“I didn’t realise how much sugar controlled me and my quality of life”
This is the top realisation my clients have when we work together and identify the nutritional apporach that will meet them where they are, to start boosting their energy and reducing symptoms right away.
Mood swings, cravings of epic proportions (yes, I’ve been there, the struggle is real) and fatigue. Sugar can cause all these, and more.
It’s not only ageing (yes, ladies, FACT), but sugar also wreaks havoc with our hormones and converts us into dependant slaves to it’s alluring empty calories. We know we shouldn’t eat that beckoning Krispy Kreme – but we just can’t help ourselves.
Here’s the 101 on Sugar’s antics and what to do about it:
We reach for that 3.30pm pick me up or grab a less-than-ideal snack from the vending machine after that stressful meeting. Consider this: doing so makes our focus and mental alertness take a nose dive. That sugar hit that seemed like such a good idea at the time, releases a rush of glucose in our bloodstream, increasing our insulin levels… only to come crashing down shortly after. We end up feel even worse, tired, jittery, restless and drained.
By instinctively reaching for that chocolate pick me up when we’ve had a stressful day, reinforces the neural pathway of that particular behaviour in times of stress. What I do in the coaching process is we re-wire a client’s habits by addressing the subconscious triggers to their stress and it’s action, by strengthening new positive neural pathways. Think new behaviour change for the long term, without the cravings, guilt and yoyo self sabotage.
Sugar is Ageing.
Sugar inhibits our bodies process of replacing collagen, a big deal if you’re not into the “withered prune” look. This can lead to premature wrinkles (!!) and dry, brittle skin. Rosacea, redness, chronic inflammation, acne lesions and hormonal pimply skin. Cut out the sweet stuff for just 10 days and see the difference it’ll make to your complexion and wallet. Consider it the best facial you’ll ever have.
Diet SOS. Sugar is Fattening. (DUH!)
Sugar and carbohydrates are converted straight into glucose which, unless we’re extremely active, gets converted straight into fat. This increased our likelihood of type II diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Fat has a much harder pathway to take before it gets converted to stored fat in our bodies.
Protein though is the winner here, as it’s almost always used up by our bodies, rarely getting converted to fat. I definitely know which macronutrients I’ll be increasing in my diet…
When we get rid of sugar from our diet, we lower internal inflammation in our digestion system, promoting healthy gut bacteria and a healthy colon. Eating sugar free can boost your serotonin “feel good” levels so you don’t rely on the sweet stuff to give you that artificial rush of energy, robbing you of real energy a few hours later. Sugar free eating also improves your blood sugar levels and enhaces moods and disposition and brightens your complexion. There’s no down side I can think of!
Cognitive Function, Cravings and Memory
Sugar has a big impact on our metabolism, hunger and hormone levels. As you may know from past experiences, protein and fats give us a feeling of satiety, fullness and contentment yet sugar has been compared to an addictive drug like cocaine, releasing dopamine and interfering with the reward part of our brain.
Eating the sweet stuff has the effect of increasing our cravings for it even more, a vicious cycle that is hard to break, especially when unsuspecting foods are full of it like most condiments (mustard, tomato and chilli sauce) as well as most cereals, muesli bars and…acai bowls are not as #clean as they appear on insta, hence why they taste so great!
Worse still: when we eat sugar, our memory and cognitive functioning suffers, making it harder to recall information, remember facts and concentrate. Studies show this is especially true after a sugary breakfast.
Our bodies experience cravings when we lack protein and sleep, yet we usually fulfil these cravings with a misguided sugar hit. Ice cream, lollies, cookies, chocolate, macaroons call out your name, enticing you with their empty promises of increased energy and vibrancy.
If you’re not convinced yet…
Sugar messes with our hotmones; our circadian rhythms and cortisol levels are effected, so how we manage stress, how our body retains fat and our overall sleep quality.
My 3 Step Sugar Action Plan
Sugar seems to be in everything these days. There are however clever tricks we can take in minimising our intake. Here is my 3 Step Action Plan to start Gaining Control TODAY.
1. De-Clutter Your Pantry
Yep, you hear me. This is the first step all my clients in my 4 and 8 Week Programs take from Day 1.
Tomato sauces, mustards, condiments of all kinds. Soft drinks, lollies, treats. Honey, coconut syrup, Nutella, chocolate. If it’s in the house, it will call your name until you consume it. If you must have a sweetener for your tea, why not try rice malt syrup which is low GI and gluten free, but once again, use sparingly
2. Eat Whole.
Eating whole foods, or foods that are as close to their natural state as possible ensures no additives, fillers, shelf-life enhancers or sneaky sugars are present. Eat fruit sparingly. One or two piece of fruits in your morning smoothie is enough and ideally timed straight after a workout to replace glycogen levels.
3. Protein, Intervals, Sleep, Repeat.
Alternating periods of higher intensity and lower intensity will have a thermogenic effect on your metabolism, increase your energy levels and minimise sweet cravings.
Eating a diet high in protein and plants will give you the nutrients your body needs, minimise any cravings (which is the bodies way of telling us we are lacking nutrients and protein) and give us a better level of satiety and contentment.
Sleeping our 7-8 hour quota each night with minimal screen time after sun down will control our leptin levels, our cravings and appetite levels and recharge us, stopping us from hitting the vending machine at 4pm.
What type of sugar intake can’t you give up? Comment in the comment section below!
If you’ve got cravings and you’re stressed, book your free 15 min mini coaching session with me to come up with your Action Plan to beating sugar TODAY.