Still Living SUGAR FREE

So it's been a month (32 days but who is counting?) since I made a spur of the moment decision to embark on a 3 day "sugar detox". At the time I committed to 3 days and really didn't know what I would do beyond that.

I am delighted to report that I am now 32 days clean. I say clean because I had to look at this as any other addiction. If I thought of it as a typical diet, I have no doubt I would have fallen off the wagon by now. But an addiction is serious. An recovering alcoholic avoids alcohol for life and doesn't celebrate special occasions or reward themselves with a little drink. That is how I have had to embrace this change and honestly, it hasn't been nearly as hard as I had feared.

First I want to thank all of you who have inspired me to take this step, encouraged me to keep it up and helped me by sharing web-sites, reading materials and tips/tricks. I am fumbling my way through this lifestyle change and learning new things everyday with your help so a huge thank you!

We were just home over Halloween and lots of folks had questions on what I am doing so I thought with this update I would share.

There are lots of resources out there for detoxes, cleanses, good carbs, bad carbs and clean eating just to name a few of the buzz words. I am not really doing any official plan. I read several and am just making this up as I go. I am sure it isn't perfect but I am trying to figure out what foods help fuel my body while not totally sacrificing my soul.

I have basically cut simple carbohydrates out of my diet. I avoid processed sugar is another way to put it. That means no:

  • sugary treats (you know cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, donuts, poptarts...)
  • no bread
  • no pasta
  • no rice (well almost, twice in the last 32 days I have had less than 1/2 cup of rice with a meal)
  • no white potatoes
  • no corn
  • limited dairy (still experimenting with this one)
  • practically no sauces of any kind as most have some form of sugar
  • no alcohol (oh, I did have 1 bloody mary on my visit home during a girls' night out)
Then I read that the body pretty much treats anything sweet as though it was sugar and that led me to cut out:
  •  artificial sweeteners (no diet coke, no sweetened yogurts, no sugar-free labeled items that still taste sweet)
And I realize there are natural sweeteners like honey and agave nectar, but I haven't eaten any of those this month either as I am a bit paranoid to include them at this point.

For the first 3 days, I cut out dairy and fruit all together. Since then I have added in 1-2 servings of fruit a day. I typically go for apples and berries. I also switched back to coffee. Tea with lemon was ok for the 3 day detox, but I am a coffee drinker and I am now able to enjoy a cup with a splash of 1/2 and 1/2 and no sweeteners.

So what does that leave me with:
  • lean meats and fish
  • eggs
  • almost any veggie
  • beans and hummus
  • nuts and natural, no added stuff nut spreads
  • 1-2 servings of fruit
  • I mostly drink water with lemon, a cup of unsweetened coffee a day and occasionally tomato juice if I am really craving something different to drink
The question I get most often is, "Do you feel different?"

This isn't a simple answer:
  • Things taste different. I had an apple that was so sweet I couldn't finish it.
  • I have lost just about 12 lbs so that part feels great and keeps me motivated
  • Pete says my face looks younger (when staring down the barrel of a big milestone who doesn't like to hear that?)
  • But I really don't have more energy or notice any better sleep or anything else
I had really hoped I would have had more weight loss than 12-ish pounds. Don't get me wrong, I am super happy to shed every single pound, but the first 7 came off in the first 8-9 days so I had really high expectations. Then it slowed and even bounced up and down a bit.

I did notice the seatbelt on the airplane had more room and this morning I squeezed in to jeans that had been collecting dust. Not comfortable enough to wear out but buttoned none the less.

I know I should avoid the scale but I really like that it keeps me honest. My next step is to take more steps. This past 32 days I focused on getting my eating habits right. Now I need to get back to the gym. My company has a state of the art (or really nice) facility here on campus free to its employees so I have no excuse not to take advantage of its services.

I also might start tracking what I eat with some sort of food diary. I really don't want to as I am never good about keeping up with them. I am tired of counting calories and so long as the scale is going down do I really have to?


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