Being mindful about all things: Its funny... - Weight Loss NHS

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Being mindful about all things


Its funny isn't it?

I thought I was completely in control of my eating patterns - or understood them at least - and there wasn't a nook or cranny I hadn't thought about.

And then after what is probably 20 years of using sweeteners I suddenly thought today "Why am I doing this?"

I have half a sweetener in my cup of tea (which is a pain - try breaking those little suckers in half when there is no score line!) and a whole one, once a day in my morning coffee.

I have probably 4 cups of tea a day so that's 3 whole sweeteners every day for weeks, months, years. I swapped to Stevia only last week and thats what's probably made me think more about it.

Half a sweetener is the equivalent of a half a teaspoon - thats nothing!

So from now on my tea goes sweetener free and I will have 1 tsp of real sugar in the morning in my coffee.

Its been decades using them and I have become so used to them I hadn't even thought about changing them .

Now I am wondering what else I do that I am just habitual at, what else I have been blindly doing that I have never really thought about changing!

34 Replies

Giving up sweeteners is a smart move. I saw a TV programme once which did some experiments with sweeteners and weight loss. They found that if you eat or drink something sweet your taste buds send messages to the brain and pituitary gland which causes the body to expect a sugar hit so insulin is released to deal with it. If no sugar comes then the extra insulin is in your blood stream causing low blood sugar and cravings for sugar and carbs.

This makes sense to me so let us know how you get on.

ZestHealthy BMI

Hi Dave,

I really like your post about being mindful and thinking of altering habitual things - and I'm going to try to be mindful and think of something to change too, but I will need to think about it over the weekend to make a decision.

Good luck with your plans to change your sweetener habits, and hope your taste buds change really soon, so that your cup of tea will taste fine in a while!

Have a great weekend.

Lowcal :-)

Its interesting - even spooky - reading your post this morning. I've enrolled on a Future Learn online course that starts on Monday. It's about 'mindfulness' - the new buzz word. I also enrolled on this 12 weight loss plan yesterday after weeks of unsuccessfully trying it alone. And this is the spooky thing Just a few minutes before reading your blog I was contemplating whether to put sweetener or not on my porridge!!!!!! I did. :(

I will now reconsider using sweeteners in my drinks and on my cereals. Especcially after reading Lippysue's comment.

Dave196125kg in reply to ruthlodwig

OK OK I am stalking you.

There its out in the open now :D

Nelliecat4Maintainer in reply to ruthlodwig

Hi Ruth - I'm signed up for the same Mindfulness course on Future Learn, and hope it will help me to be more aware of what is going on! I've never used sweeteners because I weaned myself off sugar in tea and coffee years ago, and can't bear to drink them with sweet stuff in. BUT I do have a weakness for chocolate..... Good luck with the course.

What a coincidence. Will need to look out for each other on it. I'm hoping it's going to help with my stress levels.

nhs2015 in reply to ruthlodwig

Ruth, check the net for Aspartame (sweetener) and decide if you want to use sweetener or not.

ruthlodwig in reply to nhs2015

Thanks nhs2015.

I have been using Splenda, which is sucralose over the past few months. I was using aspartame before that. I am aware of the claims and counter claims of the various researches carried out on aspartame, but after your message have taken another look. What i found interesting is the claim that, while sucralose does not appear to be carcinogenic it may however lead it immune system problems. My eczema and psoriosis have flared up in these past few months and have been trying to find the trigger!!!!! Eureka. I think I may just have found it. Thanks. :)

nhs2015 in reply to ruthlodwig

Well, how about that ! This is good news

ruthlodwig in reply to nhs2015

Well - I need to see if there is a difference in the coming weeks but it certainly has given me the incentive to stop using it. :)

MEnotME in reply to nhs2015

Hi Ruth

I've just been listening to Health Talks Online, speaking about sweeteners, metabolism, healthy gut etc.

The synthetic sweeteners are thought to be very bad, carcinogenic, but stevia is natural, comes from a plant and is available in's super sweet so you may need less, but definitely worth considering.

All the best


Carolee13 in reply to ruthlodwig

I'm also starting the mindfulness course tomorrow. Looking forward to increasing awareness.

Great work Dave, identifying something you don't need and that possiby has a negative effect on your body.

Fran1827161lb in reply to Carolee13

Just looked up this course as I've seen several people mention it, and I've joined too, had thought this might be something to explore to help reduce work stress and it's free!

Nelliecat4Maintainer in reply to Fran182716

Yes I like the Freebie Courses! I've just been doing a good one through Future Learn on Nutrition and Wellbeing, run by Aberdeen University - very enjoyable - and FREE!!!

Fran1827161lb in reply to Nelliecat4

It'll be the first course I've done outside of work in 25 yrs! Still it says you can go at your own pace! Glad you enjoyed the previous one ☀️

Nelliecat4Maintainer in reply to Fran182716

The great thing about these courses is that once you have signed up for them they remain available, so if you get lost halfway through you can still go back and look at them and carry on. I really like the flexibility, without the 'targets' and deadlines that put me off doing other courses. I started "Start to Write Fiction' with the OU on-line course, and have only done a couple of weeks, but I know I can go back and carry on when I've finished the Nutrition one (and the Mindfulness one!). :)

Carolee13 in reply to Nelliecat4

Really enjoying the mindfulness course so far. How are the rest of you finding it? There's a lot that can help us, from being mindful when eating and finding it more satisfied, to becoming aware of destructive habits or negative thoughts, to being more compassionate towards yourself and others. I thoroughly recommend it.

Nelliecat4Maintainer in reply to Carolee13

Yes I'm liking the course too, Carolee! The five minute body scan is very relaxing, and I was amazed how my mind wandered at various times and I had to keep persuading it back to concentrating on the body areas. I'm sure it will be helpful for all sorts of things. :)

Never taken sugar in my tea. That's just how I learnt to drink it (from my grandmother). The rest of my family were coffee drinkers, I was the only one who drank tea. Used to take sugar in coffee which I don't drink very often. Would use it as a boost on days where I didn't have time for lunch at work. Given the sugar up now but still occasionally use the coffee for the same purpose!

I struggle and fail to give up my Diet Coke habit even though it's ruining my teeth and probably my insides too! I think sweeteners are quite habit forming, just like sugar. I've gone cold turkey a few times but it never lasts, I just think one won't hurt and then it's back to one or two a day. I guess I need to find my mindful button!

Dave196125kg in reply to Elizahanna

I must say I am grateful that I never became an addict for coke/pepsi/fizzy drinks. I have come to realise they must be like crack to try and give up because it is SO hard for people to quit the habit and they have the habit it seems to be all consuming litres of it.

I wonder if its so addictive you need to treat it like giving up smoking and just completely quit and ride out the addiction symptoms - hard as they may be :(

nhs2015 in reply to Elizahanna

Oh Eliza, try to give up Diet Coke. It will be hard but your addiction will ease off a bit after six to eight weeks. And you know what ? How about you put the money of each Diet Coke you do not drink into a jar and treat yourself to something special in three months time?

Elizahanna in reply to nhs2015

Saving the money is a great idea as I spend a lot on it. I have gone much more than 8weeks before (in India) but as soon as I saw it I grabbed it. But I gave up smoking years ago, so I will really try this time. I think treating it as an addiction and not just a bad habit will help a lot. Thank you.

jackieeb in reply to Elizahanna

You have to be careful of some sweeteners as they can cause migraines in some people, myself included.

Great work Dave!

It's funny the things we do isn't it?

I snack in the evening out of habit. It is certainly not through hunger. That was my pledge these last 2 days, to not eat a thing after dinner and I ate dinner early.

Day 1 did it and was super mindful. I am trying to work out when I do it.

Day 2 my husband was home and along time after dinner I went to make a cuppa and was chatting to him about an important subject. Without thinking at all, I picked up a handful of nuts from my jar and just ate them and carried on. It was only when I went and sat back down I realised what I had done. I was amazed at the routine, habitual nature of it and that with a tiny distraction of talking to OH (which I didn't have the night before) I bloomin messed it up.

This, and reading your post have really highlighted to me that health, weight, life is a careful balance between habit and mindfulness.

To help myself out, I will put my nuts out of sight and just leave the fruit out. Something else Dr Moseley mentioned on Trust me I'm a Doctor.

I too, with you and lowcal, am going to be alert to the unhelpful habits.

Thanks for posting and making me even more curious about this.

ZestHealthy BMI

Hi again Dave,

I hope you don't mind if I also mention a previous thread that I started here, which was about Artificial Sweeteners, just incase any people want to read through comments and discussions that several forum members contributed on the subject, as it does seem incredibly pertinent to your topic in your thread:

Lowcal :-)

Hi Dave, I watched the program on sweeteners too, I think we do so many things out of habit and because we feel cheated if we don't have it.

When we were on holiday in Europe somewhere I forgot to take my travel kettle and I always have tea before I get up ,I was really thinking I would miss this and contemplating how I could get tea in bed. but we bought some orange juice and had that instead and It was ok, the point being I swapped tea for something else, orange was probably not that healthy but wasn't on healthy living then. Its like the wine, I now always have sparkling mineral water with ice and lemon and I don't think about the wine.

Perhaps if you gradually have less grains of sugar it will eventually become good without it. Losing sugar from my diet has stopped my cravings for everything else, good luck

Hi Dave,

Over here there has been Loads of press ( mostly bad) re artificial sweeteners some of it scary. I used sweetener on cereal/porridge till last week when I watched tv programme!! I stopped immediately 🤔

To be very honest I've not noticed any difference in taste! It does show how easy it is to 'just do ' cos sometimes it's to hard to stop and think !!!

Years ago I was told that a teas spoon of sugar on cereal was ok , because it was a natural sugar you burnt it up in activity, not sure but sounds ok. It's all the hidden sugars that cause so much 'addiction ' now !! That I do believe 🤔

Enjoy your week


Gonti10 kg

I rember reading a novel called "Mrs Smilla'sfeeling for Snow" where the heroine goes off with the man who keeps making her thoughtful hot drinks. Just saying!,

While rocking the mindfulness thing, try varying yr cuppas: treat yourself to some honey or posh sugar also try cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg -or all three. Vanilla is also great. 🌻

Dave, i understand how easy it is to follow a pattern. I know where you are coming from.

I don't like changes but 2015 for us was full of it due to health reason. So I suppose by feeling comfortable and not wanting changes, then be obliged to have changes, I am now comfortable with our new way of thinking and do not want to change. So it is easy for me.

Been using sweeteners for 40 years. Use Splenda to sweeten things. Still lost 8 stone. Whatever you like there will be someone out there who says it's bad. Make your own decisions.


Hello Dave, well I addressed my demons, with Dr Peter D'Adamo the famous blood type guy, read the book many years ago, it was to take me a few years to realise my relationship with food.

The so called comfort foods, why cornflour made me bloat, as does ant thing fizzy, truly O positive soul me!

Totally addicted to meat , fish and sugar!

Ditched the bad habits now too, read about the nun and her wafers when she was gluten intolerant, fab read

For me, alcohol is my go-to habit. When I have an evening off, or when I'm dealing with stress, or had a difficult day, I'm always convinced a bottle of wine will set me straight. But after working hard to identify when I'm most likely to succumb, I've learned that it's not an addiction, it's not even a dependence. If I can walk past the co-op and get home without buying a bottle of wine, then I don't spend the evening itching to go out and get some, I just have tea or water instead. So I totally understand this habitual thing. I think I'm basically developing an "anti-habit" - of not buying wine on my way home from work (and all those other times my thoughts tell me "wine will fix that").

DianaMaintainer in reply to Ruth_canal_runner

Glad you are managing to fix stuff and detach addictions

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