💔 Break up with Sugar + What Happens

Perhaps you’re popping the last bonbons or chocolates of Valentine’s Day into your mouth as you read this. “Okay, yeah, I know sugar isn’t good for me but how bad is it really? Isn’t it just extra calories?”

How Sugar Harms our Health

Unfortunately, added sugars in our diets are way more deleterious to our health than just giving us extra calories. They can actually cause nutrient depletion, contribute to excess body fat and weight gain, cause a blood-sugar rollercoaster ride, low mood, energy bursts + slumps, disruption of a healthy gut microbiome, feed abnormal cells (e.g. cancer), and so much more.

How to Reduce Sugar in our Diets

Every meaningful change starts with awareness.

  • Learn about how much added sugar the average American and you eat (don’t be fooled – one of our vegan clients ate mostly healthy food but also managed to get in 117g of added sugar into a single day!)
  • Educate yourself about how the body processes sugar and its detrimental effects.
  • Figure out how to identify the many names for sugar in the ingredients lists of the foods you eat.
  • Check your foods (and your children’s and pets’) for hidden sugars.
  • Get guidance from a nutrition expert who can help you break your addiction to sugar and support you on your wellness journey.
  • Tools & Resources to Reduce Added Sugar Consumption

    We understand how hard it is to break up with sugar – it was one of our first loves! After deep-dives into educating ourselves and seeing the effects of poor diets, including too much added sugar, in hospitals and clinical practice, we committed to taking control of our own sugar intake and helping others do the same. It’s not easy but it is doable.

    Fortunately, we have two options to further both your education + implementation around breaking ties with sugar and gaining better body composition, weight loss, digestion, heart health, better skin, naturally elevated energy levels and more!

      1. Join our Sugar Busters Masterclass on Thursday

      1. The ’25’ Sugar Detox Challenge is where we have 25g or less of added sugar for 25 days. We have group and individual sessions to help you achieve your best results. Starts on Sunday!

    What Happens when you Stop Eating Added Sugar?

    A variety of good things! Here’s what some people have experienced through our programs and work together:

    “I was already eating well but having a layer of junk food on top of it! By paying attention to sugar intake and assistance in reducing it, I have lost 18.6 lbs in two months!” – Bobbie A., Columbus, OH

    “Fall 2018: While eating my second to last of an entire package of cookies (chocolate macadamia nut I believe they were) and calling it lunch, the thought that I love sugar a little too much once again crossed my mind. Those tasty treats also reminded me of my life-long turbulent love affair with sugar… remember when my dear love sugar gave me diabetes for an anniversary present about 10 years ago! While eating that last cookie, I pulled up an article that listed the characteristics of a sugar addict and I think I nailed 5 out of 6! Maybe… maybe now is the time I can do something to gain control over what looks more and more like a real addiction….

    Spring 2019: So there I was… standing on a digital scale in my closet looking down at a weight I haven’t seen since the 10th grade (that’s 37 years ago if you’re curious)!” – Steven (full success story here)

    “The individual calls focused on one area and the chance to ask questions one-on-one. This helped me feel accountable and made me think before I ate something. Despite the fact I could have put more effort into it, I did see improvements and lost 7lbs!” – Jane V., Columbus, OH

    “Weight loss of 5lbs, pants feel better! I’m in control and am seeing results.” – Erin D., Columbus, OH

    “There are so many sources of hidden sugar in the foods than I ever knew! I would recommend this program to everyone, especially moms.” – L.B., Columbus, OH

    “I started the challenge because of all the sugar I eat (I love candy). I have had none during this challenge and my whole body feels better. I feel more alert and love seeing how little sugar I can eat. Even more than losing weight, I love the mental focus & overall better health that I’m experiencing during this detox”- Jan R., Columbus, OH

    There are only a few questions to ask yourself at this point:

      1. What’s your current sugar consumption and health like? What will happen if you don’t make any changes and continue on this path?

      1. What do you believe is possible for yourself – how you’d feel, look, focus and produce – if you broke up with added sugar?

    You can change the trajectory of your life right now, with your very next meal or snack. Start with reducing added sugars to win big!

    Recipe: Blueberry & Peach Compote 🍑

    Ooh wee! Have you seen the fresh peaches available at farmers markets and grocery stores? If you haven’t already, grab a few along with a pint of blueberries for this sweet, no-added sugar dessert. Compote usually involves fruit cooked in a syrup or with sugar but we just used water and a bit of cinnamon. It’s wonderful to have for breakfast or as a dessert. Life’s a peach!

    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Cook time: about 30-40 minutes

    Servings: ~ 9

    Ingredients

    4-5 ripe, fresh peaches

    1 pint blueberries

    1 tsp cinnamon

    Instructions

    Dice peaches and put in medium saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom. Add blueberries and cinnamon. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for about 30-45 minutes or until fruit has softened. Enjoy on its own, with oatmeal in the mornings, or with vanilla ice cream in the evenings.

    Client Spotlight: Madelynn N. 🏆

    Beginning

    “My main issue was a lack of energy and a fear that I was not getting enough nutrients from my diet. I am definitely feeling more energized now, and I’m eating a wide variety of foods with plenty of nutrients. The nutrition coaching made me more aware of my daily habits, even those not related to food! It allowed me to recognize how different foods affect my energy level and health issues. I now crave healthier foods because I can feel that my body runs better with them.”

    Progress

    “I was surprised at how much I began to crave fresh fruits and vegetables! I love sweets but have never really loved anything green. I would come home from work and want a salad. Very strange! 

    A huge breakthrough for me was realizing how each new habit impacted other areas of my life. I learned the order in which I should focus on aspects of my health to most effectively get back on track. I really enjoy having more energy to put into different activities that I’ve always wanted to try. I’m taking ice skating lessons now, which I didn’t have the energy to even consider before changing my diet.”

    Results

    “I now sleep and eat more consistently, eat more fresh food instead of processed food, and listen to my body. If I eat something and it upsets my stomach or I feel off (usually something processed), I try to avoid that food in the future. Likewise, if a food makes me feel great and I crave it, I eat it more. I also eat out a lot less, which has the added bonus of saving me money. The biggest strength is being tuned in to my own body. I choose what I eat consciously instead of letting my emotions or cravings pick for me. I also have a plan for what to do if I fall off healthy eating, which will make me more resilient in the future when issues arise. 

    Beans and rice were staples for so long that it’s no wonder I started eating so much fast food to break it up. With my new healthy habits, making sure to spice things up will help me stay on track long-term. “

    – Madelynn N.

    —————————-

    This client in her early 20s wasn’t feeling the energy and vitality we’d all hope, and assume, for someone her age. Like so many vegetarians and vegans, including this author, she fell into the trap of fast-food/ junk-food vegetarianism. But all that’s changed! Now that she has healthy habits in place, and knows how to pick herself back up when she falls, there’s a resiliency that will set her up for success way into her future.

    While we wish we’d all started this young, there’s no better time to get a handle on your health than right now. Schedule your complimentary 20-minute Discovery Call to get started.

    🔋 Get Energized, Bunny! 🐇

    Maybe you remember the Duracell battery commercial with the little pink bunny rolling across the floor and beating a drum with the tagline “it keeps going, and going, and going…” If you’d like energy to keep you going all day long and perhaps all week or month long, you’ll want to pay attention to these two main forms of energy – physiological and psychological energy – as well as more esoteric ones we’ll get into shortly.

    We could recount a song all about the Kreb’s cycle (nerd out with us and have a listen) and re-live the intense science behind chemical reactions, but suffice to say, the citric acid cycle is all about how our body creates energy for physical and mental performance.

    For your best chance at improving your natural physical energy, consider some tips:

    1. Get proper sleep and nutrient-dense foods into the diet (those with a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants along with the calorie intake). Avoid added sugars, questionable additives, and low-quality fats.
    2. Understand energy drains. Low energy can be a result of everything from improper thyroid function to having processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar. We can also feel lower energy as a result of the body’s burden in dealing with environmental factors such as poor air or water quality, exposure to plastics, heavy metals, mold and/or chemicals.
    3. Exercise will initially seem to be an energy drain, but it will gift you more energy on the other side of your workout and can help with sleep (another energy-giver).

    Psychological Energy

    It’s a common experience to be influenced by interactions with other people. After some exchanges you may feel more energized, inspired, and light whereas after others you might have felt lethargic and down. Whether the conversation was one-sided or ‘all about them’ or featured constant complaining, you may feel like you’ve come into contact with a ‘Colin Robinson’ or energy vampire.

    Another example of psychological energy identified by research is called the ‘mental load’, the cognitive and emotional labor involved in keeping up a household and tending to family. In most cases, the mental load tends to fall on women to bear. This can include researching and planning options around a son’s new braces, figuring out all the ingredients needed for Thanksgiving dinner, remembering birthdays and anniversaries of not just their own friends and family, but their partner’s as well. And this is a small list. Take a moment to see if an element of mental load could be influencing your psychological or mental energy.

    Depression has a number of causes and, when it settles in, you may find your overall energy zapped – mind and body. Depending on the duration and severity, you may benefit from talking with your doctor or healthcare provider, therapist, and integrative health coach.

    Physical clutter can also lead to mental clutter, feeling as though your mind is overstuffed with ideas, to-dos, and that your attention is pulled in many different directions at once. Because physical clutter can impact mental health and affect everything from sleep to anxiety and our ability to focus, it’s an area worth improving. (Psst! See our next class coming up in December)

    More Esoteric forms of Energy

    Examine the energies of yin and yang or masculine and feminine within yourself and how you live your life. Are you always hustling, running on adrendaline, and contracted (hunched or tight shoulders)? Or do you live a slower, more free-form and intuitive-based life? The first one is more yang or masculine energy and the other is more feminine or yin energy.

    This can also play out in food – alcohol and sugar are more extreme yin whereas meat and salt are more extreme yang. These extreme yin/yang foods can create cravings for each other AND can be what we turn to to balance ourselves out. An example would be a very ‘yang’ type of person – think New York City executive- walking fast, yelling into his phone, tight and contracted shoulders. He may turn to more yin foods, such as alcohol, drugs, sugar or ice cream – to help balance himself out. It’s an interesting way to look at food that most nutritionists don’t, but can help explain cravings and how each of us finds a sense of equilibrium in our lives.

    We also have the Ayurvedic concept at play – for those who are more vata energy, there can be a scattered energy or fast ‘windy’ feeling to our thoughts. This is another way of viewing energy and gives a clue on how to balance out a person’s energy. Here’s a primer on Ayurvedic body types and seasons.

    Tips to improve psychological energy:

    1. Spent time wth those who inspire and make you laugh
    2. Examine your own Ayurvedic dosha (we have resources to help!)
    3. If you’re finding your masculine energy too high and feminine energy too low, consider engaging in more creative projects – art, music, dance, pottery, or yin yoga – and slowing down in all areas of your life. Be open and receptive to ideas, people, and connecting with yourself and your spirit.
    4. Consider acupuncture for the physical and psychological balancing of Qi
    5. Beyond calories, look at your foods from more of a yin and yang perspective.
    6. Get curious about the mental load you’re carrying as well as how your environment makes you feel. If it’s too cluttered, get help and inspiration during our upcoming Minimalism class.
    7. If you have depression, reach out and get help

    As you can see, energy doesn’t come from the amount of caffeine in your cup, the calories you eat and how they convert to ATP – it is a multi-faced area of study. Choose one area to focus on and a simple step to improve that type of energy (e.g. drinking more water, having more art or play time). For personalized assistance with a holistic nutritionist and comprehensive approach to energy management, reach out.

    Client Spotlight: Lost 90lbs! 🎉

    “I bought a size 8 in pants today. I used to be a size 18. I’ve dropped 90lbs (the same weight as my 12 year old!) and my last 5 pounds took a month to lose.

    I feel wiser and I really appreciate you helping me think things through. When I started the program the first time, it was with the goal to lose weight as quickly as possible and stop feeling so bad about myself. I lost weight and slowly regained it because my mindset had not changed. This time around I realized that I needed the deeper healing approach and boy has it worked!

    I cook much more than I used to and once a month I have a crazy meal where I have whatever I want. The weird thing is that I don’t treat it like I did before when I’d almost binge on my cheat day. I have what I want and move on with my day. Also, my taste buds have changed and old fast food favorites like a chicken sandwich and fries aren’t as good as I thought. Oh, and I think I’m getting to the point where I don’t like sugar. I avoided the cookie aisle but walked down it recently and nothing really appealed to me. I looked at soft chewy cookies, mint chocolate milanos, and Oreos but didn’t want them without milk. I left them all on the shelf and this would never have happened before. My last sweet was a doughnut from work and it took me a couple days to eat it. Because I don’t restrict myself, I don’t eat too much. I can eat soup or pizza for dinner and I feel good about my choices.

    I’m dedicated to walking nearly every day and have looked for more adventures like exploring trails with friends. I know myself better too. My gym workout has to be in the morning or it doesn’t get done and I fight myself the rest of the day. I love the life binder you suggested and am trying to incorporate it more consistently. I love the structure of my mornings, my recipes, to-do list, and journaling. It’s repetitive probably but I like my meal options and not having to plan something on the fly.

    What I love about working with you is that you help me get in to my own body and to examine my thoughts. What I carry with me is when you told me to trust the process and my journey, which has taken time. It felt like being pregnant and giving birth to my new self. Sometimes I felt like I was flying high and the weight was just melting off but other times I felt stuck at a plateau and was discouraged thinking I wouldn’t be able to move past it. You were able to guide me no matter the stage I was in and I always left our appointments feeling encouraged and ready to do my “homework.” This was never a Diet and you never let me give up on wanting better for myself.

    My self-talk is healthier, my sleep is really good and menstrual cycles are better. I realize that in working with you that it was never about the weight I wanted to lose, it was about the life that I wanted to live and now am living. I love myself more and act like it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

    Name withheld

    Columbus, Ohio


    This client is a gem and a double-winner. The first time we worked together, this client was fresh off another ‘diet’ (read: deprivation state). She thought she needed less calories, more rigid meal-planning, harsher exercise – more of everything that was mean to herself in order to lose weight. Though she did lose weight the first time, the method wasn’t sustainable. As we often say, you can’t really hate your way into sustainable weight loss, but you CAN love yourself there. It was a message that wasn’t ready to be heard at the time, but in this last year we’ve seen the biggest, most beautiful transformation of this woman’s mind and SOUL…and the body has followed. When you’re ready to ditch diet mentality and love yourself into the body and life you want, we invite you to a complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started.

    Recipe: Brownie Overnight Oats

    Dietitian confessions go both ways. While we’re often the ones people ‘confess’ to about eating certain junk foods, we also like to purify our minds and souls by relating our dietary ‘sins’.

    You may remember that we have really loved ice cream throughout our lives, even to the point where travels to Italy were less about the architecture and more about finding the perfect gelateria (true story), but we didn’t reveal that we also grew up making (read: eating) brownies. Heaven on a dessert plate would be the two served together – brownie a la mode style. Hell would be making us choose only one to have at our last dessert. Obviously, it would be a real Sophie’s Choice situation.

    As we’ve ventured into finding healthier forms of ice cream (done and done), we’ve done the same for brownies (check out our black bean version). But to have brownies for breakfast? Well, that required a little extra dietary finesse…and so we’ve created a decadent, yet healthy, version of eating brownies for the first meal of the day, or even as a snack for when sugar cravings strike. Care to partake? Here’s the recipe:

    Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Servings: 2

    Ingredients

    1 cup organic rolled oats

    1 banana, mashed

    1 cup non-dairy almond or hazelnut milk (DIY almond milk or the ready-made hazelnut version)

    3 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder

    2 tbsp chopped nuts (e.g. pecan, walnut, macademia) or nut butter

    2 tbsp cacao nibs or 85% chocolate chips, optional

    1 tbsp chia seeds

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    Instructions

    Stir together rolled oats, cocoa/cacao powder and chia seeds in a mason jar or other container with a lid. Add nuts, nibs/chocolate chips, banana, non-dairy milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Seal the lid and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Place in fridge overnight. The next morning, top with chocolate chips and/or fresh berries if you’d like. Enjoy!

    Self-care: Simple Sugar Scrub

    Winter’s dryness inflicts all sorts of maladies on our skin. Here’s our scrumptious 3-ingredient recipe to exfoliate your skin and help keep it smooth & hydrated. Give it a try this weekend to indulge in something other than, or as an adjunct to, binge-watching Netflix (we suggest Bling Empire – watch lives of luxury and feel luxurious).

    Ingredients

    1 cup raw turbinado sugar

    1/2 cup olive oil

    3 drops essential oil of your choice (we recommend peppermint to energize and uplift or lavender to help relax)

    Instructions

    Put sugar in small mixing bowl, add olive oil until you get to your desired texture, then add the drops of essential oil. Mix well. You may want to transfer the mixture to a glass or plastic jar.

    In the shower, gently rub the sugar scrub over your body. Enjoy and follow with a bath or shower. Your skin should feel slightly oily because of the olive oil and soak in fully shortly afterwards. Employ safe shower techniques as the mixture can cause shower/bath to become slick.

    Caution: do not exfoliate if your skin is sunburned, otherwise irritated or where there are cuts or sensitive areas. Always do a patch test first.

    ———————-

    White sugar, given what it does to our internal biochemistry, is best used on the outside of our bodies (hence, the Simple Sugar Scrub). Even if you don’t eat a pint of ice cream or drink soda every day, there is a very good chance you’re still getting more added sugar than is serving you. 

    This is the time to explore how headaches/migraines, candida, digestive health, infections, fatigue, foggy thinking, and more have connections to sugar. Address the challenge of losing weight while you improve body composition, confidence, and experience more natural energy! Learn more & join our next challenge group.

    💧 Is Your Water Safe? 🥤

    isyourwatersafe

    With many resolutions around improving health in the new year, one of the specific goals people mention is to “drink more water.” While that is a foundational aspect, you might want to consider first the quality of the water you’re drinking before you increase the quantity. Why?

    Water’s unique properties and qualities are what make it essential to us. It helps the human body use minerals and nutrients so that we can:

    • Digest food and eliminate waste products
    • Oxygenate our blood
    • Manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain
    • Lubricate our joints as well as protect our brain and spinal cords.

    Water is essential for the body’s tiny cells so that they can grow and perform their specialized functions.

    The human body’s percentage of water will vary due to age, sex, and body composition. Babies and toddlers have higher percentages of water (65-78%) than adult males (60%) and females (55%). Obese individuals bodies will be a lower percentage of water, because fat tissue doesn’t contain as much of it as lean tissue does.

    Water Drinking Guidelines

    How much water your body needs will depend upon your age, sex, activity level, and living location (you’ll likely need to drink more water in the desert of Arizona than Alaska). On average, men are advised to get 3 liters of water per day and women 2.2 liters; however, remember that all of this doesn’t have to come from drinking it, as we can also get water from some of the foods we eat.

    Too much water can cause minerals imbalances and disrupted sleep. Too little can lead to feelings of hunger and sugar cravings and can cause dehydration, fatigue, poor digestion, skin breakouts, and headaches.

    So now we know why water is so important to our bodies and roughly the percentage of water our bodies contain. We also understand the importance of hydration; however, have you considered what you’re hydrating with? If it’s with tap water, bottled, a lightly purified version, or something fancier and carbonated, you’ll want to read on.

    Water Safety & Quality

    While we’d all like to believe that the water coming out of our faucets is from the purest of mountain springs, that simply is not the case. As you’ll see, the water we drink is fraught with potential peril.

    Tap water is the most readily available source, but it may not always be the safest option. While some cities have very good purification systems, others may leave traces of chlorination byproducts, agricultural runoff, lead, chemicals and bacteria.

    As a starting point, research your city’s Consumer Confidence Report; it is distributed each year by the Environmental Protection Agency. It may not have all the information you’d want to see, but it can alert you to get further testing and to see if additional home water purification is imperative.

    Should I be concerned if my water has fluoride in it?

    Even though there’s a ‘legal limit’ to set for fluoride, the water you drink, especially from the tap, may contain 5x more than what is healthy.  It’s tempting to think that fluoride is regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and therefore has undergone the same testing that medicine do; however, it is isn’t regulated by the FDA and hasn’t been rigorously tested. Stay tuned and check out Fluoride: Cavities & Hypothyroidism to learn more.

    Some things to know about our water if you’re living in Columbus, Ohio:

    1. Remember the movie Erin Brockovich? Guess what, we have had the same cancer-causing chemical  in our water.
    2. This year, The Columbus Dispatch revealed the highest ‘forever chemical’ content found in our water sample was perfluorobutyrate (PFBA) at 4.8 parts per trillion.

    What to do if you want Safer Water

    Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

    Since it seems easier to control what you do with the water inside of your home than to enact city- and state-wide change, here are some options to consider:

    1. Distilled water. Distillation is a process consisting of boiling water which has been found to remove impurities and toxins. However, some believe the naturally occurring minerals in non-distilled water are beneficial to our health.

    2. Bottled water. Most homes get their water from their local water supply company (others often use well water) and, if they aren’t drinking the tap water, they are buying cases of bottled water. Is that really safer? Sometimes bottled water is not from a spring, but it’s tap water that has been purified. Also, there is the issue of plastics leaching into the water and the environmental impact. You may want to consider if the company who is selling your bottled water fits your values (vote with your dollars accordingly).

    3. Carbon filters. The carbon filter in many of the refrigerators and pitchers people use will clean up some of the chlorine and improve taste and odor. That’s about it though; these filters don’t typically remove the chemicals and heavy metals that can be present.

    4. Reverse osmosis filtration. This is the next step up, and one of the best options. There’s typically a pre-filter to remove sediment and then the reverse osmosis membrane has such tiny holes that only pure water can get through. There are options for re-mineralizing water and alkalizing it through ion-exchange. See the RKIN Reverse-osmosis water filtration systems we tested and use in this video. The counter top version is great for portability; for larger families, the whole-house reverse osmosis system is a good option. Remember to get 10% off your order.

    Bottom line

    Water filters can help remove contaminants and environmental toxins that enter our water systems.

    Keep in mind, it’s easier to remove contaminants from the water we drink than it is to remove them once they’ve been absorbed and assimilated into the body.

    One of the simplest actions we can take is to ensure we are drinking high-quality water, and enough of it.

    Roasted Root Vegetables

    Roasted Root Vegetables

    The beautiful part about a pan of roasted vegetables isn’t just their bright colors, but that you’re able to experiment with different types of root vegetables (e.g parsnips) and use them in a variety of ways during the week. We love putting the roasted vegetables in a grain bowl or on salads.

    Yields: about 6 servings

    Ingredients

    2 medium sweet potatoes

    3 medium beets

    3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp pepper

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cut the veggies into similarly sized pieces. Place the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to ensure all pieces are lightly coated and add salt and pepper. Roast for about 30, turning once, until all the vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary and thyme work well), if desired.

    Reward ≠ Food

    rewardnotfood

    Patient and client conversations can be a rich source of writing inspiration to address common concerns. As we discuss new changes, cravings, accomplishments and challenges, ideas start to percolate as we work together to find the best solution for the individual. If the same issue is mentioned by different individuals more than three times in relatively short succession, we can almost *feel* the universe tapping on our shoulder.

    The latest recurrent theme among us all seems to be regarding emotional eating, over-eating, and reward-eating.

    Let’s break this last one down. Why would we associate certain foods with a reward?

      • With thousands of years of evolution working for (or against) us, humans naturally crave sweet flavor. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would get a little *ping* of dopamine by eating berries and other naturally sweet substances. The brain would reward eating this food, which some argue helped our ancestors survive by promoting fat storage to see them through the leaner times. This survival mechanism is all but unnecessary during the times in which we live, with plentiful food stores and sedentary lifestyles (when was the last time we burnt 2000+ calories a day hunting down buffalo?).
      • An ostensible lack of other options or ideas for rewarding ourselves. We’ve leaned on food to give ourselves a pat on the back after a hard day in the office, for finishing a big project, or to relax after a full day with the kids finally in bed. After many years of this, we may have forgotten how to celebrate our accomplishments without cake, doughnuts, french fries, or chips.

    After the sleeve of cookies is finished, there can be a poignant anxiety that settles in. Guilt and shame follow soon after and we feel terrible about ourselves. Then we say “what the Hades, I’m probably never going to lose the weight anyway” and keep going or we decide with firmness and determination, “starting tomorrow, no cookies ever again!” However, we all know how this plays out; the deprivation leads to cravings and the whole cycle begins anew.

    When you eat, try eating to nourish your body and experience pleasure. Tying food to your reward-system will unravel advances in your health goals and, here’s the kicker, it doesn’t even work. By the time we are done with the chocolate chip cookie party, we only temporarily feel sated before we either look for more sugar (during the ‘down’ of our blood sugar rollercoaster) or we feel guilty…..which drowns out what ephemeral feeling of pleasure we got from the food in the first place.

    By having some non-food rewards instead, or at least sprinkling them into your current routine, you can start to challenge the ‘need’ for something sweet and, instead, ‘treat’ yourself ‘sweetly’ (double puns, couldn’t resist :D). Here are a few ideas to get your started on non-food rewards:

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