I discussed my personal goals at length last week, but to sum up, this is what I’m hoping to do in the course of these 12 weeks:
Kick my sugar habit
Lose approximately 10 lbs. and a few inches
Fit in my clothes
Develop sustainable habits like eating more proteins and fewer carbs
I truly believe that the most effective way to lose weight – and to keep it off – is to reduce your sugar consumption. Drastically, if necessary. I’ll talk more next week about why I believe that is true, but this week, I’m going to focus on how to kick the sugar habit.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life about habits and choices, I’ve learned that you can’t eliminate one habit without adding in another. If you really want to begin making good choices and developing healthy habits, instead of focusing on “I CAN’T have/do such-and-such unhealthy habit”, you need to focus on the habit you WANT to develop: “I CAN have/do healthy habit XYZ instead.” If you don’t replace the bad habit with a good one, you’re going to create a vacuum that will be filled by something. And that something is only going to be good if you are intentional about it.
To that end, instead of eliminating sugar from my diet, I am replacing sugar with other things.
Instead of choosing carbohydrates for snacks – granola bars, fruit, cookies, etc. – I am focusing on protein-rich snacks that fill me up and give me long-lasting energy. At meal time, I focus on enjoying plenty of healthy proteins and fats, as well as vegetables, while eating carbs in moderation.
What I’m finding is that this protein-rich diet keeps me full for a much longer period of time, and significantly reduces my cravings for sweet stuff. I can get through a whole day without eating anything sweet, like a cookie or chocolate, which used to be an impossible feat for me. And it’s not because I suddenly have awesome will-power! It’s because I just don’t want it as much anymore.
I’ve never been a big fan of calorie-free sugar replacements like sucralose, saccharin and the like. Food made in a laboratory is not my thing.
Stevia, however, is a sweetener I can enjoy because it is natural and comes from a plant just like sugar does. Unlike sugar, stevia does not affect your insulin levels, an effect that leads to weight gain. Stevia also has been safely used in Japan since the ’70s, and has a proven track record there.
A word of caution: not all stevia is created equal! Most of the stevia on the market today has added sugars and fillers that render it pretty much just as useless as regular old cane sugar. For the most part, I stick to liquid glycerine-based stevia products, like NuNaturals or SweetLeaf . I also have a stevia plant in my little garden, and as soon as I have some time, I’m going to make my own liquid stevia with it.
So far, I have mainly used stevia in my beverages and in raw foods. I haven’t experimented with it much in baking, mostly because I am afraid it will affect the flavor.
All Things in Moderation
Since my goal is to cultivate habits that I can sustain in my daily life, I am not going to eliminate sugar completely. If I’m at a special event, I enjoy a little bit of dessert. If I crave chocolate, I have a little bit. Like I said earlier, I’m finding that I don’t even want sugar as much as I used to, even at special occasions. But I don’t forbid myself to have sugar at all, because that would be impossible to maintain over the long haul.
To that end, I also use raw honey (and occasionally palm sugar) as sweetener in my smoothies or oatmeal. Raw honey is so good for you that despite its high sugar content, I am comfortable with enjoying small amounts of it every day.
I still use regular honey in baked goods as well, and very occasionally some sucanat. The latter are showing up less and less frequently as time goes on, and I don’t really miss them much.
The bottom line is this: has increasing protein in my diet and reducing sugar/refined carbs helped out with the weight loss at all? I think so! In fact, I’ve seen the most significant change in my measurements since implementing these new habits.
Here are my current stats that I will update every Monday:
Weight: 135 (down 1.5lbs)
Waist (inches): 31 (same, sometimes goes down to 30)
Butt: 40.5 (down half an inch)
Hips: 41 (down 1 inch)
Find out how the other ladies are doing with their weight loss efforts and other goals by clicking on the image below.
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