Addiction is a strong word.
It literally means to consume an item repeatedly, that has rewarding effects on the brain to the point of feeling the need for that item. So sugar is a feel-good food for me. I LOVE it. It makes me happy. And while it may not be as damaging to our bodies as other substances, sugar can have negative effects to our overall health.
If we think about our relationship with food it makes sense. As babies, our first food is literally sugar (have you ever tasted breastmilk? Well, it’s basically sweet cream!) That sweet taste becomes associated with comfort and love. We celebrate special occasions and milestones with FOOD! Often sugar filled treats and desserts. We have been a society that rewards good behaviour with SUGAR! ( I admit to promising my kids ice cream on the way home if they “are good”) And as a result many of use are addicted to the taste of sweet.
But whats the big deal about sugar anyways? If you were like me, you were taught in school that the basic form of energy that the body uses is glucose. Everything you eat, basically gets broken down into this molecule of energy. So eating sugar is no big deal, right?
Eating foods that contain high amounts of sugar, especially processed sugar, displaces other valuable food nutrients and adds extra calories to your diet, which ultimately leads to weight gain and a whole bunch of other health problems.
Eating foods that contain good sources of protein, fat and complex carbohydrates is key to good health. PERIOD! There are no gimmicks here.
Whole foods are BEST! This simply means, food in their whole, true form. Veggies, meats, eggs, fruits and whole dairy, all contain amazing sources of all of the nutrients our bodies need to function and stay healthy.
So how am I working on kicking my sugar habit to the curb?
I have a few simple tools up my sleeve to share with you.
- Drinking MORE water. Half of my Body Weight in Pounds, I drink in Ounces of Water. So if you weigh 150lbs you should be drinking 75 Ounces of water daily.
- Adding essential oils, especially CITRUS oils to my water. Citrus oils like Lemon or Grapefruit contain high levels of d-LIMONENE. d-Limonene is known to help promote weight loss, plus provide antioxidant support to the body. It also adds great flavour to water, without adding sugar, which takes the cravings away. When I feel a sugar craving starting, I can keep it at bay by drinking water with 2 drops of doTERRA’s Grapefruit essential oil. Read more about the benefits of Grapefruit Essential Oils here.
- Meal prep. This is a big one! Making sure I have healthy meals and ingredients ready to go is a big game changer. I save money, eat better and have WAY more energy when it comes to preparing my meals, when I know exactly what I am having for dinner tonight. And when I’m hungry at 3pm, instead of hitting up the Timmy’s Drive through (Canadian’s you know what I’m talking about!) I have some veggies or fruits, balanced out with some nuts or seeds to snack on. It doesn’t take much to fulfill that hunger and keep me on track before dinner time. If you aren’t sure how to start meal prepping, connect with my friend Pam. She runs great meal prep workshops. Find her at Prep with Pam
- Cook with LOTS of Flavour. When your meals are full of flavour and spices, it makes it easy to look forward to a healthy meal. I love stirfrys. You can add so many different vegetables, choose your meet, add chickpeas or lentils and pack in a TON of flavour into one pan. I even use my doTERRA Essential Oils in my cooking. When your Essential Oils are pure enough to ingest, they can add some serious flavour combos to your meals (see my “Cooking with Essential Flavour” blog post for some of my favourite combos).
- Move my body when I’m feeling bored or stressed. Often times I would sabotage my good eating during times of boredom or high stress. Like when I’m working on a project that involves a lot of sitting and typing, or when I have a high stress appointment coming up, I will often head to the fridge and just start binging on whatever I could get my hands on. Now instead, when I feel that urge, I pop my shoes on and go for a walk with the dogs. Or even just get up and stretch, have a glass of water and reset my thinking. Mindset is HUGE when it comes to changing habits. It’s easy to change certain habits, but it’s just as easy NOT to change. It really depends on how much you want the change to happen.
- Being easier on myself when I decide to have a slice of cake. Ok, this has been a major mindset shift for me. I am very much an “all or none” kind of person. So, when I am at a wedding or a birthday party, I binge on ALL of the FOOD! Especially the cake, dips and chips and other yummy snacks. Then I leave the party feeling bloated, angry and irritated at myself for being so out of control. I beat myself up for getting off track and going back to my old ways. What I have learned over the past few months is this; it’s OK to have your cake and eat it too. The key here is to let yourself have the cake, and the chips and dip and whatever else suits your fancy, but make sure that before you put it ALL in your mouth, that you are going to be OK with how you feel afterwards. This is being mindful about what you are eating. Before digging into my slice of cake, I remind myself to savour every bite. Really taste the icing and the chocolate and all of the cake goodness (Ok, I will stop talking about cake soon! I promise!). And then when your slice is finished, sit back and reflect on how good it was. Soon you will realize that you don’t need to binge and you don’t need to feel upset about your choice to have cake. Own the cake and your decision to eat it (or not!) and move on! Go back to eating healthy at your next meal and feeling great about your food choices.
Remembering that it’s a lifestyle choice not a diet fad has been a huge shift for me. Just because I may get off track for a few days, doesn’t mean my efforts have to be given up.
Eating healthy is a LIFESTYLE.
I would love to hear from you some ways that you have been able to shift your habits to equal a healthy lifestyle.