Like many of us, I let myself go during lockdown, and I wasn't motivated to do any form of hardcore workout routine or diet to find myself again. I just wanted the extra weight to go away without all the drama of calorie counting and high-intensity intervals. Then, after a health scare, I did the one thing that's saving my life and my waistline: I walked away from sugar.
I've been a sweets-lover for as long as I've been able to recite my ABCs. When I look back at childhood photos, one out of every five is me sitting at a table with a plate full of cake or cookies and a soda close by. Not much changed in my teen and adult years, except for adding fad diets and workouts to stay thin. Somehow, dessert still found its way to the table after a small salad and sensibly sized piece of protein.
After decades of overindulging on the sweet stuff, my body said enough. Add the honorary pounds from marriage and three kids, and it completely shut down. My love affair with sugar worsened a health issue I'd been struggling with and nearly took me out. An immediate change was needed, so I cut added sugars out of my diet completely, and it has not only improved my health, but also helped me lose a significant amount of weight. Here's how I did it.
1. I cleaned out my pantry.
Every box or container of processed anything hit the garbage. That sounds wild, but believe me when I say there's hidden sugar in almost every packaged food. Read the labels. The nutritional facts tell you how much sugar you're consuming in every serving. The added sugars may blow your mind.
Instead of eating these packaged foods, I cooked my own meals and ate fresh vegetables, fruits, and proteins from natural sources, like nuts. Eating this way helped me control my serving sizes, and I knew what was in the pot.
2. I made smart swaps.
Fruits like strawberries, oranges, and cherries have enough natural sugar in them to satisfy a sweet tooth. I bought a bag of fruit for every box of my favorite sugary snack I threw away. I've found that keeping low-glycemic fruits like these on hand keeps me from craving sugar.
When I felt like a bowl of ice cream, I threw a handful of strawberries and cherries in the blender with some homemade hemp milk, then froze the mixture. An hour later, the yummy, creamy concoction hit the spot.
3. I remained committed.
After the first seven days, I'd only lost two pounds, but I felt great. I expected to see a smaller number on the scale and almost got discouraged. Before letting those doubts overtake me, I remembered it took years to get my body in this predicament, so I needed to give this new process time.
Three months later, I'm about 30 pounds down. I feel better about my health, and my body is celebrating me for it. Cutting sugar is a good lifestyle change for me, and the best part is my family is on the journey with me. If you're looking for a great place to start for simple weight loss, consider eliminating the processed sweet stuff.