Switching from candy to sugar free gum

If you are like many people, candy is a large part of life. Everyone is aware of the health issues involved, but we keep eating it! So what are a few tips and tricks you can use to wean off of candy?

First step: Ease of access

If candy is prevalent around the home or office, it is going to be eaten. No simple way around this, you need to remove the candy and replace it with sugar free gum (or sugar free candy). The best way is to put the gum in easy to find places – right on top of the counter. Have some in the desk drawer of on top of your desk at work. If there is that lady who has a ton of candy on her desk at the office, see if she is willing to swap it out. A good first step might even be sugar free candy (not the chocolate that many people use). Explain to this person that you are trying to improve your health and their candy bowl is a large trigger so would they like to help you out? Most people are not going to say no. Typically they brought it in for other people so their family doesn’t eat it. A little selfish but that’s life.

Second step: Finding the habit

There have been books written about habits, they are often created unconsciously and before long we don’t even realize why something is happening. This is often the case with candies. There might be a certain trigger that causes you to reach for it, figuring out what it is will take time. Make mental notes. Some common triggers:

  • Walking past the kitchen/break room at the office
  • Slight hunger sensation (you can often fix this with drinking water)
  • A certain time of day, do you always feel groggy at 2-3pm? It’s probably a low blood sugar level and you are craving sugar. Think about what you are eating at lunch time and how that is affecting you.
  • Snacking and watching TV is a large culprit

Third step: Replace the habit

Now comes the hard part, making a change in something that is actually hard-wired into our brain. If you have successfully identified the trigger, finding a way to replace that trigger is needed. So if you walk past the break room at the office all day, find a different route. Especially around snack time o’ clock. If you watch TV and snack, stop watching TV or remove the candy from your home. If access is difficult, that is a pattern interrupt and you can stop the pattern. The best I have found is to just stop buying snacks so there is nothing at home.

The 2-3PM grogginess is a different problem, and typically related to what you ate for lunch. Start removing large carbohydrate meals from your routine and it will help this issue. Also drink more water, it is amazing how much that can actually help!

Lastly we need to monitor ourselves and make sure we don’t revert back to old habits. This entire process is going to take time, so plan accordingly.

And last of all, don’t beat yourself up if you mis-step. It happens to all of us!