I give up sweets every year for Lent because it is definitely my biggest challenge in terms of food, and I always feel better. In some ways, it's easier simply because I've made the decision so the temptation doesn't feel so strong. I made a commitment and that's it.
I'm thinking I may need to do that during certain times of the year. Last night, we had another big family dinner with lots of kids, foods, and cooking and I am in the kitchen a good part of hte night. Ended up eating a piece of apple pie with whipped cream. Felt bad later, of course, and am tired of having this debate in my mind about these things. I think I'm going to commit to no desserts (processed--cake, cookies, ice cream) for the rest of the month. It's actually easier for me when I do that because the internal debate stops. I don't know that I can really do moderation with baked goodies and such. At least not right now.
There are good and bad foods. I think anyone wanting to be healthy should at least severely limit their intake of sugar and heavily processed foods (think white flour, white rice). I don't think any doctor or medical researcher would object to a treat occasionally but not making it a regular part of your eating plan.
I cut out added sugar and it has helped me not binge for over 5 weeks and I binged 2-3 times a week before that. Each person has his or her own metabolism but sugar contributes to making us want more bad foods.
I really appreciate the thought you put into this and I love the analogy of slashing the other good tires. I need to tattoo that on my forehead.
I guess I feel that I haven't seen much progress in so long and I must be in the same habit of losing a bit and gaining it back and never really getting to a place with sustainable progress. I also realize that I often want to see results quickly and when I don't, I backslide and I'm again at square one. I sometimes think I should just jumps start by doing shakes or something for a few weeks to see results but then I know as soon as I go back to meals, it will all come back. It has to be a lifestyle. I get it but I'm not doing it well enough.
If I'm going to eat something sweet, I need to be in a better frame of mind. Eating it when I'm stressed and bored just adds to those emotions. I need to make an effort to eat it when I am in a position to enjoy it and not feel guilty.
The boredom thing is tricky because it is actually in very small increments of time. I work at home, have three kids home for the summer and often have their friends at our house as well. Our house is hopping busy! The challenge is that I have small pockets of time but they don't seem long enough to really accomplish something--almost like I am just waiting for the next thing I'm supposed to do. I suppose I need to change my mindset to try and do things in 10-20 minute increments but I am interrupted all day long. I'm still working that out.
That's my problem. It doesn't seem I can eat these things in moderation. One thing leads to me wanting another thing and another thing. Not all at once but over the course of a day or two and it's amazing how quickly I can ruin a 3 mile walk with one bad decision. I then throw my hands up and get mad at myself, making it easier to just eat more 'bad' sweets and then I have to start over. I feel as though I start over all the time and it's frustrating. I know it's my perception of things. I'm just not sure how to fix it.
You sound like you're in a really good place right now. I also do cook quite a bit--I have three kids who are growing like crazy and we cook a lot of chicken/pork/veggies/fish, fruits. I don't cook baked goods because I'm afraid they will tempt me but then I'll eat other ones that are either baked by family or store bought. I kinda hate that about myself--I'd like to just enjoy a bit of something and be done with it. I like the idea of building in, say, 200 calories for something I like. I'm trying to stay at 1200 calories right now (with mixed success).
One thing that does help is having an apple with Nutella. That feels like the ultimate dessert to me. Also, mixed berries with whipped cream and a homemade cappuccino (70 calories). Still, we have a large family and are always having people over, going over there, cooking, baking, feeding our 46,000 kids and cousins (kidding) and it seems like temptation is everywhere.
I also find that I can resist sweets better if I'm working out regularly. I need to get up pretty early to do it but I always find I feel better when I make the effort.
look at your ranges. you have to remember that those are loss ranges. if you are set to lose a pound a week, that means that to maintain, you'd need to eat 500 cals above those ranges [for a 2lb loss per week it's 1000 a day, 1/2lb a week means 250 a day]. so even if your first treat bumps you up out of your loss ranges, you're still eating less than you need to maintain, so you haven't ruined anything and are still eating in a loss range. so it's not the indulgences that cause you issues, it's the giving up that literally eats away your deficit. now if you are eating out of boredom or stress, you need to find something else to do. start making a list of non food ways to address each issue. if you're bored, start writing down all the things you never have time to do on a little scrap of paper and keep them in a bowl on the kitchen counter. when you find yourself bored and in the kitchen heading for a snack, divert to the bowl and do that thing you didn't think you had time for. if you need to find a way to be less anxious, try yoga, a warm bath, hot cup of tea, meditation, a foot rub, do your nails, read a favorite book, cuddle with pet/spouse/significant other/child, a favorite movie, knitting, anything that isn't eating. again, make a list of things you enjoy and keep trying til you hit something that works. i'd also like to give you props for occasionally being able to use yogurt as a way to curb your sweet tooth. i apparently just like crumby sweet things and not puddinglike sweet things because yogurt just does not hit a sweet craving for me. so if you despair that it's not working this time, you are ahead of some of us. and sometimes, you do just have to have the real stuff. that doesn't make you a bad person or a failure it just means that you happen to like that one thing. and i agree with being really picky about what you do allow yourself. if the sub doesn't cut it, get the really good good stuff. in other words, if you want chocolate and the chocolate yoplait isn't doing it, don't grab a bag of m&m's or a bar of hershey's. find your local candy store and get yourself some of the fancy truffles that are $20 a pound. the added monetary cost of the nicer stuff really does help limit it some, at least for those of us watching our pennies as well. if you can get a friend to meet you and make an occasion of it, that would be great as well. treats aren't as special if you have them everyday. in fact, they kinda become habits instead of treats. but if you make a big, fun complicated deal out of them it can enhance the experience and be complicated enough that you don't want to go through all of that every day [or even every week]. and i think it was anarie or unident that i first saw say this. if you're driving down the road and get a flat, you don't get out and slash your three good tires too. so if something unexpected happens and you slip a little, that's fine. but when you have that slip and decide to make it all or nothing, you're just getting out and slashing the other three good tires. you can't stop some things from happening, but you can stop yourself from making the situation actively worse. and that has just really stuck with me.
Anarie--thank you. I like the idea of thnking about treats more like a magazine or a nail polish--a treat for certain times. I tend to turn to them when I am feeling anxious, stressed or bored. I have about 20 pounds to lose--I'd like to get where you are now--and it's hard when it takes awhile to see the results. I have to be patient. I do work out--Jillian Michaels DVDs and my treadmill, an hour on an incline fast walk--but I think I have to exercise the patience muscle. I would LOVE to look at a dessert and not be swayed or interested. I don't want it to have power over me as to whether I feel good about myself or not that day.
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When I want something sweet, I allow myself to have a bite of whatever it is that I want. I know that I'm not reasonably going to stop eating those things for the rest of my life. If I don't allow myself any allowances, I would probably cave and end up bingeing. I like Skinny Cow chocolates and ice cream products. I've noticed Weight Watchers has put out similar ice cream products, but I haven't had them. You can eat anything--just in moderation!
I definitely do believe there are "bad foods" out there. A LOT of them. But... there's some value in considering just HOW you define "bad."
For example - a lot of people consider full-fat dairy products to be "bad" because they are calorie-dense. A small amount of butter, heavy cream, full fat cheese... it can pack a lot of calories! But is it a "bad" food? Personally - I DO NOT THINK SO. It's a food you want to eat in careful moderation. But really does not deserve being labelled as "bad."
Ditto on sweet things. A homemade rhubarb crisp is going to have a fair bit of sugar. But is it a "bad" food? I DO NOT THINK SO. There's value in having a dessert/sweet treat now and then. True enough, our bodies do not need "baked goods" to function and we are perhaps physically better off without them - but there's a whole emotional/satisfaction/life-enjoyment/food -as-celebration component.... and such sweet foods fit into this IN MODERATION.
What is bad, in my opinion at least, are the hyper-uber-processed foods, that construct food-like objects out of industrial-sounding components (can't even call it "food" and "ingredients" and can't call it "cooking" when it comes out of a factory). A really good read, if you are interested, is the book Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. This book goes a long way to explaining how these nutritionally-poor, basically "unhealthy" foods are crafted and marketed to become incredibly compelling. They are low on nutrition, high on calories, sugar, saturated fat, salt... and for many (most?) people they cause cravings-for-more. These are the foods that are DIFFICULT to "eat in moderation" precisely because they are designed to be irresistible.
I have reworked my relationship with food, bigtime. I have shunned fast-food almost entirely. I no longer look at a fast-food-burger-and-fries as something I "miss, wish i could have, might treat myself with as a reward" and instead view it as something that I *could* eat I suppose, if nothing else were available, but I prefer to avoid. It's just not good enough. Ditto on many processed foods. I don't eat completely "clean" but I do make an effort to cook from scratch, and the better I get at cooking, the easier it is to increase the amount of food on my table that came from scratch. And the better I get at cooking, the less I want those formerly craved junky foods.
What I make a point of doing, is treating myself with the highest quality ingredients I can reasonably afford. And I work on portion control. For example, I no longer eat grocery-store-american-"cheddar." It's bland and greasy and just doesn't hit my tastebuds where they live. I end up using too much of it in my effort to experience "cheese flavour." Instead - I get tiny amounts of Fancy Cheese. Strong aged cheddars, pecorino, gorgonzola, crumbly edam, fresh buffalo mozzarella. I NEVER buy "low fat cheese product." I don't need to. An ounce of Fancy Cheese leaves me feeling completely rewarded and satisfied in a way that a half pound of processed-cheese-food never could.
I take this concept to all my meals. I don't WANT to eat dry plain baked skinless chicken breast - blech! So what if I can get 6 ounces of it for not-too-many-calories? It's horrible! Instead, I might marinate it in olive oil and spices... and just eat an ounce less. Or I might have a thigh *with the skin on*... and just eat 3 ounces - but 3 DELICIOUS ounces. I don't WANT to eat zero-fat sugar free so-called yogurt! So instead I get plain unsweetened yogurt made from full fat milk, eat a little less of it, and jazz it up with all kinds of chopped up fresh fruit. I end up with more volume, more satisfaction... no sacrifice on the altar of "Lo Fat."
I really do enjoy my food. In fact, I just wrote a blog entitled Food is Awesome, just to say so. Possibly it would interest you.
If you find that you wish for sweets... build a daily "sweet" into your meal plan. Set aside 100-300 calories, say, and then make it something GOOD. Don't waste your sweet-calories on a stale donut in the lunch room. Use them for a half-cup of your favorite ice cream, or a homemade piece of apple cobbler, or a couple pieces of high-end chocolate, etc. Something that is SUPER GOOD. So that you can really enjoy it, really savour it. You may soon find that "quality" is more satisfying than "volume."
How about labeling foods as "foods my body needs" and "foods my mind wants?" Then budget your calories just the way you budget money for your family's needs versus your personal wants. You can buy nail polish or a magazine now and then, but only if there's money left after the house payment and electric bill and the kids' summer camp have all been taken care of. You can have a piece of chocolate or an Oreo now and then, but only if you have calories left over after you've hit your protein and calcium and fiber targets.
Being overweight is a lot like having credit card debt. It means you've lived beyond your means in the past, and now you have to make some sacrifices to fix that situation-- you can still cover your needs, but you're going to have to put off the wants AND learn to limit them in the future so you don't get back into debt.
Nail polish and magazines aren't bad; they're just not something you can afford every time you want them.
First of all, I haven't been on SP in awhile but I have always appreciated reading the threads and advice provided from the members of these boards. It helps so many of us, even if we don't outwardly say so, so thank you.
I am one of those people who have had trouble with food because I tend to look at things as good or bad. I generally eat pretty well--I like fruits, veggies, fish, grilled stuff--and I rarely eat fast food. My trouble is a sweet tooth and I find that I try to completely abstain, but if I fall off and eat something, I feel guilty and eat more because I feel like the day is wasted and I have to start over. I know in my mind that this a lifestyle and it isn't about a quick fix but it seems I keep battling the desserts and the idea that if I eat one bad thing, it's all downhill.
Has anyone here been able to reform their relationship with food this way? I'd like to enjoy something now and then and not feel guilty about it. I start to feel anxious when I'm around certain foods. I know some of it is a state of mind but it seems I tend to go for sweets when I am anxious or bored. I do eat greek yogurt and other substitutes and sometimes it works and other times it doesn't, and when it doesn't, I feel like a failure.
I hate this all or nothing perception. In my head, I know it isn't right but I don't know how to reframe it yet. Any advice?
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