Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some observations on going sugar free

So, it's now been a couple weeks since I made the decision to cut refined sugar and flour out of my diet. I haven't been perfect, but I've been fairly good. There's been a few things that get me and a very occasional thing that I've decided to let go (ie: I used ketchup in a steak marinade the other night.)

- A couple of days without sugar and refined flour is all it takes to start feeling better and stop having cravings. After those first few days, I rarely feel hunger that isn't physical (as opposed to snacky/emotional hunger).

- A lot of things you wouldn't expect contain sugar: canned tomato soup, crackers, flavoured canned tuna, etc.

- I'm reading alot of labels. Not just the nutritional information, but the ingredients too.

- Honey may be an unrefined sugar, but I find any larger amount still affects me similarly to refined sugar. A little bit in a loaf of bread doesn't cause me problems, but a peanut butter and honey sandwich does. Same goes for maple syrup.

- Crackers are hard to pass up, particularly when I feed them to my kids fairly often. Very few of them are made without sugar or refined flour. I'm playing with some recipes to make my own crackers with whole grain flour. I'm also trying to feed them to my kids less often, since they aren't the best choice for them either.

- Whenever I have slipped and had said crackers, I get hit with the sugar cravings again for the next day or two.

- Salsa does indeed taste great on eggs instead of ketchup. Having it in the house has also reminded me that it's yummy as a topping on potatoes or a substitute for salad dressing.

- It's pretty easy to make 100% whole wheat bread, and my husband accepts it, no problem. I'm now playing with different recipes and altering some that call for all purpose flour.

- When you aren't eating sugar, fruit tastes really sweet and really delicious.

My initial goal was to be 100% sugar free for 1 month. So far, I'm not making good on that goal, as it seems every couple days a little something sneaks in. Having said that, the primary reason for this was to become more aware of my sugar intake and the hidden culprits. I've done very well in achieving that. I've also learned how much better I feel when it isn't a big part of my diet. I don't see myself ever re-incorporating it as a major component of what I am eating.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why am I going to keep it off this time when I've gained it back before?

If there's one post lately that's had a huge impact on the weight loss blogosphere, it's this one over at Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit. He puts out a call to answer the whys and wherefores of our weight loss. I'm a bit late answering, but this is a post I've been working on for a while and had to get the wording right.

He writes:

The posts that I find the most interesting, the ones that I seem to get the most out of are the ones where the writer explores the why's of this whole deal: why did I get the way I was? why did I make the change? why is this time going to be different?

He goes on to list a bunch of why questions, most of which are good to think about if you're on this weight loss journey.

In my opinion, the only danger in answering "why" is when you let it become an excuse. I'm going to approach the question today that I think matters the most to me:

Why are you going to keep it off this time when you’ve gained it back before?

I've lost all my weight 2 times before, and gained it back. I've proven that I can lose it. I have yet to prove that I can keep it all off. Yet I am confident that I will. Why is that?

As a teenager and young adult, I was bulimic. For 10 years of my life, I regularly binged on huge amounts of food and purged afterwards. I'm not going to get into the details, but the moment that is important is the moment that I decided to get better.

I hit the biggest downward spiral of my life and I realized that I could no longer live like that. I would no longer live like that. That is the one point in my life where I truly considered death as an option, as an out. Then somewhere, in the midst of my self loathing I had a realization.

I wanted to live.

The fact that I could no longer live with bulimia didn't change. For the longest time, I thought that my only choices were to continue on, the way I was, or die. But, for the first time, I saw a third choice. I could get better and I could live.

That was the day that I put the monster, that had controlled my life for so long, into a cage. I sought out therapy and I got help. I am of the belief that certain addictions and mental illnesses are never truly cured. I will always have to be aware of that monster lurking within me, but for the last 10 years, I've put increasingly strong locks on that cage and buried it behind walls of concrete. It no longer has any hold on me.

This time, when I made the decision to lose weight, I had the same level of clarity as the day I decided that I was going to beat bulimia. Death was never on the table this time, but my quality of life was. I was no longer interested in being plagued by the limitations that my body was imposing on me because of my own choices. I wanted to not only live, but live well.

So, this time, when I lose the weight, I will keep it off. Because I am never going give up. I am never going to give in. I may hit bumps along the road, but every bump is something that I can learn from. Every difficulty will make me stronger.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

All you can eat - Is this ever a good thing?

The last few times I've been watching tv, I keep seeing a commercial for a chain restaurant: All you can eat fries! With any entree!

I wonder if this is ever a good thing? Buffets are bad enough, but I can still see a place for them. Admittedly it is nice to be able to go up and choose a few things from a wide variety of food. But, when a restaurant offers all you can eat on one item, it's just a case of stuff yourself till the cows come home.

I used to work as a server in a rib restaurant that offered all you can eat ribs one night a week. I hated working that night, but it was good money and my husband was in school at the time, so we needed it. Being run off my feet wasn't the part I hated. It was watching customers eat till they were ready to puke. I specifically remember one women who continued to put more and more food in her mouth. It looked like every bite was a struggle. I think the most I ever served to someone was about 25 beef ribs, but the record in our restaurant was around 50. You have to get your money's worth, right?

The thing is, restaurant portions are already supersized. Then then they bring in the marketing gimmick of "all you can eat". I mean, when you order an entree that comes with fries, you probably already have far more on your plate then you should eat. Do you really need to add more to that?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Eating real food or tracking? Which is more key?

So, every other time I've lost weight, one of the keys that got me there was tracking my food intake. And, every time I gained it back, one of the pivotal moments was when I stopped tracking my food intake.

I have an admission to make. I haven't tracked my food in a week and a half. Yet, I'm feeling in control. I lost 1.6 pounds at weigh in last night. I'm confident that my portion sizes haven't gotten out of control.

Every other time that I've lost weight, I've relied heavily on artificial sweeteners, low fat, and diet food. My attitude was that obesity was a bigger health risk then consuming artificial sweeteners, so if they helped me get to my goal, it was worth it. Obesity is probably a bigger health risk, but did the artificial sweeteners and diet foods actually help me get to my goal? Even if they did, were they helpful or detrimental when it came time to maintain that goal?

This time, I've been very focused on eating real foods. I completely avoid artificial sweeteners and if I can't pronounce some of the ingredients, I really question whether I should eat it. Then I cut out sugar.

After the first few days, I started feeling more balanced and controlled. I didn't have constant cravings for various foods. I wasn't tracking, but I was eating reasonable portions at reasonable times.

I am now questioning one of my key beliefs about weight loss and maintenance: the necessity of tracking. Has the key to controlling my weight always been in strictly controlling refined carbohydrates? All of the sudden, I feel like I might just be a normal person and able to eat like a normal person, and I have no doubt it's due the fact that I've stopped consuming food that functions like a drug in my body.

I don't know the answer to that yet. However, I'm going to start tracking again. Even if I decide it isn't a necessity all of the time, I want to be able to look back on this. If I start to struggle again, I want to review the foods I was eating when things were working for me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When do you rethink your timeline?

I've often heard it said that in order to make a dream into a goal, you have to define when. While losing weight, that can be a bit tricky. The thing is, sometimes it doesn't matter what you do, the scale doesn't show you the numbers you want. It's better to focus on what you are doing and how you are acting then on an external thing like the scale.

But, let's be real. If you're losing weight, you want to see those numbers go down. I certainly have a number in mind as my initial goal for weight loss. So, what about the timeline?

First of all, let's get up to date on my weight loss. The observant among you may have noticed that I haven't mentioned my last few weigh ins. That's because they've been pretty unexciting. The first month, I lost 2.4 - 2.8 pounds every week. Then, there was that week that I gained.

The week after that I lost 1.0, then gained 1.6, lost 2.6 and lost 1.4. So, I've been bouncing around a little bit, with a general downwards trend. After 9 weeks, I've lost 12.4 pounds in total. A bit frustrating since I hit 10 pounds after 4 weeks, but down is good.

This does mean I have to give my self a reality check. I haven't talked about time lines much on this blog, but have thought about it. One thing that I was hoping for was to reach 190 by August 6. That would have put me at the weight I got married at in time for my fifth anniversary. That also means I need to lose 41.4 pounds in the next 19 weeks.

Realistically, I'm not sure I can expect that to happen anymore. It's not outside the realm of possibility, but fact is, that would necessitate losing an average of over 2 pounds until then. While this is possible, I also don't want to set myself up for disappointment. If I'm at 200 by my anniversary, it will still be a great accomplishment and I know I'll be at my goal well before my sixth anniversary.

It's a tough balancing act, but I need to focus on the things I have control over, and the scale is not one of those things. Don't get me wrong. This isn't meant to be a downer post. I do think I can hike up a mountain and ride my bike (with chariot) up a steep hill by the summer. Those are the things I have control over. The weight loss I just have to let happen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Does exercise help you lose weight? Really?

It's no secret that I work out. I work out a lot. I do cardio every day and strength training 3 days a week. I don't schedule myself any off days, as I figure life does that for me often enough. I also don't make excuses, and only have days off from exercise when circumstances really do prohibit it. I generally end up taking 3-4 days a month off exercise.

Having said that, I don't believe it has much direct impact on the amount of weight I lose. It seems that there are plenty of experts that agree with me.

The belief that exercise helps weight loss is a fairly modern concept. At one point, obesity physicians were more likely to prescribe bed rest then time on the treadmill.

When you exercise, you do burn calories. Everyone knows that weight loss is a formula of calories in versus calories out, right? So, exercise should help you lose weight, right?

In reality, it's not that simple. This article talks about the compensation effect. When a person exercises, they tend to compensate by eating more. Increasing your activity increases your appetite and your cravings. It makes it harder to resist the high caloric foods. If you don't compensate by eating more, it's common to compensate by moving less later on. Perhaps that means you plunk yourself on the couch to watch a movie rather then getting housework done, but chances are good you compensate to some degree.

And, if you're going to talk about calories, it's not nearly as simple as a little calculation. The number of calories burned while working out is often exaggerated. For one thing, the calorie readout the machine gives you is far from accurate. For another, you burn calories doing nothing, but when getting the readout from the machine, most people don't subtract the number of calories they would have burned anyways.

Ultimately, weight loss is primarily affected by what you eat.

So, why exercise then? For myself, I have a few reasons.

I exercise because while I don't believe it has a direct impact on my weight loss, I do believe it has an indirect impact. When I exercise, it keeps my head in the right mindset. I eat better overall. Perhaps it increases my appetite, but my real "trouble eating" has never been based on hunger. When I'm exercising, I'm more likely to eat a (small) handful of nuts or an extra fruit to compensate. The times I'll grab a pastry are the times when I'm bored and lethargic.

I exercise because I like what it does to my body and what my body can accomplish because of it. I want to have arms where I can see muscles. I want to be capable of hiking up a mountain without repeatedly stopping to catch my breath. I want to keep up with my 3 year old and 1 year old. I still want to keep up with them when they're 5, 10 or 20.

I exercise because this isn't just about losing the weight. One day I will have no more weight left to lose and I will need something new to work towards. Having new fitness goals will allow me to maintain the weight for the rest of my life.

So, do I exercise to lose weight? No. But, I exercise for my health, just like I'm losing weight for my health.

What about you? What are your reasons for exercising?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My First Blog Award

So, once I started looking around the blogosphere, I started seeing people talking about awards. It's a way that bloggers recognize other bloggers and share some of their favourites. I suppose is also partially a promotion thing.

I'd like to thank Genie, at Diet of 51 for recognizing my blog with the "Creative Writer" blogger award.

Now, comes the fun part. As part of the award, I have to reveal 7 facts about myself. Up to 6 of them will be outrageous lie and at least 1 will be an outrageous truth. Can you guess what fact(s) is true?

1. I've been skydiving 5 times, and going for a sixth (and more) time will be one of my rewards to myself when I get to a healthier weight.
2. When I go back to work when my kids are in school, I'd really like to become a ski instructor in the winter months.
3. I once dressed up as Xena, Warrior Princess, for Halloween. Complete with skimpy vinyl (cheaper then leather) outfit, knee high boots and a wig.
4. When I was 18, I took a year off after high school to travel. I fell for an Australian man and wanted to move there permanently. Then it turned out he was married.
5. I'd love to learn how to mountain climb.
6. In grade 1, I moved to a new elementary school and unseated the current book reading champion, reading more books January to June then he had the whole school year.
7. I spent a summer working on a cruise ship. I thought it would be great, but the hours are horrendous, and I didn't get to enjoy myself at all.

For the next part of this award, I must nominate five creative writers who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies, too. (I'm supposed to do seven, but I'm a bit rushed, and I'm going to take the time to talk about them a bit.)

1. Karen at Fitness: a journey, not a destination

Karen's blog is one of my daily reads. She writes well thought out, well researched articles that apply to almost everybody. Sometimes I learn things from her blog. Other times, it makes me think about things I already knew.

2. Tricia at Endurance isn't only physical

Tricia has lost 123 pounds and looks amazing. She perseveres despite any challenges, such as a broken ankle. She also has some great giveaways on her blog. Right now, she's got one for a running tshirt.

3. Leslie at Definitely Not Martha

Leslie's blog isn't a weight loss blog. It's a food blog, and I wouldn't say her recipes are always diet friendly. However, they are real food, which I love. She doesn't use all kinds of artificial ingredients. She's also just written a post about HVP, the lovely chemical that is responsible for recent recalls on foods like crispy minis and some soup mixes. I had thought about writing about it myself, but she did such a good job, I'll just refer you to her.

4. Amy at Amy's Quest to Skinny

Amy is another blogger that has lost alot of weight - over 100 pounds, and become a runner. Check out her before and afters; she looks fabulous. She regularly has pictures and recipes on her blog that make my mouth water for completely healthy foods.

5. Marlene at Mission to a(nother) marathon

Marlene has lost over 50 pounds and is now a multi-marathoner. Her blog is mainly a running blog. Her commitment to running is a great example of how she's incorporated fitness permanently into her life. (In my opinion, one of the keys to keeping the weight off.

So, congratulations on your awards ladies, the rules are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to 6 outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth.
5. Nominate 7 "creative writers" who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

There are many fabulous blogs out there, and I promise to take the time in the future to mention others that I love and frequent!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sugar - getting rid of it

It is wonderful to recognize and identify a problem in your life. The next step is to do something about it. I have no doubt that my body deals very poorly with sugar. Although, I've been speaking about sugar, I'm going to throw white, refined flour into the mix. That stuff (and anything containing it) hits me the same way sugar does.

My goal is to virtually eliminate both sugar and white flour from my diet for the next month. I will occasionally substitute other natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup for sugar, but for the most part, I'm looking at eliminating it rather then replacing it. For the record, I will not be using artificial sweeteners. In my opinion, those are chemicals rather then food, and as such, don't have a place in my diet.

After the month is over, I will continue to avoid most foods containing sugar, but I may consider reintroducing some of the ones that have low amounts of sugar and have a minimal effect on me.

At this point in my life, this isn't actually that drastic a step. I've been working towards eating less processed foods and more whole grains. I use minimal added sugar. I make my own bread, yogurt and other baked goods, so I have a great deal of control over what is in my kitchen and on my dinner plate. Having said that, I've looked back over my food journal and identified 5 specific food categories that are the ones that need to change.

1. Bread and bread products
2. Pasta and rice
3. Condiments and dressings
4. Kid's snacks
5. Treats

1. Bread and bread products

I love bread - perhaps too much. I have a bread maker and use it to make all my bread products, other then tortillas. Initially, I alternated between making white bread and a 50/50 blend of white/whole wheat. I noticed that whenever I made white bread, it was a trigger food for me. I was making it mainly for my (somewhat picky) husband, but not so long ago, he admitted that he didn't mind the 50/50 blend, so I switched to that.

Now, the goal is to find a 100% whole grain bread that we will all enjoy. Yesterday, I made a loaf of whole wheat bread with flax seed, and it was pretty good. Even my husband had some. Although he admitted that it wasn't as "light and airy", he still enjoyed eating it. I'm going to continue trying other recipes, but I'm confident that I can find one we will all enjoy.

The other issue with bread is sugar. According to my bread recipe book, sugar is necessary as food for the yeast. For the time being, I'll be using honey rather then white or brown sugar when it is called for. I'm also going to do some experiment and research to see if I can actually make a decent loaf of bread without the sugar.

2. Pasta and rice

This category is an easy one and one that I've already been switching. Whole wheat pasta has become widespread and easy to come by. I'm replacing all the pasta I cook with whole wheat. It doesn't hit me the same way that white stuff does. I still enjoy it, but I don't feel the same need to finish off the whole bowl-full.

Switching the rice we use will cost us a level of convenience. Right now, we still use instant white rice every once in a while. To replace this, the obvious choice is brown rice, but I'm expanding that to include other grains as well. Couscous is basically as quick to make as instant white rice. Quinoa is a new favourite of mine. Really, I need to look at what else is out there. Anyone have any favourite grains you enjoy that aren't the mainstream well known ones?

3. Condiments and dressings

This is probably going to be the hardest one for me. Ever read the ingredients on a bottle of salad dressing? Miracle whip? Ketchup? Sugar, glucose-fructose, or one of it's other aliases is almost always in the top 5 ingredients.

I'm going to be honest and admit that this category may hurt. Particularly the ketchup. In fact, I must admit that before writing this post, I had a last meal with ketchup, topping off my omelet.

In the latest issue of Clean Eating magazine, there is a whole section with clean salad dressings, so I'm definitely going to have to try some of those. (Now, I just have to remember where I left the magazine.) I have googled for sugar free ketchup recipes, and so far, they all have artificial sweeteners. I'm going to experiment a bit, but this may be a situation where I need to use a bit of honey...

4. My kid's snacks

This category is one that I'm really going to have to look at. When I consider the processed foods that still have a place in my pantry, they are largely snacks for my children. On the surface, they don't seem that bad. It's not like they're eating cookies and cake all the time. It's usually things like crackers, graham crackers, mini rice cakes, goldfish. On the other hand, when I start reading the ingredient lists, it makes me cringe. There's little nutritional value in them.

It's all fine and good to say, I'll stop eating them. However, I think it's great for my kids to sit down with me and share the same snack. As well, if it's something that I consider unhealthy for myself, how can I consider it good for my children?

On the other hand, there's virtually no other snack that seems as easy as crackers, cheese and fruit. I may comb the grocery store shelves to see if there's a better cracker to feed them. I could try making my own, but to be honest, I don't see that happening.

What are fun and healthy snacks you feed your kids?

5. Treats

This is the area that is a killer for me. When I choose to allow myself a treat, I tend to head straight for the sweet baked goods. Those are the items that really act like a drug in my system. I have a hard time stopping at a reasonable sized serving, and it causes crazy cravings for hours (or days) afterwards.

I'm going to be blunt and say that these items can't really be replaced. I need to learn to do without them. I love food, and when I am avoiding sugar, I know that I enjoy the healthy stuff more. If I feel the need to be indulgent, it might mean I just have to pay $3 for a mango in the middle of winter, or buy some overpriced, out of season strawberries. (Sorry dear!)

In so many ways, this is what I've been moving towards anyways. As I try to reduce the amount of processed foods my family eats, it just makes sense to limit sugar as well. After concluding the extreme effect that sugar has on me, I've made the decision to approach it more aggressively.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Everything in moderation? Does it really work?

I have long been a believer of moderation and balance. When it comes to diet, I've always believed that making any food "forbidden" is a sure formula to make you want it more. Now, I'm beginning to question that belief.

The more I read about sugar addiction and sensitivity, the more I am recognizing what a problem it is for me. No matter how well I am doing; no matter how on track I am, all it takes is one little sweet treat to send me into a spiral of craving and wanting more.

I am like an addict. I literally get shaky and plan out my next fix. I often eat in secret. It truly feels like a need for me. It's not normal.

Or is it normal?

The thing is, the human body is not made to process sugar effectively. I'm not saying everyone has the same problem as I do, but it is pretty common. In the reading I am doing, the comparison of sugar to heroine and alcohol continues to come up. Sugar has addictive qualities and it acts like a drug when consumed. It gives a temporary high followed by a crash, leading to the need to consume more.

So why does it effect some people more then others?

I think that answer is simple. Some people are more sensitive to it and have more addictive personalities. I have previously identified myself as ultra-sensitive to caffeine. I am also a cheap drunk. For years, I have made the choice to seriously limit my consumption of both these substances. Never before was I viewing sugar as a substance. Now, I'm starting to question that belief.

As a general rule, I don't believe in self-diagnosing conditions. No matter how much googling I do, I am not a doctor. In this case, I think it's perfectly appropriate. The worst that will happen is that I've wrongly self-diagnosed myself and made the choice to limit or eliminate sugar from my diet. So, worst case scenario, I'm eating healthier and consuming less processed and refined foods. Doesn't sound so bad.

Moderation in everything? Can a recovering alcoholic have just one drink? Is it okay for a heroine addict that has gotten clean to shoot up just once?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Any experience with "sugar addiction"?

For the most part, I don't eat a lot of sweets. I am learning more and more the effect they have on me. I'm starting to think that this effect is almost at the level of an addiction.

Today was my son's third birthday party. It was a fun day involving craziness, play, lunch, and sweets. The sweets today was a trifle I made from a train cake that didn't quite work. It had alternating layers of cake, vanilla pudding, whipped cream and peaches.

I started off with one serving - a bit generous, but basically a reasonable sized serving. Then, I went back for another. I couldn't stop thinking about it. After the party ended, I packed it up and found myself licking the spoon off. My husband then went for a nap, and once he was gone, I helped myself to another serving. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I could have eaten more. Honestly, I could have eaten much much more if I hadn't been trying so hard to exert a teeny bit of control.

In one way, I feel like it's poor self control, but on the other hand, it's more then that. I really truly feel this need for it. It's like a fix. While it's going in, it feels so good, but then I just want more. And more. And... well, you get the picture. This is the way sugary things and sweets are for me. Having a small serving doesn't make the craving go away; it increases it tenfold.

So, I googled sugar sensitivity. I googled sugar addiction. I don't know why I've ever looked this up before. I came up with tonnes and tonnes of info and I'm just starting to sift through it. I'm starting to wonder if there really is something to it after all. I'm wondering if I really am more easily set off by it. I quit drinking caffeine a few years ago because I found the effect on me was profound. One cup of coffee set me off like I had four. Could I have the same problem with sugar?

Like I said, I have a lot of information to sift through, and likely a few books to check out of the library, but I'm curious if anyone has dealt with something similar.

Do you have a problem with sugar? Is it more then a craving and similar to an addiction? What are the steps you've taken to deal with it?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ever realize something isn't as good as you thought?

One thing I'm trying to do during this process is to make my calories count for something. Obviously we all need to consume a certain number of calories to keep our bodies functioning. Ideally, I'm trying to make sure those calories also contain other things, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.

There is another aspect of making calories count. That is when you make the choice to eat something that contains calories but has no other redeeming value. I recently had a little rant about one of those things: weight watchers bars. The thing is, when you make the choice to consume something with no nutritional value, I really think you still need to make those calories count. In other words, the nutritionally lacking item should be good enough to make the indulgence worth it. You should savor every bite.

I used to love Cadbury creme eggs. They were a favourite treat to receive in my easter basket. That milk chocolate with the sweet gooey centre. I looked forward to eating that more then just about anything else. My mom had a rule that we had to eat breakfast before having any chocolate, but once I had breakfast, I didn't waste time getting to that egg.

When I was older, I started buying them for myself. Once they arrived in the stores (February?), I'd start buying them. There were years when I would have one a day (at least). Then Easter would come, and they'd go on sale. I'd make sure to buy up some extras.

In the last few years, I've become more moderate, but I always still had to have at least one during the easter season. Last year, I commented to my husband that it wasn't as good as I was expecting. He reminded me that I'd said the same thing the previous year. The chocolate is cheap, low quality and the centre is just sickly sweet. It's not that it's horrible, but it isn't worth it anymore. If I'm going to spend those calories on something with no nutritional value, I need to enjoy it. Really enjoy it.

I think my taste buds have changed. I'm actually having trouble thinking of something that is completely lacking in nutritional value but is worth spending calories on. Perhaps a piece of indulgent chocolate cheesecake? I must say though, I honestly think I'd rather have a bowl of strawberries with ice cream - and even that isn't totally lacking nutritional value. There's calcium in that ice cream...

This year, for the first time in probably 20 years, I'm not going to eat a cadbury creme egg.

What are the foods that you consider worth the indulgence? Which ones aren't actually worth it?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cookies at the grocery store

Today I went grocery shopping with my kids. The store I normally shop at doesn't give out cookies to kids, but I couldn't get everything I needed there, so I stopped off at one of the other stores in town.

Generally speaking, when I go a grocery store that does it, I get cookies for the kids. Today I did the same thing. I picked up the couple things I needed and stopped by the bakery to get them cookies before we went and paid.

This time, I thought about it. What am I teaching my children when I shove a cookie in their mouth to make them wait and be patient? Is this just another example of how we use food for something other then it's purpose?

On the other hand, I'm not against occasional treats. I honestly believe you have to strike a balance when it comes to teaching children about nutrition. Feed them sweets all the time and it's obviously a problem. If they never have them though, I can't help but think they will gorge themselves when they become old enough to buy their own.

So, for now, I've concluded that they can still have cookies at the grocery store. They eat fairly well most of the time. Our house has very limited snack foods because I control the environment for myself. I don't think it harms them to not have a lot of treats in the house; more likely it's good for them. The grocery store cookie will just be one of the occasional treats they can have.

I have concluded another thing though. When my son doesn't want to eat his cookie, I will no longer finish it off for him.

What do you think? Are grocery store cookies for kids just feeding the obesity epidemic, or are they a harmless treat?