JUST cannot give up sugar?

One of the most common things I hear when talking to my friends and clients who are talking about their weight is that they just can't give up the sweet stuff.

They have such a sweet tooth. They feel so tired. They just need something to keep them going.

And if there are some chocolates, or biscuits or cakes around, they just can't help themselves.

Sometimes they admit to eating a chocolate bar three or more times a day. However, if you want to lose weight, flatten your belly, and have more energy, then sugar-based foods should be off your menu.

And I don't include fruit as part of that. Fruit is good for you... as long as you don't overdo it.

Start by keeping a food diary for a whole week.

Just keep to your normal routine, but write everything down. Everything you eat and drink (yes alcohol is a form of sugar as well).

Try to eat and drink how you usually do. At the end of the week, have a read through it, and note all the obvious sources of sugar - chocolates, sweets, cakes, biscuits, crisps, popcorn, sweetened nuts, etc.

Then, go through all the non-home cooked / prepared foods and check their labels.

Look for words like syrup, treacle, lactose, maltose, glucose and fructose. All these are sugars too.

Scarily enough, I would say that 90 per cent of the processed / ready-made food, sauces, etc contain a significant portion of sugar.

Be warned. I’m going to tell it like it is.

1. First, before you eat sweets / chocolates / biscuits, etc, ask yourself this question, “am I really hungry?”.

Some of the time, you might be. But most of the time, it will only be a matter of habit, being bored or emotional eating. If you're really hungry, then have some real food. Make sure you always have something healthy with you. I keep peanuts and raisins in my car, plus fruit every day for those low blood sugar moments.

2. Don't buy the stuff! So you will now say “but yes, but what about my kids?”.

Truth is, children shouldn't have sugar either. It rots their teeth, can cause obesity, might make them over-excited or hyperactive. And it sets up a terrible addiction that could literally kill them in later life.

And if you have friends over and need dessert, well a lovely plate of fruit will be nicely appreciated. Remember, most of the population is trying to lose a bit of weight, especially before the holidays. The chances are if you’re starting to look fab then your friends will want your secrets anyway!

3. Make your own food from scratch more often. Yes, making a pasta sauce or vinaigrette from scratch doesn't take very long. Fill an empty jar and keep a vinaigrette in the fridge for a long time. Box up the pasta sauce and freeze it for emergency meals. Batch cook when you’ve an hour spare. Better for you than scrolling Facebook!

4. Check food labels. Check packaged food labels and compare brands. The ones that claim to be healthy aren't always the healthiest ones. The more you cut sugar out of your diet, the more energy you will get. That sounds like a contradiction, but it's true! And at the same time, you will see your confidence in yourself rise, your weight drop, your body tone showing, and your waist will shrink. Your skin will get clearer, under eye bags might even disappear. Muffin top will get smaller. Any nasty cellulite will start to look better too. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

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