Maybe it´s because when I go to a Cafè I eat all delicious cakes only with my eyes. I feel that I don´t need to eat them. It´s enough for me to admire them. That´s what the Finnish icon, 87 year old Aira Samulin answered when she was asked about the secrets of her slim body.
I was studying in the university when I read Aira´s interview from a women´magazine. Not going to happen in my life! I remember thinking. And I strongly doubted Aira’s words.
It was the time when my life was a constant fight against wanting to eat more and especially wanting to have all things sweet and sugary. I thought my fight belonged to a woman´s life and just I couldn´t get rid of it no matter what. That I just needed to learn to live with it.
Last week I was in Helsinki. I visited a Cafè and saw all kinds of delicious cakes there. I admired them, thought how delicious they must be and thought which one was my favorite.
A waitress came. She asked me what I would like to take. Just one Cafè Latte, please. I answered. At that same moment I remembered Aira´s answer. It really is true! You really CAN eat cakes only with your eyes! I thought in my mind and smiled.
When I was driving home I thought about my relationship with sugar. I thought what it was 10 years ago when I was university student. I compared that relationship with the present situation now that I´m 33 year old mother.
A big change. A positive one. That has happened in the relationship between me and this big devil, sugar. Here´s a list about things that I´ve found helpful in taming my sweet tooth.
10 ways to keep your sweet tooth under your control
- Reduce the stress & hurry in your life: The more stressed I am, the more unhealthy I eat. That´s how it just goes. Prioritizing the mental wellbeing and reducing stress and hurry by simplifying my life have been the biggest things on my way to controlling my sweet tooth.
- Sleep & rest enough: When you are tired and your energy level is low, your body´s natural reaction is to want sugar and all things where it could get more energy fast. This is so true!
- Eat regularly & enough: Miracles happened in my life when I started to eat more versatile and 5 times per day. For example I didn´t feel myself so tired anymore and my metabolism improved. Keep your blood sugar steady and you´ll keep your sweet tooth under your control. And eat enough! If your body doesn’t get enough energy, it will scream for more all the time.
- Eat real food: I ate all kinds of diet and low-fat products for about 15 years. Not anymore. My wellbeing has improved so much after I started to eat real food. It means also real sugar and butter. Real food satisfies my hunger, the need of vitamins and my sweet tooth better and faster than the products that include less calories but a lot more different kind of artificial foodstuff that are not good for your health in the long run. Real food also tastes better, much better!
- Learn to interpret the messages of your body & mind: Sometimes it is really about having something sweet. And that urge doesn´t go away until I have some. But more often than not it’s because stress, anxiety, fear, sadness or worries that make me want to have something sweet. I just try to make myself feel better by eating sugary things. Yes, good food and sweet things fulfill desires for a moment. But that’s a short relief. Soon I’ll notice that I want more. And more. Focus on finding the reason that made you feel bad in the first place and you’ll notice that your sweet tooth doesn’t bother you that much anymore.
- Find other sources to feel good: Like most of us, also I´ve developed very strong behavior patterns and habits for eating. Ice-cream has been my loyal companion in life´s sorrows and joys. It never lets me down and makes me feel good every time I eat it. When I became pregnant for the first time I consciously started to look for alternatives. I gave myself a chance to genuinely find things that would make me feel good like ice-cream does, but without its disadvantages (like fat). Now I have many of them! Having a relaxing walk in nature and doing my yoga practice are the ones that work the best for me. They feel as sweet as ice-cream in my body and mind. I’m always amazed how well they can tame my sweet tooth.
- Find out what’s enough to satisfy your sweet tooth: I´ve tested this with pick`n` mix candies. I found out that if I buy bag of candies for 1 € it’s enough for me to satisfy my small sweet tooth. 2 € spend works to my big sweet tooth. Those are the amounts that I really enjoy eating and what I need. If I eat more, it´s only because I still have some left and I´m so used to eat all at once.
- Say no thank you for total bans: That’s a sure way to get myself for wanting something sweet. I’ll just end up eating twice as much if I’m trying to be totally without sweet. I eat as long as I feel physically sick and mentally bad. And afterwards I feel guilty for eating too much and not being able to resist my desire. Learning to have everything in moderation is not easy but it’s much better for your physical and mental wellbeing in the long run.
- Find your motivational source: If you have motivation, you have it all to succeed. Many find it from thinking about their health. I´ve found it from motherhood. Nothing motivates me more to work for my relationship with sweet than a thought of setting a good example for my children. By having a healthy relationship with my sweet tooth I can support my children to have a healthy relationship with food and sweet in their future.
- Maximize your pleasure: This is so important! I used to eat big amount of sweet things all at once. And I did it fast. In other words, I minimized the pleasure and got unnecessary extra calories. Nowadays I try to maximize my pleasure when eating. I give totally in to my temptation and feast all my senses. I eat slowly by tasting all the sweetness in my mouth. And I eat with a good conscious. I get more out of less. More pleasure and more satisfaction. By taking an advantage of all my senses when eating I´m also able to keep my sweet tooth and my weight under my control – Just like 87 year old Aira Samulin has done for all of her life by learning not only maximizing the pleasure while eating, but by maximizing the pleasure and enjoyment in other areas of her life too!
The relationship between a woman and food is complicated. Maybe even more complicated than the relationship between women and men. But no matter what kind of challenges you have in your relationship, I think it´s important to remember that things can get better. I know now from my own experience that it really is so! Change just doesn´t happen overnight. And any relationship doesn´t stay good without taking care of it.
But a woman´s life doesn´t need to be a constant fight against sweet tooth. That’s what I want you to remember from this post. Start to pursue better balance in life, and you´ve taken the first step towards more peaceful coexistence between you and Mr. Sugar!