So I have a bit of a peanut butter issue. I’m publicly admitting it. “Hello my name is Krista, and I’m a peanut butter addict”. There, I said it.
Every night after dinner, when I go into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea, I secretly take a spoonful of peanut butter (not so secret anymore!). I drink 2 cups of tea pretty much every night, so that means 2 trips to the kitchen and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. EVERY. NIGHT.
So calculated over a year, 1 tbsp is about 90 calories, which equates to 65,700 extra calories of peanut butter that my body doesn’t really need. That’s also an extra 5110 grams of fat, 2190 grams of carbohydrates, and 2920 grams of protein. And that’s if I actually level out the tablespoons, which I don’t! So in fact, those numbers are probably higher!
So why am I telling you this? Well, for several reasons:
- I want to stop this habit and I feel like if I declare it, then I’m more likely to succeed because I’m being held accountable.
- Habit change is hard, and perhaps you can see yourself in this situation. Perhaps it’s not peanut butter, but maybe something else – wine, cookies, chocolate, cheese…Maybe you’ve tried and failed to give up one of your bad food habits too.
- And lastly, total calories don’t really equate to an expected amount of fat gain or loss. Meaning, an extra 3500 calories won’t automatically add a pound of fat, or vice versa.
Let’s talk about the first 2 issues. Most of the time the things we do on a regular basis are due to HABIT. They don’t require much thought, we just do them. The habits we pick up are there because they serve us in some way. I’ve associated drinking my tea with grabbing a spoonful of peanut butter. They’ve become intertwined, and they give me a sense of calm and relaxation in the evening. One mistake people make is not understanding how the “bad” habit is serving them, and simply try to cut it out cold turkey. This does not work! Step one is to know what the habit means to you. Peanut butter brings on a feeling of nourishment and deep satisfaction. It’s comforting. After a long day I want something to make me feel better, and peanut butter has become my “medicine”. For others it could be wine, beer, chips, chocolate, or ice cream. So instead of simply cutting it out, my plan is to try and replace it. If you simply cut it out and are left with this big void, it’s not going to last long! But before I even do that, I’m simply going to try and reduce it. This is the key to success! Once it has been reduced and I’m comfortable with that, then I find something to take it’s place. Note: this does not have to be another FOOD. Recall above that I noted what peanut butter gives me – comfort after a long day. So how else can I create that feeling? A hug, a talk with friends and family, a movie, a good book, a bath, relaxing yoga. There are so many options that don’t involve food.
Step 1: Know WHY
Step 2: Reduce slowly
Step 3: Find a replacement
Ok, now let’s dive into the second important topic that has come out of my peanut butter habit. I hope that most of you don’t ONLY abide by the calories in/calories out theory anymore, but I’ll bet that some still do! How many of you still stress about 3500 extra calories equating to a pound of fat on the body? Based on this principle, wouldn’t it stand to reason I’d GAIN some weight due to this habit? So over the course of a year that’s just over 18 lbs. Well I’m NOT 18 lbs heavier this year compared to last year. And I’ve been doing the same amount of walking, weight lifting, and eating as I was then (trust me, I track this stuff). But my scale is stubbornly the same. I fluctuate within a few pounds here and there no matter what I seem to do. What is likely happening is that with my workouts and other healthy eating habits, I’m creating just enough of a deficit to keep the scale consistent. It’s not that calories don’t matter, they absolutely do. But it’s not an exact science and there are SO many there variables at play when it comes to fat loss and scale changes. What I’m simply trying to do is have you see that we are not just a math equation. Our bodies don’t work that way.
Even still, I would like to note that it’s possible this habit is preventing me from losing fat. If I’ve been eating well, exercising very consistently, getting enough sleep, and lowering my stress – why would my weight never go down in a years time? Again we are not math equations, so it’s not a simple answer. BUT consuming too many calories than what our body needs, whether from whole foods or not, will eventually be noticed on the scale. So am I intrigued by the thought of reducing body fat? You bet! Is that my only motivation? Heck NO! I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now.
So if I’m not gaining weight, then what’s the big deal right? Why bother giving up the peanut butter if it’s not making me any heavier? Because it’s about the principle. I don’t want to be a slave to anything. And right now, I feel that peanut butter kinda has a hold on me! Plus, this peanut butter habit is really rooted in emotion, not hunger, and while sometimes it’s completely fine to eat from an emotional place, doing it EVERY DAY is a problem! So really it’s about dealing with stress in a different way. It’s easy to stuff down our feelings with food! What isn’t easy is dealing with the thoughts that run around in our minds all day long. This is something that requires diligent practice, patience, and acceptance.
One thing I’m going to implement is the “Sit for 5” strategy. When the thought of peanut butter comes to mind I will sit for 5 minutes and ‘feel my feelings’. What is it that I really want? What is going through my mind? If after 5 minutes I actually feel hungry, then maybe I’ll grab something. If I realize it’s just an emotion that comes up, then I will deal with that appropriately (aka – NOT with food).
It’s not going to be easy, but I’m determined to start this journey, and I’m taking you along for the ride wth me! So stay tuned on my peanut butter debacle. I will let you know how it’s going for me!
Do you have something you’d like to quit eating, or perhaps just find moderation with? Let me know!