Bridal Boot Camp – Day 27
Day 27 – August 1
I’m about a month away from the wedding and Bridal Boot Camp has me well on my way to feeling perfect for my big day! All of the group fitness classes and the personal training sessions are definitely paying off. My muscles are getting more defined, especially in my back and arms! And while the scale hasn’t moved much, I know I’m replacing fat with muscle because I look much leaner whenever I look in the mirror. The Arena District Athletic Club is helping me achieve the healthy sculpted look that I wanted for my wedding pictures.
Now, they are also helping me break my addiction to sugar. Early on Aron told me that 25 grams of sugar is all the recommended sugar you need. That’s basically a glass of orange juice in the morning. I probably consume, on average, about 100 grams of sugar a day, maybe more.
I’ve been working with the Arena District Athletic Club’s nutritionist – Maggie Fekete. Yesterday, she and I sat down and talked about the health risks of sugar, why we get cravings and how to combat them.
First of all, I know that everyone generally agrees that too much sugar is bad for you. But I think that we mostly just focus on the fact that sugar can adversely affect a person through weight gain of fat in the abdomen (the more harmful kind of weight gain). But Maggie helped me understand a lot more of the adverse affects sugar has on my health.
1. Sugar can impair the body’s natural immune system. People who eat too much sugar can get sick more often and have a harder time fighting off illnesses.
2. Sugar can cause migraines and headaches. I admit that I am a sufferer of these types of headaches. I always thought that these were stress related or due to a caffeine withdrawal. I’m going to see how often I get headaches now that I’m using Maggie’s tips to cut back my sugar intake.
3. Sugar can make your skin age faster.
4. Sugar can cause depression.
These are just some of the ones I remembered and that really stuck out to me. Obviously too much sugar can also create weight gain that puts pressure on your vital organs making your risk for heart illness increase.
We also looked at where sugar is found in our diets. It’s EVERYWHERE. In a perfect work you would be able to read all of the ingredients in the foods you eat and be able to hunt or gather all of those items. So even though we do not live in a hunting/gathering society, our food should still all come from nature. While I may not hunt or gather peanut butter, I should look for brands that use only natural ingredients that I could find in nature. A whole-foods based peanut butter brand might only have ground peanuts in it. If you can learn to shop for foods like that, you will naturally be able to eliminate a lot of the sugars that hide in your food.
Here are some of the crazy names for sugars
Also artificial sweeteners are not the healthier option that they have been made out to be. My mother was a nurse my whole childhood and knew all of the terrible side affects of aspartame, so I have never touched the stuff. She made it out to sound as bad as heroine or cocaine, and she’s not too far off. Aspartame has some seriously bad stuff and includes three neurotoxins in it’s ingredient list.
Even Stevia which I thought was a healthy alternative, is NOT. Stevia based sweeteners like Truvia did not even pass the FDA’s tests to officially become artificial sweeteners. Instead they have fallen into the GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) category.
The best option if you have to use an artificial sweetener is Splenda. But there are better options for replacing sweetness in your food. The best alternative is to use natural fruit juices. I’ll get into this more later, but the types of sugars found in fruit are great for your body. When you have a sugar craving, or any craving at all, it’s your body’s way of telling you it needs something. It needs some nutrient. Fruits have sugars and a whole boat-load of other nutrients that your body can use to help fuel you. Honey and maple syrup are other good options to add sweetness to your food.
In order to truly be able to combat your sugar cravings, you need to understand why you have them. Here are just a few of the causes of sugar cravings that I discussed with Maggie.
1. Lack of nutrients or Dietary Imbalance. If you have a poor diet that consists of lots of Taco Bell and pizza, your body may not be getting the right nutrients it needs. So while you have taken in a lot of calories, you aren’t giving your body the right calories so it will still signal to you that it needs more.
2. Memories. Memories from childhood or any time in your life can make you want to partake in something warm and fuzzy that helps you relive that feeling. For me, this is tapioca pudding. My mom and I have always made tapioca together. She would be the one to boil the milk and measure the sugar out (6 Tablespoons in our recipe) while I would beat the egg whites until they stood in peaks. Nowadays whenever I get homesick, I’ll call her up and make tapioca while we Facetime.
3. Self-sabotage. This is a big one for me. This happens when we’ve been really good, but then we slip up a little. I was supposed to be going through a detox with Chris several years back but I messed up and cheated a few times. Then I felt so guilty about cheating, that I bought an entire box of Hot Tamale candies and hid them from Chris. Because I was cheating a little, I’d cheat a little more. Eventually, my guilt-ridden stomach just decided that we shouldn’t be on a detox anymore and I quit. Maggie says that sometimes the guilt that we put on ourselves can actually be more harmful than the food we’ve eaten.
4. Dehydration. Your body can signal that it’s hungry when it’s starting to dehydrate. This can turn into a sugar craving.
5. Lack of Primary Food. We talked about Primary Food a little bit the last time I met with Maggie. If there is an issue that is unresolved in our relationships, careers, or spirituality, no amount of food will fix this. But how many times have I as a girl binged out on ice cream and Cheetos after a bad break up? Maggie puts it nicely when she said, “If you have a problem with a friendship or at work, no cookie will fix it.”
So after you identify why you have these cravings you can use these simple tools to help manage and combat your cravings.
Eat more sweet fruits and veggies – not only will this help satisfy your sweet tooth, it can help the body get the vital nutrients it needs and the reason for why it was sending out sugar cravings to begin with.
Pick the best option – if your craving has to do with memories, you can try to do some subtle alternatives to help satisfy your nostalgia with a healthy option. So instead of using milk in my tapioca, I could try to use almond milk. Instead of all that sugar I can substitute all or part of the sugar with honey or fruit juices.
Don’t let guilt drag you off the wagon – its sometimes OK to give in a little and indulge in a sweet. If you have a Snickers at work one day, don’t let that end your habits of healthy eating and don’t let the guilt drag you down.
Drink more water.
Take care of your Primary Food imbalances – if you notice that you eat more or have more sugar cravings when you are stressed out at work, stop and try to solve the stressed out issue. I know when I’m busy with a project I can get stressed and I don’t take the time to pick healthy food options. I eat whatever is fastest and easiest and follow that with a handful of candy from the office. But when this happens, I should slow it down a bit, take a break to fill my body with nutritious food and that can prevent me from mindlessly eating.
So starting this week I’m going to do my best to follow Maggie’s advice and help curb my sugar intake!