How gathering some DATA can help you cut back on the sugar

Last week I talked about treating yourself when the time is right. Many of you passed it along or gave it a thumbs up! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it so much that you wanted to share with your friends. Thank you! Today, I follow up on something I mentioned at the end last week. I mentioned that I didn’t want to struggle with the sugar dragon every night. Well, this my friends is something I am still working on and today I invite you to try something with me. I will also share some strategies that have helped me cut out a lot of sugar.

 Do you nod your head when I say sugar dragon or do you scratch your head wondering what exactly I mean? Let me elaborate…

Well, the sugar dragon is this tricky little notion that creeps in our head and demands sweets. It breathes down our neck until it gets something yummy and sweet. And a lot of times it taunts us the most when we are uncomfortable. We may not recognize it but something is usually going on underneath the surface and that’s when it rears its ugly head.

It hits when we’ve sat at a desk way too long. Maybe it comes when we are alone and bored. It comes out when we are frustrated, stuck or exhausted at the end of the day.

There are plenty of times we just need a pick me up so we gravitate toward something sweet. Sugary treats are often readily available at any turn, easy to obtain, only take a minute or two to eat and they make us feel good almost immediately (or at least we think it will). No wonder turning to sugar in one form or the other is an easy habit to pick up.

Here’s a challenge I invite you to take on with me. Next time the sugar dragon taunts you, instead of immediately complying take a moment to stop and gather some DATA…

  • Describe the moment to yourself. Where are you? What are you doing? What just happened? What are you feeling? What do you need? What are you thinking? What story are you telling yourself?
  • Accept it all for what it is and sit with the discomfort. When doing this, treat yourself like you would your best friend. That means no shaming, blaming, or demeaning yourself for anything. Just grant yourself acceptance and show yourself compassion.
  • Take some time to turn away from the craving and perhaps explore your needs. You could journal your thoughts, do some  coloring, go on a walk, call a friend, do a chore, pray or meditate. You can come back to the craving in 10-20 minutes.
  • After taking time to assess where you are and make a decision. You might still choose to eat something or you just might discover something hiding underneath the craving. Maybe you just need some sleep, to talk through your feelings, to show yourself some compassion.

I’ve done this exercise a few times throughout both of my whole30 experiences. I’ve learned a lot from pausing before reacting. Let me know how it goes for you and what you learn from gathering your DATA.

Here are 5 other ideas to help you  avoid regular doses of sugary treats.

  1. Be sure you are getting enough protein and healthy fats at each meal.
  2. Include fruit in your meal so you can end on a naturally sweet note
  3. Drink a tall glass of ice water perhaps with lemon or a chilled glass of coconut water. Sometimes hydration can ward off a sweet tooth.
  4. Brush your teeth. Often times we crave a sweet food because we can still taste our dinner. A clean mouth feels great and can signal that you are done eating.
  5. Don’t keep desserts in the house especially if you are an abstainer – read more about this in Are you an abstainer or moderator?

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