Saturday, March 04, 2006

Weekend Weigh-In - The Snack Monster and The Sugar Demon

The inspiration for this post comes from Erika over at Tummy Treasure who posted her own weigh-in this past Wednesday. And darn, doesn't that pizza on her blog make you hungry???? But back to the topic at hand. It sounds like Erika and I are definitely on the same page. Everything she has said, right down to finding it hard not to ramble when talking about healthful living, rings true to me. In her comment section, I wrote, "I think I've gotten to a point where portion control is pretty good, it's the snacking that's killing me right now. At work there are FAR too many temptations. I try to counter them by keeping healthful snacks with me, but today, I ate the healthful AND the junk.". To which she responded, "I do think I eat pretty healthily, but the snack-monster is really fierce. And I'll have a healthier snack like cottage cheese with pineapple, and feel good about eating something good for me. Then an hour later I'm downing a Snickers. That sugar demon gets me every time.".

The Snack Monster and the Sugar Demon. Two beasts waging war against our will power, trying to draw us to the dark side. How do we help build our willpower? How do we help ourselves resist the Snack Monster and the Sugar Demon?

I cannot indulge myself on a regular basis and expect to keep weight off, much less lose weight. Some people can do this, but I'm not one of them. So, I battle between what I should be eating and what I want to be eating. The Snack Monster and the Sugar Demon are still winning too often. Especially the Sugar Demon - it's my worst enemy.

I try to keep healthful snacks around and snack on them throughout the day to try to keep hunger at bay. Hunger will definitely send me in search of something to eat. Problem is, if there is something tempting me, I simply cannot resist, even if I'm not hungry. I think this is because this kind of eating has nothing to do with hunger and everything to do with taste and desire. These things taste good! I want some! I gotta have it! I can deal with this pretty well at home by simply not having the tempting items (which I have pictured on this post) in the house or by substituting healthier items to calm my cravings (such as drinking sweet tea at nighttime instead of reaching for something sugary). At work, however, I have no control over what is offered. It's sitting there, right in front of me all day long. At work, I have to rely purely on willpower and that's not my strong suit.

My other problem is that I cannot eat just one. It would be okay if I indulged if I ate just one chocolate chip cookie, but no, I have to have 5 or 6. Once I get that taste in my mouth, I want to keep tasting it and tasting it. One just doesn't do it. Sometimes the answer is to simply not have any so that the insatiable monster is not awakened. But that's no fun. I also love to bake - it's pretty darned hard to bake and not sample. There must be a happy middle somewhere, but it's hard to find it.

Since I do not seem to be able to rely on will power alone, I have found that I need to hold myself accountable for what I eat in some way. The tool I've used for accountability in the past is calorie counting. The problem with calorie counting is that I find it a bit tedious and I really have to be motivated to do it. There are two great online tools that I have used to help me - Weight Watchers Online and FitDay. Weight Watchers worked quite well for me except that I feel their Points are too low, especially if you are exercising regularly and especially if you are exercising pretty strenulously. One reason the points probably seemed low to me at the time was that I was not eating enough fruits and vegetables, food items that are often "free" and do not add measurably to your overall Points for the day. In the end, I was not crazy about spending $15 every month, so I went in search of something a little cheaper.

FitDay offers free services online, but they also have software - FitDay PC - that you can download for a one time fee of $30. It allows you to track your eating habits, your weight goals, exercise habits and more. If you don't find an item listed in their food or exercise lists, you can add your own, offering up a versatility and customization.

In the end, I think sometimes the bottom line is that you have to want it bad enough. Maybe if you stop and think about what you are about to eat. Is it worth it? That saying "A minute on your lips, a lifetime on your hips" is something to think about. Is it the momentary pleasure you might experience from that decadent treat really worth sabotaging your healthful living goals? And actually, in my opinion, indulgences are just fine, but within reason. Daily indulgences can be part of a healthful diet, such as a small piece of dark chocolate or perhaps a sweet whole-grain muffin, but you need to choose carefully and limit portion sizes.

This time around I'd really love to lose the weight without resorting to calorie counting. Calorie counting is something that is difficult for me to do each and every day. I might, however, calorie count for one week to give myself a reality check and remind myself how much food I can reasonably expect to eat within a 1500-1800 calorie range.

And truly, if I could just resist the urge to snack on junk, I'd probably stay within my calorie range pretty easily. Easier said than done. Time to battle those monsters and demons....

Tune in Wednesday when I step on the scale and talk about exercising.

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  1. Very well said Alysha, I definitely have the same exact thoughts. Today I picked up a bag of Dove dark chocolate Promises to help me out a bit. That is one thing that I can limit myself to 2 pieces, and completely savor and enjoy. So hopefully that will help. I think part of the trick will be to find something to hold the sugar demon at bay...Hmm. I feel another post coming on.

  2. Ack. Your post says everything I feel about that sugar demon. I'm a fanatic when it comes to desserts (and I bake too), trying out different bakeshops and cafes.

    I lost a lot of weight in the past year and hope that I can lose more...but the monster's caught me! And for the past couple of weeks, I just kept on eating junk! (Those yummy but horrible things that made me uber-fat in the first place! Aaaahhh!!!)

  3. Hi Erika and Abster.

    It's hard, that's for sure! I managed to get through today without sabotaging myself, but then again, there were no tempations at work for a change. :)

  4. I have enjoyed reading your site. I myself have some dark chocolate Doves around. It is a pretty nice treat and I do not over indulge in. I have had only two out of the bag and had the bag for a month. I pretty much forget that I even have the bag of Dark Doves. I think as much apples I have been eating or trying different kinds has kicked the chocolate craving for a while.

    I also use fitdaypc. I am quite fond of the program.

  5. Hi FeistyRoo - It's very hard for me to find something that satisfies a craving but doesn't cause me to indulge! I can indulge in almost anything if I'm desparate enough. :)