Are sweets your weakness? (5 steps to get rid of sweets)
I know, the photo is decadent… One mention before we start: you can read this article or watch the same content in this video.
How many times has “giving up sweets” been your New Year’s, new week’s, 1st of the month’s resolution? I hear you… many many times. But then there are Oreo’s, ice cream, Nutella and grandma’s cakes. They’re everywhere and you’re surrounded. You feel like there’s no escape nor hope for you. Does that sound about right?
Now let me tell you (with great pride which I am not going to hide), that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I am living proof of it.
I stopped eating sweets in June 2017. This is HUGE for me! Why? Because I used to eat sweets every single day of my life. I honestly don’t know a person who was, is or will be eating more sweets than I did… For me 1 candy, 1 cookie or 1 piece of chocolate was never enough, it had to be the whole box of candy, the whole jar of cookies, the whole chocolate bar. No exception! And sometimes all of them combined.
I was feeling sluggish, waking up tired, unable to focus, had no energy, constantly in a bad mood and of course, slowly (or not so slowly?) and surely gaining weight. Sound familiar? ?
And one day, exasperated, desperate and at the end of my powers, I just said to myself – this has to stop! So, I read all the books that I could find, listened to all the existing podcasts, watched every single video on this and I am going to share with you what works, so you can regain your freedom from sweets.
Sooo, I’ve got 5 super helpful tips for you to get rid of sweets, that WORK, whether you believe in them or not! The last one I find the most powerful of them all.
(You were born ready for this!)
Find the most delicious replacements for sweets and focus on what you CAN vs. what you CAN’T have.
It is said that if you give up one vice, you need to replace it with something else, i.e. the sum of vices remains constant (great… not!). So let’s replace sweets with something that is good for you and replenishes your body.
It can be fruit, nuts, anything homemade or bought, soft or crunchy, raw or baked, that makes your taste buds throw a party and that is healthy. Be creative and most importantly be enthusiastic about what you CAN eat.
Whenever I wanted something sweets, I pictured a “NO” made out of the most colorful fruits in my mind which made me so happy and looking forward to have a juicy fruit, basically drooling after an orange or a bowl of raspberries.
It doesn’t have to be fruit, if you don’t like them, nowadays we have SO many wonderful options and natural alternatives. My friends make shakes, brownies sweetened with dates (honestly they’re delicious), banana & peanut butter mini-sandwiches, etc.
Find the best that suits you, but, I beg you (on my knees, if needed), avoid at all cost artificial sweeteners and other artificial stuff.
Get rid of the temptations!
- Get rid of all the sweets in your house and drawer at work
- Avoid the sweets aisles in the stores
- Find a different route on your way home, that does not pass by the freshly-baked-cinnamon roll-smelling bakery
That’s because at the beginning, there’s just so many times you can be tough and say “no” to sweets. Towards the end of the day or when you are tired it is harder to resist. Here’s why:
Our power of decision is an exhaustible resource over the course of the day. There’s a limited number of conscious decisions you can make in a day, for the rest you recur to habits and if your habits are (still) to have sweets, that’s what you will do when you’re tired (on habits in one of my next posts).
In the past, when I saw a piece of cake, my head would explode. Why? Well because a whole decision storm would take over my brain: “should I eat it or should I not eat it?”, “should I eat the whole thing, half of it or should I just have a bite?”, “should I eat it now, later or tomorrow morning?”, “should I have seconds?”… this would literally exhaust me and would consume all of my decision power and I would eventually have too much cake…
At present, the decision is already made: I won’t have cake and it’s OK. I feel FREE, no struggle involved. I must admit, I’m sometimes myself surprised how well this works and easy it is.
So, at the beginning, the less exposure, the more successful you are going to be – get rid of temptations!
I know what you’re thinking… There will be temptations that are out of your control.
Of course there are. Of course you are going to go to your parents’ house for the holidays, to your friend’s birthday party or out with your colleagues! It’s very important to go, because social life is vital for your health and overall wellbeing.
So, what to do?
When you see something sweet and feel like grabbing it and stuffing it into your mouth, close your eyes and take 3 deeeeep breath cycles, in & out, inhale & exhale. Ask yourself: does my body really need this piece of cake? Is this cake really worth the disappointment I am going to feel about myself for eating it? Is it really worth my mood? Is it really worth my health?
Breathing puts your body in a relaxed and detached state. You won’t crave the piece of cake anymore. And then, go to golden Tip #1.
Observe your patterns and break them!
When do you eat sweets? (“all the time, hahahaaa”)
Yes, but there are some triggers that lead you to sweets.
- You might never feel full unless you have some dessert – we’ve been trained to want sweets at the end of our meals and you can un-train yourself.
- Maybe there is a particular food or drink (coffee or tea, anyone?) that you feel “asks” for something sweet
- Or is it a place, person, situation or context that you associate with sweets?
For me, whenever I got an email at work that stressed me out, the first thought that came to mind was: what sweets do I have in my drawer?
Yes, as in my example above, so many of us turn to sweets when we are stressed, sad, anxious or angry… or when we just need a little bit of comfort, understanding, support and love. And that’s so understandable, don’t beat yourself up for it, it’s normal to want all those things. But how can you get all these in another way? What about human interaction, your favorite song, a joke, a good book or exercise?
So what is YOUR trigger? Once you identify it and bring awareness to it, you can anticipate it and CHANGE it. Every single time you choose differently, that neuro-path in your brain that leads you to sweets starts disappearing and a new neuro-path, of choosing differently, is deepened. Just like a trail used over and over again.
The more good choices you make, the easier it becomes, until you turn it into a habit (all hail good habits!).
Now, the last and MOST important tip of them all:
If you are going to think of Nutella like the best and most delicious thing on earth, you will never eliminate it from your life…
But if you think of it as poison – which it is – for your body, this changes the way you see things.
- Depletes you of energy,
- Slows down your digestion,
- Impedes you from focusing,
- Reduces your brain’s capabilities (yes, really!),
- Leads to bad mood, depression, anxiety and long-term to horrible diseases!!!
Everything because you eat sugar! That scares me!
Imagine your poor cells struggling to process sugar… Your body will be there for your whole life, how are you treating it?
So, very important: from now on, say “I am getting rid of sweets”, instead of “I am giving up sweets”. Do you see the difference? Do you feel the difference? “Giving up” suggests a loss, whereas “getting rid” empowers you and makes you a winner – you are getting rid of something that truly doesn’t serve you and are re-gaining you freedom.
You are not giving up something good, you are getting rid of something that hurts you and is the worst for you!
Let me repeat that: I am getting rid of sweets, because they do not serve my body, my well-being, my best self. I want my energy, my good mood, my well-being, my beautiful body, my brain back!
How does that sound?
Let me be clear here. Of course I love chocolate, biscuits, caramel, ice cream (you name it), but I love my energy, wellbeing, good mood, brain, health more – I LOVE MYSELF MORE!
And because I do, not eating sweets does not feel like a struggle, but like freedom and JOY!
There’s a bonus, too! (What? There’s even more good stuff?)
Here it is: Once you’ve made this choice, you’re going to be an inspiration for your family, friends, colleagues, for everyone around you. You’re going to improve the life of others, too, isn’t that amazing?
SOOO, do you love yourself and the ones around you enough to get rid of sweets? If I can do it, you can do it! I have so much trust in you. I want to hear all about your success!