Every Wednesday after my husband gets home I leave the house to get my weekly shopping done. When I'm finished I stop by Starbucks where I order a drink, enjoy some adult conversation with random strangers, and spend a few hours working on the blog. It's during those blissful child-free hours that I get most of my writing done. This means that the rest of the week I can focus on day-to-day tasks like email, scheduling, and recipe development, or spend time playing with my little man.
I didn't realize how integral my weekly cup of coffee was to my writing process until I tried to give it up, all in the name of reducing the amount of sugar in my diet. During the first week of the challenge I ordered a venti (large) earl grey tea and managed to accomplish absolutely nothing. By 8pm I'd barely answered any emails, by 9:30 I gave up and went home to bed. Thinking this was a fluke I tried again during the second week of the challenge and by 9pm I was falling asleep over a stack of cookbooks.
I gave up and ordered my usual.
After two weeks I realized that giving up my weekly coffee was not going to be a sustainable change, so my focus needed to be on making better decisions while ordering and making dietary changes to focus on consuming less sugar. The first thing I needed to do was establish what the current recommendations for sugar intake are. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently have guidelines regarding sugar intake I decided to use those listed by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is suggested that women limit their sugar intake to 100 calories per day, 25 grams, or roughly 6 teaspoons.
Now I have a goal to work towards.
Last year during October #Unprocessed I discovered that my drink of choice—a Grande White Chocolate Mocha with 2% Milk and whipped cream—contained a whopping 470 calories and 60 grams of sugar. When I realized this I started ordering a Caramel Macchiato instead, eliminating a significant number of calories from my diet. I know that on Wednesday I'll be consuming 240 calories and 32 grams of sugar that I normally wouldn't any other day of the week—with this one drink alone I've exceeded my daily allotment of sugar, so perhaps it's time to start ordering a smaller size.
The next thing I wanted to determine is how much sugar I consume on a daily and weekly basis. This was easy for me to figure out using MyFitnessPal. I consume an average of 34.1 grams of sugar a day, or 239 grams per week—that's 9 grams per day higher than recommended. Even though I've made a lot of progress reducing my sugar intake, I'm still consuming more sugar than is considered healthy.
Looking back over what I've been eating the past few months I was able to determine where the bulk of my sugar intake is coming from:
Wednesday Starbucks - 32 grams per week
Yogurt & Granola Breakfast Bowl + Banana - 114 grams per week
Pascha Dark Chocolate Bar - 45 grams per week
Homemade Trail Mix - 26 grams per week
Now that I know where my issues are I can come up with a strategy. I know that I don't want to eliminate the breakfast bowls or trail mix from my diet—I eat mostly vegetarian and those are both valuable sources of protein. Switching to a tall caramel macchiato instead of a grande and eliminating the dark chocolate bar will eliminate 54 grams of sugar per week bringing me down to 185 grams weekly or 26.4 grams per day.
This is very close to where I want to be with my sugar intake, so I'll be gradually eliminating these things from my diet, then I'll reassess where I'm at to see if I need to make additional changes. It's taken me a long time, but I'm finally getting my sugar intake under control. It feels great to finally have tackled my sweet tooth!