13 days ago I said my challenge this month was to eliminate sugar from my diet. Okay, it’s been 13 days and I now realize this behavior change is not easy for me. Ever since I made the challenge all I’ve been thinking about is sweet, sugary things. I’ve had peppermint gelato, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, cookies, white chocolate mocha’s, chocolate candy, and buttery rich gluten free shortbread. I need to get to the bottom of my sugar behavior in order to change this action. On Friday, January 10th was my first day without sugar.
In the book Who Switched Off My Brain? by Dr. Caroline Leaf, I’ve learned that my behavior is fueled by my thoughts which are fueled by my beliefs. So I’ve decided to change my beliefs about why I think I need sugar. Yes, I know that sugar is bad for me in so many ways. I also know that I can do this because I’ve done it before. I’ve lived without sugar for six years once. I did fine; I stayed at my optimum weight with no problems. So what’s holding me back now? Why am I having so much difficulty eliminating sugar from my diet?
I think I’m using sugar as a comfort food right now. While I’m trying desperately to let go of some emotional struggles I’m going through, I turn to sugar, aka chocolate as my comfort. Today, I wrote down some of the reasons why I’m quite attached to this sweet ingredient and was pleasantly surprised at what I found out about myself.
Here are a few of them
- I’m only 50, my grandmother didn’t get type 2 diabetes until she was 71.
- No diabetes here.
- I don’t do this all the time.
- Once a day is not going to hurt me.
- I have one kidney, I don’t want to put any added stress on my body.
- I can eat what I want on the Sabbath.
- I deserve a sweet treat after dinner.
In looking at these and other beliefs I have about sugar, I understand I need to change these beliefs so I can change my sugar behavior. To help me illustrate my new belief with my thoughts and actions, I’ve used the table approach. As I add more positive thoughts and actions that support this new belief I’ll be adding more legs to the table.
My thoughts and actions support this new belief and help my new belief stay balanced.
With each new belief I am moving away from the grip that sugar had on my life. I am also moving forward in my quest to live a healthy and happy life. Changing my beliefs about certain areas in my life is a constant motion in moving forward.
If we stagnantly stand in the same place, we never grow and we never achieve a new level of wellness.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to join my husband at his doctor visit. I didn’t know the day was going to turn out as it did, but I am so glad I went to this visit. My husband and I don’t live in the doctor’s office. We don’t run to the doctor for every little ache and pain. But with all our friends having heart issues and different procedures to improve their quality of life, we thought it was a wise decision for my husband to have a complete physical.
Normally going into the doctor would stress my husband out to the extreme. This visit was totally different. My husband was his new normal self, more happy-go-lucky then ever before, so much so, I wondered why I went with him. Normally I am with him to help him calm down. This time I was just there for support.
He came out of his doctor appointment excited to be going to have his lab work done. I stepped back and kept wondering where the man was that I was used to seeing in the doctor’s office. He’d never been happy to do a blood draw, but this time was just totally different. When we arrived at the lab area, he had to take a number and press the door bell so staff knew he was waiting. He pressed the button, and we went over how not to feel the needle for the blood draw. Something I was taught many years ago from a nurse practitioner who helped me with this technique. Inhale as the needle is going into our vein, breathe normally as the blood is being drawn. Exhale when the needle is being pulled out. This little technique makes the needle a part of us when we inhale, and we expel it as we exhale.
When the door opened and the phlebotomist called my husband’s number he yelled, “BINGO!” He helped everyone be more at ease. Mental health is so connected with our physical health that the two cannot be separated. Laughter is an intrinsic part of our wellness and total health. Laughter helps strengthens our heart and our relationships. It lowers our blood pressure and improves our breathing. Laughing helps us lose weight and increases our capacity to sleep. It reduces our pain level, and it decreases stress.
I love my husband’s new outlook on life. Laughter is a big part of our life that I never want to let go of. Laughter gives my mind a break and it will give yours a break as well. My Bingo man has taught me that life is too short not to laugh.
In March of 2005 I had my right kidney removed because it was filled with scar tissue and ceased from doing it’s job. I was told to drink at least 96 ounces of water a day for the rest of my life. Tracking my water intake is a very serious issue for me. Since that time, I fluctuate between very little water to over 100 ounces a day of liquid. I think in the winter I drink less straight water and more hot herbal teas because drinking water makes me colder.
I start everyday out with a 20 ounce cup of hot lemon water. When I do drink my water it is from a 32 ounce water bottle and I try to have one in the morning and one with lunch. At night I will drink about 20 ounces of herbal tea with a dab of honey. Throughout these last nine years I’ve had many different ways of keeping track of my water intake. I’ve used hash tags and check marks on paper or excel spreadsheet. Both of which did not help. The one thing that did help was to use a calendar. Since I work out home, and don’t have a cell phone (I know I’m the only person on earth that doesn’t have a cell phone), I use my calendar and put on little squares. Each square represented 12 ounces. After I drink 12 ounces worth of water and herbal teas or my lemon water, I shade in a square.
As I go through my day I finish coloring in the squares. As you can see there are nine in the photo above. That would make for 108 ounces of liquid a day.
Something to be aware of is that when I drink coffee I will drink more water. I try to match ounce-for-ounce water and coffee, because for each cup of coffee you drink the caffeine eats away a cup of fluid from your body. So if I drink an 16-ounce cup of coffee I will drink an extra 16-ounce cup of water. This also includes black tea.
Tracking my water intake this way works for me, but I’m sure there are other ways of doing it that are probably easier for you. Please leave me a comment and let me know what your favorites are.