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5 Sound Ways to Cut the Sugar Habit by Hibah Rehman

Posted on April 13, 2013

Hibah Rehman is a third-year pharmacy student from Fairfax, Virginia with a keen interest in health and nutrition. She specifically loves encouraging young, Muslim women to make positive mental and physical changes. "Each one of us is beautiful; it is simply a matter of realizing the fabulous that lives within." You can follow her on YouTube, on her blog and be sure to check out her video, My 30 Day Challenge of Cutting Out Sugar!

How do you feel? Honestly, how do YOU feel? No, not the person sitting next to you, not your sister, and no, not your brother - You! When you wake in the morning, do you feel ready to conquer the day? When the sun peaks its rays through your morning blinds, do you rise with an extra oomph in your step? Ask yourself, really assess yourself, do you feel… well, healthy?

I used to ask myself, is it normal to awaken feeling fatigued? Sleep is beauty. It allows the body and mind to recharge… so uhh, why then did I start my day feeling like coffee will make me feel ‘awake?’ What is not matching up here?

Ladies, it is called health. We live in a society where nutrition is confused with falsely advertised, ‘healthy,’ sugar-drenched cereals, granola bars, and enriched products. If you want to feel and look good (which I am assuming, you do!), then begin by treating yourself to the most abundant health you deserve!

To achieve quality health, minimizing your sugar consumption can drastically improve your energy, how you feel and how you look. The American Heart Association recommends women consume a max of 6 teaspoons a day (roughly 100 calories of added sugar or 24 grams). Take notice of your usual sugar consumption. Are you exceeding your max? Most likely yes, considering the average American consumes anywhere from 22-30 teaspoons of sugar a day! 

So, I embarked on a journey to cut sugar out of my life. Thirty days and 10-pounds later, I will be the first to admit this was a revolutionary experience. Here are my personal, 5 sound ways to jumpstart your life of feeling, looking, and SEEING healthy! Cut the sugar addiction and trust me, your body (and waistline) will love you for doing so.

1.     Ease into it. Going cold turkey can shock you and lead to a major dessert binge. Cutting sugar all at once can simply set you up for failure. The idea is to ease into it! Start small. If you use 3 packs of sugar in your coffee, perhaps cut it back to 1 or 2. Then, each week cut back more and more, until you reach a sugar-free you! Commit to your promises and goals. You will surely see results.

2.    Stock up on the Goods and ONLY the Goods! Time and time again, I would find myself binging on the wrong items at the wrong times. Now lets reverse that thought process. It is not necessarily a bad idea to binge on say fruits and vegetables, is it? If you keep your cupboards stocked with clean and wholesome foods, you won’t have the opportunity to binge on sugarfied junk. Protect yourself by transforming your kitchen into a healthy, sugar-free zone!

3.    Make a Plan.  Sit down on a Saturday night and come up with a few meal ideas. Really enjoy this. Get excited about the various vegetables you can mix, match and play around with. See and taste the flavors! Then, spend your Sundays shopping for a week’s worth of food made for your comfort and soul! By sticking to a plan, you are practically paving a pathway towards successful eating habits. 

4.     Eat your Fruit. Eat your Veggies.  Here’s a little trick. If you want to consume fewer calories, eat your fruits and vegetables first!  These guys are loaded with fiber and essential nutrients; it will keep you full quicker and longer. So load up on those greens and say good-bye to processed and refined foods!  

 
Hibah in the Silver Lining wrap as she films her latest YouTube video!

5.     Get used to reading food labels.  Ahh, couldn’t stress this one enough. Read, read, and read the ingredients listed on your food products. My simple and easy rule, if I can’t understand it, I won’t buy it. You should be able to read and comprehend the ingredients listed on the label. Don’t be fooled by words like sucrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice crystals, evaporated cane juice, dextrose, molasses, or malted barley extract because those are just fancy ways of saying, sugar!

Making the decision to minimize or cut sugar out completely means taking control of your life. The benefits of wholesome and natural foods include a positive spirit, mind, and body. So nourish your soul and organs with proper nutrients. Be a mindful eater and implement these 5 steps today! Your body (and waistline) will thank you.

 Would you like to guest blog for Haute Hijab? E-mail us at blog@hautehijab.com.

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