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Why Artificial Sweeteners are Preventing you from Losing 10 Pounds

Why Artificial Sweeteners are Preventing you from Losing 10 Pounds

My cup of warm coffee is the highlight of my morning. I wake up looking forward to it. The comforting taste in my mouth, the warm feeling in my body and the satisfaction knowing that my mind will slowly start to awaken, brings me incredible pleasure.

I feel like I deserve a treat for being up early, getting to work, and having so much under control (or at least looking like I do) so early in the day.

My coffee used to be more than a simple comfort in the morning, though. It was a creamy, sugary delight that helped satiate my sweet craving. I used to add one pack of Splenda and a low-fat (heavenly) vanilla creamer in my morning coffee.

“Can’t I just have a little sweetener in my coffee?” I would think. I felt like I was already giving up so much. I knew not to go overboard with brownies, cakes and cookies. There were so many times when I would resist a pastry at work or say no to a cupcake or donut.

I wondered if my sweetener would help me lose weight because it wasn’t officially sugar – it was a sugar substitute and didn’t have any calories.

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Sweeteners are low-calorie substitutes for sugar – and many of them are not unsafe nor hazardous to our health in the typical amounts you would use.

“While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat.”
– Dr. Christopher Gardner, associate professor of medicine at Stanford

The biggest prevention to our weight-loss is not that artificial sweeteners have less calories than sugar.

I challenge you to think bigger than if your artificial sweetener will help you lose weight because it has less calories than sugar. . .

Sweeteners prevent weight-loss because of the effect they have on your brain.

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Here are 3 major effects sweeteners have on your brain – and why they are preventing your weight-loss:

1. Your sweet craving drives overeating

From a Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine article:

“Experiments generally have found that sweet taste, whether delivered by sugar or artificial sweeteners, enhanced human appetite. Animals seek food to satisfy the inherent craving for sweetness, even in the absence of energy need.”

This means that even if your body does not need energy, or calories, from food, it is seeking to satisfy its sweet craving.

You may think, “Why not give your body its sweet fix though a no-calorie sweetener?”

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Here’s my take – as a longer-term solution, why not reduce your dependence on sweetness so you don’t need any kind of fix?

It’s possible (I did it after being a sugar addict until I was in my thirties)

2. Sweeteners prevent enjoying the real taste of healthy, unsweetened foods

One of the biggest effects of adding sweeteners is that it “changes the way you taste food.” Sweeteners are more potent than sugar, and though you are using a lower quantity than you would of sugar, it over stimulates your sugar receptors – and as a result, may “limit tolerance for more complex tastes” says Dr. Ludwig, Weight-Loss Specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital.

“That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and non-sweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable” – Harvard Medical School article

Artificial sweeteners make it very difficult for you to eat healthy, filling foods because you don’t like their taste as much and crave food that is sweet.

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3. Sweeteners reduce your brain’s association of sugar with high calories

Since artificial sweeteners are low in sugar, they can prevent your brain from associating sweetness with high-calorie intake. “As a result, we may crave more sweets, tend to choose sweet food over nutritious food, and gain weight. Participants in the San Antonio Heart Study who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who didn’t drink diet soda.”

Try cutting the amount of sweetener you use in half starting today, and slowly starting to take them out of your diet so that you can lose weight faster and easier. Some of the most popular sugar substitutes are Splenda, Stevia, Nutrasweet, honey and maple syrup, among many others.

Once you start the process of taking sugar out of your diet, your body will rapidly respond. Though you may feel some withdrawal symptoms like sharper cravings, these will fade if you stick with the plan. You will lose weight quickly, have shinier skin, and even start to look younger.

When you take time to actually taste real food and drinks, you’ll find they’re pretty damn good! Taking pleasure in them makes losing weight and having the body you dream of so much more attainable, no matter your genetics or busy lifestyle.

I still savor my morning cup of coffee. I just actually enjoy the taste of the coffee itself and the feeling it gives me – it’s no longer masked by the sugar and heavy sweet cream. I enjoy the real deal now as well as a healthy relationship with food and my own body. Care to join me?

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Last Updated on November 5, 2020

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. A rut can manifest as a productivity vacuum and be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. Is it possible to learn how to get out of a rut?

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, or a student, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on Small Tasks

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks that have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate positive momentum, which I bring forward to my work.

If you have a large long-term goal you can’t wait to get started on, break it down into smaller objectives first. This will help each piece feel manageable and help you feel like you’re moving closer to your goal.

You can learn more about goals vs objectives here.

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2. Take a Break From Your Work Desk

When you want to learn how to get out of a rut, get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the bathroom, walk around the office, or go out and get a snack. According to research, your productivity is best when you work for 50 minutes to an hour and then take a 15-20 minute break[1].

Your mind may be too bogged down and will need some airing. By walking away from your computer, you may create extra space for new ideas that were hiding behind high stress levels.

3. Upgrade Yourself

Take the down time to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Go to a seminar, read up on a subject of interest, or start learning a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college[2]. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a Friend

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while. Relying on a support system is a great way to work on self-care when you’re learning how to get out of a rut.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget About Trying to Be Perfect

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism can lead you to fear failure, which can ultimate hinder you even more if you’re trying to find motivation to work on something new.

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If you allow your perfectionism to fade, soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come, and then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

Learn more about How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up.

6. Paint a Vision to Work Towards

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the ultimate goal or vision you have for your life?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. You can use the power of visualization or even create a vision board if you like to have something to physically remind you of your goals.

7. Read a Book (or Blog)

The things we read are like food for our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great material.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. You can also stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs and follow writers who inspire and motivate you. Find something that interests you and start reading.

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8. Have a Quick Nap

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep[3].

Try a nap if you want to get out of a rut

    One Harvard study found that “whether they took long naps or short naps, participants showed significant improvement on three of the four tests in the study’s cognitive-assessment battery”[4].

    9. Remember Why You Are Doing This

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall your inspiration, and perhaps even journal about it to make it feel more tangible.

    10. Find Some Competition

    When we are learning how to get out of a rut, there’s nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, and networking conventions can all inspire you to get a move on. However, don’t let this throw you back into your perfectionist tendencies or low self-esteem.

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    11. Go Exercise

    Since you are not making headway at work, you might as well spend the time getting into shape and increasing dopamine levels. Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, or whatever type of exercise helps you start to feel better.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

    If you need ideas for a quick workout, check out the video below:

    12. Take a Few Vacation Days

    If you are stuck in a rut, it’s usually a sign that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange one or two days to take off from work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax, do your favorite activities, and spend time with family members. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest.

    More Tips to Help You Get out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Ashkan Forouzani via unsplash.com

    Reference

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