That right there folks, that really is the question.
You will probably get a different answer from just about every person you ask. I know so many people that try to completely cut sugar out of their diet. Some are successful for a short time but then are back at eating sugar. A few are successful for a much longer time. Others let themselves have a “cheat” day where they can eat sugar and anything else unhealthy that they want. Some only let themselves have treats on holidays or birthdays or other special events. Me, I have NEVER cut sugar from my diet. Never. And I lost 95 pounds. So don’t try to tell me that you can’t ever eat anything that tastes good if you want to be healthy. I don’t buy it. You can have sweets and still lose weight or be healthier. But don’t think you can gorge on sugar all day and be healthy, sadly that isn’t the case. This is how I do it.
I try not to eat sugar until the afternoon or after dinner if I can help it. Some days I eat lunch and just need a little treat but most days I wait till after dinner. For me that is just what I have to do. If I eat it in the morning then I know myself and I will eat it all day long. Once I have it I just want more. But if I wait until after dinner I can have my treat and then I brush my teeth and I am done for the day.
I always have a stockpile of treats. Always. If I don’t have treats around I crave them like crazy. It’s all I can think about. And when I finally break down and go and buy a candy bar or some ice cream I eat a ton of it. But I have learned if I have treats around then I don’t need them all the time. I know it sounds weird but it’s like a comfort to me knowing they are there if I need them. But I am careful in the size of the treats I buy. I never buy king size or full size candy bars. I always hit up the after holiday clear out the candy sales and replenish our stockpile. I only buy the fun size and bite size candy. You only need a couple of bites for your body to be satisfied but if you buy the normal or king size you will eat it because it is there. I can eat a little tiny pack of peanut m&ms, which are my absolute favorite, and I am perfectly content. But open up a Costco sized bag of them and I can eat half of it without blinking an eye. It’s happened more times than I would like to admit. So buy the small size, you can eat two or three of them and still feel like you had a great treat.
Another trick I have with treats is counteracting the treat with the rest of my meal choices that day or that meal. If Rob and I are going to splurge and have brownies and ice cream, which is my absolute favorite dessert, then we will do a healthier dinner. We love salads full of tons of veggies, some chicken and a little bit of dressing. Ours are healthy salads and make us feel good about eating a big dessert.
When I bake but want to bake something just a tiny bit healthier I do things like swap white wheat flour, coconut oil, cut the sugar, applesauce or yogurt instead of oil. You often can’t tell that I changed anything but it’s a little healthier for you. And sometimes it does change things enough that you notice but it just means that I have come up with another healthier treat that we love.
The last trick I can think of right now is probably my all time favorite. It’s the one I am most proud of and this is why. Ice cream is my absolute most favorite food on the entire planet. I am always telling Rob that it doesn’t matter if I am happy, sad, angry, hurt, upset or excited, ice cream is always the answer. (Remember me, emotional eater over here!) We almost always have a carton or two in the freezer and I eat it almost daily. The way we can do this and not gain a billion pounds is ice cream cones. I buy sugar cones (not the huge waffle cones) or cake cones. They have between 30-50 calories. And they are small so you can only put so much ice cream on. One little scoop of ice cream on the cone and I am set.
Now please don’t think I am saying it’s ok to always eat treats all day long. I am not. Oh how I wish that I could do that and suffer from it but that just isn’t the case. Sugar isn’t bad for you but too much sugar definitely is. Remember people, it’s all things in moderation. You don’t have to go without, you don’t have to give up everything in life that you love just be smart about it. If you have a super sweet tooth like me try out some of my tricks, they just might work for you too! And if you have any other great treats please let me know them, I am always looking for more ways to be smart about my treats!
Oh and one more thing that I really like. There is a lot of research lately about how our bodies need sugar. Not tons but we need it. The research is showing that a small treat after you eat is good for you, it actually signals your body that it is done eating. So you can enjoy a healthy treat after your meal and be happy and feel satisfied. Or you can not eat treats, cut out all sugar, and just keep eating and snacking the day away. Personally, I am going to go with the treat!