N is for Nemesis

N is for Nemesis

I have one Nemesis in my life. It’s a simple one. It’s a vice that I wish I could beat. My nemesis is sometimes tricky–it can lay dormant for awhile and I think I have it under control. Then my Nemesis pays me a visit.

What is my nemesis?


DESSERT. 

Recently I wrote about Happy Weight and making peace with my body image, peace with the number on the scale. I know that I could lose those “last few pounds” if I didn’t battle so much with my nemesis.

I really wish that I was a stronger person and could resist having dessert every day, but I just can’t. While I stay within my calorie range for the day, I do eat dessert most nights. Sometimes it’s a hot cocoa. Sometimes it’s cookies or ice cream. I try to choose low calorie options.

See, I love dessert. I always have. Dessert was my trigger food. Dessert was one of the main reasons I was obese. I loved ice cream and ate cartons by myself. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Peppermint ice cream during Christmas time…I loved it.

Since I can’t completely kill my nemesis, I try to resist it as much as I can. I trick my brain by eating alternatives.  While I talk on and on about eating whole, real foods, I do believe that eating lower calorie alternatives of dessert is a-okay.  Sometimes I just need a TASTE to satisfy that craving.


I’m working on not feeling bad about myself when I eat treats. I’m eating them in moderation, within my calories for the day, so why am I beating myself up about it? Why do I feel like a failure for the day if I indulge in dessert? I don’t understand it myself. I do know that after years of restricting in order to lose weight, certain foods because trigger foods that I just avoided. So maybe it just takes some rewiring of my brain.

Recently I  wrote about how I was trying to break the habit of mindlessly snacking on candy at work. It was a habit that I wanted to break because I was WASTING so many calories each day eating candy that I didn’t even really LIKE. It wasn’t worth it. And I always felt bad about myself when I gave in to the temptation. I felt like I had failed for the day. For no particular reason, I decided that I would avoid snacking on candy from The Candy Room. A week went by and I was successful. Then another week went by and I realized I didn’t miss it.

This is not the first time I’d tried to avoid The Candy Room. I did it once before a year ago. But it only lasted about a week. I avoided eating candy and chocolate of any kind for a week. But once the week was up, I was eating candy and dessert again. I had a light bulb moment. I realized this time around that the dessert wasn’t the issue: the candy at WORK was the issue. If I just resisted the mindless munching during work hours, I made it through the day. Having a treat at night for dessert was enough sugar to satisfy the craving keep me from eating it at work. I realized once again that moderation is key: completely eliminating something from my life just made me want it more. But allowing myself to eat it in a certain scenario worked. I saved hundreds of calories a day by not eating candy at work. And was happier for it. AND I still got to enjoy a small dessert at home.

How I “Trick” My Brain

Some of my favorite desserts are low in calories. Here are some ideas I have to share that I frequently use myself:

1. Pudding. Making some chocolate pudding is a good option for a treat. I like that it’s easy to make and there are lower calorie options. For less than 200 calories you can enjoy a chocolate dessert. Who doesn’t like pudding?

2. Vanilla ice cream with fruit. In the summer time I add slices of strawberries to my vanilla ice cream. Sometimes I’ll drizzle a little light chocolate sauce on it too. Love the flavors!

3. Fruit Crumble. There are lots of quick recipes you can do to make a fruit crumble. One I used to do was cooking apple slices in a skillet with a little brown sugar, top with granola cereal and a scoop of ice cream–yum!

4. Fruit and honey. I recently made a dessert for a dinner party that was a hit. It was slices of pears with goat cheese, toasted walnuts and drizzled with honey. It was delicious and healthy.

5. Dark Chocolate. A few years ago I made the switch to dark chocolate. It’s so much healthier and after getting used to the dark, rich flavor I started to prefer it over any other chocolate. It’s good because it’s hard to eat a LOT of dark chocolate!

QUESTION: What is YOUR nemesis? What’s your battle plan?

 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight * M-Measuring Mistakes *

M is for Measuring Mistakes


M is for Measuring Mistakes

Whenever I start to see some weight gain, the first place I look for the culprit is in my measurements. Food serving sizes and portion control are a huge piece of the weight loss equation, maybe even one of the most important parts.

It’s so easy to get off-track when we don’t measure. I used to measure pretty diligently when I was trying to lose weight. For two years I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch with one serving of Wheat Thins. (Boring, I know.) I would count out a serving of crackers and put them in my lunch bag.

Now that I’m in maintenance mode I measure less often. I tend to “eye-ball it” instead. Most of the time this is effective. I’m not restricting food, but eating in moderation within a certain calorie range.

The bad news: it’s so easy to overeat when not measuring.

Every so often I get back on track by measuring out my food. I usually know when I’m getting out of control again with my measuring. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a portion size is never as much food as you WANT to eat!

Here are a few examples of serving sizes. Let’s go with the Wheat Thin example. A serving size is 16 crackers for 140 calories. This is what a serving size looks like:

But what if you ate “just a few more crackers” than the serving size? It often seems like “just a few more” isn’t a big deal.

22 crackers–“just a few more” equals nearly 200 calories (193 to be exact). While it doesn’t seem like much, it all adds up pretty quickly when we’re not calculating the calories accurately. Pretty soon those “just a few more” bites, nibbles and snacks can be hundreds of calories in a day.

It’s easy to get lazy with “eye-balling” portions. Just a handful here…a few bites there…and soon it adds up fast. Especially if you aren’t recording those bites and nibbles. I recently decided to banish the mindless candy eating at work and so far it’s been going well. One thing I found by avoiding that Candy Room: I have hundreds of calories left over for the day. Wow! What a difference measurement, accountability and restraint makes! It fueled me to keep going and break the candy habit!

QUESTION: Do you measure food? Do you track the “nibbles and bites”?

 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight *