Did everyone have a fun summer?? I know for me, it’s all about the experience, so I enjoyed every last little forbidden treat and truly savored every moment, every BBQ and every ice cream cone with my friends and family with zero regrets…until my clothes start fitting a little more snugly (*cringe*).
So now it’s time to start thinking about reining that sugar monster back in before he makes a permanent home on your hips. Don’t panic, I’m not going to tell you to stop cold turkey. We know how scary that is…we’ve tried it ourselves and it only makes the beast come back with a vengeance.
So how do we slowly get the processed sugar out of our systems and retrain our palates to eat the “good for you” options? Simple. It’s called “crowding out”. Crowding out is the opposite of conventional deprivation-filled dieting because rather than removing things from your diet, you’re simply adding more healthy foods into the daily equation. When you’re filling up on more nutrient-dense whole-foods like fruits and vegetables, there’s just not as much room for junk, and thus, your cravings for the less healthy foods will naturally dwindle over time, leaving little to no wiggle room for that unwelcome sugar monster. No starving yourself, no extreme diets, no deprivation. Just one small step you can take each day to work toward making positive changes that will actually stick long-term.
Preparation is the key to “crowding out” success. Pick a day for food prep and have everything ready in advance for those busy grab-and-go days. Pack bags of sliced cucumbers, colorful bell peppers, carrots, celery, or any vegetable you prefer. Veggies are nutrient-rich, filling and low-calorie, so they make excellent snacks. Wash and cut fresh fruits for go-to snacks when those sugar cravings hit. Keep ingredients like dates and bananas and berries on hand to make naturally sweetened smoothies that will trick your brain into thinking it’s had that sugar fix. If you eat veggies all day and still crave chocolate, have a small square of high-quality dark chocolate and move on. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Make sure you’re feeling full on real foods, slowly crowd out the processed ones, keep things as simple as you can, and your body will slowly bring itself back into balance. Most importantly, be patient with yourself. I promise you will get there. Focus on all of the “good for you” food you’re putting into your body. Pat yourself on the back for the wins, and stay positive. Eventually, you will start to crave more of the good stuff, guaranteed. And that sugar monster? Well, he’ll be sent packin’.