DAY 5

Women's Health - Shrink Your Sugar Belly - - CONTENTS -

So, how can you break the cy­cle of reach­ing for sugar when emo­tions strike? The an­swer lies in find­ing some­thing to short-cir­cuit that re­sponse when you’re pro­voked. When you start on the eat­ing plan in Chap­ter 3, you’ll find a choice of strate­gies de­signed to break the con­nec­tion be­tween your body or brain and sugar. Ev­ery day, you can take ac­tion to ease stress in the mo­ment and help man­age it con­sis­tently – and en­cour­age your­self to be­come aware of neg­a­tive feel­ings, so you can learn to man­age them with­out sweets.

As you’ve learnt, there’s ev­i­dence that highly palat­able food – choco­late cake and ice cream def­i­nitely qual­ify – can ac­ti­vate the brain-re­ward sys­tem. And it could be hard-wired into your head: re­search pre­sented at an an­nual meet­ing of the US So­ci­ety for the Study of Inges­tive Be­hav­iour re­ported that some peo­ple with a per­son­al­ity trait known as “re­ward sen­si­tiv­ity” are pre­dis­posed to be highly re­spon­sive to cues linked with plea­sur­able food, like TV ads. Turn the ta­bles on your plea­sure-seek­ing brain by cre­at­ing your own “re­wards card” – a list of non-food treats that give it (and you) the bliss it seeks, with­out hav­ing to reach for the bis­cuit tin. And that dis­cov­ery process can be a plea­sure in it­self.

And you don’t have to wait for crav­ings to take hold be­fore you take some time to make your­self happy. Make sure you pick at least one ev­ery day to get your­self into the habit of treat­ing your­self with­out end­ing up stuff­ing your­self.

PREP

Shop for re­set

To­day, you’ll be shop­ping for Phase 1 of the eat­ing plan. Pick out a few of the quick-and-easy meal op­tions from Chap­ter 3 and start giv­ing those in­gre­di­ents pride of place in your kitchen.

Put favourite items at eye level. Place veg­eta­bles, yo­ghurt and lean pro­tein in the front and cen­tre of the fridge; your pre-popped pop­corn and rolled or steel-cut oats on an eye-level kitchen shelf; your pack­age of frozen edamame beans where you can’t miss it, so you’ll re­mem­ber to thaw them out in time.

Prep foods for faster meals. As soon as you get home from the su­per­mar­ket, wash, slice and peel your cru­dités, av­o­cado and salad veg­eta­bles and place them in see-through con­tain­ers. Boil eggs and pre­pare grains the night be­fore you plan to eat them. When you get home hun­gry, you’ll be able to whip up a healthy meal with­out a lot of te­dious prep work.

Hide the junk. If you live with some­one who won’t be eat­ing along with you and the plan, keep their op­tions – es­pe­cially the sweets and treats – on the bot­tom shelf of the fridge, on the lower shelf in your freezer and in high or low shelves in your cup­boards, where you’re less likely to see them.

Don’t bulk-buy. Hit the su­per­mar­ket more of­ten and buy only the next few meals, rather than get­ting sup­plies for the week. An over­load of choices at home may de­plete your willpower, a Jour­nal of Con­sumer Psy­chol­ogy study found.

You’re ready for Phase 1!

Now that you’ve iden­ti­fied your sugar pro­file and swapped the sugar bombs in your kitchen with whole, nat­u­ral foods, you’re ready to start your jour­ney to sugar free­dom. The first step? Re­mov­ing all sugar from your diet – tem­po­rar­ily, we prom­ise. We’ll stick with you ev­ery step of the way, of­fer­ing prac­ti­cal ways to pre­vent and re­lieve crav­ings and curb crank­i­ness. The ben­e­fits you stand to gain far out­weigh any short-term dis­com­fort. Less than a week from now, your waist­band will be looser, your en­ergy higher and your mood brighter.

Just as im­por­tant, you’ll have turned your diet around in ways that per­haps you didn’t think were pos­si­ble. You’ll be pass­ing up your morn­ing pas­try and coffee, kick­ing your bot­tle-a-day fizzy drink habit and elim­i­nat­ing those nightly ice-cream fests. That’s for starters. The sweet life is within grasp; turn the page and reach for it.

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