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Okay, let's get this out of the way right at the top: It's okay if you spent much of 2020 in a perpetual sugar high.
Stress eating happens to the best of us, and if your strategy for coping with a freakin' worldwide pandemic involved mainlining chocolate while Netflix rudely asked if you were still watching Bridgerton, we are certainly not here to judge. And if you'd like to continue doing that as we all await word that it's safe to come out of our houses, there is absolutely no shame in that game.
But, if you're someone who embraces the turning of the calendar as an opportunity for a fresh start, and you'd like that to include a diet a little less heavy on the Christmas cookies, well, Dr. Daryl Gioffre is here for you. The nutrition pro Kelly Ripa relies on to fuel her through her busy days (and is, perhaps, the secret weapon to her whole aging-in-reverse situation) is serving up every last piece of his advice in his new book Get Off Your Sugar.
Out now with a foreword written by Ripa herself, the book lays out exactly how Gioffre, a self-described candy and chocolate fiend, "was personally able to overcome an addiction to sugar in 21 days." And it's a plan that feels particularly relevant as we all begin contemplating a world in which we might have to start wearing real pants again. You know, the kind with buttons.
Get Off Your Sugar by Dr. Daryl Gioffre
In his first book, Get Off Your Acid, Dr. Daryl Gioffre showed readers how to kick processed and highly acidic foods to lower inflammation and increase health. Now, a former sugar addict himself, he's taking on the sweet stuff. With a simple eight-minute Belly Fat Burning Workout, and 65 delicious, easy recipes, plus meal planning tips and ideas to get you going and keep you on track, Get Off Your Sugar gives you the tools to take control of your health and your future.
Admittedly, with the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic and the financial, mental health and childcare-related struggles that came with it, "Most of us went into what I call a stress-eating diet," Gioffre tells E! News. "Stress in all forms makes us crave sugar."
To combat that, he has his clients follow what he calls "a strength-eating diet" heavy on healthy fats and minerals. Ripa, naturally a star pupil, "really dials it in about 99.9 percent."
But, fear not, you don't have to dump out the remnants of your stocking, like, today.
Citing sugar's addictive qualities ("Sugar lights up the dopamine receptors in your brain eight times more than other drugs") Gioffre insists that's the reason stringent diets tend to send you down that dreaded yo-yo path.
"What happens on January 1? Everybody makes their new year's resolutions," he explains. "And then you fast-forward 15 days later and the research shows 92 percent of people fail. Why is that? They base their change on pain and deprivation. But they're not addressing the underlying reasons we crave sugar in the first place. So it's not going to last and it's not going to sustain itself."
His methods, however, saw him kicking the sweet stuff to the curb within three weeks' time without feeling as if he would do pretty much anything for a mocha latte.
"It's the add, not take away approach," he notes. "Deprivation didn't work for me, it doesn't work for most of my clients. You might get through a honeymoon phase, which could be about two weeks for somebody or a month, but it's not enough to keep you going."
His plan sees followers adding to their diet—largely good-for-you stuff such as minerals and healthy fats. "If you set up your mind for success and know I'm not going to take away these foods that I'm enjoying right now, I'm just going to start to add, over time the good will outweigh the bad," he says. "That's the approach and it works and people love it. You can go as fast as you want, you can go as slow as you want. But as long as you're moving that dial towards progress, you're going to get the results. You'll get there. It's just a matter of time."
Step one sees devotees inserting a healthy dose of magnesium—something he calls "the biggest deficiency that I see in the standard American diet"—into their daily menu.
The reasoning, he shares, is that those sugar cravings are basically your body crying out for fuel and when you try to squelch that urge with more of the saccharine stuff, it kicks off a never-ending, ultimately unsatisfying circuit.
"We eat sugar because it's addictive and then the body burns sugar because it wants to get rid of it," he explains. "It's the most acidic stuff you can put into the body. It's driving up inflammation and the body's so smart it wants to burn it off, it wants to get rid of it. We eat it, we burn it and then we crave it because of that viscous cycle."
But when you start adding his strength-eating foods, eats that are high in magnesium and other minerals, such as green juices, vegetables, soups and salads, "it cuts that craving," he says, "because you're giving the body the things that it truly was craving, which was the minerals."
And that's just the start. The program is broken down into three-day intervals, each block involving fueling up with a new healthy nutrient.
"The first step is adding in these magnesium-rich foods and that's all that you're focusing on so it's easy," Gioffre says. "And then when you get to day four, you keep doing what you were doing but now you add healthy fats because healthy fats are so important for weight loss and also for sugar cravings. Things like avocados, raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils. You start stacking those on and it becomes easier because you're doing it in a very slow manner where you're not adding a lot, you're adding a little."
But much like that list of books you steadily worked through last year, "there's a stacking effect," he notes. "And by the time you get to 21 days, you've lost weight, inflammation levels are down, cravings are gone. You feel so good, you don't want to go back. And then by day 90, it's a lifestyle."
And while his slow-and-steady approach might come off a bit less sexy than any diet promising results in less than two weeks, he swears it's less painful. Also, if it's good enough for Kelly freakin' Ripa, sign us up.
"It's different than the deprivation approach," explains Gioffre. "It might take a little longer but you're not going to have that dreaded yo-yo where you go up and down. I lived that way for most of my life, that's the way a lot of people are living and I think people just want to find a way that is balanced, that makes it work and can fit into their lifestyle not the other way around."
To that end, he's here to offer what feels like the advice we all need after plowing through 2020: No matter how you approach it, you're doing amazing, sweetie.
"Look at Kelly Ripa, she's so fit but she's been living this lifestyle for many, many years," he says. But he recommends beginners ease in, perhaps start by swapping in Ripa's go-to dessert of chocolate chia pudding for ice cream or fro-yo.
"Meet it where you're at and go with the add/take away approach," he says. "It doesn't need to be perfect. Perfect is the way to sabotage everything because it's never going to happen. The model is use is good, better, best. What you want to do is make that specific food a better choice, a better version of that food. And if you focus on that, making that food the better version—it doesn't have to be the best, it just needs to be progress—then that's going to make you a better version of yourself."