How to Stop Eating Sweets

My penchant for sweets is pretty well known among my family. They joke and say that when I’m not around, sweets around the house take forever to get eaten. Even around my office, I would routinely pop pieces of candy in my mouth throughout the day. I’m known as the person who would “have a piece”.

I probably ate that piece.

Earlier this year, I noticed that this was becoming a lot more common. There is no shortage of sweets in our office throughout the year: small candies, birthday cakes, and leftover desserts that people are trying to get rid of.

I thought, “Do I really need all this?”

So I made a pact with myself; only one dessert a week. There have been some weeks where I would have loved to have cheated on it (and there was one week where I did sort of have 2 desserts, but one of them was fruit with whip cream – I rationalized that it shouldn’t count as much). Six months have gone by since I made the pact, and aside from that one time, I have not deviated.

So my conversation this past weekend with my father bothered me a little bit. I was talking about how I was eating healthier and that he should too. He responded that he just needed to give me a week at home and I’d break that. It is true that we still have a lot of sweets. But I don’t think he realizes my desire to eat healthy (which hopefully I’ll cover in a later post).

So how did I stop my sweet cravings?

1. As I said up above, I committed to cutting down my sweet eating. Only once a week do I allow myself to have anything that I would label a “dessert”. If this is not something you want to commit to, then you are going to have a hard time staying firm in your commitment.

2. I do not let myself cheat. If I cheat once, it makes it so much easier to cheat again. There definitely have been some times where I would love to dig in to something. Then I realize that I am trying to make myself healthier and that I am working more towards the long term than just receiving short term pleasure.

3. I have stopped eating food that I believe is bad for my body, meaning reducing processed foods in my diet. This also means paying more attention to what I buy at the grocery store. Do you realize there is high fructose corn syrup in many of the breads you buy at the grocery store. Yuck!

4. And finally, I have upped the amount of fruits and veggies I eat. I’ve learned how to make them taste good through a little trial and error. I can’t believe they used to be the thing that kept me from cleaning my plate when I was younger.

Have you tried to cut your sweets down?

In and Out of Shape

I’ve been thinking a lot about food recently.  I definitely have noticed a “wearing down” effect when I don’t keep my calories in sync with my workouts.  If I eat too little in a day, I feel like a slug at night.  This shouldn’t happen as I’m in pretty good shape.  It isn’t like my days are physically stressful or anything.

What we eat has an enormous influence on how we feel and how our body deals with things.

This is why I can understand why some professional athletes put on a lot of weight once their playing days are done.

Put yourself in their shoes…  Here they are, working out every day.  Burning thousands of calories.  They need to maintain their weight, so their diets need to reflect that.

So say a professional athlete has been doing their sport for 10-20 years.  They have the same routine.  They eat the same things and maybe even have a set meal plan.  Over the years, they just get used to eating as much as they do.

Then it all stops.  Whether they retire, get hurt, or they decrease the amount of effort they put in, they burn less calories in a given day.  But if they don’t decrease the amount their eating (by a lot), they are going to gain weight.

One of the biggest revelations that I have had in the last couple months is that it is REALLY hard to change your eating habits.  It is comfortable and in some cases a lot easier to go with what you know.  And if all you know is unhealthy food or eating a lot to keep up with the calories you are losing, then it takes a real effort to put forth any change.