I was chatting with someone at a coffee shop this week, and when she found out I’m a health coach, she asked me . . . what’s the best thing I can do to lose weight and get in shape?
Feeling like a total hypocrite as I drank my vanilla latte, I gave her my answer . . . cut out as much sugar from your diet as possible.
Unfortunately (speaking from personal experience here), that’s also one of the hardest things to do.
Why? Because sugar is (literally) addictive. And just like other addictive substances, it’s also toxic to your system.
Here are some of the ways that sugar will sabotage your efforts to lose weight, get in shape, and look and feel great on your wedding day (not to mention the rest of your life):
- Makes you look old — it prematurely ages your skin, causing wrinkles and sagging
- Makes it MUCH harder for you to lose weight, no matter how hard you’re trying
- Causes you to overeat
- It has been directly linked to obesity
- Damages your liver and can lead to liver disease
- Promotes cancer by feeding cancer cells
- Has been linked to depression
- Decreases your sex drive
- Robs you of energy and makes you feel exhausted
Knowing all that, do I still eat sugar? Heck yeah! I wish I could tell you that I’ve completely eliminated refined sugar from my diet and my only source of sugar is fruit. That would be the ideal, but for me, that’s just not realistic. I don’t want to give up the sweet foods I love, or wine, or cocktails . . .
So what I do instead is just cut out as much sugar as possible from my diet, so that I can have a dessert or cocktail when I want it, without wrecking my health or feeling guilty.
It’s okay (in my opinion) to have these things every once in a while, just not everyday.
These are strategies for cutting back on sugar that have worked for me and my clients:
1.During the week (Monday through Thursday), I don’t drink any alcohol.
2. I also don’t do desserts or sweets during the week (at least in theory . . . sometimes I get off track, but this is always my goal). But, I do allow myself one ‘treat” during the week (like a dessert or latte). This gives me a little flexibility to treat myself if there’s a special occasion (like a birthday), it makes it easier to turn down temptations if I know I get to have a treat later in the week, and it keeps me from feeling deprived or restricted.
3. I make treats using natural sweeteners that are low in sugar, but still satisfy my sweet tooth.
4. I cook at home during the week, so that I’m in control of the ingredients used in my meals and don’t have to worry about hidden added sugar.
5. Speaking of hidden added sugar, I avoid processed food, because most processed food (even savory foods) are loaded with sugar and you’d never know it. If I”m gonna eat sugar, I want to do it intentionally and really enjoy it, rather than getting it from processed foods and not even know it . . . where’s the fun in that?
Here are some sneaky places sugar might be hiding in your diet:
- Fruit juice
- Spaghetti sauce
- Salad dressing
- Tonic water
- Protein bars
- Condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and marinades
- Flavored yogurt
- Sports drinks and flavored coconut water
- Trail mix
- Instant oatmeals and cereals
- Commercially prepared smoothies (like from a smoothie shop)
- Flavored kefir
- Peanut butter and other nut butters (unless they’re unsweetened)
So as a recap, one of the best things you can do to get in shape for your wedding day is to cut as much sugar from your diet as possible. This will be a real jump-start to your weight loss and fitness efforts.
It’ll be hard to cut back at first, but here’s the good news . . . once you do, you’ll actually find that you don’t want sugar as much as you used to (for real!). It usually takes a solid week to get to that point, so hang in there — you can do it!