Want to be more conscious about your health and avoid unnecessary weight gain?  Then steer clear of refined sugar or at least, make an effort to find satisfying substitutions.

First, why is sugar so bad?

  • Weakens Your Immune System
  • Promotes Rapid Fat Storage
  • Causes Insulin Resistance
  • Is As Addictive As Drugs
  • Speeds Up the Aging Process
  • Raises Your Risk of Disease
  • Is Empty Calories

Back in 1822 the average person ate only 6.3 lbs of sugar per year, compared to 130 lbs of sugar in 2012. That’s more than 20 times as much sugar in our modern diet!  No wonder we are bigger than ever…

The food industry doesn’t’ help of course…refined sugar is included in virtually every single processed food. This is yet another reason that it’s important to cut those processed and packaged convenience foods out of your diet.

Here are some steps you can take to start cutting down to eventually cut it out…

Eat More Protein
A diet rich in protein keeps you full, satisfied and less likely to crave sweets. A great way to make sure that you are getting enough is to plan each meal and snack around a protein. Plan breakfast around eggs, lunch and dinner around baked chicken breast, and make snacks hardboiled eggs or baked meatballs.

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
One of the biggest fitness myths out there is the idea that calorie-free, artificially sweetened beverages don’t impact your fat loss results.  While the diet soda itself doesn’t contain calories, it has been proven to cause cravings for sugary foods.  Put down the diet soda and instead pick up a refreshing bottle of spring water.  Why subject your body to all the chemicals??

Steer Clear Of Saboteurs (the “Pushers” as I like to call them) 
The sad truth is that people in your life will try to sabotage your low sugar diet. You’ll run into that pushy person at the office who insists that you eat a donut, the well-meaning family member who dishes you up a bowl of ice cream, and the friend who comes over with a plate of her home-baked cookies. The best avoidance strategy is to sincerely thank the sugar-pusher for their gift, tell them you wish you could eat it, and then blame Lorraine – tell them she will make your life difficult if you don’t eat right.

Try Dark Chocolate
For those moments when your sweet tooth is relentlessly badgering you for something sweet, ditch the super-sugary candies and stick with a small square of very dark chocolate. Chocolate that is 70% or higher in cocoa content should be the only candy that you keep on hand. The benefit of the cocoa, in addition to the lowered sugar content, makes dark chocolate an occasionally justifiable treat.  But just a little piece!!

Stick With Fruit
What’s sweet, colorful and comes in hundreds of flavors? Organic, seasonal, fresh fruit, of course! As you remove refined sugar from your life, feel free to add in some natural sugar by way of fresh, local fruit. It’s amazing how satisfyingly sweet fruit is – it’s truly nature’s candy.  Again, don’t overdo the fruit servings either.  Remember, weight gain is from excess energy (a.k.a. calories), regardless of what you’re eating!

Change Your Palate
As you begin to limit your intake of refined sugars, you’ll find that your tolerance for sugar decreases. This means that something that didn’t taste sweet before – say a green apple – now has uncanny depths of sweetness. What’s happening is that your sweet receptors are becoming more finely tuned, now that you’re not overwhelming your palate with sickly-sweet refined sugar.  For example, 10 years ago, I used to drink my coffee with 3 tsp of sugar.  Now, I can’t tolerate any sugar in my coffee.  It was a gradual process and now I can truly enjoy coffee for it’s unaltered taste.

Workout Like You Mean It
A regular, challenging exercise routine will not only get you into amazing shape, it also reduces your cravings for sugar. The endorphin rush brought on by vigorous exercise is an even more powerful feel-good-feeling than the pleasure gotten by indulging in sugary foods.  So next time you are in class, give it 100%.  When you feel like you’ve done your last rep, push out 5 more.  When you feel you can’t run any longer, run a little faster!  You have the power to change, and it starts with your attitude.  Make each workout count!

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday and have a great week!

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