My Sugar Behavior

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

  1.  I’m only 50, my grandmother didn’t get type 2 diabetes until she was 71.
  2.  No diabetes here.
  3.  I don’t do this all the time.
  4.  Once a day is not going to hurt me.
  5.  I have one kidney, I don’t want to put any added stress on my body.
  6.  I can eat what I want on the Sabbath.
  7. 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.

Life is sweeter without sugar

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.

PREPARATION IS THE KEY

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said it correctly: “Fundamental preparation is always effective. Work on those parts of your game that are fundamentally weak.”

I am fundamentally weak when my hunger hits and I will tear into anything that is A.) sweet, B.) chocolaty, or C.) salty & crunchy. Sweet and chocolate has always been my snack of choice. But recently I’ve been more prepared for when the Snack Attacks hit me so I am grabbing a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit.

snacks

The idea to combat the snack attacks is to eat every 3 hours. Working at home is difficult to say the least because I am always alone with all the food in my fridge and pantry. Here are some steps I’ve learned in being prepared for weight loss success

  1. Don’t buy processed snack food =  If it isn’t in the house you won’t eat it.
  2. Replace the processed snack food with nuts: My favorites are raw, unsalted almonds. But I also have raw unsalted walnuts, sun flower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in my freezer.
  3. Make up a batch of almond butter stuffed celery, or cottage cheese stuffed celery (if you can have dairy.)
  4. Keep a supply of sugar free dried fruit like dates or figs on hand for when your sweet tooth takes over. Yes, it is carbs but you are also getting some much needed fiber. Just one is all you’ll need.
  5. If you are a baker, like I am, replace 1/2 cup of the flour with whey protein, skip the sugar and use half the amount of thawed, unsweetened apple juice concentrate.

Being prepared is half the battle in winning at weight loss. The more prepared you are throughout the process the better you’ll feel because you won’t be reaching for anything and everything.

CHALLENGE STILL ON

So it has come to my attention that I will probably not be meeting my 18-pound weight loss challenge this month.

Lessons Leaned

What I have gained is knowing that while I did not meet the challenge, I’ve lost 10 pounds and dropped two dress sizes. I’ve found that I still love working out out with weights, and would rather lift than run any day.  I’ve also realized that while bread doesn’t call my name, I would rather just eat some of my flat-bread made from whole grain spelt flour, salt, and water, omitting the oil.  I will forever be tied to sugar in the form of fruit. Apples are my favorite but berries are a close second. So when I am tempted by eating an entire tray of cookies, I can opt for the fruit and my sugar cravings are satisfied. I’ve also learned that I can control my chocolate cravings by drinking my favorite tea: Guayaki’s Mate Chocolatte.

This challenge has taught me that I needed to make these changes for myself, not for a special occasion, a holiday, or for anyone else. I need to do this for me. It’s my choices everyday that make me who I am.

7 Days left in the challenge: Losing 4 more pounds.

DAYS 3 & 4: 18 LB WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE (WLC)

Day 3:

Had a stressful day…had to kill a brown recluse spider which was making a web on door jamb of my front door…(I DETEST spiders). Had an interview too. Stress causes weight gain, I am well aware of that. So after the spider incident, I went for a walk in the beautiful sunshine. The interview went well but as usual I won’t find out for a couple of days. I hate the not knowing part.  Another interesting part of the day came when my husband treated me to dinner out. I thought to myself all the things I could order at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Moctezuma’s. I actually stunned myself because I ate none of the chips, drank only water, and ordered a nice Avocado Caesar Salad with a grilled chicken breast and dressing on the side. It was wonderful, I felt satisfied. Plus normally when dessert is mentioned, I am all over it. I wasn’t last night. Dessert was not even on my mind.

Day 4:

Must grocery shop today, this will be a challenge all in itself, because in order to hit the healthy areas of the store, I first have to walk through the bakery section. I will have to focus a little deeper and not go there hungry. I already have a list, that won’t be a problem. But since I am loving this new feeling of being lighter, I will have to remind myself that I’ve tasted all the sugar before and nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

A couple of days ago I was watching a PBS presentation by Brenda Watson Heart of Perfect Health I learned a new formula for calculating how many teaspoons of sugar are in a serving of food. Because let’s face it, it’s easier to visualize what a teaspoon of sugar looks like than a gram of it. Total carb grams (-) total fiber grams (/) divided by 5.

Teaspoons of Sugar

It’s simple. Now I’ve been calculating how many teaspoons of sugar are in each of the food items I have on my pantry shelves that have a label on them. I rarely buy anything that comes in a can, jar, or box, preferring to make it myself. So I am also checking recipes to find out exactly how many teaspoons of sugar each contain and trying to find ways to lower those teaspoons to only 1 or 2.

Making Healthy Choices

The premise of this blog is to help others realize the choices we make today will reflect in our wellness tomorrow. We don’t always get it right 100% of the time and we all need a little helping hand. To that end, I am reconvicting myself to providing useful tools that will inspire, provoke conversation, and thought reflection of our choices. Our health hangs in the balances of the choices we make every day.

This is my favorite quotation. It hangs on the wall of my bathroom and on my refrigerator door, so I can see it every day as a reminder of the kinds of choices I want to be making to ensure my wellness tomorrow.  “As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself.” Adelle Davis.

My favorite quote

Each day we are given the same life choices; we can either produce disease or build health. This blog is here to help us see the many choices we can make; we don’t have to follow a set plan unless we choose to. But we can live outside the box and build better health for today and tomorrow.

If our tomorrows reflect those health choices we make today, what will our tomorrow reflect?

Today’s healthy choice

Stop the sugar cravings, by cutting out anything that has sugar added to it. Choose fresh fruit, organic if possible, when your sugar cravings hit. Our bodies recognize the sugar in fruit (fructose). It is the fiber in the fruit helps us digest that sugar. Fructose without the fiber can be dangerous. Steer clear of artificial sweeteners; They cause more harm than they are worth.  Here is a list of my favorite sweet fruits that I also use as a substitute for sugar in baking.

For baking and eating

  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Berries (straw, blue, rasp, boysen, huckle, etc)
  • Cherries
  • Pears

For eating

  • Melons (water, honeydew, musk, cantaloupe, etc)
  • Grapes (only organic)
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Kiwis
  • Pomegranates

Homemade Vitamin Water

Vitamin Water Ingredients

After doing research on High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), I found that crystalline fructose is just the dried version of HFCS. So when I was drinking my vitamin waters I was getting 100% fructose, which is why I felt lousy all the time. While I liked the flavor of these beverages, I knew I could make my own version and still have it taste good, and be filled with vitamins instead of synthetic look-a-likes.

Putting on the Squeeze

I started making this for my 32 ounce water bottle, it includes the juice of one lemon, alkaline water, 1/4 teaspoon liquid cinnamon bark, 1 mL B-complex vitamins, and a packet of stevia. I shook it up and drink it throughout the day for a nice pick-me-up. I have played around with other flavors but really like this one the best.

Vitamin Water with Attitude

Drinking this water will give you a better attitude because it has vitamins and nutrients, plus the cinnamon is great for curbing sugar cravings.

Vitamin Water with Attitude

  • 32 ounces alkaline or filtered water
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid cinnamon bark
  • 1 mL sublingual vitamin B complex
  • 1 packet stevia sweetener

Shake it all together. store in fridge until ready to drink.

Variations: Use other fruit in place of the lemon like: pureed plum, kiwi, mango, melon, berries, oranges, even banana works. Adding extra powdered vitamin C, a liquid mineral complex, and even a cap full of liquid vitamins (although the flavor may need adjusting.

Don’t be fooled by impostors that sell vitamins in a water filled with chemicals, HFCS and food coloring.