If you’re betting that I can’t have just one then I’ve got a big, shiny gold star to plaster onto your forehead. You are indeed quite correct - I can’t stop at one.
Well, one bag maybe. But one cookie? HA! Not a chance!
Now, trust me, I’ve tried to limit myself. Many, many times I’ve attempted to go for a stroll down Moderation Avenue. But sadly, each time I have wound up smack dab in the middle of Failsville.
Sugar + Me = TROUBLE!!!!
I finally decided that, well, the cookies and I just weren’t meant to be. They taste so good (better than good!) but they were just not worth it. I couldn’t do the moderation thing. I decided enough was enough.
So sugar and I are on the outs. Sure, we might encounter one another now and again, but our meetings are few and far between. And let me tell you – I feel so much better without it. For me, less is totally more! I haven't totally forbidden myself from ever having it, but I find cutting way, way back is the best option for me.
Neal Barnard, an adjunct associate professor of medicine at George Washington University and author of Breaking the Food Seduction, agrees that, sometimes, moderation (despite what anybody might try to tell you) does not work.
In an interview with the Washington Post he observes: "So many people ask, 'How do I moderate these things [that I crave]? I want to enjoy them, but I want to be in control.'”
The answer isn’t what most people want to hear.
"For almost everyone, it's easier just to get them out of your life. You crave today what you had yesterday. You might just have to say, 'I'm just not doing chocolate [or sugar in general] anymore,' "he says.
Of course, some people are able to maintain control and are able to successfully eat whatever sweet concoction they want. You could set a bowl of chocolate before them – nothing! Dangle a spoon full of ice cream right in front of their faces – nada! (and yes, I do not get it and I very much dislike them for this!)
For others (and I think you know who you are), one tiny bit of sugar crosses your lips and it’s all downhill from there. One cookie (or piece of candy, or cake, etc.) and pretty soon you’re on the floor in a sugar coma.
And so getting back to our friend Barnard – he says that if you have self-control then by all means go ahead and continue your sweet love affair with Ben and Jerry. He’s not judging your taste. But he also notes that for some of us, turning our backs on the sugar bowl is really the only option since we get so out of control..
Here are some tips to help you cut back on sugar (but you’ll still be sweet as ever, of course!):
- Get your Zzzzz’s. Not getting enough sleep results in hormonal upset within your body. Leptin, which tells your brain you’ve eaten enough, goes down, while Ghrelin, which tells your body you’re hungry, increases. It’s not a pretty mix. So not getting enough sleep means you’re going to be hungry and you’re going to crave carbs, likely of the jelly doughnut and candy sort.
- Keep your blood sugar steady with lots of low-glycemic foods (that would be stuff like oatmeal and veggies). These foods are digested and absorbed more slowly. You’ll feel full – and that will go a long way in keeping your fingers out of the cookie jar.
- Yes, fruit is considered sugar – but it’s a healthy form so keep on munching those apples.
- Get the sugar out of the house. You can’t eat what’s not there and you by no means need to make things harder for yourself.
- Get friends/family on your side. Support is a wonderful thing. And as Barnard points out: "We tend to eat like those around us.”
- Get Physical. Exercise will make you feel better all over.
- Watch out for the secret code words. Sugar isn’t always listed as “sugar”. (I mean, really - why make this easy for us?) Be on the lookout for: brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, glucose, honey, hydrogenated starch, invert sugar maltose, lactose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, polyols, raw sugar, sorghum, sucrose, sorbitol, turbinado sugar, and xylitol.
- If and when you do eat sugar, make sure you consume it as part of a meal as it will help your body absorb it at a reduced rate. There's no reason to totally outlaw the white stuff - just be more sensible when you do decide to include it.