Monthly Archives: August 2015

Can I Eat Sugar Again? Ever?

This past week was pretty busy. I had a lot going on at home with school starting, I still have family in town and work.  I wasn’t on top of my eating as much as I wanted to be but I didn’t go crazy either. I had a birthday which was a lot of fun.  And, drum roll please…. I had a child size cup of my favorite ice cream!! Yes, I did, I admit it. I debated for days whether I should or shouldn’t but in the end, I decided to have it.  It had been over 80 days being off sugar, flour and corn.  I thought to myself, can I eat sugar again? Ever? I thought about it for a long time, but let me tell you, that ice cream was the best ice cream I have ever had! When I was done, I didn’t have any urge to eat more and I still haven’t had the urge to eat ice cream since. I went back to eating the way I have been and it’s like nothing happened.

I was hesitant to do it, because in the past, I had situations where I abstained from sugar/flour and when I ate it again, I overate it for weeks on end.  This time, I felt so different. I was thankful for having some but I didn’t go overboard and I was okay.  It felt amazing. I now know my approach to health is changing. I can have the control and freedom to decide without my body dictating what to eat because of serious cravings.  It’s a such a relief to feel this way and I’m grateful.

When I was on previous programs, I would eat foods I liked making sure I kept within my calories for the day. Of course, I didn’t pick vegetables and lean proteins. No, I was picking things like low fat ice cream, bars and mostly processed foods. It wouldn’t fill me up and I can’t say I was healthy either.  The difference this time, is that I am eating more protein and veggies then I ever have and I can physically feel the difference. I’m not craving, I’m not having the afternoon crash nor the evening pull to grab Ben & Jerry’s. This time around, I stop eating when I’m done.  That type of self-control is what I’ve been searching for all my life!

I was reading a comment on someone’s blog the other day and this guy kept saying overweight people should take responsibility, stop overeating because it’s all their fault.  Here’s my response to that type of comment: I agree, we have to take responsibility and our power back to address our health. That is true.  However, there is a physical component (read Salt Sugar Fat: Michael Moss) that has to be addressed as well. I’ve heard people say it takes 3 days to rid yourself of sugar cravings. I can tell you from experience that once you do remove the physical component, then you feel more confident about making a difference in your health.  It’s because you are not feeling those physical cravings that cause failure so quickly when on most diets.  I believe when you restrict your calories but yet still eat sugar and processed foods, you remain very hungry and those feelings of deprivation set in.

If you are a sugar addict like I was, getting off completely for just 6-8 weeks clears your body of those toxins and cravings. You start to feel so much better and your mind works better too. When you are in this clearer state, you can start to change how you think about your health and food.  It’s not about a diet, it’s about starting to look at your health differently. You know yourself better than anyone. You know what foods you crave and are ‘trigger’ foods for you. If sugar is a trigger, getting off is going to be a whole new world to you. It’s going to show you how sugar affects your body and how those cravings cause overeating.  Once you remove the physical component, it’s much easier to eat healthier. It’s much easier to focus on exercise because you feel differently.

Some believe moderation is not possible and others think it is. Only you can decide what works for you. For me, if I continue eating the majority of the time, natural, whole foods and occasionally (like on special occasions like it’s meant to be eaten) have treats, I believe it doesn’t have to throw me into a tail spin. Because I already established good habits to keep me on track, I can go immediately back to those habits.  I don’t expect to be 100% perfect (that was the old me) but how about 75-80%? I think that is definitely possible!

 

 

3 Things I Have to Do to Prevent Overeating

Over the years, I have learned a lot about myself and my eating habits.  Some of them are good habits and of course some are not so good. I’ve been working to replace them for some time. So far, I discovered there are 3 things I have to do to prevent overeating. If I do these 3 things consistently, I will continue to build belief in myself while moving towards living a healthier life.

1.  Prepare, Prepare, Prepare:  This I cannot stress enough.  It is so important I spend the time to plan menus and prep food ahead of time, typically on Sundays so I’m ready for the work week. If not, then I’m leaving things to chance. I don’t know about you, but when I come home from work to my family, I’m tired and usually mentally drained.  When I’m in that state, I do not make good food choices. Instead, I’m saying, ‘Let’s order out!” and that leads to an overeating frenzy.  I just discovered ‘Organize Yourself Skinny” and I have to say, I love Tammy’s ideas and planning methods to make life easier even when you have a family.  Freezer cooking is brilliant, check it out!

2.  Eat all the food planned:  This one is interesting. When I was dieting, I used to try and eat foods within my calorie range that I enjoyed rather than focusing on eating the healthy foods I needed to sustain hunger and nourish my body.  This strategy often kept me starving because the foods I was picking (ice cream and cookies) did nothing for me nutritionally and I was constantly searching for more food. Probably why I failed consistently. I have learned, I have to stick to eating what I planned to eat because I picked those foods ahead of time for a reason. When I do eat them (think 4 oz chicken, 2 cups cooked veggies, 1 c brown rice), I’m full and am not hungry for a long time.  It also helps with sugar cravings, an added bonus!

3.  Eat every 3-4 hours:  This is huge for me. In the past, I would not eat much for breakfast because I wasn’t hungry. I then ate a small lunch instead of eating what I planned (see #2) and when I got home from work, I was famished.  This set me up for a binge. I have to eat every 3-4 hours to keep blood sugar steady and my body functioning optimally. Otherwise, it’s a roller coaster. As a result, I’m shoveling food in trying to make up for the day.  This was never a good idea and had to consciously break this cycle if I wanted to become healthier.

These are 3 small things I know I have to do to prevent overeating. I’m sure I’ll be learning more along the way, but these have come up several times recently and I wanted to share them with you.  Have you learned things about yourself that you need to do to be successful on this journey? If so, please share…

 

Lies We Tell Ourselves

This week, I had to come clean about lies I’ve been telling myself and find out why this happens. So I did some research and came up with some interesting information.  I particular liked what Joyce Marter, LCPC says in “We All Lie to Ourselves: How to Stop, By Joyce Marter, LCPC

In the article, Joyce points out four reasons why we lie to ourselves. Here’s the one I wanted to focus on today:

  • Minimizing how much we eat to preserve our eating addiction ***   

This is the one that hits home. Over the years, I told myself often I could eat sugar in moderation and would ‘downplay’ how much I truly ate in order to ‘allow’ myself to eat more. I know that sounds strange, but it’s the truth. I can see now, I wanted to preserve my addiction to sugar because I loved it so much. I felt I needed it all the time (and when I say all the time, I’m talking at ever meal)! It was a defensive mechanism (self-preservation) so I didn’t have to face reality that I lacked self-control in this area.  It’s not easy to admit to this fact, but it’s the truth and I wanted to share the truth with you today.

While choosing to avoid sugar, I found something else that’s been causing some cravings. Real Peanut Butter (the natural, no sugar kind). In the past, I’ve never really had an issue with Peanut Butter, until now.

Peanut Butter

I keep telling myself I can have a little in moderation because I’m not eating sugar, flour or corn at the moment (self-justification).  I can have one treat, why not? But I’m noticing that I’m eating way more then I should.  I have to realize, this is going to hurt my efforts if I continue without setting limits on myself.   I haven’t done well with setting limits on food in the past.  I find myself eating more than I should, not sticking to the amount I agreed upon earlier in the day.   Is this a lie I’m telling myself, that I can eat more than what I planned? Definitely! How do we stop lying to ourselves? Joyce suggests we start by:

  • Examining those areas of our lives which are hurting us  — doing that through this blog post.
  • Continue to engage with people we trust — talking with BFFs.
  • Feel the negative emotions, talk through them and practice allowing them to dissipate — Redirect emotions towards something positive and consciously forgiving myself.
  • Focus on connecting to our inner self, and doing a gut check, are our thoughts, behaviors and words in alignment? — am what I’m thinking, saying and doing in alignment – I would say no because I’m thinking I can ‘handle’ the peanut butter and yet I’m not controling the portions.
  • Do our best to always be honest — It’s time to face the facts that I need to either control the portions or not eat the peanut butter.

As we all progress through this journey, it’s important to recognize and address those lies we tell ourselves in order to begin the healing process.  If we don’t, we’ll continue to spin and become frustrated, beat ourselves up and not reach our goals.  Have you lied to yourself about your eating habits?  If so, what are some examples?


5 Ways Helplessness Kept Me Stuck

Helplessness is a common emotion we feel while on the journey towards the perfect weight. When I was going through the yo-yo phase of my life, I would be successful for a while and then it would all come crashing down when I gained the weight back, plus a whole lot more. It was frustrating.  After a while, I easily slipped into the habit of feeling sorry for myself and helpless because I couldn’t figure out why in this part of my life, I was failing.

Little did I realize I was approaching it all wrong. Instead of focusing on losing weight, I needed to focus on finding health. This is so much more positive. Losing weight ultimately is easy but keeping it off can be a struggle. And if we keep ‘losing weight’ as our focus, then we will continue to attract having to ‘lose weight’.  My attitude about my weight became helpless and hopeless.  I carried this attitude around for a long time and lead to feeling stuck, not wanting to take care of myself, and avoiding public places.

We all have a choice, whether we believe it or not. We can chose not to wallow in this state but instead make small changes to feel good all the time. So today, I wanted to share with you 5 ways it kept me there and how if I stayed there, it would have seriously crippled my ability to move forward in this journey if I let it.

  1. It kept me in a bad mood:  When I continued to focus on how I wasn’t losing weight, or I was eating out of control, it kept me angry. Angry at myself and the world. I would blame others, feel sorry for myself and say things like, “Nothing works!“. This mentality didn’t serve me, my family or those I interacted with on a daily basis. Instead, people avoided me because they weren’t sure what mood they would find me in that day.  I often lashed out because I was unhappy and felt the world was out to get me.
  2. It created low self-esteem (and reinforced it):  As a result of feeling sorry for myself all the time, I didn’t feel successful at anything. Even though it was only one area of my life where results were not evident (being overweight), it carried over into all areas of my life and I felt I was struggling all the time.  Low self-esteem creates this cycle of thought which says, “Why bother trying if I’m going to fail again.” I sat in this state for a long time and it impacted everything.
  3. It kept me from making progress:  Because I didn’t feel good about myself and I was angry, I didn’t bother trying.  I would have bursts where I would write down goals to achieve but I didn’t follow through.  Progress is critical, especially small steps, but I wasn’t even doing that. Again, I wallowed in my self-pity and it was difficult to see clearly hence I was stuck for a long time reinforcing the low self-esteem and bad mood.
  4. I lost focus on what was important in my life:  When I prayed back then, it was more of ‘duty’ and my focus was so much on my life and how things were not happening for me, I lost sight on what I did have and what was important like family and helping others. My time was dominated on myself and of course, that kept me down.
  5. I was a negative role model to those within my circle of influence:  My negative behavior started impacting those around me, especially my son. At the time, I didn’t think of it because I was too wrapped up in my own mind which was tragic.  However, I started to see patterns of behavior in my son which were similar to mine (overeating at night, having desert daily, hiding food etc.). It hurt me.  I believe that was what sparked me to change. My love for him was more than I had for myself and I knew I had to do something to change it.

All of these patterns were hurting me more and more.  I later came to the realization, I had to choose to get myself out of these patterns. And I did. I was able to change how I felt immediately. Yes, it wasn’t always easy because I felt like I was pushing upstream (initially that’s what it feels like). But once I started to make it a deliberate habit, I started to notice changes in how I felt on a daily basis.   5 Ways Helplessness Kept Me Stuck

If you knew you had a choice to either be helpless or happy, which one would you choose?