Addiction to sugar can make us unfit, unhealthy, and unhappy.
But still, we love it because it makes us feel good.
Reaching for something sweet to eat – especially if it’s loaded with sugar – creates a spike and crash cycle leaving you depleted and craving more.
It sparks a range of chemical reactions in your body and brain that borrow energy from what I call the ‘energy credit card‘ – with a high rate of interest – rather than drawing upon sustainable energy from real nutritious food.
In true LeBootCamp fashion, I believe it is all about choice. As you know, I’m not averse to the occasional treat, but the sad reality is that sugar is a false friend that will leave you tired and wired in turn, always wanting for more.
Sweet is the only innate taste we were born with so cutting back or giving up on sugar is a tough challenge. To successfully rid ourselves of our sweet tooth requires strategies. When we give something up we’ve got to find something pleasurable and enjoyable to replace it. Here’s a flavor of what you can do.
After a meal when you want a cake, instead go and wash your hands, and then shake a drop of organic geranium or sweet orange essential oil on your palms, rub them together and inhale.
You’ll get a sweet blast and a natural uplift. I suggest that you keep these in your handbags so you’ve always got some on hand for an instant post meal treat. I’m writing these tips in a café sipping a cup of fresh mint tea following a meal after a coaching session, another ritual I love that signals that the meal is over. When I’m in London I stock up on Neals Yard Remedies’ organic Sweet Orange Oil and Absolute Aromas Geranium from Planet Organic. Back home my favorites are Aromapeal Geranium Oil and NOW Orange Oil, which I can find at my local Whole Foods market.
If you really need something sweet try adding vanilla or cinnamon to a tea, some plain coconut yogurt, a smoothie or even some fresh fruit as both those spices amazingly lend a feeling of sweetness to foods.
When you’re in the post lunchtime, mid-afternoon dip…. give in! Not to the cravings but the need to ‘rest and renew’ instead of a coffee or a sweet treat to spike you up and drop you low later (or spoil your sleep in the case of coffee).
Try these simple yoga techniques to reboot your energy:
Get a leg up. Book a meeting room at work and put your legs up the wall in viparita karani. I used to do this when I worked in an office, and on days when I’m all over town I’ll arrive early for my class, go into an empty treatment room and pop my legs up. Just 10 minutes of this will get you back on track.
A brief body and brain break. Even in an open plan office you can find some private space to put your head down. A few minutes’ recharge instead of ‘pushing through’ can make all the difference.
A time-tested meditation technique. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed- you can be in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Focus on the sensation of breath inside your nostrils- noticing the temperature, texture and moisture of the air. Don’t try to control your breath. Just observe. Do this for 10 minutes- it’s like pressing the ‘reset’ button on your brain and your body.
To your health!
Special thanks to Selina Prager, editor-at-large, London