Tag Archives: sweets

Eating Plan for Lent

22 Feb

Quickly, I just want to mention that it’s 56* in Denver today. Absolutely wonderful. I just want all the snow to melt already so that I can stop wiping off dirty dog paws!

On to today’s topic:

Eating.

Ever since my January goal of not eating sweets ended, my eating has been kind of haphazard. I do really well until about 4:00 and then the wheels fall off. I get home from work hungry and have a snack before I run. Then I have a snack when I get back from my run while I’m cooking dinner. Then I have a drink or treat before bed.

I also discovered that while my tastebuds enjoyed my new favorite breakfast, my stomach did not. After almost a whole week of feeling incredibly bloated and gassy, I realized that the only consistent thing that had changed about my diet was that I was eating Fiber One and Uncle Sam cereal every day – often combined. Both cereals are high in fiber. And contrary to the hype that fiber should be added to every single food possible, there is such a thing as too much fiber.

My body should be no stranger to fiber. I eat  at least 3-4 servings of fruit and 2-3 servings of vegetables daily, plus plenty of whole grains. So the only thing I could think of was that by adding the high fiber cereals, my body was getting too much fiber. I stopped eating those cereals and within 2 days, I felt normal again. Travis is thankful that I am no longer gassing him out of the house (ah, the beauties of marriage).

Yesterday afternoon, I thought maybe it was just the Fiber One cereal that had been giving me problems. So I ate 1/4 cup of Uncle Sam with some yogurt. Bad idea.

Welp, I guess I’ll just have to go back to my trusty, sugar-filled Honey Bunches of Oats and Frosted Mini-Wheats. Such a hard life…

Even though the fiber bloat is gone, I’m still feeling meh with my body right now. Maybe it’s because I was running 10 miles a week and eating like I was doing 25? I don’t know. But I do know that I have found myself bringing my normal snacks to work, and within an hour of eating a healthy, well-balanced snack, I’m hungry again. I feel like I am always. eating.

When I read another chapter in Love to Eat, Hate to Eat the other morning, and the author suggested keeping a food log, I decided to try it, hoping that it would help me to be more mindful of when and how much I’m eating. Enter the food log:

Mine looks different than the one she includes in the book, mostly because there is no way I could fit my handwriting into the tiny squares of her graph. But also because I like tracking my food in meals/snacks instead of by food group.

I’m recording:

  • What I ate for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and 3 Snacks (including pre-/post-workout fuel)
  • When I ate it
  • What my mood or feeling was when I ate it (specifically if it was emotional or not)
  • How much water I drink
  • If I complete my morning routine of reading the Bible and writing
  • If I complete my training schedule for the day
  • Any victories
  • Areas that need growth

And at the bottom, I have these 2 verses that inspire me to more disciplined eating:

“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Romans 13:14)

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

…………………………

For some reason, I have a hard time believing that God cares about my eating habits. But reading through this book with a group of women from church, I am little by little accepting that God does care. Because it obviously affects me a lot and occupies quite a few of my thoughts. So my main goal with tracking my eating this way is to be mindful of when and why I’m eating, so that I stop running to food for reward and pleasure, and start running to God instead.

It just so happens that today is the first day of Lent. In the past, when I’ve given something up for Lent, it hasn’t had the desired result of helping me be more mindful of my relationship with God. But this, I think, has potential. So I am going to commit to tracking my food this way for Lent. 40 days.

Here we go.

Do you observe Lent? 

January Goal: Achieved.

2 Feb

Well, friends, I made it. Survived one entire month without sweets of any sorts. It was rough. Especially last week. The culmination of busyness at work, that time of the month, tiredness, and sickness made me want to punch someone and steal their ice cream. But I didn’t.

The past couple days, I’ve been thinking over whether this goal achieved its intended purpose or not, which was to destroy my intense craving for sweets at all hours of the day for part of every meal. And I have to be honest, last week I was convinced that this whole goal was one big waste of willpower.

But then this week came. And the idea of getting to eat chocolate today was like Meh. I woke up this morning and stumbled to the bathroom with one eye half open, and then I remembered, it’s over. I can eat sweets again.

I stumbled to the kitchen where the thawed Triple Decker Brownies that I had kept in the freezer since New Years were sitting. And to be honest, I didn’t really want one. But I have been waiting for this moment the entire month of January – it’s the Day of Chocolate!

So I got out a plate and made the breakfast of champions:

I ate the dark chocolate square first. It was chocolate but it didn’t explode in my mouth like I had fantasized for 30 days.

Then I started eating the brownie. And I realized that what I was doing was ridiculous. Not only was I eating chocolate for breakfast, I wasn’t even enjoying it. So I bagged up the other half of the brownie and the chocolate cherry for later. As I drank my coffee and ate a piece of peanut butter toast, my stomach was doing flip-flops – not in the elated, I can’t believe we get to eat chocolate again! way but in the What the f? What is this crap? way.

{Don’t worry, I still ate the other half of the brownie and chocolate cherry for my morning snack, and instead of the salad and butternut squash lasagna I so carefully packed, I ate a Cinnamon Crunch bagel with Honey Walnut cream cheese from Panera for lunch. Now my stomach is really confused angry.}

All that to say…

It was cutting it close but I think that my goal finally had its intended effect. That time of the month aside (because we all know that we can’t be held accountable for our actions then), I think that my craving for sweets has decreased to a normal, sane amount.

In fact, I’m not even planning to get Yogurtland tonight.

I know, I know. Who am I?

The reason being that I’m going to run 5 miles and do my physical therapy exercises. And Travis is meeting with guys from church. And I don’t want to drive all the way to Yogurtland by myself. And it’s supposed to be a blizzard tonight after work. And I don’t want my stomach to go on strike for being mistreated.

What I Learned:

This experience has taught me that I do have the willpower to resist sweets. I can never use lack of willpower as an excuse again. I will have to admit that I ate the bowl of ice cream because I wanted it more than I wanted a flat stomach or a stable blood sugar. (That’s been the truth all along anyway.)

I also learned that I turned to sweets of all kinds (including soda…who knew?) for comfort and indulgence. When I come home from a stressful or tiring day, and just want to relax, food is where I turn – because it’s fast, easy, and gratifying. I tried to think of other ways to achieve the same effect but I don’t like baths because relaxing against a cement wall isn’t my idea of a good time. Walks are just more work. Reading and TV are better with food so that’s not it either. I guess I’m left with trying to tame the beast.

Where I Go from Here:

This goal reminded me of why I believe in Intuitive Eating (IE). The main idea of IE is that you give yourself permission to eat whatever you want. There are only two rules in IE: Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. The authors believe that when we classify foods as “bad” and “good,” food ends up exerting power over us. But when you ditch the classifications and allow yourself to have whatever you want as long as you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, food loses it power – because you know you can have it anytime you want.

With this goal, I took away that freedom. I couldn’t eat sweets when I craved them and found myself trying to fill the void with other food. This comic from Cathy sums it up beautifully:

This is exactly what the authors of IE  say – you end up eating more food and calories trying to satisfy your true craving in a “healthy” way than you would if you just ate what you truly wanted. And I really found that to be true. When I wanted something sweet after dinner, instead of being able to satisfy myself with a 35-calorie Dove chocolate, I would eat 250 calories of Pirate’s Booty or a bowl of cereal. So if you’re wondering if I lost any weight doing this challenge, sadly, no I did not. 😦

Now that the month of no sweets is over, I’m going back to giving myself the freedom to eat sweets when I’m truly craving them. But I am not going back to the licentiousness I had before I did this challenge. Then, I ate whatever was sitting out or free, whether I really wanted it or not. I exercised hardly any discretion (which is what led me to my sugar addiction in the first place). Now, I would like to be more intentional and make every choice count. If I eat a piece of chocolate cake, it better be just about the best piece of cake I’ve ever had. If I eat ice cream, it better be my favorite flavor or served on top of a gooey, still-warm brownie. That’s one rule I try to follow regarding what I eat in general: If you don’t love it, don’t eat it (even if that means throwing out “perfectly good food”).

I would like to preserve my body’s sugar shock as long as possible. It always make me feel good (and yet at the same time, feel horrible) when I’ve been eating healthy for long enough that my body freaks out when I give it unhealthy food. I must be doing something right. 

Have you ever ransacked the cupboard trying to satisfy a craving?

January Goal Update: No Sweets for a Month

10 Jan

So I have successfully made it 8, going on 9, days without sweets. And I have to say, it’s been ROUGH.

I have given up foods before as a way to go cold-turkey off a bad habit – because let’s be honest, I’ve tried “to eat less chocolate” and bombed big time. So it works for me to abstain from a certain thing for a while, until the craving goes away or at least decreases. But for some reason, this time has been the hardest.

Maybe it’s because I outlawed all sweets, not just chocolate or pop. Maybe it’s because I entered this goal with a fresh holiday sugar rush that I accumulated, bite by bite, over many weeks. Maybe it’s because I just got so used to ending a meal with a “little something extra.” Maybe it’s because I don’t have any cheat days, or even cheat moments, with this goal.

Whatever it is, I really hope these 8 days aren’t a foreshadow of what the next 22 will be like. 

I mean, it’s got to get easier, right?

It’s the hardest after dinner. I just want… something. Sweet. Chocolate.

Then it doesn’t help that I see all these delicious baked goods on the blogs I follow. Or at friends’ houses. Or on TV commercials.

What I wouldn’t give for a brownie, a blondie, or a chocolate chip cookie.

Anyway… I’ve noticed and not cared that I am substituting other post-dinner snacks for the MIA chocolate. I know that this is partly the result of having eaten dessert for after every meal in the months of November and December, and partly the result of me being extremely addicted to chocolate.

I’ve found that a good remedy for this is to use the snack as a reward for doing the dishes right after dinner, straightening up the living room, walking the dogs, etc. Do something else right after eating, with the promise that if you still want it, you can have a dessert/snack later. About 95% of the time, my craving is gone by the time I’ve done doing whatever. Because I  just wanted to eat more. But once I get out of “eating mode,” a dessert isn’t as appealing (unless, say, you were attempting to go a whole month without one).

I do this with bowls of cereal too. Honey Bunches of Oats is especially tempting (probably because it’s a bowl of sugar). I finish one bowl and immediately want another one. But in order to practice Intuitive Eating, I take a break. If I’m still hungry in 20 minutes, I can have another bowl. If I’m not hungry in 20 minutes, I can have another bowl once I’m hungry again. Overeating often happens because we think, “This is the only chance I get to eat this! If I don’t eat all of it, right now, this second, it’ll be gone and I’ll be unsatisfied for the rest of my life!” Dramatic, yes. But tell me you haven’t acted like this around food.

So this week, I’m going to distract myself after dinner to prevent me from substituting one bad post-dinner habit (snacking) for another (eating dessert).

Do you have any tricks that you use to prevent overeating?