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No Sugar Wrap-up

August 5, 2011

Woot! I’ve done it, four weeks without added sugar. I’m sure some has snuck into my diet somewhere (I’m looking at you, Maggiano’s dinner and Red Pepper Pizza) but for the most part I’ve done a great job at eliminating extra sugar from my diet. Here are my thoughts on the past month:

Difficulty to maintain: To be completely honest, avoiding added sugars was easier than I thought once extreme temptations were removed and I got into a rhythm. It became a habit for me; desserts were simply not an option. I was concerned that by not allowing myself to have any sugar, my mind/body/stomach would rebel and make me crave it. I figured the cravings would be too intense for me to resist, but they were never really that bad (especially after the first week or so). There were a few moments where I experienced cravings, but they were relatively easy to dismiss. I do think I compensated by eating more fats (especially nuts!) and dried fruit, so I wasn’t lacking in calories or nutrients. There was a point where I probably would have committed murder for some potato salad, but fortunately some homemade mayo from my husband enabled me to consume it. The only things I really missed (aside from Miracle Whip…) were the occasional special treat (such as dessert from a restaurant) that I know I can’t reproduce at home. I’m guessing that long-term it would be more frustrating to avoid all sweets, but during this relatively dull period in my life it was fairly easy.

Weight: I believe my weight was down around 3 pounds from the beginning at the official end of my no-sugar experiment (I’ll need to check my logs). I’m not sure if that’s statistically significantly, but mentally it sure feels better than a gain. Rock on. ^_^ I should probably take measurements on the rest of my body, but I just can’t image them being significant even if I lost 3 lbs. of pure fat which is highly unlikely…

Exercise: My running was still a bit sluggish on Friday (when I run with some speedy friends!) but I felt strong and comfortable for my 11 mile long run on Sunday. I think I’ve officially recovered from my blood donation. This week is a cut back week in my training (have I mentioned that I’m training for a half-marathon at that beginning of Septemeber which will segue into marathon training through November? No? Well now I have. :)) so I can’t really say much about running this week, other than it hasn’t been terrible. Weight lifting has been going well. I do track my weights and I didn’t see have huge gains (not that I would have expected to), but I certainly haven’t regressed. I’m still able to do three consecutive chin-ups (barely).

Energy levels: I haven’t noticed any change in my energy levels, I’m still slowly racking up sleep debt though which leaves me fairly tired at the end of the week and at the end of the day. My husband likes to joke that any time I’m slow or tired it’s because of the “lack of sugar”, but I know that the amount of sleep I get has a much great affect on this.

Mental state: My over-consumption of food on a regular basis has decreased SIGNIFICANTLY. Normally, once or twice a week I would come home and not be able to eat dinner with my husband because I was too full from snacking at work. It’s not so much the added calories that bothered me, but the lack of control involved. I didn’t CHOOSE to eat my dinner in candy and snacks from the office at the expense of a real meal at home, it just kind of happened. Stress and hunger overwhelmed me to the point where I felt compelled to eat. There have certainly been a few nights of too many spoonfuls in the peanut butter jar, too many handful of nuts, and too many bites of dried fruits, etc. but overall not so bad. This could be a result of the excellent willpower I’ve been able to maintain in my eating, lack of non-sugared options at work, more satisfying fat/protein in my diet in lieu of sugar, or sugar cravings not being triggered any more. I’m guessing it’s a combination of all of the above. I also think that given enough time I might regress to my former stress-eating self. I’m rather afraid what will happen when I return to my regular style of eating. I don’t want to maintain this forever (I would really hate to miss out on birthday cake with my husband :)) but I am enjoying the control I have over my diet. Fortunately, I have approximately 4 more weeks until I need to worry about that.

…speaking of which, I started Paleo yesterday. Which is interesting. All two days of it. But that’s another post for another time. 🙂

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