7 Days — No Sugar (Confessions of a Nutrition Coach)
There are two things that seem to be culturally accepted about sugar:
It’s so, so good.
You might be surprised to hear I don’t view sugar as “bad” (read our Instagram post for more on that).
But lately, I got out of control.
So I decided to do something about it. In this blog I’ve outlined the steps I’m taking, with the hope that you can learn from my experience.
It’s hard to admit this, but I have a sugar problem.
Lately I’ve been giving in more than normal to the need to treat myself.
When the kids go to sleep, or nobody else is in the house, or when I go out somewhere, I’ve had the urge to pamper myself with something sweet.
Just cookies, brownies, ice cream, chocolate chips, marshmallows, Hershey bars (being ready to make s’mores on a whim might need to stop being one of my “things”)… pretty much whatever I could find.
I’m a nutrition coach. I shouldn’t have food problems.
At least that’s how I feel.
But that’s not reality. Just because I know how to eat well doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that I always manage to stick with it — and recently it’s been more difficult than usual.
So I did what I tell my clients to do…
One strategy I give my clients when they have a craving is to ask:
What are you feeling?
What’s going on?
Are you actually hungry?
Are you just stressed, bored, tired, sad, etc.?
It’s a way to “check in” and see what’s really going on.
I have a toddler that doesn’t sleep great, which means I don’t sleep great. Lack of sleep amplifies stress. Both stress and being tired make me crave sugar.
When I started paying attention, I found I was eating sweets even when I was full, just to feel better or less tired.
It became a habit to have a treat every day.
It was a mind game and I was losing.
I want to eliminate the mental struggle of, “Should I have a cookie?” Or, “Should I make dessert or not?”
The answer right now is “no.”
The question is, am I really hungry?
If so, I’ll find some veggies or protein.
If not, I need to deal with my emotions at the time, instead of just reaching for a treat.
After a week, I’ll keep checking in with myself and assess how to continue.
If we decide as a family to have cookie night, or to get ice cream, or if we’re with friends, I might participate in dessert.
But I’ll stop indulging every day like I have been, and instead seek out more nutritious food.
It doesn’t stop here, and I need to keep that in mind.
This is a real struggle for me that I’ll always have to address.
Taking a week off from added sugar is just a starting point — a way to hit reset and fill up on something that isn’t junk.
What Can You Do?
Everyone struggles, but we all do it differently.
I can’t stop at just one treat (unless it’s one whole tray of cookies). Since sugar isn’t what I really need, there’s never enough to make me satisfied.
Taking a break from sweets for a week might be unwarranted if you have the self-control to limit yourself to just one.
That’s why the check in process is so important.
Start by figuring out what’s causing your cravings, then go from there.
And assess your goals. If you want to lose weight but are having sweets regularly, decide what’s more important.
It’s a personal decision I can’t make for you. But if you need help, I can go through the process with you.
Being a nutrition coach doesn’t mean I don’t know what you’re going through; it just means I have the training and experience to know how to work through it.
Email me here if you want help and I’ll respond within 24 hours.