Sugar monster in the house – that's who I was. At one point, I could eat multiple sweets in one sitting and not feel like I'd eaten anything at all. It was a waste – a waste of calories, a waste of food, and a waste of money.
The biggest health benefits for me have been from limiting refined sugar and processed foods from my diet. Was it difficult to say no at the beginning? Most definitely, yes. Don't give up hope because I'm proof that it can get easier and here are some ideas to consider.
- Willpower or mindset: I changed my mindset from "Ugh, I can't have that." to instead telling myself "I will choose not to have that." My mind became cooperative toward my health journey instead of trying to fight.
- Meal prep: I try to do some form of meal prep every time I'm in the kitchen. Today I mixed up my own salad dressing, yesterday I browned hamburger in my instant pot that can be used in multiple meals, and last weekend I chopped vegetables. When I'm prepared I am less likely to give in to a sugary treat.
- Bake and freeze in multiples: I don't always have time to cook so when I do I plan to make multiple servings and freeze the extra or make something that can be used for multiple dishes. For instance, I always double muffin recipes, cook multiple pounds of meat at a time for a fajita dish one night and soup the next, or mix up two single serve cake recipes at once.
- Reading product labels: I am an avid product label reader. Soy sauce was on my grocery list recently. I usually buy the name brand, but my local store was out so instead I bought what was left on the shelf. I forgot to read the label because I don't need to when I continuous buy the same thing having read it the first time. When the new sauce was pulled out of the refrigerator for a meal I happened to look at the label and found it had sugar in it. This was a friendly reminder to myself that even if I think a particular product wouldn't contain X, Y, or Z ingredient, it's still a good idea to read a label to ensure you are purchasing the ingredients you want to put in your body.
- Focus on whole foods: the more I eat whole foods, or minimally processed foods, the more I crave them instead of the sugary foods that I'd prefer not to eat.
- Find alternatives for favorites foods: Previously, I loved to eat cookies, cakes, and chocolates. I didn't have alternatives when I started my health journey, but over time I've experimented with recipes, tried new products, and created my own items to satisfy the sugary or processed foods that I use to eat before. I feel content now knowing I still get to indulge once in a while and not have it affect my health. It also keeps my willpower in check.
I thought I'd share a picture with you of some sugary and processed foods I would have gravitated toward. I'm happy to report that I did not purchase any of these items! It was fun to grab them and then choose to put them away knowing I don't want to be that sugar monster again.