Have you ever watched your child eat? I mean really watched their reactions as they eat? I hadn't until a few years ago when my daughter was eating a chocolate cupcake. When I handed it to her she was thrilled but after a few bites of frosting she pushed it away and said, "I'm all done, Mama." The cupcake was nowhere near finished but my daughter was able to gauge that she was done regardless. It was at that moment I had to wonder: When had my so-called "gauge" disappeared?
I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted. Yes, I was that person everyone hates -- the person who could eat a bowl of french fries followed by an even bigger bowl of ice cream and not gain an ounce. Nothing was ever too chocolatey or too sweet for me. As a matter of fact, the more sugar a food had, the more of it I ate. I just couldn't get enough! It turned into a vicious cycle -- the more I sugar I consumed the more I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth.
At my doctor's advice I did attempt to lay off the sugar during my pregnancy but went right back to my bad habits after my daughter was born. I was able to lose the baby weight fairly easily but then the unthinkable happened: I turned 30 and my metabolism came to a grinding halt! Suddenly, for the first time in my life, I started to gain weight. Faced with the daunting task of having to purchase jeans in a larger size, I knew that I needed to take drastic measures. That meant trading my handfuls of chocolate chip cookies for almonds and chocolate bars for carrot sticks. Easier said than done right? Not necessarily.
Here is how I tackled my sugar habit:
1.) Go sugar-free for two weeks. Initially, I tried to slowly wean myself off desserts slowly. I replaced my after-dinner brownie bite habit with fun-sized chocolate bars. But then I ate so many that I might as well have had a regular sized bar to begin with! Clearly moderation wasn't working for me, so I decided to cut the sugar out completely for two weeks because I'd read that it takes that long to break a bad habit. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Seriously. But as the days crawled by I found myself craving sugar less and less.
2.) Identify your triggers. Every day after dinner I looked forward to settling in with some dessert and TV. It was my reward after working all day, cooking dinner, cleaning up, and finally putting my daughter to bed. But I realized this habit was, in turn, feeding my sugar habit. So I changed my schedule around and, instead of watching TV at the end of the day, I went to bed earlier. Or I did some yoga. Or I surfed the Internet. I did anything except watch TV because television was my trigger.