written by Abbe Ciulla @mighty yogini
first, the benefits
In an effort to simply trim my waistline before hosting a yoga retreat in Mexico, I decided to take the 30 Day Sugar Free challenge. The benefits were so much more than firming up a few jiggles, which is why I ultimately decided to make this change a life long commitment.
Here were the big changes I noticed within four weeks:
How to Implement a Sugar Free Diet in 5 Steps
step one: admitting to having a problem
For years, I operated under the delusion that I followed a low sugar diet. But once I looked deeply into my eating habits I had no choice but to come to terms with the hard fact that I, Abbe Ciulla, had a sugar addiction (queue the dramatic music).
It has started off innocently, as they often do. Chocolate chip scone here, scoop of ice cream there, some coco powder in my coffee. But those one-a-week cheats started piling up into a daily sugary routine.
step two: breaking the cycle
Just like any lifestyle chance, the break-up is the hardest past. Pushing through the sugar detox was definitely harder than I anticipated. I was moody. I couldn't stop thinking about food. Nothing seemed to satisfy my hunger the way my old pal sugar did.
This phase lasted about a week. I've heard it last as long as two weeks to even a month for others. This relies on the magnitude of your sugary intake.
Here's how to beat the sugar detox:
step 3: finding the hidden sugars
One of the biggest obstacles with a sugar free diet is finding where the sugar actually is. A lot of the foods we eat in our regular diet contains loads of hidden sugars. Always make sure to check the labels.
Here are the most commonly overlooked food products:
step 4: scaling back on the fruits
This is usually where I loose people. Cut back on fruit? Dealbreaker.
Okay, just hear me out.
Sugar comes in many forms. In dairy sugar is known as lactose, table sugar is often sucrose.
Then you have fructose, the type of sugar found in fruits. As far as our bodies are concerned, sugar is sugar. And too much sugar in the blood stream at once leads to fat storage and insulin resistance.
Also, if we are trying to release our body's dependance on sugar, then feeding it a deluge of high-fructose fruits isn't going to help.
So when it comes to fruit, moderation is the key. No skipping meals and drinking a smoothie or eating fruit salad in it's place. It doesn't work. Try sticking to the lower glycemic fruit- remember berries are best. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc.. all offer the least amount of sugar and often offer the most nutritionally. When eating your fruit, keep it as a replenishment snack after workouts or first thing in the morning with breakfast.
step 5: being forgiving with ourselves
With any new lifestyle change, self compassion is key. There will be bumps and setbacks. You will have days that you are on and days where you fall off the wagon completely. Start slow, integrating one or two new habits at a time. Remember, you are doing this for not only physical health but mental health as well- so don't let it bring you to a negative place. Good luck, and reach out any time!
my awesome sugar resources:
Yoga teacher, weight lifter, coffee addict, plant enthusiast