I’m a sugar addict. Those who know me know I’m wild about the sweet stuff, especially chocolate. This leads me into a certain food bind since I try to eat as cleanly and healthfully as possible.
I’ve been on a diet since 2001. I’m not saying that I’ve always adhered to that diet religiously. In fact, I’m the kind of person who just loves to push the envelope when it comes to dieting. In other words, I like to see what I can get away with. It’s a game I like to play with myself. How many sweet potato fries can I actually consume and not gain weight? Can I sneak that cupcake and just work it off later?
And having eaten healthfully for the most part for so many years, things can get awfully boring. I need to mix things up. So in the summer of 2014, I decided to challenge myself to cut as much sugar as I could from my diet. I wanted to see if I could actually do it.
Let me tell you – it’s hard! That’s not an epiphany. At the same time, I wanted to see if I could cut out a lot of the refined carbs too. I read about the dangers of cutting out all carbs, that your body goes into a state of ketosis. But if you can get through it and out the other side, you’re home free of all cravings … or so I read.
What would it actually be like to have no more cravings for sugar or crackers, bread, cookies? It was unimaginable to me that I could do it.
And the bottom line, ultimately, was … I couldn’t.
That’s not to say that I haven’t drastically curtailed my sugar consumption, thanks to this experiment. I had a little bit of a head-start by giving up pop a few years ago. I also used to be kidded for actually cutting an M&M in half and saving a portion for later.
Cutting down on sugar consumption allowed me to drop about 15 pounds in a matter of a few months.
I have retrained my tastebuds to enjoy tastes that are close to being sugary, but aren’t. There are spices that are sweet, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom. Think: the taste of a chai latte. I typically take my tea without sugar or milk. I’ve stopped eating cold cereal in the mornings (yah, I actually kind of miss Cap’n Crunch and Cinnamon Life). I opt for scrambled eggs or a slice of frittata instead. I forgo the bun on my sandwiches. I love the taste of fresh fruit for dessert. If I do consume chocolate, I make sure it’s 70 percent dark chocolate or higher.
So even though I haven’t been able to totally eliminate all sugar from my diet, I’ve changed my appreciation for the taste of food. I’ve learned sugar can sometimes mask the true and delicious taste of food.
Everything in moderation, as they say. And hey, you have to keep things interesting!
I’d like to hear from others on this topic. Have you tried to kick the sugar habit? How successful were you? What are some of your strategies? Let’s discuss!
© Elizabeth A. Katz – 2015