Cut back sugar consumption: Use Kaizen method
What does that popular nursery rhyme tell us? “Johnny, Johnny… Eating Sugar?” Well, even a little child knows refined sugar is unhealthy but no one can keep their hands off it.
I have been meaning to reduce my refined sugar intake but the cravings have been dragging my hand back to the jar each time.
This once I forced myself to not take it for two days. Those were the two most difficult days. I developed headache and nausea.
All that, until I discovered the Kaizen method to cut back my sugar consumption. The Japanese philosophy is very doable.
But first understanding the science behind sugar cravings.
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Why is sugar bad for us?
Too much of anything is bad, sugar included. While we do need sugar and sugar is found in a lot of healthy food and of course fruits.
It is no secret that refined sugar and added sugar found in processed food (including bread, soups, aerated drinks) can lead to a host of very serious health issues and lifestyle diseases.
Obesity, fat deposition, erratic blood sugar level, complicating the type 2 diabetes are just some of the problems it creates.
Sugar is addictive
Back then I didn’t know sugar is possibly as addictive as cocaine, according to a provocative research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The research created quite a storm, some came forward to dispute it. But there is no denying that it affects the reward center in brain.
I have personally experienced the craving and ‘withdrawal symptoms’. And if you are here reading this article, you have too.
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Why the cravings?
Refined sugar is 99.4 to 99.7% calories, it has no vitamin, no protein, no minerals, nor fats. What does it have though? Carbohydrates.
So when you consume sugar, it spikes the blood glucose level giving an instant energy boost, and later, a steep sugar crash which leads to cravings.
Kaizen method that helped cut back sugar
I tried a lot of ways to bring down my sugar consumption. The only thing that worked for me was the Kaizen method.
I discovered it in Sarah Harvey’s book, Kaizen, which is about the Japanese method for transforming habits one small habit at a time.
What is Kaizen method?
The Japanese philosophy Kaizen can be roughly translated to ‘good change’ or ‘improvement’, says Harvey.
The Kaizen method is about taking very small steps towards your goal rather than attempting a dramatic makeover.
And it can be applied to any aspect of life, including reducing sugar consumption.
Kaizen method to reduce sugar
It’s very simple. Just cut down your intake by a quarter. And then after a few days, reduce another quarter. And so on, until you have reached the quantity you think is fine. It’s that simple.
Kaizen method to reduce sugar in tea
Suppose you want to cut down on adding sugar to your tea. Don’t just stop adding sugar totally.
Add your regular amount of sugar, just ensure it is ¼ less. Your brain won’t even notice it.
You’ll still enjoy your regular taste. And once you are ready, in a few days, cut back ¼ more.
Just apply this same Kaizen method to other food habits. If you are addicted to the sugar in fizzy drinks, just reduce the amount you take in a go by 1/4th; after a week, 1/4th more.
That way, in four weeks you’ll be able to win over your cravings.
How cutting back sugar helped
When I reduced my sugar intake, I slept better, skin looked better, I felt better. I felt less groggy in the day, ate healthier, made mindful food choices because I had no cravings. Now,
I am no medical professional, but I did try a lot of ways to have a healthier lifestyle. Kaizen definitely worked.
By Medha Shri Dahiya
About the author: Medha Shri Dahiya is editorial chief of os.me and a mindful living enthusiast
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