It's so tough though when sugar is so addictive! Curses. Personally, I have to take extra care in ensuring my sugar intake, and in particular my refined sugar intake, is kept minimal. PCOS, skin that thrives on sugar... the white stuff is simply a no-no!
I'm not going to claim I'm an expert on this subject, but I do hope that you find this advice about what to consider before you give up sugar useful.
1. Prepare yourself
You're going to find yourself craving a bar of Cadbury's more than you ever have before. It's all of a sudden off limits and you'll find yourself in the supermarket with every single bar calling your name. Prepare yourself for those moments when sugar is calling your name. Have snacks on hand such as a handful of mixed nuts, a square or two of dark chocolate (try and go really dark too - 85% is a good medium). I'm a big fan of energy bites/balls, hummus with raw vegetable crudités and anything dark chocolate/nut butter related (e.g. Salted Almond Butter Cups or Almond Butter Bombs, so good!). Start meal prepping your lunches so you know exactly what's going into your body and to avoid falling for simpler, 'easier' options such as processed sandwiches and chocolate bars. "By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail" - you know that fancy little saying? Remember that....
2. Be cautious of 'natural sugars'
Whilst I think it's fantastic there are so many 'natural' alternatives out there and 'natural, healthier' versions of your favourite treats, don't go overboard. A raw millionaire's slice may sound like it wouldn't be the worst thing to eat the entire tray of, it's important to acknowledge this is still a sweet treat. Yes it has more nutritional benefits as opposed to it's classic counterpart, but many sweet treats contain dates that are naturally high in sugar, agave nectar (please, just avoid), honey, maple syrup etc... Stick to low GI sweet things such as coconut sugar, berries and stevia to avoid spiking your blood sugar levels and leave you craving more sweet treats.
3. Stay hydrated
Half the time, when we think we're hungry we're usually just thirsty and de-hydrating. Keep a bottle of water on you at all times and keep re-filling throughout the day, or if you're at a desk why not grab a jug of water. Feel free to infuse your water with lemon, lime, fresh herbs or frozen berries for a fruity treat if you're not a fan of the taste of water (does water even have a taste?!).
4. Sip peppermint tea
Peppermint tea is honestly one of those seemingly mundane things that I am so thankful for even existing. Usually at around 9pm-ish, my sweet tooth really kicks in and I find myself just craving anything. Enter peppermint tea.... Although it's not sweet, per se, it somehow satisfies and refreshes your tastebuds and my sweet cravings disappear. I often carry a couple of tea bags around with me if I ever feel a really sweet craving come on.
5. Don't see caving in to cravings as a failure
We all have our moments of weakness so if you cave and find yourself weeping into a family sized bag of Maltesers one day, take it on the chin, see it as a moment of indulgence and pick yourself back up again. If all you're thinking about is chocolate and sweet things, you're most likely low in iron so go and drink a big green smoothie full of spinach and leafy greens, and even consider taking some supplements. Chromium is superb for controlling sugar cravings!
I've significantly reduced my overall sugar intake recently, and am feeling all the better of it. Homemade treats and snacks have been incredibly helpful, and all I will say is - if you don't buy it, you won't eat it!! My skin is looking much better and I feel far less sluggish, fatigued and moody - that's a good thing right?! If you're interested in some smarter, realistic posts about 'giving up sugar' please do let me know!
Do you follow a 'sugar free' diet? What do you do to curb any sweet cravings?