Sugar is a carbohydrate that gives our bodies energy and provides fuel for our cells. It’s made up of glucose, fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (from cane or beet sugar), galactose, and other “-oses.” In nature, fructose is rare, found mostly in seasonal fruits and some vegetables. And because sugar was scarce in the days of hunters and gatherers, its presence triggered a reward center in the brain. In other words, we’re genetically programmed to like sugar.
Food scientists and marketers have figured out ways to add sugar into practically everything, making our food cheap, delicious, and very, very addicting. And because sugar is a food that doesn’t make us feel full, we eat more than we should. The sugar is stored as fat that can lead to weight gain, fatigue, obesity, brain fog, and cardiovascular issues. Today, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day! And with 70 percent of Americans overweight and 30 percent obese, sugar is at the forefront of the food and health conversation. The general consensus? We all need to cut back on sugar.
For the next 30 days, eliminate all refined sugars along with artificial and natural sweeteners.
Anything that contains added sugar of any kind is off limits, so be sure to read labels, study ingredients, and look for anything that might be disguised as sugar, such as agave nectar, barley malt, cane juice, coconut palm sugar, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin, molasses, muscovado, and rice syrup.
Also watch out for foods that contain sugar, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, sports drinks, applesauce, salad dressing, fruit yogurt, granola, soda, energy drinks, breakfast cereals, stevia, honey, maple syrup, and more.
WHAT ABOUT FRUIT?
Technically speaking, fresh fruit contains plenty of sugar in the form of fructose. If you make a fresh fruit smoothie, you can easily consume 35 grams of sugar. On the other hand, fruit has fiber and plenty of beneficial nutrients. If you choose to eat fruit in this challenge, limit yourself to no more than 1 to 2 cups per day.
*Focus only on sugar and keep everything else consistent; 30 days without sugar will be challenging enough.
*Get rid of all the junk food in your home, car, purse, and at work. Do not give yourself an easy opportunity to cheat by having sugary foods accessible. Instead, stock up on plenty of healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.
*Expect sugar cravings and withdrawals. You will likely feel irritable for a few days, so be sure to mentally prepare yourself and perhaps even treat yourself to something enjoyable.
- WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW OFTEN – list the details of the challenge on the Accountability Tracker.
2. DOCUMENT IT ON THE CHALLENGE CALENDAR:
3. THE REWARD – don’t forget to document your reward on the accountability tracker! How will you reward yourself? Do you respond better to milestone rewards or are you holding out for the big daddy upon completion? What will it be? What motivates you?
4. KEEP TRUDGING FORWARD – don’t give up. If you fall off the wagon, keep moving forward! Ask for help. That’s what family and friends are for!
5. REFLECTION – reflect on the challenge – what went well, and what could be better. Learn from this and use this to improve on yourself and your future challenges!
What’s your Challenge? Get started today!