I have to admit, I have my vices and one of those include a perfectly baked, warm and gooey, cream cheese icing smothered cinnamon bun. If I come within a five meter radius of that sweet little treat, she doesn't stand a chance. Search and destroy, hasta la vista, baby, that's all she wrote. I'm sure everyone has their equivalent treat -- the one thing that is nearly impossible to say 'No' to. Does that mean I'm a cinnamon bun addict? Does that make you an ice cream junkie, do you have a sugar habit?
I don't think so. I think lots of people get enjoyment out of food, in fact we at Elite Life promote enjoying the things in your life to the fullest -- that includes good food. We obviously advocate choosing 'good' food that not only tastes great but is also good for your overall well being. That doesn't mean that Joel, Kristen or I haven't been known to eat a cinnamon bun or two, or mow down a large size Cappuccino Skor Blizzard. In fact, you should ask Joel what his last 'cheat day' consisted of if you ever want to hear about enjoying your food to the fullest (no pun).
Ok, I've gotten myself a bit off track. I was asking if I think people are addicted to sugar. Again, I don't think we are, that being said I do think that many of us have a habit of eating sugar -- and I would argue that it's not our fault. So lets distinguish between habit and addiction. I'm considering a habit something that we do on a regular basis that happens almost without thinking. It's not necessarily intentional but it's still a part of our daily lives; sugar in today's modern diet is just that. That low fat Greek yogurt you have for breakfast every day with the extra protein? Riddled with sugar. That bread you make your sandwich with for lunch, you guessed it, sugar in there too -- not too mention the fact that our body treats most grains as sugar, but that's another topic all together. How about the pre-packaged marinade you use to prepare that chicken for supper?
Yes, there is sugar everywhere. It sneaks its way into almost every modern day processed food there is. And the reason? Because it is a flavor we've been trained to love. I think in a lot of ways society and media today try to push people to a point of near addiction with food. In one study (I know, I couldn't help myself) The Center for Science in the Public Interest cataloged 28 hours of programming from a popular kids channel. They found that 70% of all the food ads were for 'junk-food'! Yup, they train us young. We're inundated with food propaganda from a young age and it continues on to our grocery buying years. We're constantly bombarded with images of sugary cereals and decadent ice cream desserts from your favorite fast food joint. We post our favorite meals and desserts on Pinterest and Facebook. It really is everywhere.
Be intentional with you're eating. The majority of the time you should be eating (and drinking) to fuel your body. If you're eating for pleasure, by all means, enjoy every morsel, but make that a small part of your eating week. The rest of the time choose fresh, home prepared, healthy choices.
Eating a treat? Make sure it is something you really, really want. Consider which treats you are willing to sacrifice your long term goals for short term enjoyment on and enjoy those guilt free (in moderation).
Don't let people guilt you in to eating sugar that you don't want. Not a big cake fan? Don't let the peer pressure around the water cooler drive you to eating a piece on office treat day. You'll notice lots of people try to drag you into compromising on your goals, eating is a prime example of this. Don't take the bait.
Stick to sugar and natural sweeteners over chemically produced artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. In general, the less processed your sugar is, the better it should be for your body. There is some convincing scientific evidence that artificial sugars not only may be less healthy for you long term, but also may actually lead to weight gain, not loss, over longer durations.
Allow yourself 'cheat days' to reward yourself for sticking to a healthier diet throughout the week or weeks. -- This is a big one for me. If I spend any amount of time really trying to dial in my diet I hit an inevitable wall. The best thing for me to keep me from completely falling off the wagon is to enjoy a day of eating whatever I like and then get right back to eating 'clean' the next day. There's a huge psychological benefit that makes turning down sweets and junk easier when you know you've got a day in the near future where you can enjoy those things to your heart’s content.
If all else fails, listen to Arnold
Live Your Best Life!