It officially feels like spring here. We had a full week of rain and storms but there is now lots of green and blue skies! It’s warming up but there’s still a breeze and lots of flowers. It’s beautiful.
Spring always gets me in the mood to re-evaluate my goals. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I struggle with eating healthy, balancing indulgences, and healing my body image issues. I started Weight Watchers fresh out of college. Since then, I have been on an up and down journey to find balance when it comes to my relationship with food. I have my good moments and my not so good moments. There was a period of time last year that I cut out all processed sugars and drank lots of green smoothies and had completely cut out caffeine. I felt a-mazing. But there was a few months last year that I ate a whole sleeve of cookies in one sitting regularly and didn’t work out for weeks at a time.
I’m done beating myself up over these choices; they’ve been made and I don’t regret them. But it’s important that I learn from the past while I’m moving forward.
I had blood work done during a physical recently and found out that I have high cholesterol. Not alarmingly high, but higher than normal/average. I’ve since learned this is partially genetic, but it still scared me. I’m 27 years old and have relatively high cholesterol levels! What have I been doing to my body!? So I cut out packaged popcorn (my favorite unhealthy snack. I miss it so.). I cut out all the things that I read contribute to high cholesterol as much as possible. I’ve switched to whole grain pasta when I eat it and focus on eating healthy fats like nuts and avocados. But I still have days where I eat a lot of sweets.
Sugar. It is highly addictive. There is absolutely no doubt about that. And sugar does nothing for us nutritionally. But it tastes so good. I have always had a big sweet tooth. And when I start eating something sweet, I don’t want to stop.
I want, no NEED, to learn how to manage this tricky balancing act. I don’t want to stop baking or enjoying the ocassional sugary treat, but I want to eliminate it as much as possibly in my daily life.
Starting now, here are some general guidelines I’m going to follow:
- No added sugars. This does not include fruit or other naturally occurring sugar foods. I have, however, been focusing on more vegetables versus fruit.
- Two drinks of alcohol per week. Period. Recently I was thinking about alcohol. It literally serves no purpose in my life. Yes, a glass of wine can be super relaxing. And I love the taste of a good Pinot Noir. But I have noticed that I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep when I drink, even just a glass. And I’m getting to a point where recovery the next morning is rough. A lot rougher than it was, say, 2 years ago. I’m tired of waking up after a night of social drinking with a headache and feeling sluggish. It hinders my productivity and ability to rest. What is it’s purpose, then? To feel accepted. To feel normal. To socialize. I’m re-evaluating these needs and, although I’m not going to abstain all the time, I’m going to be stricter about how much I consume. Because when I drink alcohol? I tend to eat more sugar. Which leads to binge eating sweets and undoing any good work I had done that week in terms of healthy eating. It’s a slippery slide. Plus, a cup of hot tea or a glass of club soda with lime is just as tasty and relaxing to me as a glass of red wine.
- One chai tea latte from Starbucks a week, for the time being. I have a weakness for these drinks. But it is basically all sugar. It’s not even real tea! I can’t seem to quit them, though. Enter the phasing out process. Their iced green tea is just as good to me, but not as desired when the weather is dreary. Hopefully the sunny weather may change the appeal in a hot beverage in the middle of the day. Everything in moderation, though, right?
- Meal planning. This is such an important aspect that I just haven’t made time for. My weeks recently have included lots of lunches out and pizzas ordered for dinner. Not only do you waste money and fill yourself with non-nutritional food, you have no idea what all went in to the process of cooking it. Cooking from home is a much better way to watch my sugar intake.
- Always keep a bag of grapes in the freezer. Have ya’ll had frozen grapes recently? They taste like popsicles. It’s amazing. And it’s a helpful way to kick sugar cravings to the curb. Yes, grapes have lots of sugar. But it’s naturally occurring sugar and as time goes by, I’m hoping to see less and less sugar cravings.
I’m not sure how this journey will go, quite honestly. Just today I ate that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, while thinking about writing this post. I don’t know if that makes me a hypocrite or not, but it does make me human. Mostly, I got it because I was super stoked to find the non dairy version in Texas and wanted to try it, but also because ice cream is damn delicious.
So, here’s to a nice spring cleaning of my system. I will keep you posted on this journey.
What are some ways you eliminate sugar and other unhealthy eating habits from your diet?