I received a lot of great feedback about my dessert habit in a recent post, My Most Effective Fitness Habits. Since so many of you seemed particularly interested in finding ways to handle dessert in a balanced approach to fitness, I thought it was worth writing a separate post to delve into the sugar issue a little deeper and talk about why I keep dessert separate from mealtime.
We all are aware of the compelling nature of sugar. Estimates are that the average American consumes 60 pounds of sugar each year..6-0 pounds! I did some quick calculations just to bring this number in perspective. That’s 92,760 calories worth of sugar. This means, if you take in the average amount of sugar, you have an additional 26.5 pounds that you must either burn off or that gets deposited somewhere on your body.
This makes a lot of sense to me. I am well aware that the majority of the weight I carried for years was sugar weight. I exercised regularly and did not eat a lot of fried foods. However, I could not keep the sugar cravings at bay! As a result, regardless of any successful weight loss attempt, I would slowly return to a weight that was roughly 20 to 25 pounds heavier than I am now. Hmm, that number is remarkably close to 26.5 pounds.
If you are like I used to be, then a lot of your extra weight is probably from too much sugar. Here are some tips to help you develop a dessert plan for weight loss by making dessert a separate event from mealtime.
I think I’ve always known that sugar was my biggest weight issue. Thinking back, I realize that I often ate dessert multiple times a day. I had a really bad habit of eating dessert for breakfast. My thinking was if I ate it early enough in the day, then I still had time in the day to burn it off. Of course, the reality was that the memory of that breakfast dessert was long gone by the afternoon, so I would end up having another piece or two later in the day.
Here’s the thing, sugar has no nutritional value. Dessert should be separate from mealtime because our primary purpose for eating meals should be nutrition…our bodies need fuel to operate. So, it makes sense to say that sugar has no place at meal time.
Thoughts proceed actions.
By removing dessert from mealtime, you enforce a new thought process…Dessert does not belong in mealtime because mealtime is for fuel and nutrition. I find I can eat dessert as part of a balanced approach to food as long as I eat it with intention and observe a few rules.
It takes a while for the body to register fullness
…feeling full is a result of your brain reacting to chemicals released when you put food or drink in your stomach. Your brain takes around 20 minutes to register these chemicals. After your meal, the levels continue to rise over 10 to 30 minutes. They stay elevated for three to five hours following the meal, keeping you sated.
Source: SF Gate
If you eat dessert directly after a meal, your body may not have had enough time to register fullness. This allows for a greater possibility that you will eat a larger amount of dessert to make yourself feel full and satisfied.
Preserve dessert for enjoyment only. This goes back to the Entertainment vs. Fuel Dilemma I have mentioned before in earlier posts. Food serves two basic purposes: it provides fuel for our bodies and it is a source of entertainment. Since sugar has no nutritional value, it makes sense to remove it from meal times when you should be eating food for fuel.
By waiting a few hours after meal time to eat dessert, you preserve dessert for enjoyment only. This allows you to fully concentrate on the taste and texture, which in turn, helps you be satisfied with less.
As a general rule, mealtime and dessert should not meet. Still, rules are meant to be broken…sometimes. Special occasions are…well, special. These are the times that you let your guard down a little bit. Yes, rules give structure and accountability, but we should never feel like we are slaves to them.
Since I have started following the dessert rule, I have noticed that special occasions where I actually eat dessert as part of the meal experience really are elevated. Because I don’t normally do it, I really do feel like I am experiencing a special treat.
It’s always important to remember that food is a blessing and a vital part of the human experience, so we never want to demonize it; because then, we just set up a negative mindset. Instead, we can establish a workable construct for thinking about the food we eat. Because with eating, as with all things, our actions are shaped by our thinking and mindset.
So, what do you think, is this dessert plan something you are willing to try? This is just one of the habits I have developed to finally establish a healthy relationship with food. I recently put this and other incites I’ve discovered into a book, Find Your Weigh, to help you develop a new food mindset and your own workable food habits.
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Different people have different food issues – my mom’s achilles heel was always bread. I can take bread or leave it. Sugar junkies are easy to find, because candy and sweet treats are marketed to kids and women like mad. My personal food struggle, however, has always been with food quantity – i.e. I would just eat a LOTif I stopped caring about my size. I knew already that it takes 20 minutes for our bodies to register fullness, so I do always try to remember that, and the other thing I do, is try to eat more slowly. It helps but I have to be vigilant, because I love food, and it really loves me! ~Paula R 🙂 #BlogShareLearn
Actually, mine has always included carbs in general, so I love dessert and breads!
I agree that sugar is a culprit for weight gain. However, I’m terrible with wanting something a little sweet after I eat a meal (usually dinner). I never eat heavy or rich desserts, as these are calorie killers. But, I do usually go for a small dish of Greek yogurt with berries or a piece of dark chocolate. Just a little satisfies my sweet tooth. In fact, my love for chocolate, is really how I got my blog name. Hehe Visiting from #BlogShareLearn
Hi Laurie, in the end I think it’s really about finding a a routine and a sense of structure that works for you. We share a love for chocolate…I usually have a little every day 😉
I’m now down to “bare bones” eating…can’t even fathom eating dessert right after a good healthy meal. It spoils the great feeling.
Absolutely, but knowing myself and my inclination, I had to find a way to have the dessert sometime if I wanted to stick it out for the long haul!