December 28, 2010

By Tina Haupert

I eat too much sugar. In fact, on some days I eat more desserts than “real” food. (Perhaps the likely culprit for my recent weight gain?) Of course, I don’t think there is anything wrong with enjoying a little sugar every now and then. But I’ve been really overdoing it lately.

At first, I really enjoyed these sugary indulges. I love eating desserts, so the holidays seemed like a good time to gratify myself to the fullest. I knew I wasn’t eating many nutritious foods. Still, that didn’t bother me—until my body began to feel some unpleasant effects. Now:

  • My appetite is all over the place.
  • My cravings are out of control.
  • I feel like I’m never fully satisfied.
  • I had four cavities at my last visit to the dentist.
  • I experience mood swings.
  • I feel lethargic and unmotivated.
  • I'm eating sweets and still craving sugar!

The final straw: My skin has started to break out like crazy. When this happens, I know I’m not treating my body well. Clearly, something needs to change.

It’s safe to say that my eating habits have definitely changed in the past six months or so—but not for the better! I used to eat healthy, nutritious foods 80% of the time. Nowadays, it’s more like 50% of the time! I’ve gotten a little lazy with my health, so now is the time to make some dietary changes to get me back in the groove of healthful eating for the New Year.

I recorded my cravings in a journal for five days to help me understand what's going on. I looked over my entries one morning, and basically it came down to physical and emotional cravings.

I felt a physical craving for sweets whenever I was hungry or thirsty. This usually happened mid-morning, after breakfast but before lunch. So, I plan to add a healthy snack to my morning routine to avoid this craving. Keeping myself hydrated will also probably help, especially because I drink iced coffee every morning, which is dehydrating.

The emotional cravings typically hit me in the afternoon. After lunch, I’m mostly done with my work for the day. I guess I’m sort of bored (and maybe a bit lonely). Hence, I tend to eat to fill my time. This craving is going to be much more difficult to tackle. Perhaps I need to replace eating sugary foods with an activity or project. Taking my dog, Murphy, for a walk usually helps, so other nonfood-related activities could too!
Getty Images

Here are a few more things I plan to keep in mind:

Consider nothing as off-limits
I don’t do diets. They make me miserable and don’t work for me in the long run. Plus, once I say a food is off-limits, I crave it all the more, which, for me, means small indulgences everyday and a bigger one on Cookie Friday!

Bake less
Currently, I bake goodies two to three times a week. Having all of those treats around the house isn't a good idea because I just can't stay away from them. I’m not going to stop baking because I love it so much, but I will definitely cut back.

Drink more water
I already mentioned this, but I’ve let this healthy habit go by the wayside. I now drink water only when I am really thirsty, so I want to change this. As you probably know, dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger!

Try new foods
I’m definitely stuck in a food rut. Trying new foods has always been fun and exciting for me. I want to widen my food choices in order to eat more nutritiously once again.

Blog about all of my meals and snacks
This will keep me accountable. Plus, I want to share my challenges with those of you who are struggling to break your sugar habit too! I know this isn’t going to be easy, so any and all support is welcome!

Do you consume too much sugar in your diet?