I don’t know what it is about counting days that I find so helpful. But it is helpful. Perhaps it helps because the numbers knit a context for Today is day four of the “How Sweet It Is Sugar-Free Challenge, and I feel less hungry than I have in weeks and more in control. So to say that this challenge is making a huge difference for me is an understatement. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say, I am taking sugar off the menu indefinitely. Summer is coming and if you read my blog, then you know I have a penchant for Carvelite ice-cream! I am going to try to bring it back slowly and with limits built in. I don’t have a plan yet, but that’s a start.
Write a list of alternatives to a sugar filled dessert
Tuesday How Sweet It Is Seven Day Sugar Challenge
Fresh Fruit: 0 sp.
Rainbow carrots, english cucumber, cherry tomatoes: 0 sp.
Grapes and slice up a Mini Bell Low-fat Cheese: 1 sp.
Celery with 1 Laughing Cow Cheese wedge: 1 sp.
1/4 c Roasted Chickpeas: 1 sp.
Frozen Banana dip in 1/2 c 2% Fage Greek Yogurt w/cinnamon sprinkled on top: 2sp.
24 g Pop chips Sour Cream & Onion: 2sp.
12 g Jiff Whipped Peanut Butter & apple: 2sp.
15 g mixed nuts, blueberries and pomegranate seeds: 3 sp.
51 g part-skim ricotta cheese with 1/2 cup strawberries: 3 sp.
Apple Rings (cut apples into rings), 51 grams part-skim ricotta cheese, cinnamon, 14 g Blue Diamond Slivered Almonds, 14 g Craisins: 7 sp.
30 g mixed nuts, 1 Baby Bell Cheese, 28 g Boars Head Turkey Pepperoni: 7 sp.
This is a sweet or savory list of alternatives to traditional desserts that I have either tried already or plan on trying. As I was creating the higher point options, it was funny, I kept thinking: these are too many points to spend on a snack. However, whenever I get my Junior Carvelite cone it’s 7 sp. and I get that without blinking an eye thinking I”m getting off easy. It’s strange to put that context over this list. Anyway I hope you find this useful.
Day two is down, and I have to say, I’m not wishing for any of the sweet stuff. I rolled over another four points and I’m feeling good about that accomplishment. A pro tip to share, I mixed in spaghetti squash with a 1/2 cup of linguini and topped it off with homemade sauce, a 2 oz meatball and a spoon full of part-skim ricotta cheese. It was very delicious. I even had room for a piece of Italian bread which was also excellent. My whole dinner was 7 SmartPoints. Try it, it’s a nice alternative to just eating pasta.
Write one memory in detail that involves eating sugar.
Monday How Sweet It Is Seven Day Sugar Challenge
Looking across the table there were so many good things to try. A box of Russel Stover’s chocolates, a try of holiday cookies from my favorite, Copenhagen’s Bakery, a bowl of fruit with chocolate dipped strawberries, pineapples, and apple pieces sticking out of it on skewers. a tub of creamy vanilla Hagen Dazs ice-cream, homemade apple pie, coconut cream pie, lemon meringue, and a cherry pie glistening with a sugary crust. I sighed in anticipation, and took a plastic dessert plate, it was small and round with pleated edges lined with a gold stripe. I took:
a thin crisp chocolate chip cookie
a skinny slice of lemon meringue pie
a small slice of apple pie with a spoon full of ice-cream
a chocolate dipped strawberry
a piece of Russel Stover candy – a raspberry creme
My little plate had not an inch to spare. I bit the cookie and it was a combination of sweetness and crumbly sandy texture. I listened to the conversation, smiling and nodding. My brother had found a new house he wanted to buy and it sounded like it had the potential to be the perfect home. Then I tasted the meringue airy and delicious with a tart lemon taste that was anchored by the soft crust below. I listened to my nieces and nephew give me his college update, how it was going what he was learning. Now my fork dipped down into the flakey pie crust into the glistening gooey apples that are tucked within. I complimented my niece as she was the baker, she had created another triumph. My teeth broke through the thick chocolate shell into a sweet strawberry as I laughed out loud at a story my brother was recounting from his wild youth. I looked down at my plate at the last lonely piece of candy, the raspberry cream, another celebration was ending.
So many happy times are tied to food aren’t they? Eating is an experience, and it’s one that can be easily revisited when times get tough. It’s easy to turn to food if I’m not aware of its power and hold over me. Who knows maybe that is why I want a bigger dessert. Maybe, it pulls in some of those other feelings of love, acceptance, and home that I want to be connected to. All of that is very possible. It’s funny, after writing out this memory, I am not craving any of the food, the sweet stuff I am craving is being with my family. It’s about love not cookies.
I’m pleased to say that my day one, “How Sweet It Is” no sugar challenge went well yesterday. Strange thing, by the time I went to bed I felt more content than I have lately. I was not hungry, and I felt good about my choices. I took steps and I was in control. Control is a funny thing, it’s both a pro and a con on this journey.
Having a sense of control is a pro on the road to weight loss and maintenance because it affords a sense of personal empowerment. When I exercise control over my portion sizes, or I plan ahead, or I select better food options I feel really great. Yet sometimes I get carried away with control and I start to build up little rules, and superstitions that go with certain choices. Then when it’s not possible to keep up those rules I feel like I’m losing control and that lead to negativity. It’s something to think about.
Give one little word (OLW) for sugar cravings. Why?
Sunday How Sweet It Is Seven Day Sugar Challenge
All cravings are drivers for habits so it’s very important to reflect on what I crave and why I crave it. In this case SUGAR. When I start thinking about the Dove chocolates in the pantry or sorbet in the freezer the desire to eat sugar is extremely persistent. It’s as though the wish to eat sugar is setting up a course of action that is virtually impossible to pull away from. It’s a little unsettling to acknowledge that my sugar cravings are so strong that when they grab hold of me, they have the power to undermine what I really want. I’m working on it. I wonder what’s your OLW for sugar cravings?
I’m back to “Day One” I am over my Lifetime Goal by 4.2 pounds, and I would like to lose 11.4 pounds in total. It may seem like a mistake or strange to make the first words of this post, be about “the numbers” because WW is about more than weight loss. This journey is about choices, beliefs, planning, and empowerment – however, it is also about maintaining and losing weight. The numbers don’t define me, but they do help to focus me. Does that make sense?
Here are somethings I’m thinking about after my WW workshop:
Bob has lost 102 pounds over the past 72 weeks. He shared how he keeps it fresh by finding and sharing recipes. Another important part of his success story involved our community. We help each other. There is so much good in our community and like Bob, I appreciate how valuable it is to my life. Listening to him this morning was a real gift to me – it was what I needed to hear.
Joan had an important discovery that after she gave up Milano cookies she has been consistently losing weight. She is down over 7 pounds. She examined a pattern and made a meaningful change that is getting her closer to her goal.
Bonnie talked about the importance of setting small goals – and she is exactly right about that. I know that setting small goals help me.
My goal this week is to cut out added sugar.
How Sweet It Is… Instead of eating added sugar I will…
Explore your reasons for cutting sugar and reflect.
Give one little word (OLW) for sugar cravings. Why?
Write one memory in detail that involves eating sugar.
Write a list of alternatives to a sugar filled dessert?
Take a picture of something “sweet” and write about it.
Read an article about sugar and respond.
Reflect on your week without sugar: What did you learn?
Explore your reasons for cutting sugar & reflect
This is all subjective but I think eating sweets makes me hungrier. One thing for certain is that eating sweets uses up a lot of my SmartPoints balances and that is not helpful. I also think it’s important for me to select a goal that is finite this week – one that I either accomplish or don’t accomplish. I want to give this goal my full measure of devotion. I need a good goal – think this is the right goal fro right now.
Don’t give up. Even when you hit a wall, and you feel like you can’t do this anymore, remember to keep going. Keep going, you are worth it. If today turns out to be a rough day on plan – that’s ok – if it’s a rough week – that’s ok. What’s not ok is giving up. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.
The stories I tell myself can either build me up or tear me down. I had an excellent day on plan. I kept my goal close to me and tracked everything I ate. I am in control and can do this (even though some times it’s very difficult). There are all kinds of true stories surrounding my weight loss journey – true stories of defeat and success. The story that is the most important is the one where I never ever give up. I am going to keep at this, for the rest of my life, because I want to live my life in the best health I can. I enjoy having energy, and the sense of confidence my weight loss has given me. I’m more confident because I feel more like I used to feel, before the weight gain, and that feeling makes the work that maintenance requires seem like a fair trade. I’m resilient I can dig deep and keep going because that is who I choose to be. That’s my story.
The other day I was testing incoming Kindergarteners. I asked each child to build a tower of cubes and then I had to count how many of the twelve they could balance before the tower either fell or was dismantled. One clever child put two and three cubes on the the tower at a time. She was the most efficient builder – maybe she’s a future engineer!
Finding balance is a funny thing, it’s not a permanent way of being. It’s shifting and repositioning, adjusting and pausing – finding balance requires deliberate movement and strategy. Once it is achieved it is not a permanent state of being – eventually it falls or is taken down. In many ways, we are all trying to build a tower. Our cubes to balance are health, family, career, finance, friendships, politics, charity, and so on. As we yes, or no to these things we are stacking our cubes, and our towers either stand or fall.
Lately, I have been finding it difficult to coordinate my weight loss/ maintenance goals with my life. For so long I have been able to strike the balance that has made this journey possible. What comes with that are these states of disequilibrium. There have been periods of time, like now, where I can’t seem to catch it – balance eludes me and my “tower” falls. Yesterday was the turning point, I said yes to my health so I could say no to the old habits (overeating) that used to help me deal with stress. I found my balance.
Self-discovery never looks as profound on the screen as it is in the experience but this was a profound moment. I have uncovered another facet of this journey. I was able to look at myself in a very open and objective way. In other words I saw myself free from excuses or avoidance, instead of looking away I leaned in and paid attention to what I was doing and why I was doing it. I have been overeating to avoid stress and that’s not really helping me. It’s so true that you can’t unsee something, once you know it’s there. In my case I could see the old behavior for what it was and so I was able to turn it off. I rolled over 6 SmartPoints and had a satisfying day on plan.
My last words to you today are, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind, and you should expect to see your “tower” come cashing down because striking a balance on this journey can be daunting. However, keep rebuilding because each time you do you’ll learn something new and important about who you are. You can do it, I believe in you.