February 8, 2014
I'm a big believer that fitness and health changes almost always result in the feeling of getting some years back. And cutting down on a high sugar intake is one of the biggies in terms of impact. I'm also a believer that it's best to make small permanent changes than attempting something radical. Here are my top 6 ways a person can wean themselves off of sugary foods.
 Take it Slowly
Don't delete everything on the first day. Eat half a dessert, put half the amount of jelly you'd normally have on toast, cut the sugar in your coffee in half.
Mix sweetened and unsweetened foods together like soy milk (which is sweetened) with unsweetened soy milk. Mixing like that is a great way to cut down on your intake. Start half and half, and over time decrease the amount of the sugared food and increase the unsugared.
Give yourself time, like a month or two, to let these changes become how you simply do things. Your taste buds will acclimate to less and less sweetness. Choosing fresh fruit over a piece of cake will be a no-brainer.
 Drink Water
Drinking water, especially in the morning, is a healthy thing to do. And when it comes to warding off sugar cravings, water is one of your best friends. The body can confuse thirst with a sugar craving so it's easy to down a candy bar when, in fact, your body actually wanted water. Stay hydrated throughout the day and fire a preemptive strike at sugar cravings.
 Make Your Own
You may feel you don't have the time to make food but if heart health is important enough to you, you'll find you are able to make lifestyle changes and wonder why you never did it earlier. If you have a sweet tooth, learning to cook could be one of the best lifestyle changes you could make. Recipes for low and no sugar pies, cakes and desserts like these
are all over the Internet.
One great way to wean yourself off sodas is to switch to ice tea which you make yourself. Don't feel guilty about sugaring it in the beginning but cut back on the amount you add over time. Your taste buds will adjust.
Making your own also enables you to stay away from processed foods which often have a surprisingly high amount of sugar added. Avoid all that and, for example, make your own spaghetti sauce or your own salad dressing from olive and balsamic vinegar. Incorporate these heart healthy foods
into your diet to replace those processed foods.
 Eradicate One Big Source of Sugar
Okay, I wrote "take it slowly" earlier but in this case targeting one big villain, like candy, ice cream or soda can give you a sense of a great head start. Let's say ice cream is the target. Make it off limits. Have a bad breakup, before suffering a literal heart break, and never go back. The next time you're in the grocery store and you pass by the ice cream, instead of looking at it wishing you could take some home, see it as something you used to know but it just didn't work - been there done that, you've moved on.
 Eat Breakfast
Often times the desire for sugar throughout the day is a result of not having enough fuel in the morning. Eat a healthy breakfast full of whole grains (especially oatmeal) and fruits, and it will help you turn down candy and sugary energy bars later in the day.
An exercise program can help you feel more invested in making healthy food changes like reducing sugar. And if you're putting in the miles walking, running, hiking, swimming or cycling you'll get the benefits of a chemical that rivals sugar (and a lot better for you) in terms of how it makes you feel: endorphins. When your body releases endorphins it gives you a good mood lift to help quell the withdrawal symptoms of sugar reduction.