Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Sweet Tooth

I've never been a big dessert person.  I always prided myself on that fact.  I remember going to the Cheesecake Factory a solid 20 times before I ever tried a slice of cheesecake.  Desserts just never appealed to me.  Growing up during Halloween was probably the only time I ever chowed down on sweets.  Besides that, it just wasn't my thing.

Enter triathlon into my life.  All this training has flipped my body and my mind upside down.  Since committing to training for triathlons a little more than four years ago, I have developed the worst sweet cravings.  Go figure.  A change for a more healthy lifestyle and NOW my body says it wants sweets?  That's just not fair.  When I'm at work and there are
 leftover cookies or brownies from a meeting, guess who is the first person to jump in to grab one?  When Rebecca and I go to the store and get frozen yogurt, guess how long it takes before its gone?  Why all these sweet cravings now, when I've been an athlete all my life and never had a sweet tooth?

Some of it I'm sure comes from my body just changing over time.  I've also read that sweet cravings come from an imbalance in your blood sugar levels, meaning they are low, causing a sweet craving to balance things out.  Similarly, salt cravings come from low salt levels.  You ever find yourself eating something sweet (really sweet) and then craving something salty (really salty), only to find yourself craving sweets again?  The body is always trying to even itself out.  So I guess what my body is trying to say is that my sugar levels are constantly low.  I do try to eat frequently throughout the day and tend to eat pretty well (aside from those sweet cravings), and sometimes those cravings are just still there.  Not sure what else I can do about that.  I eat fresh fruit at work, rather than anything processed.  What I do know is that I am not the only one.  I have certainly read story after story about triathletes going through tubs of ice cream in a single sitting.  I am not alone.

What is it about us endurance athletes that makes us crave sweet things so badly?  What I do know is that it is one difficult habit to kick.  Which is exactly why I continue to constantly work out, and find the next race to train for.  All for the sake of keeping my sweets eating habit alive.  


jeanne said...

you're probably right--you're blood sugar is dropping. which means you need to eat more frequently, and eat stuff that stays with you, like complex carbs or protein. I've always had a sweet tooth, so i'm busy working hard to get rid of it!

jeanne said...

should be YOUR blood sugar, not you're.

Rainmaker said...

I try and find 'safe' sweet things - like some fruits. I like dried pineapple, raisens, etc... I figure it's better than Ice Cream. However, most of the time I fail and simply end up eating both. :)

Isn't that why we work out so much anyway?


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