I made it to Thursday, y’all. Okay, I know you made it, too. We all did, and we should be proud of that. Because some weeks feel like this. This week was particularly turtle-ish, though, because I decided to do something I’ve never done. I gave up refined and added sugars for 3 full days. I mostly survived (if you can call it that) on vegetables and eggs and tofu and a few other things for those three days. My sugar intake for three days combined was less than my average on a “healthy day” previously.
And although it felt like hell (the carbo-flu is real), I’m glad I did it. I’ve been reading a lot lately about nutrition and dieting and sugar and fat and carbs and all those things that get really confusing. One day, we shouldn’t eat fat or chocolate or drink coffee. The next day, we’re not eating/drinking enough of any of those! And for someone who struggles with weight, it is especially confusing to navigate what I should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s frustrating to eat healthy and exercise well and still feel like you’re getting nowhere.
After being engrossed by several books, The Case Against Sugar being one of them, I decided to make some changes. And those changes started with a self-imposed 3 day ban on just about all sugar. I roughly followed the plan in The Sugar Detox. I know myself, and I know that I am not a “just a little taste” kind of person. If I want to make changes, some of them do need to be dramatic, at least for now. I have to go cold turkey before I can work myself up to being able to enjoy “just a little taste.”
So here we are. If anyone is interested, I can list out what I ate these three days, but I won’t bore you for now. Mostly, it was tough at night. I found myself daydreaming of apples and clementines and donuts by Tuesday night, and so I had a little cottage cheese. Dairy wasn’t on the plan, but it felt like the lesser of all “cheats,” since protein is critical for me as a vegetarian. Surprisingly, it did the trick, and I felt extremely satisfied afterward.
Out of curiosity, I weighed myself this morning. I was down 6 lbs. from Monday morning. I attribute this to a couple of things:
1. I have always been someone to retain a lot of water weight
2. Monday was the day after a holiday weekend with family and indulging in things I don’t normally have (I now realize I added an extra barrier for myself, because…leftover Easter candy), so the poundage was probably up from that
Still, I have to assume that sugar keeps me holding onto all of these icky things in my body. And the less I can have of it, the better off I’ll be. Health issues run in my family, and many of those issues have been researched and correlated with sugar consumption.
Am I saying I think everyone can/should do this kind of thing? No, not at all. Will it work for me? Jury is still out. But I do know I have already been surprised by the amount of sugar I was consuming and how often I was doing it, just after noticing my habits these past three days. It’s easy to lick the knife with leftover jelly when I’m making LJ’s PB&J sandwich. Grabbing a handful of chocolate covered peanuts in the breakroom doesn’t feel monumental. However, these things add up over time.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp of sugar a day for women, 9 tsp for men, and 3 tsp for children.
The average adult eats 22 tsp of sugar per day. That’s 2.5-3.5 times more than is recommended. Scary. Here’s an infographic if you’re looking for even more scary.
I’m ready to bring my average way down. These three days have proven I can do it, even when it’s not fun. Today, I already feel less hungry and “snacky,” and I want to keep that going. Even if I don’t have some sort of weight loss breakthrough, I am fairly certain I’ll still feel better, mentally and physically.
But again, the jury is still out. Expect to hear more in the days/weeks/months to come. It’s a new world I’m navigating, and I’m sure I’ll continue to have many thoughts and challenges with it. And don’t worry. I’m not giving up donuts forever. I would never punish myself like that.