I feel tremendous compassion, empathy and excitement for these people, because at varying times in my life, I've been there myself, battling a host of bad habits (or what I call babits).
Indeed I've been hooked on sugar, refined carbs, coffee, diet soda, cigarettes and sugar-less gum. And, as I've revealed here, I'm still working in getting those much needed zzz's
Over the years, I've developed a variety of tips and tactics to conquer my counter-productive routines, but in 1998, while quitting sweets and refined carbs on doctor's orders, I came up with one of my favorite techniques, which clients have been finding quite effective.
In my book SUGAR SHOCK!,
I share my Top 21 Sweet Sugar-Free Success Secrets and Strategies (plus
a few more). Now, I'd like to share one tactic, which can be effective to help you conquer sugar, caffeine and other unhealthy cravings. Here's an article I wrote to help you learn this invaluable technique.
Just Delay to Squash Your Sugar, Caffeine & Other Unhealthy Cravings
Creatively Procrastinate Your Way Out of Your Addictions
By Connie Bennett, M.S.J., C.H.H.C.
people who want to kick sugar, curtail caffeine, stop drinking diet soda, lose weight or manage their diabetes ask
me: “How can I conquer my cravings for these substances? Once I start, I just can't help
One of the most
powerful and potent strategies is so simple that you’ll wonder why you
never tried it in the first place. Simply DELAY before you do anything –
especially something that you'll later regret.
Think about it:
Most of us are pretty darn good at delaying or procrastinating, right?
know how you keep putting off organizing your desk drawers, cleaning
the house, giving your boss that
proposal, helping your kids with their homework, donating old
clothes or taking out the garbage? Clearly, we all have things we've
been planning on doing but never got around to doing.
While quitting a bad habit such as a sugar addiction, I've found that you can actually
transform delaying into something that's fun, clever and positive. In
other words, procrastinating can be a good thing — even wonderful.
hit upon this
simple strategy in 1998 when reluctantly kicking sweets
and refined carbs on doctor's orders. To this day, I continue to be
amazed at how easy, effortless, and darn effective it is to just delay doing any unhealthy activities.
What you'll do this this: Just delay away your sugar, caffeine or other cravings.
What's so wonderful about this skill is that people of all ages—unless
maybe you’re a tot—can cultivate this tactic. Just promise yourself to
delay eating that tempting treat for a certain amount of time, say 10
to 20 minutes. Or challenge yourself to delay drinking that cup of coffee. Of course, you can do that, right?
Then, you can
delay over and over again, ultimately even for hours.
Now think ahead to the next morning when you're so relieved and proud of yourself that you didn't
cave into your cravings.
Here are 7 ways
you can turn delaying or creatively procrastinating your ally to help you pull the plug on your
unwanted addiction to sugar, caffeine, etc. (Delaying is one of my "7 D’s” to help “Sugar Kickers.”)
1. Despite the fact that they may "call out" to you, when you delay (first
15 minutes, then a half hour, then 1 hour) before consuming that cookie, candy bar, brownie or cup of coffee, you begin to detach from your potentially unhealthy impulses.
you delay for 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, etc., your cravings will
subside while you get involved with other things. Then, you'll even be
able to put your cravings
into proper perspective.
3. When you delay, you're taking positive, health-promoting action by simple inaction. Yes, doing absolutely nothing can be pivotal when you kick or cut back on sweets and quickie carbs or confront other unhealthy addictions.
4. When you delay, you turn procrastinating into a useful, proactive skill.
5. When you delay, you can take time to discover what foods, drinks or activities—if any—you’re really craving. Does
your body really absolutely have to have cookies, cake, pretzels, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, etc.? I doubt it!!
Isn't your amazing body really yearning for have water, fresh vegetables and
fruits, high-quality protein or healthy fats? Or perhaps your soul really yearns for fun, relaxation or exercise instead?
you delay, you can get in touch with your true feelings. In other words, NOT caving into
temptation allows you to figure out what the heck is
really going. Depending on the habit you're facing, ask yourself, "Why do I feel like I must have these
sweets now?" Or, if you're trying to reduce caffeine, ask yourself, "Why do I need yet another cup of coffee now?" You can do this to confront any bad habit.
you delay, you'll ultimately take pride in yourself! You'll pat
yourself on the
back for putting off a short-lived, self-defeating immediate
gratification in favor of a long-term positive outcome. (Wouldn't you
rather lose weight, have more energy and concentrate better than
give in during a moment of weakness and suffer awful consequences?)
In short, simple delaying or creatively procrastinating is one of the most effective tools in your habits-breaking arsenal.
Pro-Active Action To Cut Your Cravings
I encourage you to become a delaying artist now.
you want something sweet (that's processed), something white (as in a refined carb) or something else that's unhealthy, delay for 10 minutes. Feel free
to look at your watch or a clock to help you along. Then wait another
step outside your obsessive thoughts and wait another 10
minutes. It can help if you do something else in the meantime.
off for another 20 minutes. Be creative while you delay. You may want
to do the dishes, put your clothes away, organize your closet, color
your hair, fix your nails, etc. Doing these things can help you pass
the time and pull the plug
on your cravings.
challenge yourself! Wait 1 hour or 2 hours, or maybe even
the whole evening. Do something fun in the meantime. Get going on a
project that you've been putting off doing. Fill your time with
satisfying activities that allow you to "forget" about your overwhelming cravings. (If you pick going to a movie as a way to delay,
then do NOT go by the concession stand! Bring water or a snack with you instead.)
about your experience in a journal or notebook. Just jotting down your
feelings can be so eye-opening, as many of my clients have
revealed to me, and as I personally discovered years ago.
Ultimately, when you just delay or creatively procrastinate, you can learn a lot about yourself and the power of a focused mind.
this day, I'm thrilled that I hit upon Ms. Delay years ago so that I
could learn that Life is Sweeter Without Refined Sweets™ and other unhealthy habits.