If you are thinking about quitting (or at least cutting down on) sugar/carbs, this is the blog for you.
Quitting sugar might sound ‘easy,’ but for many, it’s a challenge that might require more than a few attempts. The real struggle isn’t just in stopping sugar consumption; it’s in maintaining that abstinence over the long term. This difficulty is not unlike the experience of individuals dealing with addictive substances like alcohol, drugs, gambling, or compulsive shopping. While some might succeed in short-term endeavours such as “dry January” or temporary diets for shedding a few pounds, statistics reveal that many individuals eventually regain the lost weight.
Is sugar addictive?
Like, really addictive? There’s a wealth of evidence indicating that sugar affects the brain in ways similar to other addictive substances, hijacking our self-control and pushing us back into unhealthy eating habits.
People often embark on their journey to quit sugar and refined carbs with enthusiasm. They shed pounds, reduce their reliance on medications, and experience physical and mental improvements. However, as time goes by, they find themselves succumbing to the temptation of “just one” biscuit or “a few potatoes,” leading to regained weight and a sense of failure. In reality, these moments serve as valuable lessons. While some individuals can occasionally indulge in high-carb meals and then return to their low-carb lifestyle, those with addictive relationships with sugar may find themselves trapped in high-carb patterns for weeks or even months. It often takes several such “excursions” for them to realise the benefits of a low-carb diet and commit to it for the long haul.
Remember, when we talk about carbs, we are, in simple terms, also talking about sugar. All carbs are made up of sugars and starches and as we digest food, even the starches are converted into sugars by our bodies. When thinking about avoiding sugar, we must therefore also be thinking about avoiding excessive carbs too.
So, embracing a low-carb diet demands significant determination and social skills, particularly in a society heavily reliant on high-carb foods. Friends, family, and colleagues may try to tempt you with delectable treats, and finding a cupcake enthusiast in the office is not uncommon. Eating out, going on holidays, and travelling all present challenges for low-carbers, but with the right strategies, they can be overcome. It’s crucial to remember that adopting a low-sugar lifestyle, coupled with regular exercise, significantly improves both mental and physical health, particularly immune function.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a long-term low-carb lifestyle:
- Consult a healthcare professional, especially if you’re on medication.
- Start fresh by clearing your kitchen of sugary and carb-rich foods.
- Prepare a plan for your first few days, focusing on regular meals with protein and fat. Check out our shop for inspiration here - getting stocked up on tasty, filling low carb bread will make this a lot easier!
- Add a bit of extra salt if you experience headaches during the transition.
- Keep yourself busy to minimise cravings.
- View it as a lifestyle change, not just a diet.
- Prioritise high-fibre foods, rich in proteins and fats, which are more satiating than carbs and sugar.
- Be aware that sugary and high-carb diets can lead to metabolic problems.
- Focus on the positive outcomes of a low-carb lifestyle, like weight loss and improved energy.
- Remember the benefits of following a healthy lifestyle.
- Seek support from online groups or involve a family member or friend on your journey.
- Analyse your strengths to help you succeed.
- Keep a record of your progress, including weight, mood, and sleep quality.
- Incorporate gentle exercise and hobbies to replace food as a coping mechanism.
- Pay attention to how different foods make you feel and opt for whole, less processed options.
- Try to avoid snacking between meals, as it may increase hunger.
- Be cautious of alcohol, even if it’s low in sugar, as it can trigger cravings and hunger for days to come.
How can Heylo help with my low-carb, low-sugar journey?
If you are looking to stay on plan, it HAS to be delicious and not feel like a chore or punishment. Life is short and just because you’ve chosen a particular diet or lifestyle, you shouldn’t have to spend your days feeling like you are missing out.
The majority of the products in Heylo’s shop are beautiful, compromise-free breads, designed to help you enjoy one of life’s most basic, yet delicious and satisfying staples, while remaining on plan with your low-carb diet/lifestyle. Having white or seeded loaves or rolls/bagels ready in your pantry for easy breakfasts, quick lunches and lovely dinners, means half the battle is won. We even offer a sweeter option in our Cinnamon and Raisin loaf - a lovely low carb, comforting treat for the evenings.
Check out our low carb shop for inspiration. Don’t forget, if you are committing to low-carbing for the long haul, we offer bread bundles and subscriptions - both mean you’ll save money and never be caught short or without low carb items ever again!