Chipping Away At the Bad Habits

“My name is Monica and I’m addicted to sugar.”

After declaring this week as a clean eating adventure I read up a bit on detoxing from sugar. Well, a few people who documented their detox said they had pretty bad cravings for sugar on Day 3 or 4.


Well, I had cravings Day 1 at lunch.

Other sugar detox-ers said they got mild headaches on Day 4 or 5.


I am hearing voices that are trying to convince me to violently take over Yogurtland and hold hostages until they give me free reign to eat all the Taro fro-yo.

So, it’s been a little rough

mostly for Ben to live with me. Too bad.

I’m trying to make sure I have well rounded meals and plenty of healthy fats to keep me full.

Exhibit A:guacamole and beans

But, as much as I love avocado, I’d rather have chocolate.

I don’t know how it comes off on ol’ RER but I am a complete realist. (To a fault really, but that only effects my friends when they ask for my opinion.)

Anyway, a friend recently came to me for some diet advice and the first question I asked was, “What are your 2 worst habits right now?”

I think there are often one or two big obstacles in our way that we must tackle before chipping away at the other stuff. Okay, maybe not for everyone but I know I have two very obvious bad habits that hurt me from being better (pm eating and snacking). By the way, “PM snacking” is different from “PMS snacking” Winking smile

Well, in an effort to finally put an end to my nighttime eating habit (that’s been going on since I was probably 10 years old so it’s pretty ingrained) I have been crossing out the days in red when I don’t eat after 8pm. It’s a nice visual reminder of my progress and motivates me.

This is a realistic way for me to break this bad habit. One day at a time, chip chip chip away at it…diet calendar

Note: I have hot tea on hand to keep my mouth occupied (think of it as Nicorette for food addicts) and don’t count that as eating after 8. Unfortunately, the 90 degree weather in SoCal is making me crave ice cream, not a hot beverage.pumpkin spice tea

The point is, I have identified a few things to work on and am basing my success on my night time eating calendar not the scale. I want to get all red slashes from now until Dec 31st so I can be confident I’ve made progress breaking this habit!

If this doesn’t work I’m going to have to try the Eating Cold Twigs diet.

Fun stuff: I was recently featured as one of the Women’s Running Magazine’s Blogger on the Run! Check me out.Blogger On The Run

Question: What’s a habit you want to work on?

I won’t judge if you say, ‘picking my nose’. Okay, only a little.


  1. says

    Wow I’m impressed with your goal. I dropped the habit of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners over the summer, and I was a NIGHTMARE. It took me almost 3 weeks before I could be a non b&T%h.

    Stay strong!

  2. says

    Exhibit A looks amazing.
    I’ve been cutting down sugar since the spring, but it was more of a “oh, should stop eating this thing” and “oops, shouldn’t buy that anymore” so I didn’t have withdrawals. Detoxing sounds hardcore.
    Nighttime eating used to be huge for me. It’s a major reason I gained weight a couple years ago. I would stress eat literally an entire meal at midnight. Now I enter my food in a calorie count app, and I’m neurotic about everything being entered correctly (on lists in general), so it’s helpful for me to hit the “finish day” button and then say “you already submitted. You must not mess up the day.”
    I’m trying to consistantly eat veggies, but I went to the store today, and I’m tired of the same old ones. But I didn’t want to get a rando eggplant and be the weirdo snacking on eggplant at 8pm.

    • says

      SO GLAD to hear that someone else is a little nuts about the calorie counting “finish” button- I get told it’s too obsessive, but I guess those people don’t understand what it’s like to have a serious nighttime eating habit!

  3. says

    unlike you, I could go days without drinking water, or anything for that matter, so i’m really trying to get better but to be honest whenever I have a big drink I feel like i’m carrying around a water baby.

  4. says

    Ok this is why I like to read your blog, I love your honesty. You are doing great with those red slashes! I totally agree with the visual helpers. I was going to do the marbles in the jar thing – fill a glass jar with 60 marbles and then have an empty glass jar next to it and transfer marbles for each pound lost. Then I got pregnant…

    My bad habits are major addiction to sweets, stress eating and binging. Wow talk about scary honesty, yup I have issues.

    Majorly jealous of your yummy teas.

  5. says

    I love the visible red-line through your calender as a way of keeping yourself in check.

    I’m with Monica up top there – I am SO addicted to diet drinks right now. It’s a terrible and excessive habit that I’m trying to kick. Failing at the moment,but still trying!

  6. says

    I’m not doing great at eating a balanced diet. It’s very carb heavy. I just got let go from my job 2 weeks ago and I’ve been mopey since. I’m also single and live alone, so mustering up the energy to make an interesting meal is next to impossible. Let’s just say I can’t remember the last vegetable I’ve eaten (well I had some squash on Monday when I ate out with a friend).

    And since I now have a cash flow problem, I’ve started to not want to go grocery shopping (I have enough food on my shelves and in my freezer to last at least 2 weeks), but produce always seems to end up in the garbage. Either because I just don’t cook it, or I can’t finish it as 1 person. Why can’t I buy 1 stalk of celery for my tuna sandwich? Can anyone ever make it through that huge thing of celery??

  7. says

    I have them same night time snacking habit. I swear it’s because I’m tired. I’m going to go to bed instead of stay up late on the computer and snack. :) oops- I better do that right now. Ha ha. Yay for all your red slashes. :) you should do smily face stickers. I can send you some.

  8. says

    That’s such an awesome idea to have a visual tracker for your goals!

    Right now, I am trying to break the same habit basically. I find that I am so ravenous at dinner that I eat a full plate, but that night time snacking is so darn tempting!

  9. says

    The only ‘habit’ that I can think of for me is not going out and being social on a regular basis. I am SO busy with work and the website that it can be 2-3 weeks before I meet up a friend to do something – not fun!

  10. says

    Girl I think you’re being way too hard on yourself. Look at how you eat on a whole and not so much the little bad habits that WE ALL HAVE! Just think of how active you are. Your body might crave more energy at night and past 8PM. Regardless, I think it’s so great to have a goal and making it visual is always a fantastic way to remind ourselves each and every day.

    You know I think you’re amazing no matter what “bad habit” you claim. :)

  11. says

    I’m trying to cut back on sugar too! It’s definitely hard, especially when there’s still Halloween candy around!

    And I’m also working on processed carbs… but there’s somehow a delicious hoagie everywhere I look lol.

  12. says

    1. snacking at work…a lady that sits by me has a table full of snacks that everyone contributes to…it is so horrible and tempting everyday.
    2. making excuses for not getting off my butt in the fall/winter after work and going to the gym. I make the most ridiculous excuses to not go in the winter.

  13. says

    I can never..NEVER…stop at just one sweet!!! (aka…I kind of binge) I can be soooo crazily good with eating for weeks then one day I will go all APE CRAZY and hop around the kitchen eating every sweet or salty thing in sight…yesterday was one of those days…today I am feeling a little bloated.

    Go figure…

    I really can not have JUST ONE…I am a cold turkey kind of gal…I must quit the binge.

  14. Ina says

    I’ve switched to three solid square meals no snacking. And enjoying 4th meal- dessert which always comprises of dark chocolates and roasted almonds. Also after lunch ill savor a couple of pieces of sugar free hard candy to signal mealtime over. It helps a great deal.

  15. says

    I think your sugar is my salt! I love salt. I over salt everything. It is a terrible (and terribly delicious) habit!
    As for a non-food bad habit? I still bite my nails.. ugh, I have never been able to stop!

  16. says

    One day at a time!! I struggle with weekend eating. I use the weekens to eat whatever I want which is why I can’t lose a pound. I am currently working on changing that, but its so hard!

    You’re doing so good, Monica. Giving up sugar and nighttime eating is hard. I am a big time sugar addict but I’m trying to eat it in moderation! Good luck with your goals!

  17. says

    This is such a noble goal! I’m also trying to cut out processed sugar right now, but it’s SO hard. And last night, I caved! I felt defeated about it when I was going to bed, but today’s a new day. So, this is all to say, if you do make a mistake, don’t give up. Get back on the wagon. :) A know you’re not alone in your struggles!

  18. says

    I like the idea of using a calender – keeping yourself accountable. The bad habit I’m trying to stop right now is counting calories. I’ve done it on and off for years and whenever I do, it usually results it me undereating. I’m just over a week now 😀

  19. says

    I don’t drink soda unless we are out and even then it is diet. I don’t eat much candy. I get my sugar from fruit. I eat too many carbs, but I am afraid to cut back on those too much and still be running. I would like to cut out nutrasweet (Crystal light) but I don’t like the taste of the water here. More bottled water I guess.

    The Kidless Kronicles

  20. Jenna says

    Another fantastic, inspirational and HIGHLY motivating post. Thanks Monica! This was a terrific reminder that taking things slowly can get you the biggest results.

  21. says

    Oh mine’s totally biting my nails. It’s so gross and I constantly pick and then end up chewing them at some point. GROSS! But I do it. Doesn’t help that they recently classified it as OCD or impulse control something in the DSM-IV.

  22. says

    Nighttime snacking is my weakness, too! My problem is I like salty things like potato chips (by the family size bag). A lot of empty, worthless, delicious calories!!!! I might steal your calendar with red slash idea and see if that helps. I think I will just go week-by-week for now – gotta start slowly!!!
    Good luck with the sugar!

  23. Lauren says

    I definitely pick my nose, but it’s not a habit I want to work on. I’m totally comfortable with my gross-ness. Judge that! :-)

    I’d like to be better at doing my dishes on a regular basis – and to accomplish this goal I plan on moving into a place with a dishwasher. :-)

  24. says

    Sugar is definitely one of my vices, but so is excessive worrying. I’ve gotten better over the years, but in the last few months it’s been sneaking up on me again. I also need to stop procrastinating grading essays- worst part of teaching!

  25. says

    Diet soda! I drank a ton of regular soda as a kid and went at least 3 or 4 years straight without touching it, but as I entered the grown up world, I picked the habit back up!

  26. Bethany says

    I love your blog because you are so honest about who you are and most of us struggle with food issues. I have found portion control to be critical for me. I never eat from a bag or box anymore, I put a portion in a bowl and leave the kitchen. Sometimes I go back for more, but most of the time I don’t.

  27. Emilie says

    I posted this morning, but my comment didn’t show up… I must not have hit submit.. i think it was too early and i was not fully awake yet…

    Anyway, I wanted to say that I love your honesty! I am working on the same things as you are with regards to my eating.. I lost 70 lbs since last September by making a lot of dietary changes ( read: eating veggies, fruits, lean meats, cutting back on sugar, high carb foods and junk food) and started running a year ago and discovered that i LOVE my treadmill. I am currently running on average 50 miles a week and just started adding in Bowflex ( since the upper body could use a little work, and no, i do NOT love it LOL).
    I have noticed that in the last month or so, bad habits are starting to creep back in, i am saying “yes” too often to the junkier food choices, eating way too many sugary things and finding myself snacking at night.. All things i worked hard to change! I log my food and exercise every day ( livestrong) and still find myself snacking and making some bad choices..
    sooo, your post came at a perfect time. I am going to re-commit to clean eating and will be closing the kitchen at 8pm! I will also be cutting back on my sugar intake . I love the idea of crossing off the successful days on the calendar.. I am a very visual person, so that is a suggestion that will help me a lot.. thanks!!!

  28. says

    I have a horrible night time eating/ snacking habit. It’s something I’ve struggled with a long, long time. As in, probably since I was 10 also. Bored… eat. Sleepy… eat. Wide awake… eat. I realized that eating nothing after dinnertime does not work for me. I can do it for a while (maybe one week) and then I’ll fail everyday for weeks in a row… basically until I realize I have to get it back under control. So what I’ve been doing is planning a small, sweet snack for each night under X amount of calories. This has been the only thing that I’ve been able to commit to and then actually do for more than a week. I really like your calendar. I’m a very visual person and also hate to fail, so seeing the red slashes day after day would be very rewarding/ motivating.

  29. says

    I’d have to say I really want to work on sticking to my diet during the weekends. I’ve been better about it, but I really want to have a 24/7 clean eating diet, with maybe 1 meal that is a “splurge”. I’ve also been trying to stop eating at night (3 hours before bedtime-9pm) and it makes me feel a lot better in the morning when I do it. The red lines do look like a good little trick.

  30. says

    I too am trying to cut out the sugar in my diet. Yesterday someone sent over 2 huge trays of cookies and cakes to my office…talk about a tough day at work! I’m also trying to eat clean and cut out processed foods. I don’t have any problem getting in my fruits and veggies, but I love to graze on the bad stuff. I’m starting to food journal again which will hopefully keep me accountable!

  31. says

    Marking it on the calendar is a really good idea! Never thought of actually writing it down when I “behave.” I’m also guilty of pm eating as well as snacking way too much. I’d say snacking is my biggest problem. I tend to get carried away. Once I start, food just stays on my mind.

  32. Meg says

    I’ve been reading your blog forever so I’ve read for years now about your goal to stop snacking at night. I am behind you 100%. Maybe it would be helpful to report back on the blog every day (just a sentence) about how you did the night before? Like weight loss wednesdays (which, btw what happened to them??)

    • says

      Everyone keeps asking about weight loss Wednesdays this week! I just thought it was a bit triggering for some people based on some of the comments I got so I was trying to take a small break. It’ll be back soon!

      • Meg says

        OK you will have to forgive me because I have no idea what you mean by triggering. I was just wondering if maybe you met your weight loss goals so you didn’t need to do a weight loss report anymore. Keep up the good work, Monica!

  33. says

    I know you’re drinking those sweet teas but have you tried other kinds that aren’t sweet? I have had lots of people telling me that drinking those sweet kinds of teas will help suppress the sugar craving, but I think it’s crap! It makes me want sugar more! So instead, I’ve started drinking organic Japanese green tea with lemon when I wake up, then throughout the day until around 3 or 4. After dinner I immediately grab my chamomile tea, double bag it, and drink up until I feel so sleepy I can’t stay awake, which means less snacking!

  34. says

    I don’t know if I could ever not eat after 8pm. We are lucky if we eat dinner by 8pm! I seemed to have kicked my sugar craving awhile ago, but in an effort to not consume too much nutbutter (which I was basically eating in mass quantities instead of sugar), I started eating sugar again (in the form of chocolate chip cookies or chocolate desserts). Doesn’t make sense, right? Frustrating, but I’m getting there. I also recently started making some bad choices at work (i.e. not packing a lunch and therefore, eating out), so I’m working on eating better at work. (So far, so good this week!)

    • says

      Yeah, I consider it a different situation if I eat dinner after 8, but I’m just randomly snacking. I don’t think it’s the time thing, but more that it is a habit not hunger.

  35. says

    I decided to follow you and do my own version of clean eating for Thanksgiving. I want to cut out bread and carbs, not because I think they are bad for me but because I always over eat them! If I oculus eat one slice of bread that would be fine, but I never do. My current worst habit is sugar free sweeteners in my coffee. I’ve been having too many cups a day! I blame the seasonal creamers in the grocery store, they are just too tempting!

  36. Mallory says

    Hey Monica! Maybe what would help you is to think about how you will feel after… like the next morning. Waking up a little hungry vs waking up not hungry, or worse, full, or worse, full and bloated. It helps me get in bed and stay there without my mind (or self..) wandering to the kitchen for a little taste of almond butter or a few crackers or an apple. Feeling hungry is ok. In fact, it makes eating the next meal even better! That’s what I tell myself and it’s been working. Good luck.

  37. Jess says

    Snacking at work! I’m usually pretty good to make healthy meals for myself but when I get to work the break room is full of Candy!! Leftover halloween candy, chocolates, licorice, chips.. I end up eating way too much of it, and am not even hungry for my healthy lunches… bad

  38. Meg says

    Binge eating! I don’t do it often, but when I do I eat everything sweet/salty in sight. I know it’s so bad for me and I’ve been slowly, but progressively doing better. I guess that (half) counts?:p

    • says

      Uhh, guilty! I live with my boyfriend, but he travels a lot. It’s not pretty when he’s gone. I don’t like to cook as it is, so I binge on my favorite foods way too often.

  39. Kelli says

    Too much diet soda, snacking, dessert every night and I started a new bad habit a glass of wine every night! wow I have a lot I need to work on!

  40. says

    I’m so impressed with your goals! I’d say my worst habit (out of many), is eating candy right before bedtime. I can eat GREAT all day but then I crave candy right before I go to bed. It’s ridiculous. Even if I’ve brushed my teeth. HELP!!!!

  41. says

    100% agree with you on the breaking the bad habit that causes the weight problem. It’s sometimes too much to just “eat clean” or anything general like that. Have to get to the root of the problem. I’d say mine is still my all or nothing mindset. If I go off track at lunch, I feel like I physically/mentally CANNOT say no to keep going off track the rest of the day/night. If I could break free from that, I could allow myself to have a treat once per day but unfortunately thats my hardest habit to break! Doing a great job with those red slashes! :-)

  42. says

    Just wondering are you still working with the thyroid person? If so, have you posted an update lately? Good luck breaking the habits! I’m pulling for you:-)

    • says

      I haven’t spoken with her in a few weeks. I am working on some of the suggestions she gave me, but the others were a little strict for my life. I’m taking a natural supplement to help wake up my thyroid and avoiding soy :)

  43. says

    Definitely sugar cravings and I totally don’t understand the tea thing. It is always suggested and I just don’t get it. If I am craving something sweet a drink isn’t going to cut it.

  44. says

    I’m working on cutting sugar too… One thing that helped was to start cutting out the diet sodas too. It’s helped me get a lot less used to tasting sweetness all the time… Then I got rid of stevia, and now I’m even working on high sugar fruits just to get over wanting something sugary-tasting, even if it’s relatively healthy. It sucks but I’m telling myself it’s worth it… : /

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