A little over a week ago, I realized that I had a serious problem: I couldn't control myself when it came to sweets. Every time I am presented with the sweet sweet goodness of cookies, cake, candy, ice cream, etc. I tell myself I will just have a little bit, and then after one bite I am hooked and can't stop myself reaching for my second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth cookie. I realized a while ago that one of the biggest culprits to my weight gain over the last several years is my sweet tooth, or in my case teeth. (I think all of my teeth are sweet!)
My favorite cookie recipe ever! http://www.ghirardelli.com/recipes-tips/recipes/chocolate-chip-cookies
I have tried time and again to get my consumption of sugar under control to no avail. First I tried to designate "sugar days" where I would only eat sugary foods on certain pre-determined days. This failed miserably as I was always thinking of the next time I could eat sugar and since it was always on my mind, when presented with making little chocolates for my sister's wedding one day the temptation was just too much and I gave in.
So what is to be done about my destructive nature? How can I get my sugar cravings under control? This question really hit me hard the day I was craving sugar so badly that I not only ate my seven cookies, but went out to buy a large malt at Gunthar Toodys and proceeded to consume the whole thing myself. And then of course, later that evening I ate several mini chocolate bars (courtesy of Lily's potty training stash) and naturally I felt so sick to my stomach that I couldn't sleep much that night. I knew that I had to do something right away, find some way to release this hold that sugar had over me. I couldn't do moderation due to my complete lack of self control. I had tried limiting my eating to pre-determined days, and I had even picked a day of the week that was a free day, where I didn't have to count points and could eat whatever I wanted. But I tended to go so over the top on these days that it often took four days of good behavior to make up for these binge days. To say the least, it was extremely frustrating working hard for four days just to make up for one bad day. And my weight loss was crawling, in desperation I did the only thing I could think of: I Googled sugar.
And I found some interesting things, lots of extreme views on completely cutting sugar out of your diet (I'm talking, not consuming ANYTHING with sugar in the label) it was way to strict for me, and the thought of completely kissing sugar goodbye had me rolled into the fetal position rocking myself back and forth. But I did find some useful information amongst all the extreme views.
1. Sugar had addictive properties
2. Sugar acts like a drug on your body
3. You can get sugar addiction
I knew for a fact that I had sugar addiction, I was acting like a drug addict! Always thinking to when I would be able to get something sugary to eat, eating desserts and candy earlier and earlier in the day, often now before noon. Not being content until I had consumed my daily dose of cookies or jelly beans or candy bars and then of course the guild at sabotaging my weight loss was all consuming and I just wanted to crawl back in bed and shut the world out before it learned how much of a failure I was.
This was my frame of thought just three weeks ago, so I decided that I would conquer this once and for all. I was going to pull my sweet tooth! Not in the extreme sense of cutting out everything containing sugar, but by simply saying "NO" to desserts and candy, for one month. I figured if I could completely cut out all desserts and candy for one month, I would purge the cravings from my system and during that time I would focus on eating much healthier. You can read about my healthier eating habits epiphany HERE. So I set out immediately, that very day, that very minute to take a month off sugary foods. This way, I know the answer is always 'no' and I don't have to think about when I can eat them, I just won't do it, like knowing ahead of time you are going to say "no" to smoking or drugs if you are offered them.
"All you gatta say is NO-O! All you gatta say is NO!" (10 points for anyone who knows where that song comes from, lets see if anyone else shared the same childhood tapes I did!)
So, the first few days were not as bad as I thought they would be. I couldn't just throw everything out since my husband and two year old daughter would probably commit mutiny if I did (although if you are living alone this is a great way to start your own quest rid yourself of sugar addiction- just don't have any of it in your house! If it's not in your house, you can't eat it). The hardest part was giving jelly beans and chocolate to my two year old as a reward for using the toilet without snitching some for myself. But I reminded myself that I just had to say "no", for now it was off limits. It wouldn't be off limits forever, but for now it was. The first week of my challenge I lost 3 pounds! I succeeded in sticking to my resolve for two weeks until our annual Harry Potter party was upon us. We are supposed to bring something to share, and what fun is a Harry Potter party if you can't have a butterbeer, chocolate frogs, treacle fudge, or licorice wands? I of course decided to make cauldron cakes:
They were divine! Of course I ate way too much, but after two weeks of not eating sugar I actually didn't eat as much at the party as I would normally have eaten. My sugar cravings were filled quicker than previously, most of my splurging coming from when I was actually making the decadent desserts than at the actual party. Here is a picture of the cauldron cakes that I made. I ran out of chocolate so I couldn't put the handles on top.
I thought they turned out looking great!
Of course the next day was our General Relief Society Broadcast and we always have dinner before hand and this year it was dinner from around the world. There were selections from Korea, Athens, Chicken Itza, Hawaii, Canary Islands, Rio, Bavaria, Paris, and a few other places I forgot. You get a picture of the Korea table since that is the only picture I took that night. Matt served his mission in Korea so I sent him a picture of it. We thought that it was funny they chose to represent Korea with Choco Pies (similar to moon pies). That's like representing America with Twinkies! But I guess they were trying to think of something that all us Americans would like. (Korean food can be an acquired taste).
So I know you are thinking "isn't this supposed to be a post about NOT eating sugar?" I promise I'm getting to the moral of the story. So the Harry Potter party was Friday, and the Relief Society Broadcast was Saturday, and my weigh in day was Sunday. Well, I was too much of a chicken to weigh in that day since I had way over eaten my points the past two days. So I just charted one of the weigh ins I had that week, my average being 173.1. I decided to restart my 30 day challenge on Sunday (instead of picking up and finishing the last two weeks I started over with the full four weeks). I waited two days to allow the food from the splurge days to leave my system and I weighed myself on Tuesday morning and I was 172! So even though I did splurge I lost weight! So the moment you have all been waiting for: The moral of the story is that if you are working hard and you do have a splurge, if you get right back to doing good, the food doesn't stick with you. This is how we are supposed to live! (with maybe a little less splurging than I did). We are supposed to eat healthy and exercise on a daily basis, that is our normal routine and then when fun events come along, we can splurge and know its not the end of the world as long as we get right back on track the next day. This can't be an every day or every other day cycle, but every once in a while. Which is what I struggle with, so I restarted my challenge last week like I said.
One week down (I lost a two pounds that week putting me at 171 for yesterday's weigh in!) and yesterday my in-laws invite us up for dinner. Matt knows that I am having a "dry month" so he asks his mom to make dessert. So my first temptation came when the snacks before dinner were proffered. (we ate at noon and dinner wasn't ready until 6:30, that is a LONG time for me to go without eating) Here is what the proffered snacks consisted of:
Ironically I had eating avocado on my sandwich for lunch, so I really didn't have any more points to spend on guacamole and I had bbq chips as my side because I was really wanting chips, so I couldn't eat any more chips! So, you guessed it, I ate the tomatoes. (good thing I really love tomatoes!)
I also swam in the pool for two hours with Lily, getting unexpected exercise. Now, the deal for me coming up was that they would grill salmon and provide plenty of vegetables. (It's a long time joke that Matt's Mom never makes enough vegetables for dinner). So dinner was amazing! And there were even plenty of vegetables to go around. Then my time had come. Here is a picture of what I courageously said no to:
Earning jokes and laughing at my expense I firmly stuck to my resolution, kindly explaining that I was on a 30 day challenge to eat no desserts or candy. My husband on the other hand, (who couldn't gain a pound if he wanted to) had made no such promises:
That lighting makes him look like he has a nasty sunburn! Isn't baby Chloe a cutie!
I left feeling triumphant, and earning the impressed looks of my mother-in-law, I left that night with a smile on my face. I had done it, I withstood the trials of the sugar temptation. Maybe there is hope for me after all. This morning I weighed in and was rewarded with a reading of 168.7! My lowest reading in 5 years! (with the exception of the first time I went on weight watchers, but I quickly gained that back. You can read about that experience in my history post (not yet written). I am so excited to be out of the 170s, finally out of the obese BMI numbers and I will kiss those numbers goodbye forever!
So there you have it, a story of succumbing, and a story of perseverance. This time, I am sticking to my 30 day challenge come what may.