Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sugar Challenge Solutions

Going sweet-free in August hasn't been easy. As I wrote in my previous post, I have had a couple of lapses (BBQ sauce and extra servings of cereal), but I haven't ate a true sweet for 18 days now.

Temptations of delicious-looking brownies from Hy-Vee made it to our house this past weekend; a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream in the fridge; and samples of sweets in Target, Sam's Club, and Hy-Vee on our shopping tour of Apple Valley and Lakeville last Saturday--all of which have looked incredibly appealing.

Fortunately, the temptation to eat sweets seems to be diminishing, but I know the whole month is going to be a challenge. For a long time there was, and still is, a common myth propagated by the self-help industry that it take 21 days to make or break a habit.

Then, in a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it actually takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to start to feel automatic. Read about it in "How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit" from The Huffington Post.

Here's a couple of things that have worked for me during this sugar challenge:

  • Alternative snacks: Rather than always going for sweetened cereal, I've been eating more fruits and some veggies for a snack. My neighbor has brought over some delicious cherry tomatoes from his garden, and we've been keeping washed blueberries and grapes in a visible spot in the fridge. Unfortunately, I've still succumbed to sweetened cereal, though all of it has had less than 9g of sugar per serving. 
  • Reduced Sugar Baking: I made some whole wheat and oatmeal banana bread last weekend, and I used Truvia rather than sugar. Truvia alone doesn't work that well in a lot of things--one of our friends described it and other alternative sweeteners as "hollow" tasting, which I think is right on. But, in banana bread it works fine. I think the natural sugar from the overripe bananas masks the absence of real sugar.
  • Out of sight, out of mind: Laura was kind enough to keep the Hy-Vee brownies in the back of the cabinet. There's a lot less temptation to go for a sweet when you have to look for one. 

That's all for this post. Stay tuned for another sugar challenge post in the near future.

Run well.

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