We’re now up to week seventeen of our ongoing series about refined sugar & me in 2017! (Sorry I skipped last week — life got away from me, but that’s bad for both this series and accountability. There’s a reason Weight Watchers has meetings, so thanks for being my virtual support group, guys! 😉 )
But anyway… this week I’m down a total of 14 pounds from where I started at the end of December 2016, pretty much just by cutting out most added sugars and processed foods. That’s. Huge!
A very quick before and after
I’ll do a better photo at (hopefully) 20 pounds, but on the left above is a random selfie from today, and on the right, my face from last year. I don’t see changes in the mirror, but I do see it in photos. (Although to be fair, left is a better angle — even if it’s a less professional photo, lol.)
Let’s talk this week about dessert as a reward
I ran across this Milano cookies ad in a magazine this week. It’s darn clever — but there are just so many things that disturb me about the message here that I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s just stick to the “you deserve dessert” part for the purposes of this post, because we all do it, right? Bad day? I need chocolate tonight. Good job on your report card? Let’s grab some ice cream and celebrate!
Food, especially sweet food, is the simplest and most instantly gratifying way to reward ourselves (and others) for a job well done, and it’s the easiest way to comfort ourselves when life goes awry. (More on emotional eating in installment 10 of this series.) Studies show that our sweet tooth is wired from day one, and that it’s especially intense in kids but then decreases as we get older. Which makes sense — even when I was eating a lot more sugar myself, my kids would go nuts for something like Pixie Stix or the huge wad of frosting on top of a grocery store cupcake and I’d feel ill just watching them.
What are your messages to yourself?
There’s been a lot of press about body image and the way women are portrayed in advertising. But, although there’s been increased awareness of (and a push to limit) “junk food” advertising to children, there hasn’t been quite as much press about the way these types of foods are portrayed in advertising to adults — and of how these types of underlying messages make it more difficult to stick to real food on a bad day. (I’m not picking on Pepperidge Farm in particular here; food manufacturers are smart, and they all do it.)
So the question is: What are your alternative messages to yourself? How do we effectively bypass short term rewards and remain focused on long term goals?
For me so far: About three months into this experiment, once I’d firmly established the habit of eating differently it became a lot easier to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Sugar cravings have also become much fewer and further between, and, since my body’s no longer used to its daily dose of sugar, it now affects me badly. So, when a craving does hit, I think about how awful I felt after the last time I consumed sugar: It was seriously bad enough that my wish to avoid backlash helps short circuit that immediate desire. (See more here on the last time I tried ice cream, back in the second week of March.)
So, that’s me this week…
How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan so far — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?
Earlier installments in this series
Dip your toe in with these highlights:
- Week One: The Experiment Begins
- Week Three: By Any Other Name (+ a printable list of common names for sugar on ingredient lists)
- Week Ten: Emotional Eating
- Week Thirteen: Plan to Succeed
- Week Fifteen: A Little Light Reading
And you can catch up on the whole Refined Sugar and Me series here.