January 07, 2014
In my blogger bio, I say I'm a recovering coffee addict, but now I realize that's not entirely accurate. See, if someone nudged a mug full of black coffee my way, I'd stick my nose up at it. That's not the attraction. Give me lattes with sugary syrup. Dump that pumpkin pie creamer in my coffee. Hell, if the coffee is hazelnut flavor, even better! Point being? Sugar is my kryptonite. I could give up fat and I could nibble on veggies all day as long as that meant I could have my sugary coffee -- or a fresh baked cookie, or a Ferrero Rocher chocolate truffle. Maybe even a White Russian. Even when it comes to main courses, I love my sugar -- i.e., brown sugar and soy sauce on my salmon is nothing short of amazing. Pinterest does nothing to stave off my addiction. Of course, eating too much sugar is not only damaging to my health (particularly dental), but I won't see the results I want from fitness if I overuse that powdery white drug. When I think back through history, many people didn't have sugar in their diets at all, and if they did, certainly not in the excess that America tends to enjoy. Studies say that when we enjoy sugar, it shoots endorphins through our brain -- a similar effect to doing a drug. We get this delectable "drug" so much that we're becoming addicted. Seriously: the chemical situation in the brain is pretty darn identical to drug addiction. Once you start, you just can't stop. Your body keeps roaring at you to keep getting the good stuff instead of the actually healthy and beneficial stuff that you need to function (1). It would seem the next best option is to use artificial sweetener. But Splenda, for example, hurts the environment (2). It can't be broken down organically. Biologically, it damages your own intestinal bacteria (3), which can cause weight gain around your middle. It even makes you crave sweet stuff more than ever. Sometimes sugar might just be the better option. Here's how I deal with that. We should never underestimate the value of the phrase, "Everything in moderation"... except for veggies and protein. Get lots of that, ha ha. But really, if I'm eating healthy 90% of the time, why in the world should I deny myself a square of chocolate at the end of the day? If I'm eating an egg white scramble for breakfast, lean chicken over some greens for lunch, and plain greek yogurt with blueberries as a snack, then how will coffee with a little mocha-flavored creamer sabotage me? Look, healthy eating is a big deal. Obviously. But sometimes I just give in to what I want. If I don't, I'll have that delicious bad food on the brain 'til I get my hands on it. If I try not to eat it, then I'll go absolutely apeshit and binge to the max. It's inevitable; it's a ticking time bomb. (True, the more healthy you eat, the more you'll crave the beneficial stuff. But I'd argue that a darn good Tirimisu tastes infinitely more delicious than an apple. Ever been to Italy and had real gelato? Yeah, it doesn't get much better than that. Plus, you just don't forget a good bowl of ice cream on a girls' night.) So when I crave bad sweets, here's my course of action: 1. First try to eat something good instead, like a banana. 2.If I'm really that insatiable, I open the freezer and whip out that pint of ice cream. 3. I eat a big spoonful s-l-o-w-l-y. Savor the flavor. Think about how it feels on your tongue. 4. After about three bites, I put it back in. I usually find that I'm satiated. Really. I'm telling you to just eat it, but I'm also telling you to a) fill yourself with good stuff first and b) be intentional and deliberate about how you eat it. It's not a race. I find that you get the same enjoyment out of ice cream by eating a tiny amount if you just take it slow and savor the crap out of it, just as you'd get enjoyment from a big bowl quickly. Taste your food. Don't inhale it. I am fit and I don't see any extra pounds by using this method sometimes. Again, if you put forth the effort 90% of the time to eat clean, then I think it's worth it to indulge. And I doubt it'll sabotage you, as long as you make it a treat instead of a lifestyle. And sometimes if you just take a little, you'll find that your body really doesn't want it after all. You'll find that you hyped it up in your mind. Maybe you don't want that ice cream after all. Well, usually. :) Sometimes you have Breaking Bad-themed parties complete with blue Jones soda and rock candy rims to enjoy.
And for the rest of the time, proper nutrition is key. If you need help, we're here for you! Click here to get your nutrition on track and hiit the newest 30 Day Challenge!Sources: 1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/10314705/Sugar-is-addictive-and-the-most-dangerous-drug-of-the-times.html 2. http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/11/19/my-artificial-sweetener-addiction-is-hurting-the-planet 3. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Splenda-may-damage-gut-bacteria-boost-weight-gain-study