My friend, Debbi, is a terrific baker. I visited her and my friend, her husband, Oz, this last weekend in Park City, Utah. Debbi offered me a slice of her delicious homemade carrot cake. I enjoyed a piece both nights I was there.
When I got on the scale this morning, I weighed 1.5 pounds less than the weight I like to be, which I also call my fighting weight. It’s a term from boxing and wrestling to describe being able to fight at the lowest weight class first. I always enjoyed this term.
The purpose of this blog is to show you exactly how you can eat cake and lose weight. This is one of my favorite topics because I know how many of you struggle with food, especially refined carbohydrates. And since yours truly is a former carb binger, I have compassion for anyone trying to get off the carb addiction super highway.
Let’s take this from the top. I have six specific tips for you.
- It may work for you to, at times, to go on a cleanse, such as a dairy-free, or sugar-free program. It is a great thing for your body to take a break from substances that do not contribute to your health. This is often called a detox. In addition, keep in mind that what you do for the majority of your meal choices (in particular, when you are not on a special program) is when your body will be influenced the most. Let’s say a cleanse or a special program lasts fourteen days, as many of them do. There are fifty remaining weeks in the year. They will have a greater impact on your health and your body than what you do for fourteen days.
- Whether or not sugar passes your lips is up to you. This distinction is similar to the one above, but with a twist. Is it better for you to abstain from some ingredient or food type for a short period of time, and then to eat it with no restraint the rest of the time? Or is it better to practice moderation throughout the majority of your days and weeks in a year? Whether you do a cleanse or not, I think it is really important to make smart choices on a regular basis.
- Quantity is king when it comes to any kind of indulgence. Don’t mistake a slender piece of carrot cake with eating the entire cake. It is important to differentiate the effect on your body from these two very different actions. In fact, if you are unable for now to stop after a small piece of something sweet, then you might want to consider some strategies for weening yourself off a substance that is difficult for you to control. In the long ago past, I was simply unable to control myself when I ate anything that tasted sweet. It took me many years of practicing before I was able to remain calm, relaxed, and in control when sampling something that has sugar in it. This is such a hot topic, I devoted an entire podcast episode titled Doing Drugs in Public.
- A small piece of chocolate after dinner is different than taking in sugar, desserts, and an excess of processed carbs throughout the day. If you have had pancakes for breakfast, a bagel for lunch, and a pizza for dinner, you have tipped the scales, literally and figuratively. Your meals are not balanced even before you get to the chocolate. In this case, the question is not whether or not you can or should have a little dessert. The issue is how can you get your meals to be more balanced and complete?
- Eating a small piece of carrot cake after a super healthy meal and when there is still plenty of room in your stomach is one thing. It is an entirely different event if you have a large piece of cake on its own, or if you eat it when you are already stuffed. This is so for several key reasons. One, if you have, for example, some salmon and a salad for dinner, the fiber and the fat from your meal buffer the sugar in the cake. This prevents a spike to your blood glucose. Next, anything you eat when you are stuffed increases your body’s risk for inflammation, which, if done frequently, can increase cell division, including cancer cells. This is a simplified way to explain the connection between obesity and cancer. Eating smaller amounts of food, including carrot cake, and stopping before you are stuffed reduces this risk. The last reason why what you have in your stomach makes a difference in terms of the effect of a little dessert is the ways in which your cells have received adequate nutrition. A nutritious and balanced meal (such as the salmon and salad) convey messages to your cells to improve their function. In this way, food is information. If that information has been delivered, and in particular when you don’t dump a ton of sugar into your stomach (which finds its way to your blood and eventually to your cells) the small piece of dessert will not change the fact that your cells are well nourished.
- How your move your body influences the effect on carbohydrates. Carbs are called “energy dense” because they are normally high in calories. If you eat food that contains carbs and sit on your rear end all day, those carbs will find their way to your waistline – belly and hips included. If you move regularly, you facilitate the movement of the sugar (glucose) from your blood to be stored in your muscles as glycogen. This is your body’s energy storage system. When you move, you get more energy, which you utilize to keep moving, and you create a positive feedback loop. If the sugar (processed carbs) come in, and you don’t move, you are at risk to storing more fat than energy in your body. If you want to have your cake and still feel radiantly healthy and energetic, get off the couch and get moving.
I am on this earth to show you how to live more successfully in your body. I hope when you get as old as I am, you will feel just as young and energetic.
With love and encouragement for you to love your body and get your body to love you back.