My Newest (Renewed) Endeavor
Sometimes when you're trying to do something hard, the best way to be successful is to tell other people about it. That somehow offers you silent motivation when you feel tempted to ease up or give up on what you're trying to accomplish. You all agree?
I've tried a lot of things over the years. Some efforts/hobbies ended up being temporary, others I still enjoy but don't always find time for (sewing, I mean you!), but I find that trying new things is almost never bad. The key for myself is not trying to do too much and not being discouraged to try in the first place. This newest goal may sound odd coming from someone who once baked a new dessert every week for a year, but...
...I'm attempting to drastically reduce my sugar intake.
Now, obviously I'm not a super unhealthy person to begin with, but let me tell you, so far this has been very hard! It's not like this is the first time I've attempted to do it and yet, here I am again, renewing my vows, so to speak.
I want to do this not only because sugar is in practically everything, but also because it's so secretly addicting and detrimental to health! As I sat on the couch with Adam last night watching TV, I kept arguing myself out of grabbing some nearby chocolate until it got to the point where I realized my brain was obsessing about it and I was feeling a little anxious and even fidgety! Like I was a 20-year smoker trying to talk myself out of a cigarette! If that's not evidence of sugar's addictive nature, I don't know what is.
At that moment when I noticed my behavior, I inwardly resolved that I would not give in. Because I've come to a place where I don't want to be imprisoned by my own lifetime habit of enjoying something sweet after dinner. And when I think about it that way -- as not letting sugar addiction win -- it's easier than if I just sit there wavering between whether it really matters if I have a sweet treat in the long run or not. (Answer? It does!)
At the beginning of 2014, Adam and I resolved to stop drinking soda ... and we did! Sixteen months later, we're still going strong.
But it bugs me how much refined sugar I still consume, especially when you think about how it does absolutely nothing for you except add pounds and disease to your body (and taste good ... I mean, let's be honest!).
Practically all drinks that aren't water, all refined carbohydrates and pretty much anything that comes in a jar, can, bag or box, all contain copious amounts of sugar. How can you even avoid it? I mean, no one can make everything from scratch and not be exhausted (or miss getting to eat out, for example).
But still, considering all the places sugar is found, it shouldn't be hard to at least reduce it a little right? I mean, I'm not scientifically determining my current sugar intake and mathematically calculating a goal intake. I think it's enough to take simple steps.
My current avenues of attack are:
1. Consuming mostly water. I still enjoy a morning coffee, but homemade, with just about a teaspoon of sugar & the perfect blend of half & half. (I will still enjoy a latte, cocktail or flavored drink, but way less ... as in, maybe twice a week.)
2. General portion control.
3. Reducing dessert to one splurge day a week, whatever day that ends up being.
4. Being more careful about snacks -- my recent snacks have consisted of almonds, ants on a log, PB & banana on toast (Ezekiel sprouted grain bread), carrots, etc. (While I can't avoid all sugar, I can avoid using large quantities. And I can also avoid all containers that say "low-fat" because what they really mean is "high-sugar." I truly believe that just having smaller amounts of the full-fat stuff is better for you!)
5. Watching processed carb intake. (Brown rice and oatmeal, here we come!)
I feel like the majority of the challenge is fighting my own brain. It keeps telling me, "No refined carbs? No chocolate? You're kiiiillllliiinnnggg me!!!!! I'll never feel full or happy again!!" But it's obviously not true. Sometimes I feel hungry even though I know I shouldn't be and I think it's just the habit of having that sugar that's making me feel like there should be someting more.
I don't think it's realistic for me to say I'm not going to enjoy a friend's birthday cake or a frappucino during the Florida summer, but I don't want to be reliant and addicted. And any time I need encouragement, I'll come to you all. (And also re-watch "Fed Up" which is on Netflix and highly recommended!)
I started this on Sunday. Let's see how far I (and Adam) get! Almost done with Day 5...