Erin Explores

by Erin Elaine

Cutting Out Sweets

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!


5 comments on “Cutting Out Sweets

  1. elstadl
    September 14, 2013

    I am in the same boat when it comes to having a sweet tooth. I indulge myself almost daily… I stocked up on good chocolate bars when I paid a visit to a local super store but my supply is running low, ahhh! I get daily cravings. I have successfully cut out sugar in the past but usually it was only for 3-4 weeks maximum. I’d start to cheat and then all of a sudden the addiction would creep back and I would binge of sugary deliciousness! I’ve already taken step one, I admit I have a problem haha. I just need to continuously be aware of it and slowly try to minimize my processed sugar intake.

    • Erin Elaine
      September 14, 2013

      Yeah last year I was trying for moderation but I cheated way too much. Like I would buy chocolate milk cause milk is healthy right? And then I’d pour a huge glass. Or I’d buy Nutella and tell myself I’d only eat one spoon per day, but I’d end up eating like 4. The binges were the worst, I always got the worst headache after and it really fucked with my energy level. Some scientists say sugar does act like an addiction. That’s why I’m trying to cut it out completely. We’ll see how long it lasts.

  2. Angela
    September 15, 2013

    I’ve struggled with this too Erin. My sugar consumption has dropped dramatically, but I have times when I fall off the wagon. The only sugar I do consume on a regular basis is in my coffee. After trying a bunch of sugar substitutes, which I hated every single one, my Dr advised that if that was the only sugar I used regularly go ahead and just use sugar. Its worked pretty well. I have other sweets on occasion here and there, but I never buy it or keep it in the house. I may make recipes that call for added sugar occasionally also, but I try to use no sugar applesauce or honey. The one thing that has saved my chocolate craving is chocolate soy milk that Jeremy uses in his coffee. I take a sip when I’m craving chocolate and the does it. I’ve also found that even if I do eat sweets on special occasions, and it could be the best tasting thing EVER, I can really only eat so much. I opt for pretty small portions, and it more than soothes my craving. I’ve been insulin resistant for years and I’m sure the unhealthy lifestyle I had then is the reason. Once you are insulin resistant, even if you eat healthy and exercise regularly, its a still a constant struggle. Insulin resistance can causes not only rapid weight gain, but also fatigue, hirsutism, multiple ovarian cyst, infertility, etc. Another thing that was big for me was cutting out diet soda. Years ago I would drink it all day long. After cutting it out, it made a big and fairly immediate change for me. I still have one occasionally, but I can say not really more that two or three times a year.

    • Erin Elaine
      September 15, 2013

      Congrats on lowering your sugar intake! It sounds like you’re doing better even though it’s still a struggle. It’s only been about a week for me, but I hope it will become easier to resist as time goes on. I wish I could eat it in moderation but if I keep any sweets in the house I always end up eating too much. :/

  3. Pingback: Three weeks without sugar | Mi vida en España

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This entry was posted on September 13, 2013 by in Food and tagged , .

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