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Monday, February 22, 2010

Recap of sugarless week

I wrote a recap of my "sugarless" week as my column for the newspaper this week. Just thought I'd share.

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Our kids are sweet enough without adding sugar

Two weeks ago, I was a real mess. All week, I was tired, lethargic, headachey and just kind of felt like I had a foggy brain. I kept waiting for whatever I was coming down with to strike, but it didn’t. In the meantime, I was constantly rummaging about in the cupboard, stuffing sugary things into my face for energy. After a while, I’d find myself in the cupboard again, looking for more.

Then, one afternoon I was driving with the boys and I was literally slapping myself in the face to stay awake. I felt like I was moving through warm water, I was so drowsy. I got us home and, guess what… rummaged through the cupboard for a pick-me-up.

That’s when it hit me. I was so obviously addicted to sugar, and I was in a downward spiral of sugar rushes and the subsequent crashes that got worse each time.

I knew what I needed to do, and it wasn’t going to be fun. I needed to kick sugar.

So, I kind of tried to cut down a little over the weekend, but I still had plenty of sugar. First thing Monday morning, though, it was ON.

I tend to start my days with homemade café mochas made from half-caff coffee, some cocoa mix and skim milk. Right out of the gate, I’m flooding my body with sugar. It would continue with my bowl of oatmeal, to which I would add a heaping spoonful of sugar. By 10 a.m. daily, I am looking around in that pantry for more. I even have gone so far as to drink straight out of the maple syrup jug.

So, of course, I felt like something was missing on Monday morning. My coffee wasn’t nearly as enjoyable without the cocoa in it, but I was determined to see where the experiment took me. We planned a trip to a children’s museum that day, and I dutifully packed my lunch. The only added sugar I decided to allow myself was in one OIKOS honey- or fruit-on-the-bottom Greek yogurt daily (I can not STAND plain yogurt, and adding my own fruit or whatever just isn’t the same) and also the Skippy Natural peanut butter I buy has 3 grams per serving.

By 10 a.m. all I could think about was sugar. My body was screaming that it was hungry, even though it had been fed. It wanted the sweet stuff. I resisted.
Truth be told, it was a tough week. Particularly Tuesday, which started when I went for a morning run and smelled the donuts and Paczkis from Max’s Bakery. That day I was also bombarded by the return of the Shamrock Shake, Girl Scout Cookie peddlers and Easter candy. I LOVE Easter candy!

By Wednesday, though, I realized I hadn’t had a headache all week. I was still craving sugar, but the cravings were a lot easier to handle. I felt mentally a LOT sharper than I had the previous week. I knew I had done the right thing.

I made it from Monday morning to Friday night and aside from the yogurt and peanut butter, the only added sugar I consumed was a quarter of a graham cracker and one Pez candy, both of which I unintentionally popped into my mouth when giving them to the kids.

I ended my sugar experiment by enjoying a beer with my Friday night fish-fry carry-out meal from Bishop Kelley (YUM, by the way!) and a couple bites of dessert. I felt satisfied without going overboard.

So, it is obvious that I use sugar like a drug, and get addicted to it easily. Now my plan is to work on being able to enjoy occasional treats, like my café mocha, without going completely overboard on the sweet stuff.

And there’s another thing. TWO things, actually. Well, really THREE. My family.

I’ve heard countless women say they have trouble dieting because of the junk food they keep around for their kids (or husbands).
Well, you’re probably not going to like this, but I have to ask. WHY do they have to have junk food? It isn’t any better for them than it is for us!

My sugar experiment led me to realize how bad this stuff can be for us if we overdo it like I was. I read somewhere online that an average adult eats more than a half a cup of added sugar a day. 153 POUNDS a year. That’s a lot! Especially if it’s going to give us headaches and brain fog and obesity and hyperactivity, etc.

It will be an ongoing battle, but I plan to drastically reduce the amount of sugar we eat at our house. Hubby wants to tackle sodium, too.

Take a look at the labels on the foods you eat every day. Check to see how much sugar is added to your cereal, yogurt, ketchup and peanut butter. Now check the sodium amounts. Chances are, there’s plenty of room for improvement, and I urge you to give it a try, for your health and for that of your loved ones.

Anyway, your kids are sweet enough aren’t they? Why add sugar?

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As I was reading my blogs this morning, I came across this post. I think Sheryl makes a lot of great points about eating real food vs. fake food. Check it out!

4 comments:

Kathleen said...

Isn't Sheryl inspirational? I love her blog. I too am in the process of giving up artificial sweetener and have done well this week. I use it in my hot tea and oatmeal and a lot of diet coke. At this point I am not giving up the diet coke, will do that gradually. I bought Agave nectar for sweetener and not having a real love relationship with it so hopefully I will give that up too. So last night I had a WW yogurt and WOW, it was sweet! I plan to switch to the Greek Yogurt but will eat the few WW I have. I hope it's Better Late Than Never giving up the sweetener because I have used it for years!! I have also rejoined WW as a lifetime member but was 15 lbs over goal weight. Quit smoking in December, 2008, and blame it on that. Well, have to blame the gain on something, right???

Krista said...

I saw a TV clip talking about how to avoid eating your kids' crap food. I wanted to say to them 'WHY do you let your kids eat crap if it's something YOU shouldn't be eating?' I totally don't understand that concept at all either!

*Bitch Cakes* said...

Krystal, I am so proud of you for realizing the source of the problem and taking such a great step towards controlling it. And great point about why keep it in the house at all - it's not good for our families either (all that junk food). Kudos!!

Nathalie said...

I really enjoyed this post! :) I had the same kind of aha moment when I had what would have previously been a typical fast food meal this past thursday. I wasn't hungry, but I couldn't believe the sugar crash I was having. It was absolutely surreal, and I think we're quitting fast food after that. :)