General Life Tips, Mental Health

I Rewarded Myself With 1 Euro Everyday I Went Without Candy For A Month

I truly just had the best idea ever! Honestly, I’m giving myself a massive pat on the back. It’s such a great idea someone should pay me to solve problems creatively.

So, I’ve made it absolutely no secret just how much of a sweet tooth I have. The amount of candy I consume isn’t healthy. For my teeth and for the fat around my belly. It sure as hell doesn’t help with my acne breakouts too as I always flare up after a candy binge. I know this and for the last few years, I’ve tried everything under the sun to find balance with eating candy. I really and truly want to find that fine line of balance where I still enjoy a packet of wine gums here and there but I don’t have the desire or habit to do so every three days.

Just to give you a crystal clear idea just how deep my candy addiction runs, here are some of the blogs where I’ve talked about it.

An Unhealthy History | What I Used To Eat In A Day — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/04/an-unhealthy-history-what-i-used-to-eat-in-a-day/

I basically ate candy all day every day. I remember quite vividly that I would go to the tuck shop at school and instead of buying proper food for lunch I would overload my hands with all types of candy. I would then go home and eat candy after school and sometimes would even have candy for dinner. Yes, I would eat candy for dinner. No wonder I have so many cavities.

My Nutrition Plan For 2018 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/01/03/my-nutrition-plan-for-2018/

Again, I’ve set a goal for myself candy wise and only kept at it for two weeks max.

Nutrition Class 3 | Carbohydrates | Part 3/3 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/03/19/nutrition-class-3-carbohydrates-part-3-3/

The Slap of Reality series I had going for a few weeks there is the one thing that helped the longest. I think I went without candy for two months. The longest candy free time in my entire life. It’s the series where I would physically measure the sugar amount in the candy and put the two next to each other. This was a very eye-opening experience.

The Northern Lights For 365 Candy Free Days — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/12/22/the-northern-lights-for-365-candy-free-days/

This is probably my favorite twist to trying to eat less candy. It was the right step forward but once it became quite clear that we wouldn’t have the funds for this trip, I caved and only one month in, went full out with the candy. But I had the right idea. Dangling a juicy carrot in front of me to motivate me to not eat candy is the right way to go because clearly the weight gain and toothache don’t motivate me enough.

Before I share my brilliant idea, I want to talk about why I love candy so much. No, it’s not because the delicious treats are great to snack on or because they’re convenient. I think it goes deeper than that. In all of my challenges where I tried to set a goal to go without candy for a set amount of days, I always strived well till I had a bad day. Just recently I finally shared that I suffer from depression. I have quite a bit of bad days. Days where I don’t even want to get out of bed. Days where life is just too much. They are truly dark and scary days. In those days I want comfort. Comfort food. Comfort movies. Plain old comfort in the form of cuddles. And most of all, I want comfort snacks. In those dark days, I want my favorite meal (a tossup between Spaghetti and Pizza), my favorite soft drink (cherry coke) and my favorite treats (wine gums, m&m’s and vanilla ice cream). Now eventually I want to learn other habits that I can turn to on my dark days but at the same time, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO TREAT YOURSELF. In moderation of course. I’m still very much so a work in progress and I’m working on improving my mental health every single day.

Alright now the moment has arrived that no one was waiting for, drum roll please…my brilliant idea! So I asked myself, what is something else I’m super obsessed with but can’t get often because there isn’t always extra money lying around for it. MAKEUP! I’m a sucker for makeup and there is quite often products outside the daily routine that I have my eye on. Products I don’t need but boy do I want them. It’s always something a little more expensive that I need to wait to get for a special occasion. Currently, I’m dying to get my hands on this one eyeshadow palette and Christmas can’t come soon enough. So keeping in mind the whole dangle a carrot in front of Cassandra’s face to motivate her to go without candy for a day scheme from the Northern Lights idea, I thought hey why don’t you put money into a saving account every day you go without makeup? One euro to be precise. I transfer the one euro into the saving account at the end of the day once I’m in bed. I can then use that money to buy all the make up my heart desires. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. So I’m writing this blog on the 5th of September. I already ate some candy so I can’t get my one euro today but I’m really curious to see how the rest of the month will go. As I’m only going to upload the blog in October, I have some time to test how this idea goes and share it on here. Wish me good luck!

***

Alright, this is a pop in at the 17th of September. We’re two weeks in and well I saved 2 Euros. A lot happened and there are two things I want to touch on here in this little update.

1) I’m an emotional eater. I noticed almost immediately when we got some bad news, my candy intake spiked. I wanted ice cream, candy and so much more to almost comfort and heal the wound. It’s a very toxic thing that I clearly haven’t given enough credit too and will have to do some research and learn how to deal with this. The last thing I want to do is restrict and be on this strict diet for the rest of my life. I want balance but I can’t stuff my face with candy every time I have a bad day. It’s not the best choice for me at that moment.

2) If I did eat candy a day, I would just go all out. I wouldn’t just limit myself to one candy bar or one slice of cake, oh no I already lost my one Euros so I should at least make it worth it. Go all out and stuff my face with all the candy I can find. This was well counterproductive. What’s the difference between spreading the candy out daily then going without for a few days and then catching up on that one day? So I decided to put in a clause. If I overeat on candy that one day, I need to withdraw 1 Euro from the special savings account. Since I’ve made this clause, I have hone back in on the pure amount of candy I eat on the day.

That’s about it that I wanted to share in this pop in. I’m starting my 31 days smoothie detox today so I’m very excited to well put 31 Euros into the makeup account. I’m confident that once I can actually buy a makeup product with the money saved, saving would go easier. So hopefully (hopefully my ass I’m going to do this. No ifs. No buts.) in two weeks when I finally finish this blog to have it go up on the 8th of October, my total amount in my little savings account will be: 18 Euros!

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Alright, I’m back now on the 7th of October, ready to finish this blog for tomorrow. Since my last pop in a few things happened. I’m not even sure where to start because when I say a few things happened, I mean a lot happened. This entire experience was very much so trial and error but I finally figured it out and it’s actually working.

There are three main things I want to talk about so I’m going to try to explain myself properly.

1) For starters, my self-control when it comes to candy has greatly improved. It took me four candy days to eat a packet of M & M’s. I’m not even kidding instead of inhaling the entire packet and then some on one day, I only ate a quarter of the packet. This is a massive step for me.

2) The next bit I want to touch ground on is my mental health and how what I eat affects it. I mentioned earlier in this blog that the reason why I struggle so much with candy as well I go for yummy food for comfort. I’m still learning how to improve in that category but what I started doing is simple. When I noticed that mentally I wasn’t in the best place I would take the dog for a walk and keep my mind active with other things. I would read a book, paint or just about anything to stop myself from stuffing my face in a desperate attempt to fill the void. For a moment there in this month, I wanted to do a smoothie detox for 31 days. That crashed and burned real quick. I’m just going to get straight to the point, it was too overwhelming for me and I couldn’t handle that emotionally right about now. I love biting off more than what I can chew. I put so much pressure on myself all the damn time. If I don’t I feel like I could be and should be doing more but I’ve learned, the hard way, that in order to live a happy life in harmony with my mental health, I need to adjust my way of thinking. The entire experience wasn’t a complete failure, I did learn if I drink a smoothie a day I don’t really get any candy cravings.

3) The last thing I added near the end was to mark the calendar. So, in the beginning, I would simply transfer the 1 Euros to the savings account just before going to sleep but I almost always forgot and my days would start to melt together and days would go by before I remember to transfer the money. The last thing I want is to work so hard on letting this account grow so I can get my makeup fix and then actually screw myself over by not transferring the correct amount. So I printed out a calendar where I simply color in the day I went candy free with the intention to transfer the money at the end of the month. This wasn’t only beneficial for my memory but for the motivation as well. It was one thing to see the account slowly grow but it’s a whole different thing to see the calendar grow in color and to make the calculations of how much money you get to spend on makeup at the end of the month.

I’m absolutely obsessed with this idea and after a month I can say with full confidence that it’s working. The best part is you can do it too! It doesn’t necessarily have to be for makeup. I mean in a few months I will probably find something else I really want but don’t have the money to spend on it. You can use this technique for video games, a new phone, a new book and etc. Literally, anything that you always want but never have the money to spend on it. It also doesn’t have to be candy related. You could reward yourself 1 euro every time you don’t smoke or drink or every time you go to the gym. The possibilities are endless. I mean look at cigarettes. How much money do you spend on the death as a stick per month? Do you want to quit? Reward yourself for every day you don’t smoke a single cigarette and eventually, the math will make sense. You can start of slow too. Let’s say you normally smoke ten per day. You can then say if I smoke 5 today I get to put 1 euro (or a fair amount in your currency) into a special account and with that money I can buy this thing I’ve been keeping my eye on. I think you catch my drift. Now I don’t think this will work for every person but hey try it for a month. If it works, great! If it doesn’t then what did you really lose? Whatever money you did manage to put aside you can easily use on something else you need.

I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life. It works. I mean I get the fancy makeup that I don’t necessarily need but I want and control my candy intake (so my health will improve) at the same time. It’s a match made in heaven. If you do end up trying this please let me know! I would love to know how this worked for you.

PS I’ve saved 17 euros since the 5th of September. Considering it took me two weeks to figure everything out, I would say I did pretty damn good.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Nutrition Class, Nutrition Tips

Nutrition Class 3 | Carbohydrates | Part 3/3

This is the last part of carbohydrates so if you didn’t read part one and two this might be a little confusing. This entire post is about SUGARS and can be read on its own.

Before I begin I just want to point out again that I’m sharing what I’ve learned from the course — https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:WageningenX+NUTR101x+2T2016/course/ — and my own experiences. I will clearly indicate when it’s from the course, it’s the cursive writing, so there is no confusion.

Health Effects from Sugar

If you’ve been following me awhile you might remember the little short challenge slash project I was doing on my Instagram while I was doing this week. This week in the course was the most eye opening and started ‘slap of reality’. It was a bloody good point I was making and although I stopped after a few shares, I still keep this into account. It’s almost a year later and it still helps with my sugar consumption. I still 100% agree with all of my slap of reality posts so I’m going to re-share a few of my favorites.

Here is the picture to the first every slap of reality post.

sugar 1.png

Knowing is one thing but seeing it is another and that’s my goal behind Slap of Reality. I want to show you just how much sugar is in your favorite goodies. Awareness is key. My goal is not to completely put you off from ever enjoying said treat. Now I’m going to throw the math at you. This snicker bar which consists of two 40g bars (but let’s face it you can’t just have one and leave the other one to feel lonely) contains 41,4g of sugar in total! So more than half of the actual sneaker bar is just sugar. To put it even more in perspective the total recommended sugar intake for myself is 65g. A healthy diet does in fact consists of sugar but the problem is that this sneaker bar that will take up more than half of my total sugar intake for the day is empty calories meaning it basically has almost zero nutritional value. My normal diet which consists alone of 65g (or that’s the goal) will be added to this 41,4g. A little bit of added sugar does little harm and thus can be part of a healthy diet but we are not informed or educated to properly interpret ‘a little bit’. And I’m sorry but 41,4g of added sugar is not a little bit 1g of sugar contains 4 calories which means in total the sugar alone in this sneaker bar is 165,6 calories. But I’m not done yet: I burn 13,536 calories in one minute of CONSTANT squatting. So this means it would take me 12 minutes and 23 seconds (give or take) of constant squatting to burn ONLY the sugar in this sneaker bar! It really makes you think doesn’t it? It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth and an addiction to candy goodness but after learning about the negative health effects of sugar and the over consumption of it is eye opening. I’ve tried so many things in the past to cut down my sugar intake and this is probably the most successful. Seeing just how much sugar I would truly consume if I eat that sneaker bar and how much hard work it would take for my body to burn it is enough to make me rethink before eating my candy treats and that’s why I think ‘Slap of Reality’ is a clever way to reduce your sugar consumption

There is another slap of reality post I want to share so here goes.

sugar 2

75,4% of this packet is sugar. That’s 24 teaspoons of sugar. It has zero nutritional value. My slap of reality series is truly eye opening and not once have I been able to eat or drink any of the products I took the time to work out how much sugar it contains. I finally made that switch to sugar free candy. This is probably for the first time in my fitness journey that I’ve been able to stay candy free for longer than 7 days because now there is just no way of escaping the facts. I encourage anyone to take those extra few seconds to read the label and then make the educated choice if you want this inside your body. There is healthier alternatives for almost everything highly processed on the market. Now I’m in no way shape or form trying to throw shade on any of the products I show in this series. They just happen to be my favorite brand and favorite candies. Again like I’ve mentioned before a small amount of added sugar (25g according to the World Health Organization) won’t be considered unhealthy but this packet of sugar, I mean candy is not it. If you really adore these packets of candies, split it up into smaller portions. I personally can’t see myself devouring an entire packet in one go ever again. Be smart with your sugar, your body will thank you for it.

Looking back to that is a big ‘wow that’s insane’ moment. I really should start doing it again every time I want to stuff my face with a lot of sugars. I had a moment last year but now I take the sugar free option where I can. I also read the labels and explore my options for products with low sugar. Curing a sweet tooth doesn’t happen overnight. I mean I feel like even my new blog readers knows I’m a sweet tooth. I’m rewarding myself after one year of candy free by going to the northern lights. Now I’m even trying to follow a very low sugar diet. I will talk more about it some other time but let’s talk a little more about the course and what I learned from it. I mean this week inspired slap of reality which kind of forever changed the way I think of sugar and has made a massive difference in my overall health.

The next part comes straight from the course.

Sugar consumption

Many foods contain substantial amounts of sugar, often without us realizing it. Did you know that a blueberry muffin can contain up to 45 grams of sugar? And that a 12 oz (355 mL) can of regular Coke contains nearly 40 grams of sugar. Since so many foods contain sugar, how much sugar are we actually consuming?

table

Negative health effects of sugar

Why is the high sugar consumption in many countries considered to be bad? A number of valid arguments exist against consuming lots of sugar. An important concern is that added sugar is almost a synonym for empty calorie foods. Empty calorie foods are rich in energy (calories) but are relatively devoid of other nutrients and thus carry little nutritional value. The higher the consumption of empty calories, the less room there is for nutrient-rich foods, decreasing the nutritional quality of the diet.

Another concern is that sugar is often consumed in liquid form, for example in soft drinks or fruit juices. Scientific studies have demonstrated that consumption of a food in liquid form is less satiating than consuming the same food in solid form. For example, drinking apple juice is less satiating than eating an apple. High consumption of sugar-rich beverages may therefore lead to caloric excess and weight gain.

WHO’s current recommendation, which was last revised in 2002, is that sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day. The new draft guideline from 2014 also proposes that sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake per day. It further suggests that a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits. Five per cent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI). The suggested limits on intake of sugars in the draft guideline apply to all monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) that are added to food by the manufacturer, the cook or the consumer, as well as sugars that are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. The guidelines from 2002 were met by strong opposition in the USA from the US Sugar Association. The US Sugar Association urged lawmakers in the US congress to consider withdrawing funding to the World Health Organization.

Before I continue, the course goes into a lot of detail about sugar (there is another 16 pages worth of information) and I really don’t want to copy and paste everything so I’m going to try to keep it as short as I can. If you want to read everything (16 pages)

An ongoing sugar frenzy

At this moment, there is a lot of discussion about sugar and obesity. Many people believe that excess sugar consumption is a major culprit in the current obesity epidemic. The negative image of sugar is mostly confined to added sugar, not the sugar already present in foods such as milk and fruits. People such as Gary Taubes and many others have written books and generated lots of publicity claiming that the high sugar consumption is responsible for most of today’s health problems, especially obesity. According to them, eating sugar makes you ill and fat. They claim that most of our health troubles would simply disappear if we stop eating sugar. The anti-sugar movement preys on the inherent desire among the general public to appoint a convenient scapegoat to a particular societal problem. And with that I don’t mean to say that people such as Gary Taubes don’t have a point. I am just saying that people like to hear that a very complex problem has a very simple explanation. Accusations have also been raised against sugar as contributing to poor mental health, including depression, impaired learning ability, and anxiety, although these are very poorly substantiated. Other people have gone so far as to consider removal of dietary sugar as a universal panacea.

What is the view of nutrition scientists? Most nutrition scientists and health authorities have expressed concern, serious concern about the high sugar consumption in many countries, and recognize that efforts need to be undertaken to lower added sugar consumption, especially in children. However, they do not consider its avoidance a simple cure for obesity and are not necessarily happy with the singular focus on sugar in certain media and the hyperbole that inevitably accompanies a blind fixation. They are concerned that the overemphasis on sugar and fructose has distracted us from the importance of avoiding caloric over consumption, which ultimately is responsible for weight gain. Reducing sugar intake will certainly be helpful toward that effect but obviously there is more to the contemporary diet that demands our attention.

The course continues with the strategy that the sugar industry is taking which was quite interesting to learn. It then looks into replacing sugar by non-nutritive sweeteners. There is one last part I want to take out from the course before we call this sugar lesson a day.

Sugar and tooth decay

Nowadays, excess sugar consumption is mainly discussed in the context of obesity. But before our society became obese, sugar already had a bad name for its connection to tooth decay. From a dentist’s perspective, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks, including juice and sports drinks, can damage teeth and should thus be discouraged. Sugar itself is not directly damaging to teeth. Sugar provides the substrate for bacteria that grow in our mouths and produce acids. It is the acid that negatively affects our teeth by softening and gradually dissolving the hard enamel surface covering the teeth.

This part was interesting to me as well all know that I have some teeth problems and I blame it all on my really high sugar consumption the majority of my life. I’ve been meaning on seeing the dentist since the health insurance restarted this new year but I’m being a massive baby. I will probably surrender soon. I still loath seeing the dentist. The entire experience is horrible and I always got sick afterwards so honestly being adult sometimes sucks. But let’s finish this post before I get distracted.

The course continues talking about health effects of dietary fiber, lactose intolerance, diabetes and glucose intolerance. It’s truly a very informative and great source. I’m going to end this blog here as I feel like I’ve made my point. Sugar can be a silent killer. Keep your sugar consumption into account. I’m not saying cut all sugar out for the rest of your life I’m saying enjoy it in moderation and go for the healthier option when you can. Weigh loss will most likely follow. I hope you found this post enriching and educational.

Thank you so much for reading. I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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Nutrition Tips, Plain Old Nutrition Content

An Unhealthy History | What I Used To Eat In A Day

Ideally a growing child’s diet should be filled with nutritious foods: vegetables, fruits, a good source of protein and etc. My diet as a child or well teenager was anything but a balanced nutritious diet. My entire diet was filled with sugar and junk food.

My day would start with breakfast before my body stopped digesting milk; I used to eat corn flakes with milk. Every now and again I would still attempt this because well it didn’t exactly clicked that I’m suddenly lactose intolerant. Otherwise I just skipped breakfast all together. The school day would start at 8am and the first opportunity to eat would be around 10:30am. I never packed lunch or anything to eat but I would go to the little pop shop the school had and bought the cheapest packet of chips. This was in South Africa and the brand is well known for its unhealthy additives. I would buy two and if I had money a packet of candy. Most of the time I would end up with a handful of candy and nothing else. They sold fruit; apples. I never thought of buying one. The second break was around noon and if I was hungry and had some snacks or money left my diet consisted of the same junk food as the first break.

After school I would go straight home and have my real lunch. I would pop in a packet of instant noodles. It’s so incredibly unhealthy. I can’t even begin to explain how much shit they add to it. I would not miss a beat. I loved my noodles.

Now dinner was never better. If my mom cooked vegetables I would not eat them. I just had the protein and carbohydrate. If the day came my mom wouldn’t feel like cooking dinner and I didn’t feel like cooking for myself I would go to the shop and guess what would be my new dinner? Chips, a packet of candy, soft drink, cheese (those yummy snack cheese) and maybe a burger.

Sometimes I thought about being a bit healthier and I would buy some vegetables, fruits and nuts but most of the time it went bad before I even considered eating it. It showed in my body. I never had energy and I felt sluggish. It was a horrible diet and I’m so happy I have that behind me.

IMG_2956

This photo was taken while I was in the Netherlands as an au pair. I went to the South African shop and bought all those goodies.  I ate it all in the same day. This was around the time I made my big turning point.

Links to connective blog posts:

The tooth fairy hates me. I have bad teeth health. – coming soon

What I eat on a good day | Healthy lifestyle – coming soon