by Erin Elaine
I’m trying something new for my health – cutting out sweets. Over the years I’ve struggled with healthy eating and getting enough exercise. And it took a long time to realize my main downfall with healthy eating was sweets.
I can moderate other parts of my diet pretty well – things like fried foods, fatty foods, carbs, etc. I also don’t find it hard to moderate my alcohol intake (typically 1-2 drinks once a week) or my caffeine intake (typically 2-3 times per week). But the one thing I just can’t for the life of me eat in moderation, is sweets. Mainly things like ice cream, cake, cookies, chocolate, etc.
I start with the best intentions, just having 2 cookies. Or just stirring in half a spoon of Nutella into my oatmeal. But then I think, oh it’s not so bad, and the amounts creep up and up and up. I was eating sweets almost every day, and definitely in larger-than-healthy amounts. The fact that it was a regular thing in my diet made me crave it more. In short, I have a horrible sweet tooth and moderation just didn’t work for me.
So, I’ve decided to cut out all sugar-added foods. This obviously includes things like chocolate, but it also includes juice and any yogurt except ‘plain’. This also means no more jam (sadface) and no more sugar in my café (that will take a little getting used to). However, any foods with natural sugars in them (fruit) I will continue eating. I love buying fresh fruit from my local Frutería on my way home from work. Fig season is almost over so I’m eating a lot of those, as well as peaches, and today I just bought a dragonfruit.
By cutting out sweets completely, I’ll stop the cravings. So far it’s been one week without sweets, and I can already tell the difference. It’s becoming much easier to tell myself no at the grocery store or when passing a gelato shop.
Why am I doing this? The first assumption may be that I want to lose weight, but really this is about the bigger picture. Sugar really messes with my energy level. I would always feel like crap after eating sugar, but it tasted so good that I didn’t want to stop. The amount of sugar in the average American diet also comes with tons of health risks attached:
Yes, it would be nice if cutting out sugar helped me lose a couple pounds, but the other longer-term positive health effects are more important.
I think another important aspect of trying to eat healthy is to not beat yourself up too much when you slip up. It happens to everyone. But to think it means you’ve fallen off the wagon and can’t be redeemed is not a helpful attitude. I’m going to try my hardest to avoid all sweets, and I know it will get easier and easier as time goes on, until it almost becomes second nature. But when I do slip up, it doesn’t mean all my effort was wasted, and the important part is to move forward.
Have you ever cut out a certain type of food from your diet? What were your reasons? Did you notice any positive health effects? Please share your thoughts!