First spring (meteorologically speaking) walk. #yaysunshine #cmonwarmth
First spring (meteorologically speaking) walk. #yaysunshine #cmonwarmth
Hello, world! #morningselfie
Breakfast in NYC. #yum
At Eataly in NYC #bestlambdishever #iloveNYCservice
Killer roofberg. Just came FLYING off my (metal) roof. I’m pretty sure anyone standing there would be dead now…
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi
Fashion Sunday - look how big they’re getting! Geesh!
Last Thursday, I hit the 4-week mark. Officially, it was one month on the 23rd. Either way, I can say I’ve been sugar free* for a month now.
*sugar free = no desserts, candies, cookies, or other assorted sweets or anything that can be interpreted as “dessert”
I have a few interesting (at least, to me) observations at this point.
The first is that I’m noticing sugar-y “treats” and snacks are EVERYwhere! I’m sure that my self-deprivation of them is directly relative to my heightened awareness of them. But still. It’s kinda like how a blind person has heightened awareness of sound. Sorta. Oh! I know! It’s like being pregnant…..in that when you’re pregnant (and any woman who ever has been will instantly know what I’m talking about) all of a sudden you notice every single pregnant woman out there. You see them everywhere. Are there MORE pregnant women out there just because you’re pregnant? No. It’s just that since pregnancy has now overtaken every nook and cranny of your cellular being, you have a super-radar attraction to every other woman in the same perinatal boat.
And so it is with going sugar free. At this stage, my brain is rather focused on not eating dessert-y stuff and so, therefore, that’s all I freaking SEE is dessert-y stuff. And, dang, if there isn’t just a crap-load of it out there to be seen! Geesh! It could be sugar-deprivation-induced hallucinations, but I was in the grocery store the other day and it seemed as if the boxes of sugar cereal and granola bars, the aisles of bakery goods and racks and racks of candy and sweet-ladened beverages, not to mention marshmallows, trail mix, jams and jellies and also cookies and the plethora of Little Debbie, Hostess, Entemann and butterscotch krimpet products were all standing up and sorta dancing around on the shelves, blinking their little neon lights at me as if to say, “please, just GRAB me! C’mon! Do it! Neener, neener…” What? They don’t have neon lights on them? Hmmmm. That’s weird.
ANYway. There’s that. And then there’s the fact that I don’t think I can entirely blame the recent demise of my eating habits on a) it was VBS week last and b) I never went grocery shopping. I have this sinking feeling that I’m beginning to have this suppressed, unconscious desire to stuff…something….(something emotional, not physical, such as my mouth)…with food. Okay, I didn’t get groceries last week and we were incredibly busy with VBS - especially around supper time - all week and that did play a part in our mutual decision (“our”, meaning the hubs and I) to junk out last week. But, even before that, I’ve begun noticing a slight tendency to want to stuff my face. And it begs the question - now that desserts/sweets are out of the picture, am I gravitating towards something else to now fill a void that hasn’t been addressed? How horribly analytical and psychological! I can only hope that I’m mistaken and that I have a better grip on my emotions than that. But, what if?
IF my eating issues are at least as emotional as they are physiological - and IF those emotional issues are not being addressed, then my attempt to “tame the sugar beast” isn’t really going to work. I’ll just start stuffing my emotions (and my face) with something else.
I’m going to have to think about this. No, I’m not giving up the sugar free thing. But if one of the points of doing this isn’t to deal with issues that got me in this undesired dependency situation in the first place, then, well, what IS the point? To feel better? To get healthier? And isn’t health a cognitive thing, encompassing, mental, spiritual, emotional and physiological components? Then I’d better take a look at them all and not be so selective - or else I’ll end up back where I started, but with a different bad habit.
My final observation for this post is that I’ve noticed myself pondering more often all the things I’m not going to be eating “ever again”. And it’s making me a little sad. I’m really hoping that eventually that will go away and it will just become an accepted way of life. On the other hand, I’m NOT missing the sugar-induced drug-like haze of coming off a big sugar feed and I’m not missing the sucking of the life out of me that eating it - especially in the evening (my most favorite time of indulgence) tends to bring on the next day. Truly. I’m now enjoying a piece of fruit in the evening if I want a little something sweet after supper. And that’s totally satisfying me. I need to keep that in mind. And I need to quit looking at pregnant women. So to speak.
One of my FB friends posted that this past week. HA-larious! I think the same was also said about whiskey and cigarettes when they first came out. There is one line in there that I’m totally down with, though. Yep! A good Watusi with the gang is always something I look forward to. :)
But seriously, artificial sweeteners - I don’t care how “natural” they are - is something I’m NOT down with. Especially if it’s to make me eat something that’s pretending to be a dessert. As I’ve said before, if my brain reads it as dessert, then I’ve taken a step backwards in what I hope to accomplish.
So, I got smacked up the side of the head by an evil, evil entity this week. Surprise. The unexpected, unplanned-for has always been the enemy in all my quests to restrict myself from something. If I know it’s coming, I can mentally prepare and be fine. But surprise me? Often, I’m done for. And this particular surprise had a rather delayed - but very powerful - effect.
So, Chris was out to the nature center with the girls on our camping trip last weekend (I was napping, ahhhhh, I LOVE camping!) and he came back to the campsite with - of all things - a couple free boxes (those little single-size boxes) of some kind of new Grape Nuts flavored granola kind of cereal. (Yeah, I don’t get the connection with the Nature Center either, but, whatever. Let’s move on.) Now, I use to love me some Grape Nuts. But I haven’t bought them for, well, years. So, I haven’t really read the label lately and I kind of forget if they’d be a “clean”, healthy whole food or not. I kinda doubt it because they’re mass-produced and they are bound to have additives and preservatives. Which I don’t want to do. Nor do I eat cereal for breakfast anyway. So, I grabbed one of the little boxes of cereal and, though it was WAY down on the list of ingredients, rendering this particular cereal relatively low in sugar(s), it DID list sugar as about the 6th or 7th ingredient, 9g total in the one-serving box. Not that bad. Most so-called “healthy” granolas have anywhere from 12 to 20+ grams in a serving. That’s one reason I don’t eat them. No big surprise. So, the new Grape Nuts granola has less. Big deal. Flush from brain as irrelevant information since I won’t be ever eating it anyway.
Fast-forward a couple days. We’re home. I’ve been working at my desk and have gotten hungry and need a snack break. I haven’t gone shopping for the week and my cupboards are a little bare, but not too bad. There’s still a lot of good stuff to eat - fruit, veggies, cottage cheese, etc. But wait! What’s that I spy on my pantry shelf? An INTRUDER! No snack-y carb-loaded consumables are allowed in my pantry - especially those containing sugar!! (FYI - No, I don’t deprive the whole family - which, at this point in our lives, is just the hubs and I - he can have whatEVER his heart desires - so long as he keeps it in his mancave downstairs, out of my knowledge and my sight. Because, don’t forget, people. I DO have a problem here!) But, dangit, he went and put those two little cereal boxes in the pantry! SURPRISE! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! And, without thinking, I grabbed those suckers, ripped ‘em open, dumped ‘em into a bowl and ate ‘em up! That fast! (I did sit down first.)
Well, guess what? I have chosen not to let it destroy me. I don’t consider myself a failure. I’m not giving up just because I had one bowl (of 2 little boxes) of cereal with sugar in it. Technically, cereal isn’t even really a “dessert” (okay, to some people it is). But it never has been for me. So I didn’t go through that thing where I feel like I’m not perfect now, so I failed and I’m just gonna go stuff my pie hole - with, well, pie. Nope. NOT going there. I’m good. I’m fine. It hasn’t really bothered me at all. I’m at peace with it. I let it go immediately. (I really think that’s a result of prayer and a gift from God - so, thank you, Lord.)
And the rest of the week has been just fine. Oh, one other thing. I did give up coffee. I was only drinking one cup in the morning and I had finally weaned myself off my sugared creamer and was just using half and half for the last week and a half or so. And you know what? I just don’t enjoy that little first-thing-in-the-morning treat that much anymore without the sweetness to cut the acidity. Instead, I’m going with green tea. I never sweeten my tea - hot or cold. And green tea does have a little caffeine, so I’m not totally giving up that part. I had an eensy little caffeine headache for about 2 minutes the first day. Then over. See? I wasn’t drinking that much anyway. And I’m sure my body is happy to be rid of the 2+ tablespoons of 1/2 and 1/2 I was consuming every morning.
So, all in all. It’s going really well. I think my next goal will be to figure out how to handle those darn surprises. Because they’re bound to happen and I don’t want to succumb to them every time. Otherwise, I’m off to enjoy my sugar FREE energy by doing the Watusi…but not with the gang…just by myself.
So I’m two weeks in and I have not caved. But I have craved. Not panick-stricken, curl-up-in-a-ball-on-the-floor-if-I-don’t-get-something-sweet cravings. But rather, just like momentary wishes and then….it goes away. (Note to self: keep that little factoid in mind should I spin out of control as described above.)
Probably the hardest craving was when we’d eaten dinner out the other night and I didn’t pig out, but, rather, ate a reasonable portion and felt satisfied after the meal - not the bloated, dizzying, whale-laden kind of full that makes it hard to lift yourself from the chair. Just - satisfied. And what thought immediately occupied the sweets-deprived epicenter of my brain? “Ohhhh, I have room for dessert! No. Wait. Awwwww crap.” Do you think I might have been a wee bit tempted then when the waitress, upon returning our paid receipt, threw down the coveted Andes chocolate-mints? Um, YES! Duh! That was hard. Chris momentarily forgot, too, and started handing me his before I shot him a lack-of-sugar-induced look that could kill.
Without doubt, the times I want it the most are the times I’m caught off guard. If I’m mentally prepared, I’m good to go. Like, for instance, that very same night after we finished our romantic evening of dinner and WalMart, I even offered to stop at our local favorite ice-cream joint, but, alas, Chris was too full. But I would have happily (mostly) sat in the car and listened to him enjoy it all the way home. Well, in reality, it would have only taken him about half way home to eat it, but still…
So, I thought I’d take a few minutes before sitting down to post this to look up a few factoids about sugar. (Only the best in-depth research here!) Like, what are the horrific effects sugar has on your body? Is it truly addicting? And exactly what kind of wonderful things are going to happen to me now that I’ve given it up? Well, I didn’t exactly get all (or any) of my questions answered. But I’d like to share a bit of what I found.
I just adore THIS kind of definitive information from the well-informed folks at Fitbie (which stands for….what???):
1. Tossing Back Sugary Drinks May Increase Your Risk of Diabetes
2. Following a High-Glycemic Diet May Cause Acne
3. A Diet Rich in Sugar Can Hurt Your Heart
4. Sugar Can Increase Your Chances of Depression
5. High Blood Sugar Can Increase Your Risk of Yeast Infection
6. Sugar May Increase Your Risk of Cancer
That’s the first website that came up from my Google search entitled “the effects of sugar”. I’m thinking that’s just a tad vague. Geesh.
Next up was the NaturalNews website with their startling claims about sugar:
Is there rationale behind the statement, ‘Sugar is to be avoided’? Definitely!
Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist, has compiled a list of 146 reasons on ‘how sugar is ruining your health’ in her book Lick the Sugar Habit. Here are some of them:
* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
* Sugar feeds cancer
* Sugar increases cholesterol
* Sugar can weaken eyesight
* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
* Sugar causes food allergies
* Sugar contributes to diabetes
* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)
* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis
Sigh. Nowhere on that site did I see any kind of documentation to support those “facts”. Maybe all that is in her book. But, for some reason, I doubt it. She DOES have a PhD, so I guess that makes her qualified to make such claims.
The third site on my Google search was WebMD. Ah, the voice of reason. I HOPE! Indeed, I thought they told it like it was and I recommend taking a look at their article.
Here are a few highlights of the article:
Unlike with substance abuse, people don’t get the shakes when they stop eating sugar. But people with constant sugar cravings do exhibit one symptom of dependence, Pelchat says: “continued use despite knowledge of bad consequences or having to give up certain activities.” For instance, people who crave sugary, fatty foods will keep eating them even if obesity makes it uncomfortable to walk or to sit in an economy seat on the plane.
Oooo. Ouch. True dat! And this:
"Eating sugar per se does not cause diabetes," Johnson says. But large, epidemiological research has shown an association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes, she says.
The real culprit may be obesity. “It may be because the sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BMIs or associated with overweight and obesity, which we know is a risk factor for diabetes,” Johnson says.
Yeah. Now we’re getting somewhere. Finally, this little paragraph really sums it up:
Eating too much sugar can create two main problems, Johnson says. “It either adds calories to your diet or it displaces other nutritious foods. Most Americans could benefit from reducing the amount of added sugars in their diet.”
The article is very good. It makes no arguments, but just states the issue in a no-nonsense manner. I appreciate that. I’m not a scientist. I have to say, this article also makes me think again about this choice I’ve made to go sugar-free. It’s definitely a personal choice NOT prompted by some celeb fad, which is actually what prompted this article. I know myself pretty well. And I know I’ve been very successful - with resulting UNhappy consequences - at choosing sugar (and junk food, which doesn’t live at my house anymore, either) to displace nutritious foods. And, for that reason alone, I’m “licking” the habit.
Yes, I’m still scrapbooking. I’m trying to put 2 paper layouts per month in amongst my digi Project Life pages. I did this one before we went away recently and forgot all about it til I found it today. It was inspired by Anna Dabrowska’s layout that I saw recently in a Stampington & Co. newsletter. Love how it turned out.