guest post: low sugar tips.

by Janetha on July 22, 2012

in guest posts,tips

Hello, meals & moves readers!

I’m excited to be able to share with you today.  My name is Kelly, and I blog over at No Sugar Sweet Life.  I had the privilege of meeting Janetha at the Blend Retreat in May. She’s even more cute and spunky in person, if you can believe that! I LOVE her blog (as I’m sure you do!) and especially love her focus on fitness, balance, and living life to the full.

Struggling with my weight for my entire adult life, I finally decided life is too short to live perpetually unhappy.  I recently lost over 50 pounds and am currently working on the last 30.  I made a few simple changes to my lifestyle (less sugar, smaller portions, and more veggies), and have never felt better!

Here’s a pic from my recent “Rewards” Photoshoot:

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And here’s a quick before and after so you can see where I’ve come from:

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Today I want to share with you my Top 10 Low-Sugar Tips, easy enough for anyone to adopt into their lifestyle:

1. Read Labels.

I went to my local market recently and was appalled to see the following ingredients when I flipped around a can of Sweet Kernel Corn: Corn comma Sugar.  Seriously?!? “They” need to make sweet corn sweeter by adding sugar? That’s just wrong.  Luckily I found a similar can without the added sugar.  But if I hadn’t checked, I easily would have bought the can with extra sugar.  The hard part is that everything has sugar in it these days! Bread, ketchup, corn, peanut butter: You name it, it probably has added sugar (or worse, high fructose corn syrup). So be diligent to check the labels.

2. Find lower sugar versions of your favorite items, like bbq sauce.

I looked at probably 12 different brands/flavors comparing sugar content and finally decided on one with half the sugar content: Stubb’s Hickory Bourbon (7g of sugar per 2 Tbsp, compared with 15g+ in most other brands).  It is delicious.

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3. Rethink Dessert.

I don’t know what it is about Americans, but we feel we DESERVE dessert.  I’m not really sure why.  We feel we are not really “living life” or are depriving ourselves unjustly if we go without dessert, even for one day. Oh I’ll diet, but I still need Cheesecake…daily. Oh I’m overweight, but let me have more ice cream before bed. Oh don’t take away my sweet freedom! Newsflash people, you don’t NEED dessert.  Go ahead and hate me now, but it’s true.  Your life would be just as good without it. How do I know? Because mine has been!  I’ve gone almost a year without having a real “dessert”, even subbing fruit and a yogurt cream sauce out for traditional cake at my birthday festivities. I’m not saying never have dessert, or that you need to do it exactly like I did.  But do we really need dessert every day? Do we really need to celebrate every birthday and holiday with candy, sweets, pies, cookies, cakes, and ice cream?

4. Just say No.

A highlight for many at the Blend retreat were some featured cupcakes in assorted flavors the first night; I passed.  People thought I was strange, or maybe a bit extreme. But, I can honestly say, my life is just as good now (2 months later) having NOT eaten them than had I eaten the extra sugar.  No difference.  Did I deserve them? Maybe.  I was going to be doing some major hiking the next day.  Did I need them? No.

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(Photo by Janetha!)

5. Substitute.

This is my favorite way to cut added sugar.  Substitute greek yogurt and bananas in breads to reduce the amount of sugar needed to sweeten them.  Substitute sliced tomatoes and drizzled mustard on a burger instead of sugar-filled ketchup.  Substitute sliced fresh strawberries on a pb&j instead of sugar-filled jelly.  You get the idea :)

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6. Watch what you drink.

Whew.  So many drinks these days are LOADED with sugar!  A Wendy’s All Natural Lemonade has MORE sugar than an entire BOX of Haagen-Dasz Ice Cream Bars.  Beware, my friends.  Beware.  Sugar-y drink habit #1 to kick: sodas – both regular AND diet.  I would say aim for once a month or less, but at that point you probably won’t even want it anymore b/c it will taste so syrup-y and unhealthy.  Wean yourself… 2 a day, down to 1 a day, down to 1/2 a day, down to none.  Aim for drinking mostly water, some unsweet teas – green and black, some fresh veggies juices, some milk or almond milk, and maybe coffee.

7. Prepare by bringing healthy snacks.

Don’t let your office make you fat! Plan ahead. Bring hummus or nuts/seeds or greek yogurt or toast with peanut butter… anything for that afternoon pick-me-up that is NOT candy or a soda!

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8. Reboot – train your body to need less sugar. 

The more sugar you consume, the more your body wants it.  Similarly, the less sugar you consume, the less your body wants it.  Reboot (reset) your body into craving fruits, veggies, and healthy foods.  That’s what was so beneficial for me to do the Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead 15 Day Reboot.  I retrained myself not to want/need sweets.

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9. Reward yourself differently.

Don’t reward yourself (or others) with food/sweets.  Reward yourself with other things: a manicure, a new book, a trip to the movies, a new workout shirt, or even a photoshoot (like I did after losing over 50 lbs)!

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10. Decide you’re worth making this change.

And start living the sweet life, no sugar added.

Thanks for reading!

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

BroccoliHut July 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Stubb’s is my go-to BBQ for the very same reason–so much less sugar than other brands.
Great tips!!

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Carbzilla July 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Such a great post. It’s so easy to fall back into sugar’s grip. Great job on the weight loss!

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Thanks! Yeah, it’s an ongoing battle mostly because it’s everywhere! But it gets easier and easier to say no, and plan ahead :)

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Bonnie July 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm

What an amazing post! Loved hearing about your story as well as your tips – you nailed it! Way to walk the talk and thanks for sharing. :)

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Thanks for the nice comment! It was my pleasure. I’m so glad Janetha let me guest post for her :) Although, I’d rather she had let me come to Costa Rica with her… maybe next time!

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Mary Legare Whaley July 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Kelly, you are awesome! You look great. Keep up the hard work! I’ve cut out refined sugar from my diet (unintentionally, actually). But it’s made a world of difference. I get my sugar from fruit. I sweeten food and coffee with stevia, for the most part. I used to LOVE ketchup. But since it’s nearly impossible to find ketchup without corn syrup, I discovered Sriracha. It’s like spicy ketchup with a bit of sugar but no concentrated junk. I have office temptations…like whoa…but now that eat little sugar (and NO butter or trans fats), when I eat cake, cupcakes, cookies, etc. that coworkers bake up, I feel sick to my stomach. Not that the food is bad, it’s just packed with sugars and fats that no longer agree with me. And you are so dead on when it comes to drinking calories. It’s such a waste. A beverage is never filling (unless it’s a protein packed smoothy). But sugary drinks fill your stomach for 10 minutes, but then you’re hungry again. I’ve definitely decided that sugar is not worth my time…you’re a rockstar, I look forward to following your progress! =)

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Thanks Mary! I will have to check out the Sriracha. I’ve never tried it!

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn July 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm

When I cut out sugar, the results are unreal. No cravings? What?

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LG July 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Excellent, excellent post!!! You’re totally right about feeling like we “deserve” dessert every day…ho hum.

I’ve cut out a ton of sugar on the weekdays and try to keep it only to a bit on the weekends. I must say, it has made a huge difference with my ED-ish symptoms…those of bingeing and feeling out of control around food. I’m very happy with my weight and with feeling more peaceful when sugar isn’t a part of my everyday life.

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Congrats! “very happy with weight and feeling peaceful” – awesome, awesome, AWESOME!!

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Momma b July 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Kelly what a terrific post! I really needed to hear this….your tips are spot on.
Wahoo on the stellar weight loss..you’re doing it the right way!

Thanks so much for sharing!!

xo

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Awwww, thanks Momma B!!

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RainStorm July 23, 2012 at 3:30 am

I don’t think the UK is quite as bad as the US for sneaky hidden sugars, but I still get a shock when I look at the ingredients or nutritional info of some foods – it’s never the foods you expect to be high in sugar! Thank you for some great tips to reduce sugar :)

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Kim@hungryhealthygirl July 23, 2012 at 6:10 am

Way to go, Kelly! You look great! You’re definitely right about checking labels. I check the label of everything before I buy it and sometimes I just have to put it right back on the shelf. I love your idea of fresh sliced strawberries on a PB&J instead of jelly….that sounds delicious. That is so cool that you rewarded yourself with a photo shoot. Keep up the great work!

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Thanks, Kim! The strawberries on PB/J are really good. I also make peanut butter & jelly pancakes with pureed strawberries/kiwi/beets (no added sugar). So yummy!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance July 23, 2012 at 6:11 am

Great tips–I’m trying to keep my sugar intake in check. Thanks!

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Danielle July 23, 2012 at 7:35 am

What a great post! Congrats to you, and I love love love your positive attitude! Thank you for sharing.

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Thanks Danielle! I love that I have seen so many positive changes in my own body/life and that I can encourage OTHERS to live their best life too :)

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Angie July 23, 2012 at 8:35 am

LOVE this! I notice a huge difference in cravings in general when I cut sugar. It’s so true- the less you have, the less you want! Can’t wait to check out your blog!

I’m curious though, I see a picture of a flavored Greek yogurt above. Those things are PACKED with sugar! Do you still eat those, or do you stick to plain?

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Thanks, Angie! I haven’t been eating as much yogurt lately – limiting my dairy intake in general b/c I think it contributes to some allergies/sinus issues I’ve been having. I think most of the sugars in Chobani are from the fruit and milk themselves, not added sugar. But overall, there’s still a lot of sugar grams per serving, yes. I like their Vanilla the best which has less sugar than the fruit varieties. I like the plain mixed with salsa on taco salad.

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Nicole C July 23, 2012 at 8:45 am

Great success with the weight loss!

This sugar thing is a huge problem in my house and it’s my boyfriend. He consumes more sugar than I think the body can take. If there was a sheet cake, he’d eat the whole thing in 3 days. His body actually craves it. It’s beyond scary and I know that when I slowed down the dr. pepper addiction my body didn’t want the caffeine, it wanted sugar. It’s still a work in progress but thanks for the reminder!!

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm

My hubby is similar, but with the sugar-y drinks. Oh, and candy. Ha! But, I’ve been buying less of it for him, and making him drink the veggie juices… (which he actually LIKES)… so that is helping him crave sugar less. You should try the Mean Green and see if your boyfriend likes it!!

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Amy Ramos July 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

This post came at the perfect time. I have been trying to limit my dessert consumption at night. As I was reading this, I really wanted to get ice cream but I refrained. I ended going to bed instead.

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Perfect timing indeed!

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Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Great tips! Hidden sugars are EVERYWHERE!! I usually only eat desserts that I go through the trouble of making…and even then there are certain things I have to do to make sure I don’t down an entire batch of cookies (eat before baking!!).

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

And plan on sharing some with neighbors or coworkers!

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Annette@FitnessPerks July 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Great tips! I agree-we don’t NEED dessert. But I do enjoy a good piece of chocolate once in awhile.

And yes-science does prove that when we eat more of it, we crave more sugar (esp with the combo of fat). YAY for your success!

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thanks, Annette! I hear ya on the good piece of chocolate. My hubby loves dark chocolate and has a rectangle (or two) every other day or so.

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Caro July 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Great tips! I find it really hard to watch the amount of sugar in my diet, it is hiding in everything! And I am a total sucker for dessert – it’s definitely not just an American thing, that need for dessert! But you are right, I don’t need it, I just need to tell my body that sometimes!

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Corrie Anne July 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Woohoo! Go Kelly! You are everywhere!!! :)

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Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life July 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Haha. Thanks for finding me EVERYWHERE :)

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Bria @ West of Persia July 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Great tips. I have definitely noticed more even moods and energy levels since cutting waaaaaay back on sugar in recent months. Though I’m pretty sure I would’ve tried those cupcakes ;-)

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Mollie July 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

I loved this post! And Kelly, I love your site! I found you through this blog post and you are now in my Google Reader! I’m slowly making my way through your blog reading all your previous posts. Great job on having such a great blog in such a short amount of time!

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Deb July 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

Great job on the weight loss! I know how hard that is!

I’ve given up sugar for the past two mOnths and have been shocked at how easy it’s been to say no to sweets AND not feel deprived. I never believed ppl when they said it but now I totally do!

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Janetha July 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Cutting out sugar does SO much for me. It makes me less cranky, less crave-y, and helps with weight loss. I have done a few no-sugar challenges in the past, but now I just try to focus on eating less sugar overall. I could be better, but I could be worse! Thanks for these tips–I need to put some of them into action!

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