If you are a coffee person, you know how it feels to wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and plan for your regular stop at your favorite cafe for coffee.
Imagine this: Because you want to get your steps in on your Fit Bit, you decide to forgo the drive-thru and get out of your car to stand in line.
In the cafe, there are 3 people ahead of you. Your eyes drift towards the glass display of coffee cakes, cake pops, and muffins.
And that’s when you remember why you don’t like walking in this place.
You arrive at work with your black coffee.
Sitting down at your desk, you can’t help but notice the sweet smell of chocolate pastries. Passing the Krispy Kreme donut box, you manage to make to your desk unscathed from sugary temptation.
You login to your computer, and out of the corner eye you notice something; there is a transparent Halloween-themed bag of chocolate minis full of all the candy bars you love.
The thought crosses your mind, “Maybe I’ll just have one piece.”
The Problem With Sugar Is That It’s Almost Impossible To “Just Have One”…
This is the time of year where sweet treats start to pop up all over the place.
Co-workers bring in baked goods, children are longing for candy canes, and everywhere you turn, there’s something decadent to eat that you really shouldn’t.
Though you might be good about resisting it overall, everyone has that “kryptonite treat” that’s too irresistible to pass up.
With that in mind, I thought I’d write to you about how you can lessen the damage of eating too much sugar as the holidays approach and your self control lessens.
Don’t feel badly. It happens to all of us to one degree or another. Still, these are great hacks that allow you to enjoy your holidays and come out of them feeling like you did a good job not allowing all the sugary foods to overwhelm you and set you back in your fitness goals.
#1 – Handle your sweet tooth with whole foods
Recently, my wife made a fruit salad, and it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. We both have a sweet tooth on occasion, and we know how easy it is to go from slender to overweight.
Instead of going for candy first, I try to handle my sweet tooth with fruit, first. If you do this, it will keep calorie and fat consumption low at the same time, and it will give your body certain vitamins that are only found in fruit.
If at all possible, try to take care of your sweet tooth by eating whole foods that are sweet. That way, you get your sugary fix without doing any damage to your body.
#2 – Eat lollipops instead of other types of candy
If you just have to have candy – and at some point, you probably will – try a lollipop. When you suck on lollipops, you consume candy slower. Finishing a lollipop is not as easy as grabbing a bunch of small pieces of chocolate and tossing them into your mouth.
A lollipop will probably have anywhere between 60-120 calories and take you 3-5 minutes to eat. Whereas a handful of chocolate will take less than a few seconds.
Huge tip: don’t overdo it on the lollipops. There’s still a lot of sugar in there!
#3 – Don’t throw away your candy wrapper
Keeping the evidence of indulgence can easily reduce how much you eat. If you keep a “paper trail” of your sugar consumption, there’s strong proof to show that you’ll probably eat less of it.
In fact, in one study, they found that people tend to eat more than double the calories when they have nothing to remind them of what they’ve consumed.
In this case, they got 2 groups of people to eat chicken wings. One group had their finished chicken bones removed from their table after eating, while another group kept their bones in front of them.
The groups that had their bones removed from the table ate almost twice as much as the other group.
#4 – Track your sugar
Use an app to track what you eat each day, or go old school and use a notepad. Then, set a limit of how much sugar you’re going to have for the day.
The interesting thing about tracking sugar is that even if you don’t set a goal, it will increase your mindfulness, and this can cause you to eat less. And this directly leads to my last recommendation.
#5 – Savor the taste, and slow down (my personal favorite)
When you haven’t had any sugar in a while, that first bite of an will make you feel good. However, what you’ll find is that there is a diminishing return effect as you eat more candy.
At a subconscious level, the continued eating has you searching for that feeling you received at that first bite, though you never find it.
If you take this track, before you know it, you will have eaten yourself sick, as happens with lots of people.
So, instead of doing that, if you’re going to cheat on your diet a little and eat treats during this holiday season, go for it, but make sure that you take your time.
Enjoy the candy, one piece at a time. Smell it. Savor it. Enjoy the flavor and the texture…and don’t overdo it.
Your Sugar Addiction Isn’t Really All Your Fault!
The pleasure you get from eating sugar is powerful.
Many professionals feel that addiction to sugar is stronger than an addiction to heroin, alcohol, or cocaine. The reason it’s so easy to become addicted to sweets is because “guilty-pleasure” foods aren’t normally viewed as being as dangerous.
I mean…what’s so dangerous about candy corn, cotton candy, or candy bars?
The problem with this way of thinking is that sugar actually stimulates the same pathways in the brain that opioids do, and it’s just as habit-forming. So limiting sugar or even cutting it out entirely can only be a good thing for your overall health.
Having too much sugar can lead to all sorts of diseases like diabetes, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Once you have any of these issues, it can be really difficult to turn it around…
…but it IS possible with moderation and with behavior change. One of the main reasons I do wha I do is because I know how hard it is to overcome lifelong behavior patterns…
…but I did it, and if I did, anyone can!
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The Garage Warrior