Linda will wake up in the middle of the night and rush to her fridge. She will stand in front of it and polish of 3 pieces of cake, a can of soft drink, chocolate, and 1 doughnuts and then go back to bed feeling good. The next night, same time, she wakes up again. It was as if her body had a mind of it’s own to wake her up and make her take sugar.
Every day she will restock her fridge with her new found love to make sure she did not miss her appointment with sugar.
This nightly appointment continued for 4 years till she was diagnosed with Prediabetes.
When I say sugar, I am talking about the white refined stuff in cubes and powdered form. It is used in coffee, used to sprinkle on dough nuts, added to carbonated drinks, cake etc.
You might not need a health scare to wake you up but the danger in excessive consumption of sugar is real.
Recent studies show that sugar is more addictive than Class A drugs like cocaine and heroin. The terrifying thing is that it is easily accessible to kids and adults. The effects of its accessibility is seen every day in the ever-expanding waistline of kids and adults and the early onset of diabetes in children.
Throughout the month of November, there has been an awareness campaign on the dangers of Diabetes, some clinics in Nigeria even held a free check for patients. Now that the month is over what are you going to do? Are you going to relax and let go till next November or are you going to take the lessons you learnt from last month and put it into practice to help yourself or are you going to soothe yourself into a false sense of security and continue your relationship with sugar till something goes wrong.
I have found out from working with clients and coaching that most people will change when they decide to. That is the only time they will give something their undivided attention and beat it to submission.
Your health is your business
Your health should be very important to you. Articles about curbing sugar intake and stopping sugar addiction abounds but they can only be effective when you decide to use them
The negative effects of sugar include
- Higher risk of Type 11 diabetes
- Sugar is highly addictive Researchers have found that sugar is addictive and detrimental to health and that it stimulates the same pleasure center in the brain like heroin and cocaine
- It contributes significantly to obesity both in children and adults
- Excessive sugar is a risk factor in heart disease
- Sugar is highly toxic and has no nutrient. Your body does not need that white processed stuff for survival
- Sugar cause tooth decay
- Sugar causes gum disease
So how do you stop excessive consumption of sugar?
The remedy that a lot of experts have proposed include going on a sugar detox, getting your kitchen in order, taking fruits in place of sugar sweetened food and snacks or just cutting sugar off completely from the moment you discover you have a problem with your relationship with sugar.
While all these remedies sound good and some people swear by it, I have found that the most important thing in the process is you. How bad do you want to break up with sugar? You have to want it bad enough to take the steps needed for a change. I have just 3 suggestions for you and you can start with them right away
- Think: Think and imagine what may happen if you continue in the dangerous path you are in. Think of Type 11 diabetes with its numerous negative effects on your limb, kidney and eye. Surely you do not wish that for yourself..
Think of your heart. Don’t you want it strong, healthy and performing its function at its best. What of your weight? Don’t you want to be at a healthy BMI and healthy? You have the answers and as soon as you make up your mind that you want the best for you now, the battle is half won.
2. Cut it off gradually
You may need to cut it off gradually. A lot of former sugar addicts swear that is what helped them to kick that habit. Chidi was a 5 cubes for breakfast typical Nigerian tea. What we did? Did not ask him to stop taking sugar, I asked him to use 4 cubes. He did that for 2 weeks. When asked him to use 5 cubes, he discovered that it was too sweet for him. From 4 cubes we went down to 3 and 2 and 1. Right now he is in a good place where he can decide to take sugar or not to. He can take coffee black which was an unheard of thing in his life before now
3. Have a backup plan
This is very important even for a reformed addict. Have things at hand that is healthy that you can eat when the craving comes. Do not have a sugar day. Have fruits, dates and ingredients for a healthy and delicious smoothie always available. There are certain times of the month that you may crave sugar even now. What you should do is that you do not wait for craving to come. Always have fruits and date palm at home. Smoothies can help to satisfy you sugar. Remember that there is a healthier recipe for every food, even a sugar laden food. Find a healthier recipe for the food and enjoy it.
4.Don’t add more
Most chocolate beverage in Nigeria contains sugar, the milk contains sugar, why add more sugar. Most cereals with just milk is sweet, do not add more sugar. Kids acquire the taste for sugar because we add more than they need. You can start safeguarding the health of your kids by not giving them excess sugar.
Be mindful of what goes into your mouth. Do not add sugar to your food or sprinkle sugar on your snacks absentmindedly. Take the steps above one at a time. Once you get used to one, move to the other. It takes time to break a habit. Sometimes you may miss it. But, do not wallow in the miss, get up and pick up from where you left off.
At the end of the day what matters most is your health and well being. The season for cookies, chocolate and good cheer is here. You can still eat right for your health by following these steps to prevent holiday weight gain