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Can’t Quit Sugar? Try Scaling Back. Yes! It’s possible

quit sugar

Trying To Quit Sugar Cold Turkey Is Harder Than We Think

Finding it difficult to quell your sweet tooth and quit sugar? The key may be to stop waging an all-out attack against the cookie jar. “If you struggle with sugar cravings, it’s normal and understandable to try and control them through willpower,” writes Karly Randolph Pitman, teacher, author, and founder of Growing Human Kindness. “However, this approach doesn’t work – it creates stress, anxiety, frustration, and self-blame (what am I doing wrong?), which only escalates the cravings and your response to them.”

Instead, she suggests, it’s about softening sugar cravings through radical kindness. Others agree, “Because our bodies are so used to the sweet stuff, going sugar-free very abruptly can lead to crazy-intense withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and mood swings,” says Brittany Kohn, RD, to Health Magazine. “It’s better to ease yourself off it slowly by taking one step at a time, so your body has time to adjust.” But how exactly does one kindly scale back on the sweet stuff? Here are some tips …

Work with Your Feelings To Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Don’t Judge Yourself For Sugar Cravings

When you feel overcome by a craving, rather than feeling guilty, try another approach suggests Pitman on her website. “I would say, ‘No judgment, Karly.’ Using your name is very calming. It creates a feeling in the brain of a loving parent caring for us. Much of our healing is giving ourselves this unconditional love and care, the nurturing that we need to heal the emotional brain.”

Offer Nurture To Your Sweet Tooth Cravings

Consider your craving like a colicky baby. When it arises, try “rocking it to sleep,” Pitman says. “I first heard this phrase of ‘rocking something to sleep’ from a friend – I found it to be an excellent description of this practice. When you rock a baby, you’re soothing and holding the infant when it’s in a distressed state. When you rock your cravings to sleep, you’re doing the same thing – you’re ‘holding’ or containing your emotions so that they can soften, drain, move and flow.” Learn how to do this practice here.

Ask for help – Get A Sugar Quitting Buddy

You may feel that you should be able to conquer your cravings and quit sugar on your own. In fact, it’s the exact opposite that’s true. You far improve your success rate of being able to stick to any healthy habit when you rope in friends. “Emotional support – empathy, connection, listening, being heard, feeling seen, and being witnessed – creates a container where emotions can move, ebb and flow,” writes Pitman.

Reduce Sugar Binge Triggers With These 5 Simple Tips

Say adios to hidden sugars

Once you get a taste of sugar, it’s hard not to want more. And that makes it harder to quit sugar. If you’re trying to ease off of the white stuff, pay careful attention to the foods you regularly consume and consider where sugar may be hiding. Lattes, pasta sauce, cereal – these are all likely culprits. This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of these foods for good, just bring awareness to what you’re consuming.

Cut Back On Carbs To Reduce Sugar

We know this is old news, but it bears repeating simply because cutting out carbs is Hard (we capitalized that H on purpose). But giving them the boot is worth it since refined-flour treats wreck havoc on blood sugar levels and set you up for a roller-coaster ride of energy spikes and dips. When you’re craving something carby, consider instead noshing on fruit and nuts, which offer fiber and fats to help keep energy levels sustained. Here’s one of our favorite snacks.

Hide The Cookie Jar: Out of sight, Out of Mind

If you’re the only one in your house cutting back on sugar, consider keeping sweets out of sight to avoid temptation. Put snacks like this, this and this in their place to up your chances of avoiding blood-sugar dips by keeping your body sustained with healthy fats and fiber.

Prep for Success: Do Your Homework To Reduce Your Sugar Intake

If you’ve got a dinner reservation on the books, plan ahead by doing your homework. Look at the menu when you’re not starving and determine the healthiest options. On date night, have a snack with some protein before dinner so you’re not starving when you arrive. You’ll be less likely to let your cravings take the wheel and more likely to order something delicious, healthy and low in sugar.

Eating Less Sugar? Pile on the Protein

You may be cutting back on sugar, but that doesn’t mean you must live a life of austerity. There are tons of foods that you can still indulge in. Many foods like nuts, avocados, eggs, and dairy, keep you from even wanting sugar – They’re packed with blood-sugar stabilizing protein.  Here’s a lunch that delivers a protein punch and is nearly too pretty to eat to help you quit sugar.

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