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I had always heard so many terrible things about sugar. You know them. Sugar spikes blood sugar and causes Type 2 Diabetes. It causes you to crave more and more unhealthy foods. It “feeds” cancer. It causes obesity. It is as addictive as this drug or that drug. And on and on.

 

5 Tips for Ditching the Sugar

 

But nothing deterred me. I just couldn’t do it. I tried the “normal” tips—switch to honey (still the blood sugar spikes and calories); eat fruit instead; just go cold turkey; eat peanut butter or apples or sugar-free candy (aspartame and sucralose!) instead; cut fat not sugar (i.e. low fat angel food cake or graham crackers or Weight Watchers cookies, etc.); drink Diet pop in place of the sugary treat; eat more protein; just cut portions; etc. etc. etc.

 

But I still ate like a ten year old and craved sugars and starches all the time. I couldn’t just eat two cookies. I always ended up eating six or eight. I couldn’t bypass my favorite donut shop. I couldn’t skip the candy at the gas station. Sugar was controlling me!

 

Even now, I have to pinch myself to realize that I, the sugar queen and junk food junkie, am writing an article about how to ditch sugar. How did this happen to me? I have a few insights, but regardless of how, I am just so happy that it did.

 

And yet, did it? Did it really happen to me?

 

No. It didn’t happen to me…I happened to it. I took the steps necessary. And little by little, actually before I even knew it. I had control over sugar more often than not. Then I had control over sugar 80% of the time. Then I had it 95% of the time.

 

Do I ever have treats? Definitely! But I choose when, where, and how much. And it is just that—a treat. Not an every day occurrence. Not in excess. And not indulgent.

 

And I choose carefully. (See “How Much Better Does That Taste.”) I never eat anything with sugar that isn’t the best, a favorite, totally worth it. Cookies from the bakery? Not a chance. My daughter’s homemade chocolate chip cookies? Um, yeah! Ice cream from McDonald’s? Really? But a DeBrand’s Sundae…for sure! But nothing that isn’t absolutely amazing.

 

So how did I get from sugar addict to very little sugar? How did I get from a “ten-year-old-gotta-have-donuts” to writing about rarely eating sugar?

 

 

Here are my Five Effective Tips for Ditching the Sugar:

 

1) Find the best, healthiest sugar substitute that you will actually use, can obtain easily, and like. (You don’t have to love it at first…just so you don’t dread it!)

 

This is the basis for my e-book, Sugar-Free Solutions. Unless you have super human willpower or really do not like sugar, the best way to get away from sugar is to have other things that you can substitute for your old favorites. You can learn more about sugar-free subs in this printable chart or this pinnable graphic. I would be honored to help you through this blog.

 

Once you have a good sub that you like, you can follow the other steps below. And you can learn to cook and bake with the substitute. Then instead of grabbing a Reese’s cup, you can whip up some Sugar-Free Taglongs. Instead of eating cookies at that party, you can reach in your purse and eat your Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Criss Cross Cookies. Instead of eating jam on your healthy bread that has as much sugar and as many carbohydrates in it as a candy bar, you can use Sugar-Free Apple Butter. And little by little, you will find yourself eating less and less sugar.

 

2) Give up sugar (and your new substitute) cold turkey for a while.

 

I know this is listed above in one of the tips that doesn’t work, but bear with me as I explain when it does work.

 

If you give up sugar and treats made with sugar-free sweeteners for a week or two or three (and, of course, the sugary ones too!), you will enjoy fruit more AND your new-found sugar-free sweetener will taste way better than if you have sugar one day and the next try to eat something made with, say, Pyure, for instance.

 

This is not the same deprivation as when you tried to give up sugar cold turkey forever. You can do anything for one week or two weeks. Knowing that there is an ending date makes all the difference in the world. Knowing that at the end of this week, you are going to make yourself some amazing SF PB Flavored Chocolate Bars (see page 59) (that you will actually enjoy more now!) and that you are going to have some healthy toast with sugar-free spread will help you keep going for this short period of time.

 

Yes, they say it takes twenty-one days to start a new habit, but you are not trying to give up sugar for a while. You are trying to change your tastes so that when you eat fruit, it is yummy. So that when you eat something made with healthy sweetener, you love it. So get rid of real sugar altogether as you set out on your sugar-free journey. You can always have a piece of cake at hubby’s birthday party or caramel corn at the movies later down the road—if it is worth it to you and you have decided ahead of time to do that. You will be in control—not the sugar.
 

3) Limit the types and numbers of fruits for a little while only—then have them in place of sugar!

 

If you are on a low carb diet, you know that you have to greatly limit the types and numbers of fruits that you can have in order to stay under your daily carb number. And we all know that fruit has sugar in it—natural, yes, but sugar nonetheless.

 

A few people are triggered to have sugar from eating fruit. Too much fruit can cause a spike in blood sugar, leading to cravings. But for the most part, fruit is real food. And those who are not keto or extremely low carb can enjoy fruit on a daily basis.

 

The problem with it in the beginning of going sugar free is that it CAN cause you to want sugary foods.

 

So I recommend limiting the type and number per day just for a little bit.

 

Here’s my logic: If you have lower sugar fruits right away as you are going off of sugar, they can help you immensely stay on your plan. But if you have all fruits (including the carbier/sweeter ones), you won’t have those to look forward to in your journey (and they could make your want sugar).

 

So….I recommend that in the first week or two of going off of sugar (just like when you aren’t using sugar-free treats yet), you just stick with lower sugar fruits. These are generally lower in carbs—and will help you with your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar (which leads to cravings).

 

The best fruits for that first couple of weeks are berries of all kinds—strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. (Stick with me…you will love these with the amazing dishes in my upcoming Healthy Mixes: Cream Cheese Dessert Base!) Just enjoy these two or three times a day, if needed, for the first two weeks. (Don’t sprinkle Pyure over your strawberries or top them with homemade whipping cream yet—have patience for a bit. They will be super yummy later when you do!)

 

After your first week or two of being sugar-free, and as you are adding in your favorite healthy sugar substitute, add back in other amazing fruits.

 

Just like you will like your sugar-free sweetener more, you will also like your fruits more! You will be amazed at how wonderful apples, bananas, watermelon, oranges, pineapple, and more all taste!

 

I still limit my fruits to two to four servings per day because of my pre-diabetes, but I look forward to them so much! They are like candy to me now—only without sugar, carb comas, weight gain, and blood sugar spikes!

 

4) Develop a plan for sugar cravings!

 

What will help you the most say no to sugar cravings? Well, definitely knowing that you have other options that are yummy, using fruit instead of sugar, eating real foods (and filling up on them rather than “saving room” for junk food), etc., will all help.

 

But there are other “distractions” and tips that I use with success.

 

 

Tips I Use to Distract Me From Sugar

 

a. Talk to myself. I do. I say, “That donut is not going to taste that much better than sprouted toast with sugar-free apple butter. Plus, you can have two pieces for fifteen carbs, 200 hundred calories, and no sugar vs. sixty carbs, 600 calories, and feeling terrible.” Or I say, “I can skip this now and have a homemade Milk Chocolate Bar when I get home. It will taste almost as good, and I can keep losing weight and feeling great.”

 

b. Cut out bad habits associated with sugar. Instead of taking treats to bed with me (one of my former downfalls), I tell myself that my treat is getting to lie in a super comfortable bed (and feeling great!), getting to sleep 7 to 8 hours, getting to read a book or watch a show on Hulu, etc. I speak this to myself too: “I don’t need a snack in bed. I get these other great things that satisfy me and reward me for a hard day’s work.”

 

c. Carry healthy options with you at all times! I can’t stress this enough. Your mind starts playing tricks on you, telling you that you have to eat at least the unfrosted donut because there isn’t anything else to eat. You can excuse away—and you will never get sugar free or healthy. Don’t leave home without some healthy crackers, mini peanut butter tubs, Laughing Cow cheese spreads, string cheese, apples, very small nut packs, and at least one sugar-free treat. (Oh, and Skinny Pop popcorn…always Skinny Pop!)

 

d. Plan to eat sugar. I know that sounds funny in an article on going sugar-free, but a big part of being mostly sugar-free is that you are in control. By planning when I’m going to eat something unhealthy, I am telling myself that the rest of the time, I will eat only healthful things. I am telling myself that this one food is worth it (or this one event). I am in control…not any sugar at any time, any day, any place!

 

e. Exercise. I know this is in every list. However, as you are successful in giving up junk foods, you will be so proud of yourself and so self-governing that exercise might get easy for you after all! Once I got control of my eating, I found it an easy next step to start exercising five days a week (something I had always tried to do but could never achieve!). Start small. Commit to something you love just once or twice a week. And see if your in-control eating habits don’t cause you to be able to reach this goal as well. And then vice versa—exercise helps you control cravings too! Win-win!

 

f. Eat real food for snacks. We have a tendency to think that a sandwich or taco or lettuce wrap or meatballs or salmon patties are meal foods. And so during snacking, we reach for what we traditionally think of as a “snack food.” In reality, the “meal foods” can have fewer calories, be less carby, provide more nutrition, and satisfy us better than the snack. A low-carb sprouted bread sandwich of leftover turkey burger, Laughing Cow cheese wedge, mustard, lettuce, and tomato can weigh in at 10 carbs, 400 calories, and lots of protein (and nutrition in general). But we think chips and salsa is better because it is a “snack food.” The sandwich is way more nutrient dense and less carby (and potentially lower in calories) than the chips and salsa…but we think we don’t want to eat something “so heavy.”

 

g. Don’t feel sorry for yourself! We can get all “woe is me” when we are trying to lose weight, eat more healthyfully, and make positive changes. Rather than saying, “I can’t have that,” say, “I’d prefer to eat something a little less carby or sugary.” Rather than saying, “That’s off limits…my stupid diet…” Say, “I could have that, but I wouldn’t choose that as one of my faves.”

 

5) Balance your body, blood sugars, gut, and more with healthy supplements.

 

While my Plexus info might be tucked away here and there on my blogs, it for sure belongs here! The four tips above are only part of my sugar-free story. In November of 2015, I started taking the Plexus TriPlex (Plexus Slim {pink drink}, BioCleanse, and ProBio 5), and within two weeks, my cravings had lessened. Within a month, I lost a size (fat, not weight). Within two months, I gave up a twenty-five year Diet Coke habit (that I had tried to break every single year at least once a year!).

 

Within a year, I have lost fifteen more pounds, two sizes, and twenty inches….and am loving the inflammation-fighting, gut health providing, blood-sugar balancing of TriPlex!

 

I have since added Block to block carbohydrates and Boost to help curb my appetite–and weight management, food choices, exercise, sleep, and health have never been so doable for me. Check out my Plexus blog for more info—or email or text me! I’d love to help you with the amazing Plexus products—and your healthy cooking and baking! 🙂

 

Let me know how you are doing on your sugar-free journey! Comment below or the Facebook page or email me. Let me know what is working and what is not. And what you would like to see in the blog or upcoming e-books!

 

I am an affiliate for Amazon and an ambassador for Plexus. This post contains affiliate links to both Amazon and Plexus.  By clicking on the links, you help support this blog!  Thank you so much 🙂

 

Some of my favorite snacks:

Skinny Pop original (individual)

Skinny Pop sweet popcorn

Skinny Pop cheese popcorn

Healthy Cheese Crackers

Wasa Crackers (still pretty carby but healthy)

Small peanut packs

Small almond packs

Parmesan Crisps

Peanut butter to-go packs

Laughing Cow cheese spreads

Almond butter snack packs

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