I have been reading about sugar on several of your blogs this week. Tis the season, I guess. I find this an interesting topic as it is something that has been a struggle for me too. I have also developed some completely un-scientific theories about sugar that I thought you might find interesting.
Before I was banded, I would sometimes eat dinner and decide to have dessert (sort of like I do now). I would eat some luscious yummy thing and about 15 or 20 minutes later I would start having cravings for something else. Often I would want popcorn or crackers and peanut butter. At the time, I would wonder why the initial dessert didn't satisfy me? It struck me as kind of bizarre that I would crave something, chose to indulge and then want more and more. I'm not much of a grazer, but sometimes I would start in on eating candy (like many of you, we always have candy in my office) and I would eat and eat. Even though I don't really like that kind of candy.
After going through the trouble and expense of having lap-band surgery, I decided to really take a hard look at my relationship with food and this was one of the issues that came up. Like many of you, I wondered if the answer was to give up sweets altogether, but I didn't want to do that. In the past that kind of deprivation has always led to a binge for me. And I just don't want to live like that. I've always believed that I should be able to eat all things in moderation and that includes sweets. But why wasn't I satisfied by them?
So this is where the completely un-scientific (or maybe pseudo-scientific is a better word) theory comes in. What I think happens when I eat sugar is that it causes my blood sugar to spike or the endorphins to kick in or whatever it is that makes us feel good when we eat sugar, but then 15 or 20 minutes later, things start to plummet and so the cravings begin. Since I know this I can anticipate it now when I choose to eat sugar so when the cravings come, I just think, "Oh, there's the cravings, right on time.". And I don't have to give into them. They really only last a few minutes and then I get distracted by something else and move on. It is so freeing to recognize this!
I usually have sweets twice a week on weekends. I limit desserts during the week unless it is a special occasion. I don't want to be in the habit of eating them more frequently than that.
Which brings me to the Halloween candy that some of you have been talking about this week. If I want to have some, I will this weekend. I will have a serving which is 2-4 mini-size bars, depending on the type. But chances are, I won't have any because I have become really particular about candy and I just don't like those kinds very much. I mean, they are okay. But if I am going to have 250 extra calories in a day, I want to have something really, really delicious. Not just something okay.
Which brings me to my next suggestion. If you are coveting sweets right now, I think you should plan to have some. But don't just have something okay. Go to See's Candies or another candy store and buy an ounce of really, really delicious chocolate. Look forward to your delicious treat! When your kids come home with the little mini-bars, think about the special dessert you have. When it is time to eat it, savor it! Turn off the TV and eat it slowly. Think about how it tastes as you have it. Enjoy it! Be satisfied by it and do not feel guilty.
If you want something else 15 or 20 minutes after you've eaten it, recognize that too and acknowledge that that is a physiological response that will pass.