Mmmm, sugar. Well, it's more like 'Mmmm, chocolate' in my mind. You know that time of day that's just past morning and right before you have to hit the rest of the afternoon? The time where you wish you could lay down for just 20 minutes and maybe eat an entire Toblerone? I actually hit a mountain about an hour after lunch time. When we've been rushing through errands and play groups and routines, finally eaten lunch, and my body just begs me to stop. I get cranky. I get tired. And I get cravings.
I remember one afternoon I was having a rough and cranky day (I know I'm not alone here). Pull together a healthy lunch for the kids while they bicker over a book in the other room. Eat a small handful of chocolate chips. Try to answer the phone and hear my own conversation as the kids spill their milk at the table and begin crying loudly. Eat a small spoonful of nutella. Twenty million questions begin bombarding my ears as two small hooligans begin climbing up my body. As soon as they are distracted I reach for the jar of nutella. My eyes grow blurry with tears as I look at my 'to do' list and see that the full sink of dirty dishes, crumbs all over the floor, and two loads of laundry aren't even on that already super long list. Grab the jar of nutella, a spoon, and hide myself in the bathroom while I try to regain composure. I think I should let you know I was very tired this day. Tired means emotional in my world.
I remember at this time I truly realized I had a problem. I was depending on that sugar to get me through the day. I hated to admit it because I don't like knowing my body has to depend on anything other than healthy foods, air, and exercise. I don't ever want to feel my body telling me to give it something that it really shouldn't need, and feeling myself helpless but to obey.
I know this sounds trivial, but I am addicted to sugar. I can feel it. And I hate it.
I'm not talking about natural sugars found in whole foods and fruits. I'm talking about straight up sweets.
Addiction isn't something I've had to deal much with in my life, and quite frankly I don't really know how to handle it. I've never smoked, drank, or used any other addictive substances, so I've never had to fight much to feel like I was in control of my body. I'm sure my dependance and love for sugar has been with me for most of my life. I mean, I love eating, especially yummy foods. I've never held myself back much. But at that moment, just as I tried to imagine my life without treats and goodies throughout the day, I truly feared that I wouldn't be able to control myself. That really bugged me. It still drives me crazy.
Something I do know about myself, I am an 'all or nothing' type of person when it comes to refraining from sweets. I know that I can start my day off great, but if I let myself even lick the chocolate off a spoon, it's just going to keep coming in. So I decided to take some drastic measures. A few things have worked, a few things haven't, and I thought I'd share the good points with you today.
Let me just say first that I don't think desserts are absolutely terrible. A treat now and then is actually a good thing in my mind. But living on the edge is something terribly hard for me to do, so some of these tips may seem a bit drastic.
5 Tips for Fighting Sugar
Have a buddy and hold each other to it. I've done stints with my sisters where we get all fired up and make a pact to not eat any sort of dessert, only to reveal a week later that we each only lasted one day. I didn't want to allow myself any room to give in and slip up. I knew to do this that there would have to be some sort of consequence that would keep me strong. Something that I desperately wanted to avoid. In our case we chose a care package. We decided that whoever breaks the rules first has to send the other a really nice package in the mail. Something really nice and fun. Sounds like it'd be great to be the receiver, but I just don't have the money to send something like that! So I remind myself of this every time I feel the need to grab a caramel throughout the day.
Keep desserts out of the house. It's a fact that it's easier to refrain from dessert if it isn't available than if it were hidden in every cupboard of your house. We try to buy mostly healthy and whole foods at our house. It's just easier for us all to eat healthier if those are our only options. Sundays are an exception :)
Have something to look forward to at the end of the day. This one might sound a little odd, but it's the way my mind works. I've heard of people going on drastic diets and rewarding themselves with an entire chocolate cake at the end of the month. This is not what I'm talking about. I don't mean 'save all of your desserts until midnight'. I mean go and find something that isn't terribly unhealthy that you can look forward to at the end of the day. In my case it is hot chocolate. And I share my 'healthier' version with you at the end of this post.
Decide your rules for yourself, then follow them. In my case, I decided that my rules would include absolutely no treats except one small thing to look forward to at the end of the day. I also allow myself a day off, because it's easy to refrain from making desserts throughout the week, but on Sundays we all get a break :) I can say yes if I am offered a dessert at a party, but more often than not I just don't let myself head to the dessert table. My sister has a bit of a different goal in mind, and that's fine with me. The point is, we know deep down inside what our goals are, and if we aren't meeting those goals, a package goes in the mail!
If you mess up, try again. Because we all stumble. Because none of us is perfect. But that doesn't mean we can't try again and again and again. Because you're worth it.
It's not easy. I feel a gigantic urge to break down every day for about a week. It is really hard. But I've found that after a week or so, saying 'no' isn't that bad, it's just a fact. I let myself have something to look forward to at the end of the day because it's easier to say no to everything else that way. I really look forward to my sweet drink before bedtime, when the kids are asleep and I can enjoy it in peace with my husband. That thought keeps me going strong. This is just my own thinking. My goal isn't to completely abstain from all sugar in life. My goal is to be in control of the sweets I consume.
Now on to that hot chocolate recipe! It includes chocolate chips. The only chocolate I eat the entire day.
Cocoa and Honey Hot Chocolate
1 tsp baking cocoa
1 tsp honey
1 handful of chocolate chips (semi-sweet, you could use dark chips if you have them! That would be even healthier!)
1 cup of hot water
Tiny bit of milk
Now the quantity of each of these ingredients can be changed to your own liking. My mom loves straight up baking cocoa and hot water. To each her own. But I don't like an overpowering taste of cocoa or honey, so I only add in a teaspoon of each.
Add the cocoa, honey, and chocolate chips to the bottom of your mug.
This picture makes me sad ^^^ I usually use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but all we have on hand right now is white chocolate. The darker chips have a better consistency when they melt, and aren't as sweet. But white chocolate works when you're in a pinch.
Fill up your mug with boiling water until about 3/4" from the rim and top it off with a bit of cold milk. That's it! Stir it up and let the chocolate chips melt at the bottom.
My favorite part of this recipe is the melted chocolate at the bottom of the mug. It's amazing. It's what I look forward to at the end of the day :)
So how about you? Is there anything that you're learning to take control over in your life? Any tips for keeping sweets at bay?