"I don't know, but after dinner I've just gotta have something sweet. I'm not even hungry anymore, I just want dessert."
Does this sound familiar? Could this very sentence be something you'd confess? Fear not, you're not alone. Shed your sugar sins and realize you're amongst friends while I drop some sweet knowledge.
I'm not going to spend any time today explaining the possibilities of sugar being addictive or even toxic. I'm not going to talk about any physiological effects at all. Instead, I'd like to offer some thoughts on the psychology of sugar, a discourse on desserts, if you will.
Even though I've exercised and lived a (somewhat) healthy lifestyle for most of my 38 years, I still struggle with the thought of having sweets from time to time. Is that bad? In and of itself, no. But my problem is that one dessert night will quickly lead to two or three... weeks. I exercise daily - and intensely - and I eat tons of veggies, healthy fats, and proteins like I teach my clients to do. So why won't that nagging sweet tooth go away?
Could it be my thinking? Could it be because when I was a little kid ("little" is a relative term, I leaned towards chunky as early as I can remember) my grandmother always rewarded me with homemade sundaes? I can still remember the day when she turned over sundae-making responsibilities to me, like handing the keys for an expensive sports car over to a drunk hedgehog.
Could it be that throughout middle and high school, dessert was always offered up after dinner, making it an almost nightly anticipated special occasion. It was like dinner was just a formality. "Yeah, yeah, let's eat this chicken already, I want the brownie, woman!"
Or could it even be the weekend family retreats to our local Dairy Queen? I can still remember racing my dad to finish off my Oreo or Nerds blizzards. This particular DQ was a seasonal one, and I think back with fond memories of opening weekend each year. I never said I had an exciting childhood.
So here's the thing. I have parents say they have a hard time eating healthy because they have kids. I say instead, you have a golden opportunity to do right by your children.
I have clients tell me they just have to have a little something sweet. I say instead, remain present in the moment and overcome your mental conditioning. It's uncomfortable to admit, but perhaps we've been raised to think of sugar as a special occasion, a moment of anticipation, or a sweet reward.
Maybe by having the dessert WITH dinner instead of after we can change our perspective. Maybe we can have family outings to eat healthy fare - or do something completely non-food related. Maybe we can teach our children to eat healthier diets so they don't have to endure the same struggles our society is currently dealing with.
But then, I'm just a reformed chunky kid who loved sundaes, blizzards and brownies. And after all, children deserve sugar, right? I mean, isn't that what being a kid is all about? Isn't it?
Check out my recent blog titled, "You're an emotional eater" for more information on the psychology of food. You'll also find ways to finally eat healthier and live a better life by improving your relationship and habits with food.
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com.
"Realize and accept that no matter the situation, there is nothing inherently wrong with you. Overcoming it simply boils down to a process of becoming aware, breaking the behavioral bonds we've developed to the emotions, and replacing them with healthy reactions."
Let's look at some time - and life - saving solutions:
- Instead of hopping on social media for 20 minutes, prep some food for the next day.
- Skip an hour of your favorite TV show and prep some food for the week.
- Check your email once a day instead of 3 times and you'll easily plug up a 10-20 minute leak.
- Let that text response wait for a few. The conversation will run much shorter if you wait to respond versus immediately flinging yourself into a thumb-flailing, maniacal masterpiece.
- Not every thought, observation or complaint is required to be tweeted.
- If you get online to work, then work. Stave off the distractions.
- Plan out your day or week in advance and find areas where you can combine activities.
- Look for ways to streamline your required stops on your driving route.
Read more goodies on the corresponding post "You're an emotional eater" online at freshevolotionfitness.com