Rarely do I eat to satisfy hunger. In fact, I can’t remember the last time actually felt hungry. Well, wait, yes I can. I think it was 2009.
I, like most, eat when I’m bored, when I’m stressed, and when I see something that looks irresistibly delicious. Sound familiar?
I’ve been reading food labels for years.
I’m a fanatic about reading menus — like, the details of menus, including the calories counts that are now included in most. Usually I look at calories and portion sizes but today I decided to track my sugar intake, just for kicks.
That lasted an entire day. Here’s why.
The USDA recommends that a woman’s daily intake should not exceed 20 grams/day. For men, 36 grams.
Ehh, no big deal, right? I didn’t think so until I started adding up mine for the day.
For breakfast, I had avocado slices on a piece of brown bread. Do you know how many grams of sugar are in a slice of plain ol’ brown bread? FIFTEEN GRAMS!
Then on to lunch — my low-cal frozen entree — 270 calories of chicken slices, pasta and tomato sauce. Another whopping twenty-one grams!
A few pieces of chocolate covered cherries for dessert: twelve grams
And then there’s my occasional treat (which I thought was harmless)- a “Vitamin water”.
Thirty-two grams of sugar in VITAMIN water?
Totally sugar grams for ONE day: SEVENTY-FOUR! Without even thinking about it.
No wonder my exercise isn’t making a difference in the size and shape of my body.
I once dated a man who insisted that breakfast dessert was the best thing about any day.
“Eat it before breakfast so you don’t fill up on breakfast and miss it!” he exclaimed with a giggle holding a spoonful of apple pie a la mode.
Crazy Eddie was full of some questionable words of wisdom, but those stuck with me. I don’t care for dessert before breakfast, but I rarely eat breakfast without indulging in some kind of sweetness afterward.
My sugar epiphany eliminated nearly 40 years of mid-morning sugar cravings instantly. Who needs a food journal when you can count sugar grams for one day and discover your most wicked nemeses?
Since that day I’ve been checking sugar grams on everything — not obsessively, just enough to get an idea of what is an acceptable treat and what blows my count out of the water.
My sugar cravings are not going to go away, ever. But, I can control how I respond to them. It’s all about mind over mouth. And knowing that these stupid sugar grams are in everything makes it easier to resist desserts and pre-packaged items (like deli coleslaw) that I buy by default when it’s been a long travel day.
I’m creating a mind-mouth connection by identifying my nemeses and singling out the most dangerous nemesis. Beware! That darn sugar is everywhere.