If there is anyone out there who is like me, this blog might be for you. Let’s talk about sugar. Ah sugar, so tasty, so lovely. I want it all the time. It is almost everywhere and in so many foods. Sometimes sugar is the main ingredient in some of our favorite foods. All of this sugar may be great for a few seconds on our tongues but (I don’t want to be too cliche here) all that sugar really likes to hang out around my midsection for days. Sometimes years.

Sugar is quite a large subject to talk about but what I want to share is how to, if you are wanting to, reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Let me define something first. I am not talking about reducing or eliminating carbohydrates from my diet. 50-60% of our daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. They are the best source of energy for most people. They come with hundreds of vitamins and minerals making our bodies thrive. I am talking about the added sugar put into our food for flavor. This sugar can easily increase the amount of empty calories entering our bodies.

Here are a few ways that have helped me reduce my sugar intake:

Reduce or eliminate sugary snacks. The obvious foods to eliminate are all the candy and baked goods that are literally everywhere! Soda, desserts and drink additives are big ones. They are just there to add sugar to your life. I cut those out completely. By completely, I mean I try to completely cut these out of my life. I did have a cookie last week and it was great. This is a work in progress.

Read Nutrition Facts Labels. There are a lot of foods containing way too much added sugar. I decided I would extremely reduce the amount of foods I eat with any added sugar in them. We have carbohydrates in our diet, so food with natural sugar in them is acceptable and necessary. Strawberries, bananas, orange juice, etc. all contain natural sugars that are good for us.

For a frame of reference, when a food contains 12 grams of added sugar per serving, that means there are 3 teaspoons of sugar in each serving. I would never sit down and eat 3 teaspoons of sugar but when it is hidden in some snack bar I guess I would.

Knowing this has really put how much added sugar there is in food into perspective. .

Replacement foods. Once I realized how many foods contain extremely high levels of sugar, it seemed like there weren’t a lot of options for food items any more. We still need to eat though. I just made some healthy food swaps. Instead of crackers and peanut butter, I ate carrots and hummus. I even started putting hummus on toast in the morning rather than peanut butter. Instead of candy and baked goods, I eat fresh or dried fruit. Doing this can reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and at the same time increase the amount of health-promoting nutrients your body craves.

Improving willpower. Other times I make a strong effort to say no to the temptation of candy and sweets.

Self-control is like a muscle. The more we use it the stronger it gets.

When I see a pile of fresh cookies or birthday cake, I tell myself I will be happier without those sweets. And that really works for me. And in the times it doesn’t work, I don’t count it as a failure I just move on.

Forgive yourself. It is not easy to say no to sweets and sugary foods all the time. We are human and sometimes struggle with our goals. If I want to stay away from sugars but I eat a brownie that afternoon, I tell myself that it is fine, enjoy it and move on. There is no point in beating yourself up for breaking one of your own rules. An occasional treat isn’t going to put 35 pounds on your waist. In this instance, moderation is important when it comes to foods containing low levels of nutrients.

Sweets are great for mental health but not always good for our blood sugar levels.

Remember, these are the steps I have taken to separate myself from sugar. This is not a prescription for you to follow. In no way do I want to make sugar the enemy or cause any of my readers to start obsessing about how much sugar is in foods. Disordered eating is a serious situation and it can start with the best intentions. Like always, remember your body is the temple of God and you were bought for a price. Take care of what Jesus Christ loves so much, you.