I will always have this memory of a guy I knew that was overweight in his high school years and years later he had a lost a ton of weight! Everyone asked him how he did it, and his answer was simply that he had given up desserts and refined sugar. Nothing more. It was an amazing transformation and extremely informative to me on how sugar can impact our health.
Here are two entries I have written on how it has been for me to give up sugar:
3/11: It has been about a week of no sugar so far, and it’s been a little difficult. I love sugar. I am a refined sugar addict. I usually start out my morning with a flavored coffee creamer in my coffee, and then it’s down hill from there. My meals are usually pretty decent meals that don’t include a lot of sugar, but my snacks are horrendous. The snacks sometimes include cookies, left over birthday cake, chocolate candy bars, candy, chocolate covered raisins (okay, not so bad), sweet tea, etc. Now granted, I don’t eat a ton of sugary food. I do have my limits. But I scatter my sugar intake throughout the whole day.
For lent I gave up refined sugar to include items that have high fructose corn syrup or sugar as the first 5 ingredients. And if you are thinking, “why is she participating in Lent?” In the words of a friend of mine, “I really like the tradition of Lent, giving up something to help focus more of my attention on God. It’s not “part of” my church’s traditions, but I’m making it part of mine.” I do not participate in the whole of Lent, but yes, I really do like the idea of giving up something you “love” to be closer to the One God whom you should love with all your heart, soul, and mind.
Being off of refined sugar has meant that I have been eating things like bananas, apples, yogurt, and cheese crackers for snacks. The first couple of afternoons were rough because I wasn’t listening to my body very well and in the late afternoon I was crashing from low blood sugar. One afternoon I almost blacked out, but my banana finally kicked in and all was well. Since then I have done a much better job of listening to my body and eating a snack before I even get to the point of feeling off. I am so thankful for snacks like chips and crackers. I don’t know how people go on these diets where they give up sugars AND carbs!
3/27: Today makes 3 weeks that I have given up refined sugar. Some days I don’t even miss it, but occasionally I have a major craving for something chocolate. I admit to having a dream about eating a chocolate dessert last night, and in my dream I *knew* I was cheating! HA! Thankfully, it was all a dream. 😉
So far I have learned:
-Pretty much everything has sugar in it (of course), and since I am trying to not eat anything that has sugar listed as one of the first 5 ingredients, it’s been eye-opening. There have been a few snacks that I wouldn’t have considered sugary, but sugar was listed as the second or third ingredient so I put it back. I mostly stick to veggies, fruits, cheese, and crackers, and sometimes chips, popcorn and other salty foods, like Gardettos! Yum.
-I need to eat something about every two hours. If I don’t, I start to feel sick. And here’s the kicker. When I start to feel sick, it can take a long time to feel like myself again. Two days in a row this week I started to feel lightheaded and hungry and it was close to lunchtime so I ate lunch. My body and head didn’t recover from that awful feeling for a whole hour! I have always had problems with low blood sugar, along with low blood pressure and lower body temperature. I just like to be on the low side… But really, it’s annoying. I have to eat a lot of salt on a daily basis to keep my blood pressure up where it needs to be or again I feel lightheaded.
-I haven’t lost that much weight, just a few pounds. But I can tell I have lost an inch or two. I didn’t measure myself before because that wasn’t the point of all this, but it’s still interesting to note. It also makes me realize my sugar intake probably wasn’t as awful as I thought. Yes, I scattered eating sugar throughout my day, but I rarely ever gorged on sugar. I might eat one or two cookies mid-morning and maybe a piece or two of Dove chocolate with a granola bar in the afternoon. So this has been pretty eye opening to me.
-My mind is a lot clearer in the mornings since I stopped eating refined sugar. According to the hubby, this is because the brain works on sugar. Sugar is your brain’s food. When you are feeding it sugar at night time before you go to bed, you wake up with what your brain feels is a “deficit” so your mind doesn’t want to work until you give it sugar. Hence the flavored coffee creamer. It was definitely needed. I now know it was the sugar and not the coffee that kicked my brain into gear every morning! Now I wake up with a clear mind and I have no trouble processing thoughts and chatting with everyone who comes into close proximity to me (sorry husband!). But sometimes my body just doesn’t want to wake up so coffee is still a morning tradition.
If you read this far, you deserve a prize. Maybe a cookie, or a doughnut, or a cupcake. Mmmmm… But in all seriousness, I hope you were able to find something to take away from what I have learned so far in my sugar fast. 2 1/2 more weeks and I may celebrate by eating a girl scout cookie that I hope I have successfully hid from my household!