5 steps to sugar free – but do they actually work?

You may have noticed the distinct lack of posts lately. That’s because a new baby has descended upon my household and whilst it is wonderful, my carefully orchestrated and productive life now lies in tatters around me.

One of the biggest struggles of all? My physical health. Even with all the knowledge, tricks and tips at my disposal, I’ve struggled to maintain the sugar-free lifestyle. A week spent consuming hospital foyer snack food and sleeping in a fold-out bed broke down my habits and routines.

I’m sharing this because I know so many of you have struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle, regardless of the food plan you’ve chosen. After three years, I’m back to testing my own strategies to see if they still work.

Here are the five key elements that I’ll be working on.

Plan meals

Honestly, I think this is a must for any new parents trying to stay sane, but if you’re trying to stick to a specific plan, then it’s the only way. Plan out the meals for the week in advance and then when it comes to dinner, there’s no decision making required.

Remove temptation

When you have something to celebrate, people buy you chocolate. A lot of chocolate. Do you know what’s hard to resist when you’ve had 4 hours of fractured sleep? You guessed it, that big mountain of chocolate. Declutter the cupboard, give away anything left over (there’s always someone willing to take treats off your hands) and get rid of the easy dopamine hit.

Drink more water

I’ve been consuming coffee as my main liquid for the past two months. It’s a false sense of security and I know it. If I want to get my body back to a normal state, I know I need to cut down on the stimulants and up my intake of plain old water.

Sleep

I know, I know, this one is out of my control right now. Except that it isn’t, not entirely. I can still choose to prioritise an early night over getting distracted with busy work. I can make sure I prepare better so those middle of the night feeds are as seamless as possible. I’ve always believed that rest is the best thing you can do for yourself, your health and your productivity, but I’ve come to appreciate it in a whole new way.

Keep it simple

When it comes to doing anything difficult, the key is to make things as easy as possible. For a sugar free diet, I intend to do that in a few ways. Firstly, breakfast each morning needs to be quick, easy and consistent. Now is not the time for fancy or for variety. It has to be the quick, nutritious fuel I need to start my day. The same goes for lunch. Yes it might be boring, but I can live with dull for a few weeks if it gets me back on track.

Finally, dinner doesn’t need to be an hour-long preparation affair. Meat, vegetables and digging out the spices from the cupboard can still equal tasty in under 20 minutes.

Will it all work? I hope so, even under these new and uncertain circumstances. If it doesn’t, then it might be time to revise The Realist’s Guide To Sugar Free with a parent specific edition!

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