.)
- Reduce/Replace. With an understanding of where you can improve your diet and energy, begin to reduce the frequency of the donut in the break room or whatever it is for you. With this reduction I always do better with a ready replacement. For example, if I am not going to eat the break room donut, I want to have an apple (with the skin) and a palm-full of almonds ready at my desk for that craving. This less sugary snack will stay with me (because it has less sugar, more fiber and some protein) and allow me to still feel as though I have had a treat.
Begin with these 4 simple (but not necessarily easy) steps and follow me next month for more ideas to reduce sugar and its rollercoaster effects on your system. Remember that if you mess up like we all do, just restart without judgment. Keep coming back to your own health as a valuable, important reason to invest the time and energy in YOU!
Here’s a funny video about quitting sugar altogether: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBtslkL5nUA