• Hello, Health

    December 27, 2010

    Good morning! :mrgreen:

    Check out the winter wonderland outside! I’m not sure we got 20 inches of snow, but it’s plenty enough for me! 

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    So, today’s the day that I plan to make some dietary changes to get me back in the groove of healthful eating. I actually started over the weekend with being more mindful of the desserts and treats that I consumed. I even had a couple of small victories yesterday!

    Did you keep a sugar cravings journal over the weekend? Well, now is the time to review your notes to figure out what’s going on. I looked at mine this morning, and, basically, it came down to physical and emotional cravings.

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    I felt a physical craving when I was hungry or thirsty. This usually happened mid-morning after breakfast before lunch. So, I plan to add a healthy snack to my morning routine to avoid this craving for sweets. Keeping myself hydrated will also probably help, especially since I drink iced coffee every morning.

    The emotional cravings typically hit me in the afternoon. After publishing my lunch post, I’m mostly done with my work for the day. I guess I’m sort of bored (and maybe a bit lonely), so I tend to eat to fill my time. This craving is going to be much more difficult to tackle. Perhaps I need to replace eating sugary foods with an activity or project? Taking Murphy for a walk usually helps, so maybe making a list of non-food activities will too? I’m not sure, but I’ll give it a try.

    To help me revamp my diet, I reached out to my Registered Dietitian friend, Rachel, for some advice. She basically says it’s all about getting back to the basics.

    1. Concentrate on eating whole grains. Make these a quarter of your meal.
      Try to minimize or avoid refined carbohydrates such as candies, cookies, white bread, sugary cereals, high sugar yogurts, juice (choose the whole fruit instead!), chocolate.  
    2. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Make these half of your meal.
    3. Always include a lean protein with your meal. Adding protein to each meal and snack helps you to not only meet your protein needs through the day, but also to slow down how fast your blood sugar rises and to help keep you feeling fuller for longer. The average women needs about 50 to 60g of protein per day.
    4. Don’t deny yourself! If you’re really craving a bit of something sweet, don’t deny yourself! Instead, have a little something to quench that craving: a small cookie, a small square of dark chocolate. Just make sure you don’t keep too much in the house or it could trigger wanting more.
    5. When in doubt: eat a crunchy fruit or fresh veggies when the cravings strike. Taking your ‘eating energy’ out on something that needs a lot of chewing (and that has a bit of sweetness already!) can help you get over the craving. 

    And here are a few more things that I plan to do/keep in mind:

    • Nothing is off-limits. I don’t do diets. They’re miserable and don’t work for me in the long run. Plus, once I say something is off-limits, I only crave it more, which, for me, means small indulgences everyday and a bigger one on Cookie Friday!
    • Bake less. Currently, I bake goodies 2-3 times a week. Having all of those treats around the house is bad news for me because I just can’t turn them down. I’m not going to stop baking because I love it so much, but I will definitely cut back.
    • Drink more water. I already mentioned this above, but I’ve let this healthy habit go by the wayside. Now, I only drink water when I am really thirsty, so I want to change this. As you probably know, dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.
    • Try new foods. I’m definitely stuck in a food rut. Trying new foods is fun and exciting for me. I want to venture out with my food choices to eat more nutritiously once again.
    • Blog all of my meals and snacks. This will keep me accountable. Plus, I want to share my challenges on CNC for those of you who are struggling to break your sugar habit too. I know this isn’t going to be easy, so any and all support is welcomed!

    Let the adventure begin!

    Be back soon with breakfast!

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    { 45 comments… read them below or add one }

    Val @ Balancing Val December 27, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Good plan of action!

    That few seconds we take to check if we are truly hungry is critical. We must make sure we are using our body to tell us what to eat and not our mind!

    We got 20 inches over here!

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    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun December 27, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I love that you are so open to sharing this challenge and showing that we all have hard times with balancing and figuring out what is best. But I appreciate even more knowing you still won’t deprive and be a great example of true balance. :)

    I find the afternoon the hardest time to control cravings too…and I think its because of the same things you said. One of the evils of working from home I guess.

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    Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) December 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Great tips! I find myself not craving as many sweets when I’m away from the kitchen. Being at work, it’s okay because there isn’t temptation but on days when I work from home, I just want to snack all day.

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    Erika @ FoodFitnessFun December 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

    These tips are so helpful! As a sugar addict myself, I am bookmarking this right away! :-P

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    Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle December 27, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I have been baking a lot lately too, that is a huge problem because if there are baked goods on the counter, of course I am going to grab one everytime I walk by! I even tried to put them in a different less visible part of the kitchen, but that didn’t help either. I just have to stop baking so much!

    Good luck with your goals!

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    Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 27, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Wow you are amazing for blogging all your food and snacks; not just for accountability but for taking the TIME to put it all out there, too!

    Love that you’re not denying, not dieting, not all or nothing/black or white..and that cookie fridays are still happening! It’s amazing what a little more water and more veggies can do too.

    Good luck, Tina!

    :)

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    Liz @ Blog is the New Black December 27, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Slammed with snow on the south shore. I am the only one in my office! Ha! I tend to eat out of boredom/loneliess, too.

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    Keri December 27, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Wow, beautiful picture! We got more snow here in NJ…

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    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 27, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Good tips! I know it’s hard to get back on track after the holidays. I don’t do “diets” either!

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    Marci December 27, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Hi Tina, I’m glad you are documenting this for us. We all struggle with the same thing, and I hope to make changes like you too! For me, it helps to eat at the same times, especially a snack. So my snack is around 3:30-4 p.m., and I’m pretty good about not eating after breakfast or after lunch until then. It helps with making sure I don’t do mindless munching. And I’m guilty of making too many baked goods too! I freeze a lot in pre-sliced pieces, like loaves.

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    Corey @ the runner's cookie December 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I love your thoughts here, Tina – especially figuring out when and why cravings hit and then finding something to combat them (like a planned healthy snack or a walk). I know if I just tell myself “don’t do that” it’s useless – I need to know what TO do, not just what NOT to do. As the holidays wind down I really want to get on myself about this. Thanks again for the honesty and ideas.

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    Ashlee December 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

    These are really great tips! Definitely ones I will be following after indulging all weekend! The baked goods always get me, too! If they’re around, I’m eating them- so I just gave away the rest of what we had in the house! Eating like Santa is over in my household, much to my husband’s dismay. Hehe!

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    Estela @ Weekly Bite December 27, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Wonderful tips Tina! Not depriving yourself is key :)

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    Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine December 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Those are some really great ideas. My love for baking is my kryptonite when it comes to controlling cravings- if I KNOW the cookies are just in the kitchen, I want them, but if they’re not there, a few squares of dark chocolate kills my sweet tooth completely. I’d like to start cooking more REAL food instead of just baked goods!

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    Felicia (a taste of health with balance) December 27, 2010 at 9:16 am

    great approach! you’ll do great, especially once you start feeling better. i’m the baker of the house too, and its hard for me to say no and stop at one! a lot of the time is boredom and emotions, so writing down and realizing why i’m doing it really does help :)

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    Fi December 27, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Fresh air, wholegrains and protein (i find beans and sprouts the best!) are my sure fire sugar beaters! xx

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    Food & Other Things December 27, 2010 at 9:25 am

    That looks like a lot of snow! Thanks for sharing all the tips. I really like the one about nothing being off limits, I definitely agree with that!

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    Allison December 27, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I don’t tolerate sugar OR sodium well. When I have goodies in the house (like right now, we have cake, brownies, and three types of cookies along with stocking candy) I’m not tempted because I know more than two cookies or a handful of candy will set off a NASTY headache. High-sodium items give me headaches, too, so I don’t buy frozen foods, potato chips, etc.

    That said, I have been overindulging this past week on the aforementioned stocking candy, gingerbread men, and fried appetizers. I also have bronchitis. My doctor advised me to eat yogurt with probiotics and eat extra healthy to help counteract the sickness and the antibiotics, so I’m starting a more healthy diet today, too! I have a marathon in 13 days, so I want to get over this sickness fast.

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    Lauren at KeepItSweet December 27, 2010 at 9:29 am

    these are some great tips – i think the idea of finding something else to do in the afternoon is a great idea! i have the most trouble when i am bored at night, and especially when i am by myself!

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    Tricia December 27, 2010 at 9:32 am

    This is what’s been missing I think. You’ve had so many fun nights lately that you sometimes seem like superwoman. This is bringing the blog into a more relatable realm again. Kudos!

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    Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I think your plan is great!

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    Beth December 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I’m jealous of all that snow! We only got a dusting here in Baltimore :-(

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    Mary @ Bites and Bliss December 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Luckily, all I’ve been craving is tons of fruits and veggies since the holidays..but yeah, emotional eating’s a tricky thing to deal with!

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    Melissa @ TryingToHeal December 27, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I do the same thing, writing down my emotions when I’m craving sweets to see what I’m really feeling. I’ve started scrapbooking to take up time in the afternoon if I’m not working so I’m not eating out of boredom/loneliness!

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    Rebel mel December 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I could never give up my baking! Or cut down! In fact, because Boston is so snowy (and there’s no way I’m leaving the house, for the FOURTH day in a row) I’m baking twice as much as originally planned. Maybe I’ll work on something healthy rather than chocolatey and boozy.

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    Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats December 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I also LOVE to bake but don’t usually do it because I have no self control when it’s in the house. I started baking MUCH more this holiday season and my pants are MUCH snugger because of it, so I’m looking forward to getting back into a not-baking-all-the-freaking-time routine! :)

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    Angela December 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I think you’re making great progress so far Tina! I plan to start a mindful eating journal when I get back home from visiting family. I am craving nothing but fruit and veggies today!

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    Marie @ peoniesncupcakes.wordpress.com December 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Great way to start things off! I just went for a treadmill run this morning & I feel so great already. I find that exercise helps you crave healthier fare too but we are all guilty of sugar overload especially now with the leftover holiday goodies still lurking. I think getting back to basics is the best advice you can give. I was actually thinking of doing a salad post today :)

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    Lauren December 27, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I love this list! These are great tips to live by, and I think I’ll incorporate them into my life more too!

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    Dorry December 27, 2010 at 10:17 am

    This is awesome – love the idea of a cravings journal. I always crave a sweet after dinner, even if I’m completely full. It’s usually the sweet and salty cycle for me…but, like you mentioned, I’ve found that keeping myself hydrated really helps. Thanks for the good tips and honest insight.

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    Katie December 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Thank you for these posts. Sugar is really a problem for me too. I love the way that you are first observing and then adjusting the problem. I have to remember not to start restricting and making unrealistic plans when food starts to feel out of control. So, this is inspirirng. ALthough I still have a lot of family get togethers and holiday celebrations to come, I’m going to start the journaling and observing. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome. ANd seeing how it goes for you.

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    Elina (Healthy and Sane) December 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

    That’s a really good plan, Tina. I am definitely an emotional dessert eater. Feeling kind of overwhelmed with stuff right now and of course craving sugar. I’m hoping it passes before I gave in.
    PS – I’m hosting a giveaway for sustainable seafood. Check it out if you’re interested! :)

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    Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman December 27, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Good for you! I quit sugar the week before Christmas, which is possibly the dumbest thing I could do considering the dessert spread we had this year. I only failed with a cookie, though, which is about 200 times better than what would have happened had I still be on the white stuff. ;)

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    Lacey @ Lake Life December 27, 2010 at 10:44 am

    It sounds like you’re armed with a great plan of attack! I really like the tip about eating crunchy fruits/veggies that take longer to chew. I’m with ya on trying new foods, I even tried Escargot for the first time on Christmas day :-)

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    Heather December 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Great plan of attack!

    Also, I don’t remember where I read it, but I think it was on MSN Health. It was a tip to start the day with a savory breakfast because starting it off with something sweet (even if it’s “healthy” sweet like fruit or yogurt) kicks your sugar cravings into gear for the rest of the day. Maybe try incorporating more savory breakfasts while you are trying to incorporate different foods?

    Good luck!

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    Christin@purplebirdblog December 27, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Excellent plan! I picked up a bunch of healthier fare at three different grocery stores yesterday to be well stocked with options so I don’t succumb to eating half a box of the roommates Cheez-Its like I did the other day. Oops. :)

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    ~Jessica~ December 27, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Great ideas: I wish I had your drive and motivation, but also your moderate approach.

    Sadly, I can never stop at just one of something. Ever. ‘Healthy’ foods are bad enough: I am stuck in a cycle of eating massive portions, because eating is the only thing I look forward to in a day. Pathetic though this is, once there’s a jar of PB or a bar of chocolate in my house I WILL eat the whole thing. Goodness knows how one begins to curb that kind of behaviour.

    Looking forward to seeing how the challenge goes. I know when you blog what you eat it will be about 1/10 of what I do anyway.

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    Katy (The Singing Runner) December 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Sounds like you have a great plan in place! :)

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    Justeen @ Blissful Baking December 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    these are some really great ideas for controlling your sugar intake! i really need to work on this aspect of my health too – thanks for the tips!

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    Annie@stronghealthyfit December 27, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Love your honesty, great post! You got me thinking about my habits too :-)

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    Brittany December 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Great post! I plan to incorporate some of your ideas as my jeans are definitely feeling tight. :/

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    Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon December 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you for this post, Tina! I really appreciate the goals you wrote out, as I’m working on a sugar-reduction plan myself :) I started in November when I realized that I, too, bake treats a little too often (it’s just too much fun experimenting in the kitchen!). Two things that have helped me tremendously: First, I started making banana soft serve with a little nut butter my dessert several nights a week–I’m still getting dessert, but it’s free of added sugars. Second, I often make a batch of edamame succotash (edamame, fresh or frozen corn kernels, a little red onion, salt and pepper), which is my go-to snack during the day (this prevents me from eating everything I see when I get in the door from work!).

    I’ll look forward to following along as you work on the new goal. Have a great Monday!

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    Lee @ College Foodie Finds December 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Tina! I think setting goals are a great idea. Substituting in healthy snacks for sweets is a smart ideal. I always get trapped by the “I’m-still-hungry” card and this is when I indulge. If I have a sweet tooth after dinner I satisfy it with yogurt..and my favorite, FROZEN grapes (it’s just like a popsicle)!

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    Alyssa December 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    This post is so inspiring. I love how you admitted what your problems are & made a course of action to fix them. I’m sure you’ll be able to come out on top. Look how far you’ve already come! =)

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    Alison December 28, 2010 at 11:08 am

    So glad you’ve decided to eat more whole grains! Check the Whole Grains Council out if you need any new ideas: http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org

    Reply

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