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Halfway+

July 26, 2011

Hey y’all! I’m over half way through this “no added sugars” experiment, and I’m doing pretty well if I do say so myself. I’ve found that it’s not the direct sweets I’m craving (though I certainly can’t wait to have some ice cream!) so much as the incidentals – mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, Miracle Whip. My husband made himself a batch of potato salad using Miracle Whip and it took all of my will power not to eat the entire bucket. 🙂 Fortunately, my ingenious husband whipped up a batch of homemade mayonnaise which consisted primarily of egg and oil. Add that to some boiled potatoes, onions, and celery and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty potato salad. The oil used was olive, which normally lends an awesome flavor to foods but in this case tainted the salad with an odd taste. Oh well, it’s still a great salad and we now know to use a less flavorful oil next time. 🙂

Last Wednesday I did fall victim to sugar’s siren…but I think I had a justifiable reason. I donated blood and they wouldn’t let me leave until I had something to eat or drink. They offered me cookies, juice, and pretzels…I went for the cranberry juice. In retrospect, the pretzels may have contained the least amount of sugar but I was a little woozy when I made that decision. I’m pleased to report that the ingestion of that sugar did not trigger mass sugar binges or any notable physical ailment. If some sugar kept me from passing out I’m okay with it. Being able to donate blood in and of itself is significant. Frequently, I am unable to donate because my iron levels are too low. My doctor did some blood work and was not concerned, this likely just a result of being a smallish, athletic, female…however I do make a concerted effort to eat enough iron and combine it with other nutrients to maximize absorption. Last Wednesday my hemoglobin levels were WELL above the minimum necessary to donate on the first try! I’ve never had iron levels so high! I’m not sure if this is because of my reduced coffee intake (coffee inhibits the absorption of iron),  reduced sugar intake, or increased nutrient consumption, but it’s pretty significant. It could just be a coincidence, but a happy one at that.

Changes I’m seeing: I haven’t had any eating rampages recently. Before, I would periodically have this overwhelming need to eat anything and everything I could get my hands on (maybe two or three times a week). I hesitate to call these “binges” because that’s an overloaded term with strong connotations…but what I was doing certainly was not healthy mentally or physically. I did have an issue one day last week that involved me and a jar of peanut butter (along with some prunes, cashews, cheese…) but that was an incident I believe to be directly related to that joyous time of the month. Since and preceding that incident I have not had any overwhelming urges or desires to stuff my face. I can’t be sure if it’s the no added sugar, the increased will power, reduced stress levels, or something else (darn my sampling size of one!). This result is good. I do fear that by avoiding all sweets I’ll eventually reach a breaking point and gorge myself on them, but that has yet to happen. Though if my dreams mean anything, I could be setting myself up for one heck of a meal. I’ve had several dreams in which I consume vast amounts of forbidden food. The setting changes, I’ve been at a party, at the mall, at a funeral…but the result is the same. I fill up on sugary things and worry that I’ve inadvertently destroyed my experiment. But fortunately, dreams are not reality.

I had a great run last week (before donating blood), but since then there has been a small but noticeable decline in my running. I think this because I have not recovered my blood stores. The last time I donated blood for a full two to three weeks afterwards my runs were sub par. I’m not ready to blame this on my lack of sugar yet.:)

I think the biggest difference I’m seeing is in my mental state (I’ve lost a couple of pounds since the start, but that could easily be within my normal weight variation). Not battling the guilt which comes after having a daily hot chocolate is refreshing. Not that a hot chocolate now and again bad, but my compulsive desire to drink it made me feel powerless. Controlling and choosing what I eat is rather liberating.  I just hope the pendulum doesn’t swing the other direction when I have to moderate my intake further for Paleo. I’m very concerned about the amount of planning and preparation involved to make that work, as well as the effect of NO GRAINS and NO DAIRY will have on me. No peanut butter is going to be killer too, but at least other nut butters will make up for that. Fortunately, my husband has agreed to work with me to make this happen, so having him on my side will help. I plan on taking it week by week and allowing myself to bail if things get too difficult. I willing to make sacrifices for this experiment, but there does come a time when tinkering with my diet does more harm than good.

Tonight I’m celebrating my anniversary with my husband at an Italian restaurant. I’m sure added sugar will sneak into my meal somewhere (likely in the sauces), but I’m not going to worry about it. As long as I avoid overtly sugared drinks and desserts, I’m going to consider it a success. Though it is going to be difficult to pass on that tiramisu…

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