I have a weakness, and it’s sugar. I’m sure you have heard the saying “A key to a man’s heart is thru his stomach”. Well, it’s not just men. I’m a sucker for cookies and ice cream primarily, but I rarely pass up anything sweet. The irony is that five years ago I couldn’t stand the sight or smell of chocolate or anything relatively “sweet.” Oh how the times have changed.
I can go thru the typical work week without consuming much sugar. In fact, I didn’t really have it except for a piece or two of dark chocolate every other day. Bring on Friday afternoon, and it was a whole different ball game. Like I said, cookies, I’d go thru a package of Chips A Hoy’s in a weekend and I don’t even like the things, but some chemical in them makes you want them like it’s crack or something. Ice cream too… Even though I’ll go with the no sugar added, low fat, Edy’s; it doesn’t really help when I eat the whole carton in 48 hours. My justification: “It’s still less calories than a DQ Blizzard!” (don’t get me started on those). My plan B to any type of hunger on the weekends has always been sugar. I’ve been so lucky that I workout and eat so well during that week that it offsets any damage, however it also keeps me from moving forward.
The last straw was Valentines Day weekend. I hadn’t been sleeping well, and I had been eating M&M’s (and I don’t like M&M’s!) and chocolate chip cookies and then my mom brought down a dozen of her homemade sugar cookies with frosting on them. My mom is like Paula Deen of the baking world. She makes immaculate pies, cakes, cookies, but she uses all the “real” ingredients. She laughs when I ask if she used Splenda. Anyways, she brought down a dozen cookies Saturday and by Sunday night, 10 of them were gone. I had the worst stomach ache that felt sugar coated and I knew right then and there that the sugar had to go. I froze the other two cookies and began to plan a challenge for myself. 14 days with no sugar….
Ok, when I say no sugar there are a few guidelines. I still get to eat fresh fruit, honey, stevia, and I allowed myself Splenda. I wanted to get rid of anything with the word “high fructose syrup,” “corn syrup,” and for the most part white sugar in general. The only time I could have sugar was in my post workout chocolate milk, and that was only 1-2x a week. Otherwise, nada, zero. 14 days, no problem, right?
Well, today is day 14 and I have accomplished my mission. I have come to realize that anything processed more than likely has sugar in it, and I’m sure that I ate something accidently with sugar in it, but from what I know, I did very well. And with the temptations of pictures of candy bars and doughnuts, sent by my sister, I still veered away from it. And it was a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.
1. Around 3-4pm, I started to get sluggish and I needed a “sugar fix”. This would lead to mild crankiness. Thankfully, apples helped tremendously.
2. I started sleeping sounder throughout the night. I generally fell right to sleep and I didn’t move all night. I woke up earlier and more refreshed than I had been.
3. Clothes. Even though the scale didn’t move all too much, my clothes felt much looser on me, especially in my midsection.
4. Discipline. I purposely left individual packages of Chips a Hoy cookies and candy in my pantry and freezer at home just to teach me that just because it’s there doesn’t mean I need to eat it. They have been there for 2 weeks, untouched. That’s some kind of record for me.
When this past Saturday arrived, I was out running errands and a sugar craving hit BIG time. I was about to go pick up my lunch when I was in the store and saw “Sugar free Vanilla wafer cookies”, made with Splenda. No Sugar=Kim friendly!!!! So I bought a package… And I immediately found out that just because it isn’t sugar, but if it tastes like sugar, it’s going to make you want to eat sugar. I ate the whole package, 900 calories in 2 days. And it left me wanting more. They were sooooo good, but it let me know that once I have a taste of “sugar” that it makes me only crave more. Same way when I had a diet soda on Sunday. First off, it tasted horrible, but one drink of it triggered something in me to eat something sweet.
I learned first hand what sugar can do to me, both physically and mentally. Sugar has been my crutch for a while and now I’m learning that it’s empty carbs and I need to choose better foods. (Yes, I have known this for years, but sometimes it’s hard to practice what you preach). I also learned that sugar isn’t a bad thing in moderation and occasionally, however, if you can’t do it in moderation, then it’s just best to stay away from it all. And finally, even though something may be “sugar free”, doesn’t mean that it won’t make you crave sugar, or even food in general, for the rest of the day.
I challenge every reader to try this test for yourself. Do you own analysis and see if it helps your sleeping patterns, energy, whatever it may be. My two weeks ends at midnight, but I’m hoping to continue to keep sugar to a very minimum in my lifestyle. I start a new diet on Wednesday with MP, so who knows, at this point, this no sugar thing could have been a cakewalk compared to what I’m about to take on.
Saint Charles, Missouri