Victory is in the Getting to Know Yourself

I’ve started to develop an unfortunate love affair with sugar. I found out the hard way, this week.

Ever the busy worker, I often find myself grazing or nibbling, out of either nervousness or habit, or actual hunger. This is a very common problem in which we can fall prey to mindless eating. So, I decided to skip on the random cookie at work and eat cleaner.

And then, the inner child in me went hysterical – “How dare you not give me a cookie!” The intensity of my desire was such that it took me by surprise.

But I really shouldn’t have been surprised… Sugar is sneaky. It makes us momentarily happy, high with our feelings of ‘love’ induced by food, and our ‘reward mechanisms’ stroked. It keeps us going back for more and more, past the level of fullness. (If you’re in doubt about this, just think back about the last time you ate till you couldn’t eat any more, but you still said yes to that slice of pie. Yeah. That’s how bad sugar can be.)

Now, in moderation, a person with diabetes can have an occasional sweet. But what’s a person to do when the boss buys all the junk a person could buy, and loads up the kitchen for us? Well, here are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way:

Have regular meals

When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to eat anything that’s around, and rationalize it away. A person is much more able to stand against temptation when they’re having well-balanced, scheduled meals and snacks on a daily basis.

Bring your own snacks

Plan some snack choices ahead, portion them out, and bring them to work with you. Consider Greek yogurt, cheese, fruit, nut mixes, sugar free jello, or sugar free pudding, etc.

Delay gratification

Schedule a day of the week in which you can enjoy having the occasional treat, in moderation. If you know you’re going to be having a treat soon, you’ll be less likely to waste your sweet ‘credits’ on a junk item.  A junky, stale pastry does not compare with a treat you FULLY enjoy.

Speak with management

Many employers nowadays are itching to look for ways in which to make employees healthier. A healthier employee is one who regularly shows up for work, is not constantly calling in sick, and will consequently cost the company less in health insurance premiums. It might just be that an employer simply needs ideas for ‘office treats,’ and things that will make everyone happy.

Reprogram your mind. Try the junk food – but with awareness

Have you ever eaten something while being fully aware of what you’re eating? Engaging all of your senses to become fully aware of the item’s consistency, its taste, smell, texture, and how it makes you feel? If you get a break, set aside some time to eat your item slowly. Take deliberate bites, and savor them. Consider: is this item satisfying me? Is it what I expected? Make sure you have no other distractions, and can fully devote to this. You’ll be surprised by what you learn.  They don’t call it junk for nothing.

Dealing with sugar cravings and unhealthy environments can be a big challenge. It’s a mistake to think we can go at it alone, or by punishing ourselves with unnecessary diet restrictions. Instead, we should plan ahead and look for ways to redirect our reward mechanisms. Victory is in the getting to know yourself.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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