Friday, June 5, 2009

Sugar, Sugar --- Oh Honey, Honey

One of our polls asked what was most difficult to change in your diet. The number one answer was cutting out sugar. So I thought I would post a few ideas and ask for your feedback.

1) Try switching to sugar free. I actually can't believe I just typed that, since I have been anti the taste of sugar free for YEARS!!! I could taste it in ANYTHING!!!! And it always left the most disgusting after-taste in my mouth. HOWEVER . . . . things have changed. Food scientists have come a long way with some things, and there are actually sugar-free products I prefer now to the regular stuff. Some of my favorites:
--- Bryer's No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream
--- A&W Diet Root Beer
--- First Two Comined for an AMAZING Root Beer Float
--- Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets No Sugar Added Hot Chocolate
--- Cook and Serve Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding
--- Laughing Cow Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches
--- Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cups
--- Weight Watchers Oreo Ice Cream Bars
--- Dannon's 80 Calorie Yogurt cups with 1/4 cup of Fiber One

For the last few months I have had a REALLY hard time saying no to sweets -- I LOVE THEM TOO MUCH!!! But I have been surprised to see that when I allowed myself these few simple, sugar-free sweets every day, I felt less guilty. And slowly but surely, I find myself not really wanting them as much. That's FANTASTIC, right?

I think the trick here is to choose healthier options while waiting for my body to balance itself out. I'm still not to a point where I use Sugar Substitutes in things like Oatmeal or baking. That just ISN'T me. And, yes, some of these things are a little more pricey (which helps to not get them so much, right?). BUT, I allowed myself that splurge for a while to keep myself from feeling deprived and just giving up or binging on things that I wanted but couldn't have. And, as I said, I have been surprised to notice that I don't crave them as much.

2) Choose fruit first. You have to be a little careful with this one because you don't want to eat one thing when you are really craving another; you'll just have added calories from the first and over-indulge on the second. But if you can first eat fruit, you may find your post-meal sweet tooth is actually okay with it and doesn't need anything else.

3) Set small limitations. For example, you may not quit sweets cold-turkey. That probably won't lead to success for you. HOWEVER, you can start with small things like limiting yourself to one or two portions. Or maybe all you need to do is decide to look at the nutrition information of everything you eat BEFORE you eat it. That's a cup of ice water in my face sometimes; and the shock alone is enough to stop me when I think about how long I'd have to run to run off that tiny little splurge. Again, slow and steady wins the race. And you might just find yourself NOT craving sweets as much as you thought you would or have previously done.

4) Use portion sizes of sweeteners. For example, I eat oatmeal pretty much every morning, without fail. I used to add sugar to the point that it was like, "Do you want some oatmeal with that sugar?" Now I just add one tablespoon of brown sugar to my bowl of oatmeal and I'm just fine with it! I had to get to that point. But now that I'm there -- VIOLA!!! It's not even a question anymore.

5) Choose fresh over dried EVERY TIME. If you have a sweet tooth and are going to eat fruit, go for fresh fruit instead of dried fruit. Dried just doesn't have the same nutritional value and the sugar in it is so incredibly concentrated. Eating either one will give you that sweet taste in your mouth, so go for fresh.

6) If you don't make or buy it, you won't eat it! If you need help with this, call in the reserves: family, room-mates, friends, etc. Or if you want to make something because you are really craving it, call a friend and make it at their house. Make sure you have an alternate activity going on (like games or a movie or something outside), then you can eat just one and walk away to join the activity. OR you can take the plate of goodies TO the activity and steal one before serving everyone else. AND you can leave all the left-overs with them to find a way to dispose of them.


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