(I am not posting a gorgeous photo of an ice cream sundae or a baked good here.)
Last Tuesday, as you may recall, I decided to try to lasso in my ornery sweet tooth. For as long as I can remember, I've LOVED sweets, and in their various forms they are things I have the hardest time eating reasonably (though I must say that developing my technique of eating just one serving of ice cream at a time went really well!). I found myself with several nibbles of little chocolates or handfuls of jelly beans or a slice of cake at the office happening way too often, i.e. every single day. For real. No one needs that many sweets in their life, least of all me when I am still trying to lose a lot of weight.
And hey, it's not to say that I think sweets are evil, or that they are at the core of all my problems. They haven't been helping, though, and I realized when I looked more closely at my food logs that they also took up a lot of space in my daily calorie goals and so a lot of times what happened was that I got to dinner with not as many calories left as I'd like, which would almost always lead to overeating for the day. Not helpful.
(A side note: My approach to calorie-counting is probably not half a stringent as many people's. Lately I have been going by MyFitnessPal's suggested intake of 1550 calories per day, usually eating most of my exercise calories (which tend to be inflated, I know), and more of less being fairly casual sticking to that number and always aiming to keep things under 2000 if nothing else. As I type this out it seems kind of silly to the point of why do I bother to have goals anyway?, but it's been working well enough and – most importantly – it is a very sustainable approach for me. This is not something that is frustrating or leaves me unsatisfied. This is something that I can live by forever and ever, basically. My weight loss is pretty slow, about a pound a week, sometimes a little more – but I can live with that, as long as the numbers keep going down.)
OK, so anyway... what about the sugar?
After a week of not eating anything that could be obviously labeled a sweet treat, that is, candy, ice cream, cake, added sugar to anything, etc., I am doing fine. It's like nothing's really that different, to be honest, and that is a huge surprise to me. I've had to stop and think a little more about what I am going to eat, sometimes, like in the morning when I have considered having some hot chocolate – NOPE. It's been minimal, though, and certainly not inconvenient. And I am snacking a LOT less, in between meals, after dinner? Practically never this past week.
I don't have any hard and fast rules for what I am doing. I'm not cutting out alcohol, for instance, or the Greek yogurt I enjoy, which has some sugar in it. Of course I am eating fruit. I'm mainly focused on the real obvious more "junky" stuff that was becoming a crutch for me. It was to the point that whenever I ate a meal, I'd have to follow it with even just a little mini piece of chocolate (usually three or four or five), or more. Most of all I wanted to break out of that habit, and I wanted to get my taste buds used to NOT relying on so many overly sweet things.
Initially I was going for a week, and here I am. I guess another week is in order at this point, with the ultimate goal to make it to my birthday on June 9th. I will absolutely indulge my sweet tooth then, but I think what I'd like to do is indulge it in a really meaningful way, that is to buy something really nice, or make something myself equally nice. I like Michael Pollan's suggestion to eat what you want if you make it yourself (like a cake), and that might be the tack I employ beyond my birthday. I might decide to eat an indulgence once a week, or once a month, or...?
For now, like everything else, I'm taking it day by day, chugging along, getting the work done. Finding the balance, always and in everything.