The past week or so I’ve been busy moving into a new apartment. Because of this, with all the unpacking and rearranging, I haven’t been able to do the shred or my regular workouts. But I did move couches, which, really, has destroyed me. I’ll keep you posted on my 30DS results once I finish these final 5 sessions 🙂
Over the past week, I also indulged a little bit. This indulging involved some sugar-free candy and what resulted from all of this was my mentality being jolted back to square one.
Let me explain. For nearly a month I’ve been hammering out 30DS, eating clean, and working hard! So much so that it started to get way easy. They were new habits, I looked forward to every minutes of it every day (well maybe not EVERY minute with Jillian, but you get it). I wasn’t even craving sweets or bad foods.
Then, while in Fred Meyer, I saw some sugar-free candy. I thought to myself, okay, under 200 calories, I mean, on a good day, why not. This stuff is good, low-calorie, and pretty much guilt free. I should be good to go. What ended up happening was the exact opposite. Not only did I continue to eat more and more of this stuff, but I started craving MORE sugary things, I got hungrier, I wanted to keep eating, even after I was full. I started feeling depressed and unmotivated. What the crap was this!?!
Sugar free had a catch (I knew this).
I’ve known aspartame has never been a good thing to ingest but for some reason all these other chemicals didn’t seem as bad. Kind of like how you feel more guilty going to McDonald’s than you do Arby’s, they are both just as bad really, but one has more stigma than the other.
So why are fake sugars worse than the real thing?
Aspartame, one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners, contains aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which encourage the release of insulin into the blood stream. Sugar cravings are then caused as the glucose is removed from your bloodstream during this process. The irony that diet soda will actually make you want to eat more. This helps explain why for hours after and even the next day after eating these “miracle” candies I was craving EVERYTHING! I was ready to give up completely on 30DS, losing those last few inches, and just start eating my way through Costco cakes.
When rats have been given artificial sweeteners, not only do they have a higher caloric intake over several weeks, but they also decreased their metabolism and gained overall body fat. I think it’s safe to say that we don’t need rats to prove this experiment. Most of the people I know that are in incredible shape are eating clean and healthy, they aren’t pumping their body full of diet soda and carb-free chips. They are making smart decisions, better choices, and not trying to “fool” their body with chemicals.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the key to not craving sweets and bad foods, is to not eat them in the first place. Smokers trying to quit can’t just have ONE cigarette. I’m not saying NEVER eat sugar, but if you are going to have a piece of cake or something sweet, make it the real deal, don’t try to cheat with fake crap. I always notice that the longer I go without sugar, the more I detest it. I’ve went months and months without sugar-based foods and then had a single bite of an apple fritter and felt sick to my stomach. Think about how food makes you feel, notice how your body and mind react to things when you eat them. Something may taste good but how does it make you feel during and afterwards, that’s ultimately what you want to be aware of.
I hear a lot of people say “but I have a sweet tooth” or “I just love cake, cake is MY THING.” You are BIGGER than your cravings. And all these things you crave are merely chemical reactions in your brain. You can train yourself to automatically crave good and healthy foods the same way you’ve craved chips.
It’s also been noted that sugar makes the brain react much like a drug. It may not have the same addiction-like qualities as heroin, but I think everyone can relate to feeling the desperate “NEED” to have something sugary. And in the same ways that we build up a tolerance to the effects of a drug or alcohol, the same can be said about the pleasure response of a sugary food. The more you eat it, the more of it you’re going to want to sustain that feeling. It becomes a vicious cycle. Studies have also shown that fake sugars don’t stimulate the pleasure centers of your brain the way real sugar does. Your taste buds might not be able to tell the difference, but your brain can’t.
Find ways to cut sugar out of your life. Find healthy and natural sweet substitutions (I love cottage cheese with pineapple chunks when I crave something sweet). And remember the three-day rule. I always find that the first three days of anything are hard. It’s the time when the body and mind are fighting you on change and adjustment. Power through. You’ll find that on that third day without those sugary snacks, you’ll start to feel a lot different.