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Let’s be honest: Sugar is bad for you. It’s one of the primary causes of obesity and heart disease. Obesity has become a public health epidemic in the United States, and heart disease is the the leading killer of Americans. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or just get a little healthier, kicking sugar is one of the greatest places to start.
Kick soft drinks.
It’s a good rule of thumb for dieting: don’t drink your calories (especially if you’re counting those calories). Soft drinks can be a detriment to any diet and are chock-full of the kind of sugar that can lead to health issues. In the war against obesity, sugary soft drinks should be the first casualty. Many schools actively work to reduce student access to soft drinks. Water is your best replacement for soda, naturally, but for someone used to getting that sweet, fizzy kick, it can be a tough switch. You can flavor water with fruit or drink carbonated water if you crave the texture of soda.
It’s a terrible thing to suggest, I know. Dessert isn’t just the end of a meal; it’s a crowning achievement. If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you haven’t gotten where you are without a healthy appreciation for cheesecake, pie, candy, cookies, and any other confection that is the birthplace of a thousand fat jokes. The sweet tooth is a powerful thing; toss out all those high-sugar treats and replace them with something diet friendly so that both your sweet tooth and your waistline are appeased.
Stick to an eating schedule.
Hunger can make us do terrible things. It can make us snap at the people around us, and it can lead us to terrible food choices. Keep hunger at bay by eating on schedule. It’s one of those things that’s more difficult than it seems: busy lives and schedules can often lead to skipping a meal here and there. Scheduled eating stops the cravings before they start. It also helps you stay true to your diet.
It’s insane how much sugar is added into everyday foods. Want to be really freaked out by prepared foods? Watch Anthony Bourdain cook vegetables the way restaurants do. The secret? Tons of butter and sugar. It’s terrifying. Added sugars pop up in everything, and it makes all of your health-forward decisions about eating suspect. Feeling good about choosing carrots instead of mashed potatoes with your restaurant meal? Think again. Check out the labels on pasta sauces, yogurts, salad dressing, or cereal. Reading labels is about as interesting as listening to someone explain their dream in excruciating detail, but in this case it’ll save you a lot of sugar sneaking in where you don’t want it (aka your mouth).
We’ve all experienced that morning after we’ve stayed up a bit too late, are lagging, and need a pick-me-up to get through the day. Some of the best pick-me-ups come loaded with sugar, which helps in the short term, but in the long term it makes the situation much worse. Not only are you drinking empty calories, that sugar crash will leave you worse off than you started. It’s an easy diet mistake to make.
Make the lazy choice the right choice.
Sometimes the urge to snack strikes without warning, despite all your hard planning. Cravings are a pain. Keep something low sugar around the house to snack on so that the cravings are appeased without the urge to go out and get ice cream. If you make sure good snacks are not just accessible but the laziest option, you’ll have a better shot at sticking to your diet. Think about it like outsmarting your future, prone-to-cheating-on-your-diet self. The more you outsmart future you with good, ready-made decisions, the better you’ll be at sticking to your diet.