Taking sugar out of your diet can create all sorts of monster like actions. The I really really just want a bite of chocolate (monster with big sad eyes) to the Just give me a piece of cake now! (scary monster).

If you’ve joined me on the No Sugar November Challenge you’ve probably encountered a few of these monsters during the month. Plus, you’re probably counting down the last few days we have to go.

So here’s a few tips to get you through the last 9 days of the challenge (or 8 if your 1 cheat day is during these coming days). You can also use any of these tips to keep you motivated to cut back on white, refined sugar anytime during the year.

Step 1: Congratulate yourself for making it this far, but also remind yourself that now is not the time to give up. Rally on and finish strong so that when December rolls around you’ll be able to look back at what you’ve accomplished. Hopefully you will have learned a little more about your sugar cravings and how to handle them when they get out of control.

Step 2: Go ahead and write down a few things that you have learned about your body and how it reacts to a much lower sugar intake. Less mood swings and weight loss are an example of changes you may have noticed.

My most prominent positive change that I have observed would be better quality of sleep. I tend to eat the most refined white sugar at night and that definitely disrupts my ability to sleep well.

Step 3: Continue to say no just as you have over the last 22 days. If you’ve done it in the past you can definitely say it again. It never really gets easier but it’s something you must continue to do in order to reap the benefits of eliminating white, refined sugar from your diet.

Step 4: Distractions. What have you found that helps to divert your attention away from those brownies that the neighbor brought over to share? Go for a walk, drink a large glass of water, remove it from your house, sip on tea or even refuse the generous gesture from your sweet toothed neighbor. It feels a lot easier to turn away sweet offerings when you say that you’re taking part in a “challenge”. It’s also a great opportunity to spread the word and have your neighbor join you in the challenge, at least after those brownies are distributed.

Step 5: Fall off the wagon? Get back on. There’s nothing worse then beating yourself up about a slip up. Take this as a chance to re-evaluate your goals and ask yourself why you wanted to start this in the first place. Try to spend some time reflecting on what caused you to eat the sugar and see how you can manage these struggles in the future. If you’re like me, I sometimes use it as a way to unwind after a stressful situation or day. I’ve learned that a nice hot tea can do the exactly the same thing and it actually last much, much longer then a sugar high.

Step 6: Make your goals visible. No matter what your reasons where for starting the No Sugar November Challenge, give yourself a lot of visual cues throughout your day that remind you about staying on track. This can be done in photos or words cut out from magazines. Place them around your house, car, office and any other place you frequent often throughout the day.

Stick with it… the end of the challenge is going to be saweeet!

nutrition advice, online personal trainer, running coach