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Ten ways to stomp out your pesky sugar habit

Connie Bennett MSJ, CHHC is a former sugar addict and author of Sugar Shock! (Penguin Group). Her book has been endorsed by many experts, including Oprah, regular and bestselling YOU author Dr Mehmet Oz, who says it 'spills the beans.'...

One of the very first questions that most people have when they want to stomp out their pesky sugar habit is, "What's the very first thing that I should do to kick or cut back on sugar or refined carbs?"

After conquering my own horrible habit in 1998, inspiring thousands of "sugar sufferers," and studying or receiving input from many medical and self-actualization experts, I've found that the most important first step is to see yourself free, feel your sugar-free success, and happily revel in it.

Here are 7 easy, effective tips and tactics to help you to begin to break free.

1. First off, congratulate yourself that you've even asked this question. Yes, really pat yourself on the back. You see, many sugar addicts, I've found, beat up on themselves for having eaten so many high-calorie, nutrient-poor sweets over the years. Instead, I contend, they should be excited, much like a runner is who made it to the starting gate. So begin right now to lavish some praise and much-needed applause on yourself, whether it's in a letter or poem to yourself or in a heart-to-heart conversation with a really good friend or loved one, who will support you in your endeavor.

2. Begin your day -- and go through your day -- with the firm belief in your heart that you can finally lick this annoying, if not horrifying, unhealthy sugar habit. Know without a doubt in the depth of your being that you will accomplish this. (If you're having some trouble believing this, then move to Tip # 3.)

3. Create a sugar-free affirmation or mantra that rings true for you. You could go for something simple like: "I am free of this sugar habit." Perhaps you'd like to try: "I succeeded! I am free of sugar cravings." Or you might like to try: "I only eat healthy, nourishing foods." And if you want to peel off some pounds, you may wish to say something like: "I, [your name], choose only nourishing foods that will help me reach my ideal weight."

4. State your sugar-free mantra out loud at least 20 times in the morning, 20 times midday and 20 times in the evening. Repeat them either inwardly (if people are around) or out loud (if you're alone) whenever sweets or simple carbs "call out" to you.

5. Write your mantra at least 20 times a day in a notebook. As you take pen to paper, feel yourself actually licking this pesky habit.

6. Play and replay "a movie in your mind" where you're the heroine or hero, and guess what you're doing? That's right, you are easily, gracefully and happily turning away from sugar and towards more healthy foods or activities. You can find literature galore that attests to the power and effectiveness of visualization.

7. Now select one, two or even three people who have wildly succeeded at something, and study their amazing stories. Anytime you're discouraged, just think how they overcame tremendous odds, and if they did it, so can you.

8. Read inspirational books and passages daily. As a Man Thinketh (Wildside Press, ISBN-10: 1557423601) by James Allen, You Can if You Think You Can (Fireside, ISBN-10: 0671765914) by Norman Vincent Peale, and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (New World Library / Amber-Allen Publishing, ISBN-10: 1878424114) by Deepak Chopra were among the many books that helped me become sugar-free years ago. I still like to read them for inspiration about other matters. If the Bible is special to you, by all means select choice sections to study often, too.

9. Find and hang out with positive, like-minded people who also share this optimistic, glass-is-almost-full point of view.

10. Make sure to acknowledge, and maybe even celebrate each accomplishment such as making it through a day without sweets or eating less of them. Naturally, by this I mean that you should do something special that's sugar-free. You decide what works for you. It could be as simple as breathing deeply, filling up with pride and saying, "Congratulations, [State Your Name], I made it through the day." But applaud yourself each step of the way, because those steps can add up to a week, two weeks, etc. without sweets, where you lose weight, get more energy, feel more focused, and get along better with others. So happily revel in your small successes now.

And bear in mind: I have confidence in you. You can do it! I know it!

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