I’ve joked about my sweet tooth many times before. But, really, it’s no laughing matter. I’m a serious sugar junkie. Overall I have a very healthy diet – sticking to fresh, homemade meals with plenty of vegetables – but I simply cannot say no to chocolate. Leave me in a room with a bar of Green & Blacks and it will be gone within minutes. I’ve tried to eat less sugar before by going cold turkey, but have never lasted more than three days. So this year I decided to take a softer approach…
Seeing as sweet treats are my only vice (I don’t eat junk food or drink sodas, and limit both coffee and alcohol), I didn’t want to completely cut something out of my diet that brings me so much pleasure. So, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working hard to form a new habit that allows me to enjoy sugar in moderation. I call it the 50/50 rule.
How does it work? Well, I simply alternate which days I’m allowed to have sugar and which days I go sugar free. So if Monday is a dessert day I’m strictly sugar-free on Tuesday. This doesn’t mean that I binge or go crazy on my treat days, however. I still take everything in moderation. And if I ever experience cravings on my sugar-free days it’s easy to manage, because I know it will be over within 24 hours.
WHAT I CUT OUT ON NO-SUGAR DAYS
Chocolate, cake, biscuits, candy
Sugary drinks (including fruit juices)
“Healthy” desserts (sweet potato brownies etc)
Processed foods that have high sugar levels (ready-made pasta sauces etc)
MY NO-SUGAR DAY ALTERNATIVES
Fruit* (but not juiced)
Savoury snacks (nuts, hummus, cheese, oatcakes etc)
This method has been really effective because, although I don’t consume insane amounts of sugar, I find it really hard to stick to just one or two squares of chocolate per day. Once I’ve had that first bite I always want a little bit more.
I stuck to the 50/50 rule religiously throughout January, and after a week found the framework really easy to stick to. And now that I eat less sugar I’ve also noticed that I rarely crave a slice of cake or a bar of chocolate. It’s been so worthwhile.
Now, more than a month in, it’s a fully-formed habit. And I’ve been able to adjust the rules slightly when needed. For instance, if I’m going out for dinner on a sugar-free day and really want dessert I’ll just take an extra sugar-free day to restore balance. It couldn’t be easier!
Are you constantly trying to eat less sugar? Have you found a method that works well for you? And would you try the 50/50 rule I’ve adopted? Leave a comment below to let me know…
* For me this process hasn’t been about cutting out natural sugars, so I still allow fruit and and all vegetables.