One of the things I love about teaching behavior change in groups each week is that the personal stories of challenge and triumph create such a rich experience for everyone present. We learn through story. We connect to others with compassion and empathy when we hear their stories. And, we can see ourselves in the stories too.
To bring a bit of that richness to you this week, my friend Carmen shares her honest story of struggle and triumph in breaking free from refined sugar. She shares her motivation, experience, struggle with hormone imbalance, and how she successfully managed 30 days without refined sugar even while baking cakes and attending parties!
I wanted to try to get refined sugar out of my diet for 30 days, because I was recently "diagnosed" as menopausal (43 years old). I had been very emotional and stressed over little things. After I discovered I was menopausal, I got a little unnerved. I had put on about 15 lbs in the last year, which is very unlike me. Until now, I had managed to keep my weight relatively the same within a few pounds for the last 10 years or so. I was really frustrated with the sudden weight gain and the inability to lose it.
I did not have control of my hormones or emotions but I could try to have some with my diet. I was too fatigued to exercise! I love to exercise. I always have. I could go for a five mile walk and feel great. Now, I can't get the energy to walk a mile. I just felt like things were a little out of control. I was inspired by a Facebook friend that declared her household sugar free, I thought, I can do that too, especially with my daughter out of town for Spring Break. That made cabinet purging a little easier since I had no resistance to the idea. My husband doesn't have a sweet tooth and can pass up almost all of the goodies.
My motivation was if other people were willing to try, why not me? I am VERY competitive and maybe I saw it as a challenge. I am not good at challenging myself but if others lead me into something, I am more motivated. I decided that all processed sugars were out of the house. I did eat bread but only whole grain organic with no fructose or sweeteners added. I did have fruits. They were lifesavers throughout this process.
My best breakfast was unsweetened almond milk, two strawberries and five raspberries in a smoothie. I did consume artificial sweeteners in diet soda (one per day). I felt that it satisfied my urges a little better with than without. I did try without and it was so hard I was afraid I would blow the whole thing. I chose my battles on this one. I know…I know , Diet Coke will kill us all! But considering what I wasn't eating instead, this was better for me. I have heard that artificial sweeteners make you crave more sweets. I found this to be the opposite during the month. With processed sugars in my diet, I did crave sweets more.
The most challenging part of the month was about two and a half weeks into it. I was still having cravings, which I had hoped would subside by then. This is also when the family birthday parties take place. WE had four in two weeks! I bake as my hobby and I am usually asked to make the cake or dessert. Not once did I lick a spoon, beater or even have a taste of what I made. I heard everything was delicious.
The next biggest challenge for me was keeping portion control on all of the other foods trying to replace those cravings for sugary goodness. I thought, there is no sugar in this so I can have more. I am hypoglycemic as is my daughter. Since this month without sugars, I have had no episodes of my levels dropping! I was surprised because I thought the loss of sugars would affect this greatly [making it worse].
This was not the case before. I know I would have to be mindful of snacks and the timing of such so I didn't get shaky, or light headed. Bananas were always in my house. If I craved something tasty, I would eat a banana. No more than two a day. Sometimes just the one. I know they are a sugary fruit, but they’re not processed. A banana is always a better choice than cookies!
Unfortunately, I did not lose any weight. I feel like my stomach is less bloated now, I drink more water than before which is good for me, and I do feel a bit calmer with my emotions. Except tonight (day 29) after my work out class I came home to the smell of freshly baked chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chip fudge frosting on the counter. My daughter "just felt like making cupcakes!” I did not even lick one!
I have to say with one more day to go, I feel like I will make better choices from this point on. I really feel like the fatigue was worse this month than the month before. I think my body was really adjusting to the changes hard. I have truly never been so tired as I was this month. Tomorrow is my thirtieth day!
I feel more normal this week than I have in awhile. Sleep wasn't different; energy was depleted for the first three and a half weeks. It was horrible. I have planned to add some sugars back into my life but very little and only for a special occasion. _______________________________________________________________ Carmen "I'm a baker, not a writer" Housh - thank you for sharing your story with Junk Food Rehab! You did an amazing job with your 30 day commitment. Resisting those delectable sounding cupcakes goes to show that even when it's hard, there is a way... Did you know the average American eats more than 500 calories of refined sugar each day? If you're ready to break the sugar habit, it's not too late to join Junk Food Rehab's Sugar Free 14 Day Challenge. Grab your free Step by Step Guide, and join the private Facebook group today!
|FREE Step by Step Guide to the Sugar Free 14|