7 Life Changing Tips to Sugar Self Trust
I’m very excited to have Laura Thomas from Happy Sugar Habits to share some of her low sugar living wisdom with you here as part of my ‘7 Life Changing Tips Series’.
Have you ever made some healthy, crazy delicious sweet treat to enjoy, but ended up eating too much of it? (or consuming the whole batch in one go).
Maybe you’ve managed to substitute other healthier alternatives in your diet instead of sugar, but sometimes you still don’t feel quite in control and overdo it on sweet things, feeling a little guilty when you do.
You largely eat healthy and you exercise but you feel like you sometimes ruin all of your efforts with this behaviour.
If you’re trying to establish how to have more control when it comes to delicious treats, here are 7 steps for you to work through that will help you feel happy, trusting and empowered around sweet stuff from now on.
Step 1: Be kind to yourself
You hear it everywhere, but you really can be less harsh on yourself. If you overeat on some delicious sweet potato brownies one day, you can rest assured, you’re pretty normal.
Keep perspective and reel yourself in from the day-to-day detail of scrutinising exactly what you’re eating at every meal.
Remember the importance of a holistic lifestyle and keeping a healthy attitude to food. Yes, keep a close eye on things and eat whole foods where you can, but don’t get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of the bigger picture where treats can be part of a healthy diet.
Step 2: Focus on the frequency of sweet over the sugar substitute
With sugar-free being the new black, it seems many are going crazy on stevia, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, medjool dates and anything else that gives that healthy and sugar-free dessert a sweet taste.
All of these things can have a place in a healthy diet but frequency matters the most here. Eating something a few times a month makes what you use much less significant than if you’re eating it multiple times a day.
Prioritise how often you use sugar substitutes over the details of which one to use.
Step 3: Keep sugar random rather than habitual
Our habits provide the foundation of our health. It’s what you do regularly that matters. Try to avoid creating daily habits around sweetness, which include refined sugar or sugar substitutes. Instead chose to indulge in a more random way – for example the odd special occasion that means something to you or a spontaneous one-off decision to make something you usually don’t make.
Step 4: Avoid black and white extremes
Strong restrictions around food are what drives the feast and famine mentality which can lead to variations of binging-type behaviour.
Move away from the notion of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, taking the view that all foods can be part of a healthy overall diet. Empower yourself around all your choices and accept an inevitable imperfection in some of them.
Step 5: Continue to build non-food emotional coping mechanisms
You may have overcome emotional eating the Dairy Milk, but do you still find yourself tearing into the tub of almond butter instead? I should know as I did exactly that. Moving away from mass chocolate emotional eating is an impressive feat, but be honest with yourself if you’ve switched to using a healthier sugar-free food for the same purpose.
If so, continue to build non-food stress and distraction coping mechanisms into your lifestyle (e.g. regular work breaks, meditation or taking a walk to reduce your general emotional dependence on food).
Step 6: Shake off any sugar shame you have
Sugar or food shame exists where you eat or consume in a way that leads you to hide it from others or you feel like you’re especially bad in the way you act around it. If you spot feelings of shame more often, or notice that you’re going out of your way to hide the amount of sweet treats you eat (e.g. eating more or having extra portions in secret), it’s important to seek some support and talk through your feelings.
Sugar or food shame can melt away almost instantly when you confide in another who is understanding and provides genuine support.
Step 7: Measure success in terms of self-trust
Living low sugar long term isn’t about the number of grams you eat day to day but about the level of self-trust you feel around a substance that previously held an unhealthy grip on you.
Switch your mentality to measure your success by the amount of trust you feel around sugary food compared to 3, 6 and 12 months ago. Feeling empowered, in control of your choices and with unrestricted options is the end goal to this low sugar game that will really bring you long-term peace with sweet food.
How much do you currently feel you trust yourself around sweet food? Comment below and Laura will be on hand to answer any questions.
Laura is the founder of www.happysugarhabits.com where she writes and coaches to help people empower themselves around sweet food, shift their overall food mindset and cement long lasting healthy sugar habits.