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Refined Sugar and Me Week 20 — Social Eating

Welcome to week twenty of our ongoing series about refined sugar & me in 2017! This morning I’m again holding steady at a total of 13 pounds down from when I first started avoiding most added sugars and processed foods at the end of December 2016. Just like last week, though Monday finds me a couple pounds heavier than I was earlier in the week — so the weekends are apparently what’s getting me. What was the problem this weekend? Mother’s Day! 🙂

Social Eating, Sugar, and Societal Expectations

Holidays are really geared towards sabotaging any healthier eating plan, aren’t they? Valentine’s Day revolves around chocolate, Christmas brings us cookies, fudge, and holiday parties, then there’s Halloween (more chocolate) and Thanksgiving = pie and more pie… And there’s a reason why: We’re geared towards sharing food as a social and bonding activity.

Think about the last time you enjoyed lunch out at a restaurant with friends or family. What generally happens when the dessert menu comes around? Right: “Oh, I’ll have something if you’re going to have something,” or… “How about we split this one?” Or think about the last time you attended a birthday party: Did you accept a piece of cake after singing “Happy Birthday,” even if you really didn’t want one? When you were at your mother-in-law’s house for Easter dinner, did you feel compelled to try a slice of her famous pie?

A lot of us tend to eat more and indulge more when we’re in social situations, just like we tend to buy more when shopping with friends. And, we’re more likely to lapse when we see other people eating, especially in restaurants.

While I didn’t have advertised Mother’s Day treats like chocolate covered strawberries or ice cream or cake or pie yesterday, I did enjoy both lox & bagels for brunch and BBQ for dinner, with full awareness that the sugary BBQ sauce and all the simple carbs were going to get me. (And, I didn’t feel particularly well last night — lesson hopefully learned, again?) Food is so intertwined with celebration that this seemed an important part of Mother’s Day, but now that I’ve given some thought as to the reasons why, I’ll try harder to eat mindfully and avoid this same trap when Memorial Day rolls around in a couple of weeks.

So, that’s me this week…

This year is all about slowly figuring out my own pitfalls, it seems like, and mine may or may not be the same as yours. How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan so far — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

I think the longer you make an effort to eat healthy it will become easier to pass up food which is bad for you or harmful to you. I have a friend who gave up sugar 3 years ago and she has no problem walking by food and turning it down. She doesn't even explain why, just no thank you. Since I have been eating healthy and mostly whole foods I decline those foods which will sabatoge my weight loss. I am generally full and I am learning to listen to the "full" voice and pass up food, even treats. It is such an interesting journey. Since I began carb cycling and intermitent fasting I have lost 7 lbs and 7 inches in 6 weeks. I feel great, physically stronger and so much more comfortable in my clothing and skin!!! Yeah!


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

You are doing great Rachel! We will all have our ups and downs concerning what we choose to eat. You are mindful about each food item you eat. I appreciate your honesty about the struggles you are having with food. All of us struggle. At times, I am steadfast about eating super healthy. Then, something happens and I fall off the health food wagon. Right now, I'm taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection and the pills upset my stomach--so I have to eat more and different foods. Eating carrots, seaweed and salad does not help my stomach. I need ice cream to soothe my stomach! So, I ate some last night (along with gluten breaded chicken strips). Ugh. Now I am thinking about healthy foods I can have at my fingertips that are soothing. At this moment, I am baking Paleo bread (grain free, dairy free, sugar free). Perhaps have a 1/2 sandwich after each antibiotic? Yesterday, I stumbled eating the ice cream and chicken strips. Today is a new day and a new opportunity to make changes. For me, it comes down to making good food decisions and avoiding the easy excuses. I look forward to reading next week's blog entry.


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

Thanks so much. I so much appreciate comments from everyone, and this weekly post and all of your responses really help keep me on track and mindful.

Yogurt always helps when I'm taking antibiotics, so maybe a dairy free yogurt would be good right now for you if you're avoiding dairy?


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

I go to Weight Watchers and an older gal shared this story during a weekly meeting. She was at a coffee shop with a friend and got to chatting with the owner,then he sent over two slices of pie for them and she had to tell a little white lie and say she had an allergy and couldn't eat it. Then she tells our WW group, "well, it's kind of true, pie makes my a** swell up!". She had that whole meeting roaring ,lol!


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

I heard one at WW that was similar: It makes me break out in fat.


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

That is awesome! lol


Monday 15th of May 2017

I have successfully dodged this for three years. The hardest one is the request to split dessert., which is clearly an offer to share food. However, I have no problem smiling sincerely and saying, "No, I'm good - but you go ahead." After all, I just had a meal with the person; I'm not rejecting them by turning down dessert.

Ironically, I never have trouble turning down birthday cake. Usually, it's served after a meal, when the "Thanks, but I'm full," excuse works really well.

To be honest, I think my age (60) makes this easier. Many people I know have dietary restrictions for serious medical reasons, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart trouble. As a result, we don't get bullied as much about food as we used to. People know that we are just trying to take care of ourselves by making good food decisions - and they respect that.

Good luck with your journey - you are making great progress..


Monday 15th of May 2017

This is absolutely one of my biggest diet pitfalls. I almost dread weekends that have multiple parties/social events, because I have so little willpower when surrounded by all that food! This past weekend, I had a baby shower and a graduation party to attend Saturday, and two family events Sunday. I managed to come out not too badly on the scale this morning, because I tried to hold off on eating the items that weren't really a special "treat" - for example, I didn't eat the chips and dip that are standard at every party. I also held off on the alcohol, other than a very small glass of wine at one event. I've found that limiting bread, alcohol, chips and dessert make a big difference no matter how indulgent the rest of the food is.

I also agree with your comment about eating the cake when you don't really want it! I love dessert in general, but don't even really care about cake (would much rather have a chocolate chip cookie or brownie). Yet I can honestly say I don't think I have EVER turned down a slice of birthday cake in my life! Interesting. So much about food/eating really is not about hunger, is it?

Thanks again for this interesting series, as a person who is also perpetually trying to cut back on sugar, I really look forward to this. :-)


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

Thanks, I appreciate it! And, exactly that on the cake. I've never really cared for cake either, especially generic grocery store birthday cakes or box mixes, yet can't tell you how many pieces of that I've eaten over the years when it's offered. And good thinking on the "not a special treat" items.

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