With all the emphasis on clean eating, let’s talk about an easy detox for the New Year that any of us can do. Many people use the yearly calendar change to set goals. Many of these are centered around weight loss. By the middle of January, frustration begins to set in. Once you’ve blown your diet, don’t give up. Just try a different approach.
First of all, you’ve got to break the sugar cycle. Personally, I don’t even like sugary snacks however, I am addicted to them. Once I eat a little, I eat a lot at regular intervals throughout the day. If you are anything like me, the key is simply to avoid sugar all together versus use the moderation method. Sugar stimulates cravings which cause consumption which cause more cravings. Got that? If you can avoid sugar for three full days, I promise you that your cravings will improve and settle down. Three days! That isn’t an eternity. Once you can make it three days with no sugar, check your alcohol consumption. Mine almost always goes up. That nightly gin and tonic you’ve been drinking more for the sugar than anything? Switch to something with less sugar and calories or eliminate it all together. As long as you can keep it in very good control, I don’t think a couple glasses of wine a week will kill you or cause you to gain weight. Note that I said a couple glasses NOT bottles. That will definitely pack on the lbs.
Once you deal with the sugar cravings, now it is time to deal with the salt. Most people find that with the sugar under control, salt cravings are more manageable. I am a popcorn-a-holic. There is nothing I enjoy more than a bag of artificially flavored popcorn. A bag of it makes my day! At this point in our detox, it is time to get rid of the salty snacks for a few weeks. Again, the whole point of this detox is to get your cravings under control so they don’t drive you and you can make good choices. On top of this, once you break the salt/sugar cycle, real food tastes good. If you don’t believe me, head off to the grocery store and smell a grapefruit. It’s hard to crave the natural flavors of grapefruit when you pollute yourself with straight corn syrup several times a day.
Now that the sugar and salt cravings are out of your system or at least manageable, let’s get to the hard part. For me, that involves adding in a lot more salads, soups and veggies and decreasing the bread. I would still recommend bread over sugar snacks. A loaf of bread used to be my favorite snack however middle aged ladies like myself simply can’t eat so much bread anymore. Also, bread cravings are just sugar cravings in disguise so if you are really looking to tame the beast, you have to handle these too.
Once you have the cravings under control, if you are trying to drop a few pounds you won’t feel like you are tormenting yourself as you try to reduce your portions and eat more healthfully. If you can load up your meals with fruits and vegetables, lean meats and a bit of whole grains and an even smaller portion of dairy, you will be well on your way to meeting your health goals and getting your eating under control.
Slow and steady wins the race every time versus crazy crash diets.