Part 2: Hacks For Quitting Sugar

Hi friends, how are you all?

Before I begin, let me say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to all those of you who often share their life-stories and feedback with me, after reading my posts. It is always an honored feeling when I go through your messages and your appreciation. In fact, I derive a major chunk of my motivation from that!

Last Friday’s post was about sugar addiction and how we develop it. Our brain gets addicted to sugar easily and we even have withdrawal symptoms when we try to quit. Do read the post here, if you missed it somehow.

The first step is to accept that we have a sugar-addiction or that our sugar-consumption is much higher than it should be. Check. Now what? How do I change it?

First of all, know that it’s a great decision, one that would bring better health soon enough. Not only would you feel better but look better too. It won’t be easy but trust me, it would be all worth it!

High sugar consumption has been linked to various illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, inflammation, faster aging, heart diseases and many other chronic conditions.

As I said, quitting sugar is not easy. Quitting any addiction is not easy, is it? The more you want to quit, the more cravings you would have. After all, the brain is involved and it wants sugar, one way or the other!

Withdrawal Symptoms

It is a slow journey and the severity of symptoms depends upon how much sugar you were consuming before you decided to quit.

The symptoms could last for a couple of weeks and could be quite uncomfortable/unpleasant. Apart from high cravings, let’s see what we might be dealing with once we start reducing the sugar-consumption. It could be any or many of the below:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and depressive thoughts
  • Sleep troubles
  • Feeling tired and low energy
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Nausea

Ok, got it! I still want to quit because a few weeks’ unpleasantness is preferable to a lifetime of diabetes and other chronic disease. Can something help me to cope better while I give it my best shot?

What Can Help?

Cut all at once or cut out half first! For some, it is easier to just get up one fine morning and decide no sugar for them. For some, it is easier to cut slowly and gradually. Whatever works for you, works for you.

I, personally went slowly about it. I reduced my sugar consumption to half one day and after a while when I got comfortable with the ‘half’, I reduced it to further half. I had a sweet tooth but once I decided to cut down on sugar, I stuck to it.

I consider it a lifelong choice and if someday, I consume more sugar for whatever reason, I do not feel guilty about it. I just try to indulge in moderation and I get back to life the next day.

I think it is all about getting our priorities right and the motivation follows automatically.

Some Hacks That Would Help

Here are some tips for you, experience-based and research-based, should you decide to go slow:

  • Have a glass of water when you feel a craving. The hunger cues and thirst cues are same for our body
  • Analyze your cravings when they arise. Ask yourself if you really are hungry or just your brain playing tricks or because you feel tired/stressed at the moment
  • Have a healthy, balanced diet overall. Focus on whole foods and vegetables which can keep you full for long
  • Add fruits in your diet, as snacks
  • Best way to reduce drastically is to – start with sweetened beverages. Cut out cold-drinks/sodas, mocktails, energy drinks and fruit-juices from your diet and replace these with water, flavored-water and smoothies etc
  • Replace breakfast cereals with oats, eggs and use tons of veggies in whatever you cook
  • Read labels before you pick up a food from the shelf. Especially if they are fat-free versions
  • Try using cinnamon for a tinge of healthier sweetness to your dessert/drink
  • Maybe make a trail mix with nuts and seeds and add some munnakka/large raisin in it and have that mix (as a snack) whenever you get a craving…way healthier than anything sugary for sure!
  • How about tricking the brain a bit by giving it just a tiny bit of a healthier alternative e.g. a date for an ice-cream, a calcium chewie for a dessert (guilty of this one ?) or even saunf/fennel!
  • And while trying to quit, stay away from artificial sweeteners as they can send wrong signals to your body and that could create more issues later
  • Engage in regular exercise in whichever form you like. Not only would it keep your cravings in control but keep you mentally relaxed

Last but not the least, make sure you avoid your sugar-triggers…think about the time and situations that make you crave sugar more, notice a pattern and work on the stress that talks you into finding solace in sugary company.

Also, follow a few health bloggers on social media. They keep sharing tips of healthy eating habits and hacks to it. They also provide the much-needed motivation.

In the end, do know that it is something you need to do in order to have a healthier version of yourself and keep many chronic diseases at bay. You always have a choice till it is taken away from you.

Hope this post today and the tips in it would help you in making some necessary lifestyle changes. Do join me on Instagram for more regular stuff like this – on health, fitness and nutrition.

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Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Weight Management With Mindful Eating

Hi friends, hope all is good at your end! happy Friday!!

This is the second and last part of ‘Mindful Eating’ series. Mindful eating can also be called meditation with food, and rightly so. It’s not very complicated and far, far easier than actual meditation. And definitely, more delicious for one! Do read the part one here, in case you missed it.

I too have binge-eaten a lot in past. If I was eating a packet of cookies, I’ll finish most of the packet in one go. If I liked something, I ate multiple servings of it. It was for the taste and probably the addiction to sugar. I had a sweet-tooth and sweets, desserts, cookies, ice-cream, thandai, flavoured milks and other baked delicacies were my weakness.

It happened automatically to me but thankfully, I noticed the changes. With house in chaos always, with two little ones running and fighting and the Other Half fond of running TV debates on high volume, I eventually resorted to eating in my kitchen, for some quiet time ?

It helped – eating in peace, I mean. I paid attention to my food.

Mindful eating is definitely achievable and is way better than any fad-diets which are never sustainable, in longer run. What makes mindful eating even better is the fact that it coordinates mind and body, just like a good meditation session.

Mindful eating is eating with awareness so that we understand what our body is craving at a point of time and to eat accordingly. To understand when to stop eating and to realize what really satisfies us when it comes to food. And to truly enjoy each bite of our food.

How?

It Involves

  • Eating in quiet, peaceful surroundings, without external distractions
  • Eating slowly
  • Understanding body’s hunger cues – knowing when to eat and when to stop eating
  • To dissociate food with anxiety and moods
  • Thoroughly enjoying each bite and to feel various texture, smells and flovours
  • Knowing what we eat is how we feel
  • Being grateful for the food and the health it brings

Benefits

  • Once you start practicing mindful eating, you start understanding your body better and once you understand your body better, you start understanding the value of nutrition
  • You get a better control on your eating habits
  • And this in turn, not just provide assistance in weigh issues, eating disorders etc but also makes you feel better

It is not about a diet or even diet-control. This one is all about eating and the pleasure of it, in our bodies and mind! To see which foods make us happy and healthier, both! At times, we all overeat and then feel like crap, bloated and unhappy for a long while…wishing we never ate that junk or at least ate in control, don’t we?

To realize that itself, is one level achieved. To realize what we eat affects our feelings and our moods, is a lot of progress already.

What could be better than being able to manage weight issues and eating disorders, WITH eating? We just learn to listen to what our body is telling us and eat. The main thing here is to listen. Not easy but not hard either.

Did you like today’s post? Share with your family and friends. Do join me on Instagram for regular stories, nutritional tips and a healthy dose of motivation to keep you on track.

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Till next Friday

Namaste, Health and Peace

My Mix for Multigrain atta (Multigrain flour) for everyday use and pssst…weight loss!

Healthier, softer rotis, everyday!

Hi friends,

First of all, thank you all for your love and support so far. Your little messages keep me motivated…and thinking about the next post that I would do ?

When I started on my “Get Fitter” journey a year back, I made many changes in my lifestyle. Be it being a regular to gym or taking multi-vitamins regularly or incorporating many other changes in my diet as well as lifestyle.

I shall now be sharing with you, all these changes that I made, one blog post by one. Please feel free to make these customized as per your needs.

Multigrain Atta/Flour (whole grain)

One very important diet-change I made was, switching from plain wheat flour/atta to wholegrain-multigrain one.  I call it important because it doesn’t need much effort on your part and is very easy to make – hence more effective! And is good for the entire family.

And no, the usual branded “so-called multigrain attas” don’t work because they have so little quantity of multigrain (I wonder how much is actually whole grain of, too) that you would be surprised and wonder if it would ever do you any good. Check the packing if you don’t believe me! Plus, they are so finely processed that they lose most of their nutrients in the process. Better to make your own, I would suggest.

This way you can make sure that it’s truly wholegrain-multigrain not just a mix of useless finely processed multiple grains!

In fact, the wholegrain multigrain mix that I use now makes my rotis softer, lighter and tastier. Its all a win-win for me!

Why Multigrain (wholegrain, mind you)?

The popularity these days of multigrain is mostly because a multigrain mix of two or more grains pack a more variety of nutrients, much more than a single nutrient like wheat. Each grain has its own nutritional value and consuming these can be great for you.

Multigrain is nutritious, wholesome, packed with fibre and aids you in weight loss. Do you need more reasons before you make the switch?

The wholegrain-multigrain mix that I make is a mix of six whole grains.

Why use a whole grain, one might ask?

A whole grain is one which contains all three parts of the kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm while refined grains are processed to retain only the endosperm. This makes whole grains healthier as they contain the fiber-dense bran and other essential nutrients that are not lost due to processing.

So, coming back to the six whole grains that I mix for my multigrain atta are:

  • Wheat – Whole wheat (with fibre-dense bran) is important as it is high on fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Finely processed white wheat atta/flour doesn’t offer same nutritional benefits.
  • Ragi/Nachni/Finger Millet – Whole grain ragi is gluten free, is rich in fibre and helps with weight loss and diabetes. Its packed with calcium, amino acids, good carbs, Vit D etc and is an excellent source of natural iron.
  • Oats – Whole grain oats are packed with protein as well as fibre and are a rich source of magnesium. It is low on fat and super-filling so it helps in weight management. It is diabetic-friendly as it lowers blood sugar levels and reduces risk of heart diseases.
  • Chana/chickpea – gluten free, high on soluble fibre and protein, reduces blood cholesterol, a rich antioxidant and high in folic acid and magnesium, is diabetic friendly.
  • Makai – Especially good for winters though I mix it all year round due to its taste (which I like) and nutrients. It is also gluten free, rich in iron, zinc and vitamin A. It is a good fibre source hence helps in weight loss.
  • Jwari/Jowar/Sorghum Millet – is a rich source of protein, iron, phosphorus and Vit B. It has fibre and it is gluten-free.

Other than these, Rajgira/Amaranth, Buckwheat (known as Kuttu ka aata in India), Barley/Jau, Bajra/Pearl Millet can also be considered and mixed in your multigrain atta. However I have never mixed these in my multigrain atta, yet. If and when I do, will update this post ?

Be careful about your multigrain mix If you are diabetic or have any other medical conditions. Also, if you want gluten-free atta, a multigrain would be ideal for you. You can mix and match as per your requirements.

My Multigrain Mix (whole grain and chakki-made) as of today is:

Indian rotis/chapatis

Wheat – 7 kg

Ragi – 500gm

Oats – 500gm

Chana – 500gm

Maize – 250gm

Jowar – 250gm

It makes a total of 9 kgs in one go. I get my chakki-walla to put all the whole grains together and then grind it all together at medium coarseness.

So, if I have convinced you to make the switch, do let me know. And remember, any medical conditions or allergies, double-check!

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