Karen’s Sweet Epiphany

The Struggle is Real

Struggle is an eight letter word that means many things to many people.  To my sister Annie, it’s getting over the hump of “I’m going to have to do this for the rest of my life” and for me… it’s still about choices.

I know how I got here, 52 years old… 60 pounds overweight.

I got here because I told myself I DESERVE to eat what I want.

You know the story: single parent, single income, 3 kids, wanting to give them every advantage, maybe feeling a little guilty, and struggling to make it all happen without seeming to struggle.

DAMN STRAIGHT I deserve that slice of cake… and the next one and the next one and the next one… That’s the metaphorical devil on my shoulder, whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

This current journey into healthy living has caused me to really think about why I eat what I eat.  I wouldn’t say I am an emotional eater in the sense of drowning my sorrows in a tub of chocolate ice cream, because I’m a pretty happy person.  There is something more, driving my poor choices.  It’s almost as if I’m not thinking at all.  As though it’s more of a habit.

It’s as if I’m drawn to the wrong foods.   It’s as if when I see that cookie, the “OK, I’ll have just one” explanation is enough to kick me off the wagon.  It’s like when I was smoking.  I didn’t intend to take out a cigarette and light it and smoke, I just did.  I just always did.  It’s an addiction.

Can you be addicted to sugar and carbs?  Ummm… yeah.  Scientists are proving that the same parts of our brain that keep us hooked on cigarette, gambling and even heroin are prompting us to eat cake.  Sounds harsh, right?  I mean really… heroin?

According to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “Available evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs.”  read more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23719144

I’ve been “watching my weight” for a long long time. Heck, I’m 52 years old. I’ve watched it go up… I’ve watched it go down, but mostly I’ve watched it go up and I can absolutely tell you, that surrounding yourself with delicious foods that you can’t eat and telling yourself you can’t eat them or don’t want them, doesn’t work. Especially if you REALLY DO want them.

My office is a cornucopia of deliciousness every day of the week and every part of the day.

 

  • There are (2) candy dishes out.
  • My co-worker literally has a “candy drawer” that everyone contributes to filling: Mounds, Almond Joys, KitKats, Dove Chocolates and more.
  • The kitchen has a basket of salty snacks and a bowl of fruit.

 

If we ever experience the Zombie Apocalypse we’ll be set… but for dieting, it can be a struggle. OH, I forgot to mention the table, which is where everyone puts the cake, brownies, cookies, bagels or muffins they bring in for everyone to eat.

And to be honest, there’s the social aspect. Everyone is there enjoying the sweets, and you are treated like a social pariah or too stuck-up to partake.  Why can’t “no” mean no, without having to explain why you aren’t partaking in the abundance of calories and debauchery? WHY?  OH WHY?  (but I digress)

There is literally more food in my office then in my home.  Strike that… More easy to grab and eat without thinking about it food… in my office than my home.

My Trick to Avoiding all that Deliciousness

Since my brain and it’s addictive behaviors are screwing with me, I’m going to fight fire with fire.  I’m have been avoiding sweet.

Not sugar, I’m not avoiding sugar, I’m avoiding sweet. 

You see, studies show that sugar substitutes, although not technically sugar, still plug into that “sweet reward” cycle.  I need to break that cycle.

I have decided that I am a savory person, not a sweet person.  I am taking a break from the day dream of a book of mixed munchkins on the seat next to me as I drive to work, and instead have replaced it with the image of me… slender, healthy, content, satisfied, without cravings.

And, I can do that.  I’m Savory.   Being Savory not Sweet is easy for me, because the point (weight watchers points) support me.

A Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger is 12 points and 1 Italian Cookie is 5 points.  5 points!   (nearly 1/2 a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger)

When I realize that I can go savory and get a much more satisfying bang for my buck, it’s easier to go savory. It’s easier to not even consider the sweet into my equation.

I did not eat the cake

This week… week two of my Weight Watchers  weight loss efforts, I did not eat the cake.  Like everything in life, it’s fluid, I’m writing this post as much for me as for you, I’m taking this weight loss 1 day at a time and doing the best I can each day.  My SWEET Epiphany has helped.  It’s helped me avoid walking by the candy dish and ONLY going into the kitchen when I am on my way to make my lunch.

There are a lot of studies and websites to read about SWEET and an addiction to Sugar and Carbs and I think the most interesting information that has been coming out of the scientific community is the fact that counting calories won’t work, because not all calories are equal.  Taking a holistic approach by considering the calories AND quality of food is important.  And while my simple comparison of the Wendy’s cheeseburger vs. the Italian Cookie doesn’t really take the quality into account, I’m bringing it up because I have personally been sucked into the “diet” labeling on food.

The New Weight Watchers Online +  app that I’m using is great for me because it is like having someone standing right next to me pointing out my error in thinking. I think I’ve told you in our podcast, my big shocker was tomato soup!  I couldn’t believe it.  14 points for a can tomato soup.  Yeah, sure it’s only 5 points per serving… but I usually eat the whole container… calorie wise, it’s not bad, but there are just too many other things in there… Not all calories are equal.  If I was just counting calories I’d eat that soup every day … and probably not lose much weight.

Here I am… almost 2 weeks in and on target to having lost 10 pounds.

I know it’s easy to lose that much that quickly in the beginning, because I have a lot to lose.  Having said that… 10 pounds is awesome, and that will leave me with only 50 more to go.  If I lose 2 pounds a week, that’s MY GOAL BY … Ummm… Let’s see… about March.

(deep breath)  Yeah, that was me setting that goal!

In Summary

I am Savory.

What do you think?  What are some of your struggles?  Comment below.

 

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