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  • Writer's pictureJulian Molteno

If Sweetness Is Your Weakness

I am not an authoritarian, I don’t tell my clients what to do, I tell them what do, and then suggest to them how I think they ought to eat and train. They then have to find their own way forward, their own way of achieving the dietary balance that fits their lifestyle. 

The way that works for me, is low carb, medium fats and high protein. I like the food it allows me to eat (avocados, peanut butter, olive oil, steak, etc.) - all tasty, nutritious and filling foods that I never get bored of, a menu I pretty much never stray from. 

The only drawback with this regime is the lack of sweetness, and whilst I don’t have a hugely sweet tooth, like most of us I do like a sweet taste. So how do we manage to balance our desire for sweetness with our ambition to eat healthily? 

Most of what we eat is dictated not by our stomachs, but by our heads and our hearts. In other words, many of our dietary choices are led not by hunger, but rather by emotion and desire. (My post on Appetite vs Hunger touches on this subject.) Recognising this fact, understanding why we want to indulge, will go a long way to help control this “need”, and allow us to eat only the sweet things that we permit ourselves. 

Some people’s approach is to eat very clean (and bland) for as long as possible, ignoring the cravings for sweetness and taste - then, when they can stand it no longer, have a (hopefully planned) cheat meal. If this works for you, then fine, but it is not a method I either use or endorse. Personally, I think the health and fitness lifestyle should be fun, and a pleasure to live, not a chore, and eating bland and boring food is not my idea of enjoyment. As I explain in my “Cheat Meals” post, I feel the cheat meal is ultimately bad for your mental and emotional wellbeing, and inevitably leaves you feeling disappointed with yourself. It weakens the feeling of control and pride that is needed to stay strong, and encourages you to fail again. 

My strategy is one of pragmatism, consistency, order and control. It’s all about setting up, and sticking to, some “sweetness parameters”, and just like Mrs May, you will also need some Red Lines that you just do not cross. So where do I get my sweet tastes from? Like 99% of bodybuilders I have protein shakes. My breakfast, seven days a week, is a protein coffee (basically a large coffee with some chocolate-flavoured protein powder) and along with this some peanut butter (crunchy!!) and Greek yogurt. Every. Single. Day. My alarm goes off at 04:40 and I can’t wait to get to work so I can tuck in. I never get tired of it. 

After I train (mostly at 08:30) I have some more Greek yogurt, a banana and some vanilla-flavoured protein powder, all whipped up with my trusty (had it now for a decade!) Braun hand-held blender. Delicious! 

For the rest of the day I eat my normal stuff. Salad, tuna, chicken, prawns, avos, etc. When I come home I have a dinner which is almost always an animal protein and a salad (with an amazing dressing) courtesy of my wife, Suzy. Later, we sit down in front of the TV with a cup of tea. Suzy has a biscuit, or whatever she fancies, and I have a protein bar. I have a little technique with the bar because I am greedy and will devour it in two bites if given the chance, so I slice it up into ten or so pieces, to make it last and give me maximum flavour. 

So I get three lovely sweet tastes every day, which fits very nicely into the dietary rhythm of my life. They keep any other chocolate/sweetness desires at bay and allow me to almost never give in to other temptations. Almost never. Very occasionally I will eat a sweet thing that is outside my parameters. This happens perhaps only four or five times a year, and even then I have a list of acceptable treats:

1. A thin slice of one of my daughters’ birthday cakes. This is not so much because I want it but they want me to eat it and it would be churlish to refuse. 2. One biscuit, or similar, that has been baked at home. 3. A mocha. 4. A Naked Bar, etc. 

That is pretty much it - everything else is a Red Line Item and I just don’t eat it. And quite honestly, it is not a hardship. I have spent more than a decade honing my diet, and after many failures and re-thinks I am getting closer to having a do-able system that works for me. 

As I’ve said, I am not an authoritarian, and no doubt you’ve been thinking either “That’s a good tip, I’ll try that,” or (far more likely) “No thank you, I have a better idea.” Either way, it is up to you to experiment with your own strategies and find the dietary regimen that works for you. Only then will you be able to master your desires, be in control of what you eat, and truly live the health and fitness lifestyle.  

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