Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to talk about food today, but I’m not sticking to my usual WIAW recipe sharing. (Don’t worry. That’s coming back next week!) I’m going to talk more about perspective and how I’ve changed my habits.
I was sitting in my Nutrition & Child Development class yesterday, and the topic of conversation at the end of class was portion distortion. One of the items on that list compared two cups of coffee. One was a simple cup of coffee, not in a keg-sized cup, with a little cream and one was a 16-ounce coffee from “your favorite coffee shop” (we could all tell what company it favored), labeled as a mocha latte with whipped cream.
After discussing the increase in our portion size, she brought a little perspective to the table.
Say you decide to stop for that 16-ounce mocha latte with whipped cream one morning and you love it. (Some friends on my personal page have seen this already.) You love it so much, you start stopping every morning to treat yourself. Treats are allowed, right? Absolutely. You’re not “dieting”, you’re not trying to lose weight – you’re just maintaining your weight. It’s just a coffee, no big deal. Oh, if I had only learned not to think that way. You change nothing about your diet or your exercise routine. You ready?
That coffee has 350 calories in it. That’s not the shocker.
In 10 days you’ll gain a pound. No big deal, I know.
In a year, you’ll gain 36.5 pounds, simply by enjoying a new, 16-ounce “cup of bliss”.
36.5 pounds from a sugary liquid!?!?! Holy crap!!!!!
The crazy part of this? I know this. I know this occurs in others’ lives every day. One small change to your daily intake, and boom! You’re packing on 36.5 pounds in a year all because you added a drink that you really like to your daily routine. I’ve read statistics and stories like this a thousand times, and you know what? It never ceases to shock me.
I should make myself clear, though. Treating yourself is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s recommended that you treat yourself once in a while to avoid deprivation and overwhelming cravings that cause otherwise healthy diets to go awry. Have a treat!!
But don’t do the 16-ounce, 350-calorie sugar-laden coffee every day. If you do, then work for it! Walk for an hour and a half. Run for 30-45 minutes. Or, better yet, cut down on your portion size!!!
This brings me to my issue. I fall into the category of 350-calorie coffee drinkers.
Well, I used to.
There was a time in my life when I had a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream…every night. I ballooned. There was a time in my life when I ate just as much as a “growing boy”. Pasta filled an entire dinner plate.
Side note: did you know that the average dinner plate has increased from 8” to 16” or more?? Perspective – it’s a beautiful thing.
What have I changed about the way I eat?
I eat from the small plates that come with the dinnerware sets. Unless it’s a salad. Then it’s a big-ass bowl with a teensy weensy bit of dressing. That reminds me – I need to start making homemade dressing.
I treat myself only once in a while. Not every day. Or if I do treat myself every day, it’s with something like this. Chobani Blood Orange and pistachios?? Yes please!!!
I treat myself with healthier treats. A flavored Greek yogurt with mix-ins. A Starbucks “Skinny” Vanilla Latte. Strawberries and whipped cream. Why? Because I love healthy treats as much as I love the indulgent ones. It’s criminal, I know.
I’ve learned to control my portions. See the dinner plate bit above. I’ve downgraded from the venti to the tall. Sometimes I’ll take the grande. I don’t finish the 24” plate of food when we’re out. I save most of it.
I make room for a treat in my diet. At least I try. I’m not perfect, but I don’t treat myself to things like this every day. Not anymore. It’s about balance. Calories in, calories out. Healthy with a dash of indulgent. I even do a little extra moving to work it in there. Again, I’m not perfect, but I’m working on it. Tee hee.
I have decreased my sugar intake by half. I am working to bring it down to the equivalent of a few pieces of fruit and maybe some change. (Fact: a venti mocha Frappuccino has 72 grams of sugar. Have one every day and that comes to 63 pounds of sugar a year.) Sugar is what brings me to my knees…and I’m working hard to reprogram my brain to crave refined sugar far less often.
**Side note: Just to clarify myself: I mentioned that I drink the “skinny” vanilla latte once in a while and not the fully loaded Frappuccino. “Skinny” simply means I make healthier substitutions (i.e. low-fat or skim instead of cream). A couple of people mentioned having “treats” and/or wanting the “real thing”, and I want to make myself clear: treating yourself is not bad. The scenario above is every day. Not a once in a while thing. (I thought I had reiterated this enough on Facebook, but apparently I hadn’t.) Treating yourself to a giant piece of sugary heaven every single day is bad. It’s what’s contributing to this country’s obesity epidemic! We’re an all or nothing country – most of us either overindulge all the time or nix everything and go all nutso health-freak. (That’s how I got into this mess.) I can’t help but feel as though people were thinking I was being the treat police and that I’m not living on the edge. Haha. I drink the “skinny” version of a much less sugary coffee, because those crazy Frappuccino drinks make me ill. Legit. I can’t stomach them – they’re just too much for me. My taste is my taste. That doesn’t mean I’m telling everyone to stop treating themselves to the “real” deal. I’m not the treat police. I’m the “cheat” police. Muahahaha.
I’m taking small steps. I’ve tried changing all of this at once, and it just hasn’t worked for me. I’m finally beginning to feel some peace creep up in my relationship with food. I’ve got a long way to go, because I’m ready to make this a lifestyle and not a fix-it-and-leave-it kind of thing. So far, everything about the way I feel has changed, and I love it.