Candy, cookies, pastries, and other sweets are high in sugar, which is quickly and efficiently stored as body fat. And the more you eat, the more you crave it. It’s a rough situation for you and your sweet tooth; it’s as if your sweet tooth is against you ever meeting your summer body goal!
Don’t lose heart! It is possible to gradually reduce the amount of it in your diet in a way that’s painless and practical. And as a Certified Nutritionist, I have made a 28-day plan here to help you to cut back on it, without going crazy. By reducing it’s amount in your diet, you’ll experience an automatic drop in body fat – this means inches and sizes lost! Sound good? Let’s do this!
Cut Back: Week One
In this first week, your goal is to get an accurate idea of how much of it you are currently consuming. You’ll act as a reporter on your eating habits for a full week, recording everything you consume. You can even use MyFitnessPal to create a Free Profile and using it to easily track it for you.
This week is only for reporting. I don’t want you to change anything about your diet yet. Eat as you normally do, but tally the grams of it at each meal and snack. Yes, even your drink at the coffee shop and your wine or cocktail at dinner. Look up the amount of it in everything you consume and record it.
By the end of this week, you will have a clear picture of how much sugar you are eating and which items in your diet are most sugar-filled.
Cut Back: Week Two
In this second week, your goal is to eliminate liquid sugar. It is all too easy to consume large amounts of it in beverages, often without even noticing. You should know now which beverages in your diet contain it from the tracking you did last week, so target and cut out these beverages.
Sweetened coffee drinks, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sweetened sodas and teas should all be replaced with zero calorie options. Try liquid stevia for sweetening beverages. It has a more pleasing flavor than the powdered stevia. Avoid super processed sweeteners, like splenda or aspartame, as these may cause bloating and cravings for more sugar.
In addition to focusing on removing sugary drinks this week, I also want you to focus on drinking lots and lots of water. Drink eight ounces of water before, during, and after every meal and snack.
Cut Back: Week Three
In this third week, we are now going to focus on eliminating the foods in your diet that contain refined sugars.
What’s great about this gradual approach to cutting out sugar is that over the course of the first two weeks, while you recorded your sugar consumption and then cut out sugary liquids, you likely found yourself instinctively beginning to choose items that are lower in sugar. That’s great! That’s going to make this week all that much easier as you begin to pass on those sugar-laden snacks and desserts.
This week targets and eliminates the food items in your diet that contain refined sugars. These are packaged candies and snacks, dressings and sauces, desserts and sweetened yogurts. Read labels and check sugar grams. Swap these items out for naturally sweetened treats – sweetened with fruit or stevia.
Cut Back: Week Four
You are on the home stretch! As you enter your last week, you should already be noticing your clothes feeling looser, and your energy levels increasing. Now, I’d like you to once again record everything that you eat and drink. Tally up the sugar grams and take note of anything that you’re still consuming that’s high in it.
This week should reinforce the healthy changes you’ve implemented and keep you accountable. If you find yourself really missing a certain sugar-filled item, then look for healthier, low-sugar replacement foods to enjoy instead of reverting back to your old habits.
The key now is to maintain your new habits. The first month is always the most difficult, as new habits are formed, so you’ve already done the hardest part! Moving forward, whenever you find yourself getting hooked again, go through this four week plan to get back on track.
In addition to removing refined sugar from your diet, participating in a challenging, consistent exercise plan is vital to fat loss. If you aren’t yet one of my amazing clients, then reply to this blog post or give me a call today!
I’d love to help you achieve a substantial drop in body fat before summer.