Sweet Addiction

MY SCALE IS BROKEN. At least that’s what it seemed like when the scale stayed the exact same number for 3 weeks. I mean the decimal point didn’t even change. At one point I almost hoped it would go up just to let me know it was still functioning. This drove me crazy enough that I decided to set a goal to conquer my sweet addiction. 

Decreasing Sweets

The last 30 days I've been working on reducing my sweets intake, and creating a healthier sweet treat. Some goals that I work on are moderately hard, and others feel out of this world impossible. For me, this goal is out of this universe impossible.  With each 30-day challenge I set my minimum success rate at 90%. This means that if I do the goal at least 90% of the time I get my reward. For the last 4-6 months I haven't wanted to cut back on my sweets but have known there would come a day when I would be ready to conquer my cravings. Sweet treats have a place in our diet, but eating 2, or 4+ servings a day like I did, is beyond a reasonable amount.

I'm not sure what I was thinking with my most difficult goal, but I set the goal at 95%, instead of my usual 90%. On Mother's Day I received a Dove milk chocolate bar and put it directly in my purse.I knew that I had a few "fudge days" and I was debating if this was going to be one. By the time the 3rd hour of church came, I was hungry and I decided to eat the chocolate. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. When I got home I went to my goal chart to write down my delicious treat and determine how many more days I could have a treat in the 30 days. If you're doing the math already, you’ll quickly learn, as I did, that I could only have 1 treat in 30 days. YIKES!!!!! I checked again. Did I really agree to that? I'm the one who sets the goal. What was I thinking??? I don't think I computed at the time that I could only have 1 treat in 30 days. Oh Boy!!! I am very goal and reward driven and don't like cheating, especially not cheating myself. So, although I could just change the percentage, or I could just give myself a reward any day I'd like, I stuck to my guns and pushed through. I mean, I can do anything for 30 days, right? Lets just say it was a rude awakening to find out that I could only have one treat. I think if I would have calculated beforehand I might have chosen a different treat, or a different goal percentage. Such is the life of those who don’t plan, right?

Testing Healthier Treats

In addition to cutting back on sweets, I made a goal to make a healthier treat in the hopes of sharing it with my readers, if I found one worth eating. I made one attempt and totally failed. My toddler spit it out after tasting a bite, and asked for goldfish instead. EPIC FAIL!!! So, back to the drawing board for a healthier sweet treat. I wasn’t sure if it was possible but I was determined to find something. I'm the kind of person that likes real food, and really delicious food at that. Eating chocolate covered cardboard isn't really my thing. I'd rather eat one bite of amazingly delicious chocolate than tons of sugar-free, fat-free, or anything else "free" type of treat.

Day 10 of my challenge, I received a miracle in the mail. My bi-monthly edition of the magazine “Food and Nutrition.” There was a healthy chocolate recipe competition in which I had to make their recipe, post my picture and submit feedback. I recently remembered that I have a childhood dream to win a recipe contest. When other kids said they wanted to be firemen or astronauts, I never had a response. I just wanted to win a recipe contest.  Guess in some ways I’m living my dream right now in finally participating in a contest. Next step is winning a contest. Here is a link to the recipe and my notes on it. I think it’s a great sweet treat. I really love that the recipe is small so you’re not stuck with 2-dozen treats waiting to be devoured. It only makes about 5-6 little clusters. AWESOME!!! Here is the link to my creation of their delicious treat.

Cherry-Chocolate Almond Clusters

Since part of my goal was to find and make a healthy sweet treat, I didn’t have to count those recipe developments in my total treat tally. I’m surprised that I wasn’t testing out recipes every day considering how often I ate sweets before. I actually only tested 3 different treats and 2 of them are worthy of repost. Here is the link to my second healthy treat.

Strawberry Cheesecake Remake (with cottage cheese and greek yogurt)

Instead of focusing on what I could not eat, I tried to focus on what I could eat whenever I had a sweet craving. Here are some of the things I tried whenever I had a craving.

My Sweet Substitutions:

  • 1/2 cup of juice
  • dried fruit (dried figs are great)
  • fresh fruit
  • water
  • relax (with deep breathing and stretching) 
  • mint (or gum)
  • testing healthy recipes

I don't really consider mints a treat because I don't eat more than one and don't really crave them, so I've had a few mints after meals to freshen my mouth. The first 6 days I had to have a substitute treat several times a day, but as I moved on to the next 7 days I noticed that I forgot sometimes and only needed a sweet substitute after one meal instead of two.

Now I'm at the end of my 30-day challenge. I was successful at decreasing my sweet intake. If I wasn't working on developing a healthy sweet treat I think it would have been a greater struggle to finish successfully. Since this goal is still a struggle, I will continue to monitor it during my next 30 days and attach a new reward. I think I will bump my standard down to 90% so that I can have 3 treats during these next 30 days. One thing I've learned about myself is that allowing myself a treat, and putting a set number of treats I'm allowed to have, helps me keep my treats in a more reasonable range. In the past I have tried a goal of no sweets except for Sunday (or one set day a week) but then I felt obligated to make and eat a lot of treats that day, and was hyper focused on that day. Giving myself a number of treats in 30 days gives me more freedom to eat those treats when I want (ie. special occasions, holidays, etc). But it also helped me say no to some treats that may not have been my favorite and were not worth the splurge. 

Best part of all of this is that my scale isn't actually broken, I LOST 4 POUNDS!!! That's a huge success for me and I will keep monitoring my sweets intake and continue toward my weight loss goal. Now I'm off to the spa for my reward.