Happy Valentine’s Day but…
Remember when sugar was a treat?
Remember, you’d get if when you were good at the doctor’s office.
You got chocolate treats for the holidays.
On special occasions, we’d get dessert!
Now, sugar has inched its way into every meal. It’s at the counter at the CVS store for free when you check out. It’s hidden in our foods. Dessert seems to be at every gathering.
We repeat the same activity that makes us feel good. Sugar can make people feel good. It releases endorphins or other chemicals in the brain that make us feel that pleasure. We repeat that activity and the pattern is reinforced and the brain asks for more. A bad habit or addiction can come in a lot of different forms.
Registered dietician Schritchfield says, “Sugar actually lights up the pleasure and reward center of our brain the same way when someone’s giving you a smile or a mother-and-child bond, or even falling in love. So it makes perfect sense that when we eat sugar, we want more of it.”
What we eat affects our moods, bodies, and brain chemistry.
Down to the nitty gritty of it all is we need to eat less simple sugar. It can negatively affect the immune system for up to 5 hours after eating it by diminishing the ability of white blood cells to fight bacteria.
The American Heart Association says the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
Men: 150 calories (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) – one single (2 inch) brownie
Women: 100 calories (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) – two small (2 inch across) chocolate chip cookies
So go ahead and enjoy the wonderful Valentine chocolate gift you received but remember that it is a treat and not an every meal, every day event. It’s a pleasurable activity that has its place and time. Just remember, not all the time!
Challenge: Try not eating simple (added) sugar for a week. If successful, try another week. Mark this on your calendar each day you are successful. At the end of two weeks, try a small amount of simple sugar – small piece of chocolate or one (go small) of something you really enjoy. I can almost guarantee that you will notice how sweet it tastes. This shows you the power of not eating it for a while and making it a treat again.
Master the mini-habit
Goal of mini-habits is to boost your motivation, self-efficacy and better habit forming skills.
Think of 1-2 mini goals. These need to be something you want to do not should do.
Keep your requirements simple and small. This is not about push-ups. This is about establishing a goal of some type.
For instance – Goal – upper body strength – identify – pushups – mini habit – do every day but only 1-2 pushups – be specific. If you do more, you are into bonus rounds. Bonus does not mean you don’t do it tomorrow, it just means you did it and you exceeded! Pat yourself on the back, mark your calendar with a brightly colored large X and feel good about it. Keep this in an area that you can see daily. The visual of having all the large X’s will be encouraging.
Do these mini-habits for a month. You will be amazed at how easy your goal is achieved.
This task set-up needs to be super easy and you need to recognize this as super easy but it must be done daily. Your brain will see all of this as wins! This process will boost your positivity and in turn making you believe you can do it, because you did it! This may lead to more mini-habits, helping you achieve more goals and establishing a great level of habit forming skills.
Exercise was adapted from Stephen Guise’s book, “Mini Habits”.
“Runners High” … “Endorphin Rush” … “Feeling the Flow”
What is this all about?
There are these wonderful psychological benefits to exercise. Multiples studies have been done on exercise and improved self-esteem with regular exercise. Your body is this wonderful machine that provides! We have these amazing chemicals naturally inside of us called endorphins. The are released when we exercise and they interact with receptors in the brain that actually reduce what you perceive as pain. Endorphins also set off a positive feeling in the body that seems to mimic morphine. This is what provides that feeling of euphoria! We all need this throughout or busy, stress filled days. Regular exercise could be a walk, a bike ride, a workout session. Something that you can do every day and it can be something different every day. No limitations! A break from your workday when you get outside and take a few deep breaths can make a big difference in the rest of your day. Consider all the benefits of regular exercise and taking a little time for you!
How to enjoy/survive the Thanksgiving meal…
First piece of strategy is to know your weakness. Are you a butter person? Are you a gravy person? Are you an appetizer lover? Are you a dessert person? Are you an imbiber of alcoholic and/or sugary beverages?
If the answer is yes to all the above then enjoy all but have a limit going in. The key is knowing this about yourself and then making a plan.
How about: Butter on the bread but nothing else. One to two appetizers only and then step away from the area where it is served. Small plate for dessert and take one small taste (a spoonful or a mini slice) of each. Drink water between each caloric beverage and have a limit. Make yourself the designated driver and not drink!
The point is to enjoy the holidays but not make yourself regret the gathering around food. Make a plan.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, safe, loving Thanksgiving!