Workout of the Day for Wednesday 03/03/10
3 rounds of:
21 Box Jump
When a guy at my gym announced he was attempting to go without sugar for one month, I was curious. Curious as to, “Why anyone would want to do that!?!?” but I was in no way interested in participating.
However, the next day, the idea popped up again and lingered. After asking a few questions and getting a loose idea of the concept, I privately reconsidered. Could I actually do this? Maybe I could.
My “No-Sugar” Challenge
For one month, I would refrain from adding sugar to anything. “Sugar” includes white sugar, brown sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup, Stevia™, Spelnda™, Equal™ or any other sugar substitute. As well as refrain from eating obviously sugar laden foods, like cookies, candy, donuts, BBQ sauce, ketchup, soda, vanilla lattes, jelly or jam. Thankfully February is the shortest month of the year!
Week One: Not Too Bad
I usually have a little chocolate after dinner or a cup of tea with honey, but these things were easy to avoid if I went to bed earlier. I also realized these late night indulgences were more of a habit than anything else. I managed to eat well during the Super Bowl and even skipped my husband’s famous, homemade chocolate chip cookies. OK, fine. I wrapped a few cookies and put them in the freezer, but I haven’t eaten them. Freezing the cookies made me feel like I hadn’t missed out.
Highlights: I avoided the Super Bowl Binge.
Lowlights: I had a hard time adjusting my nightly snacking habits and going to bed earlier.
Week Two: Much Harder Than I Expected
I had forgotten about Valentine’s Day and the unavoidable candy frenzy. My Valentine’s project for my husband even included a heart-shaped box of chocolates! What was I thinking?! I felt like candy was everywhere. I almost stumbled when my daughter came home from school with a sack full of cards, candy and cookies. But we kept to our holiday routine; she handed over the loot, we picked out a few items for her to keep and the rest we threw away. After two weeks of hard work, it was going to take something spectacular to sway me, like a slice of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake™, not a box of hot pink Nerds™.
Highlights: I survived Valentine’s Day without a hitch.
Lowlights: I have been reading labels more carefully and I am continually surprised to find added sugar in foods I wasn’t aware contained sugar.
Week Three: Portion Control
Since I wasn’t eating sugar, I felt I was allowed larger portions at breakfast, lunch and dinner. This wouldn’t be bad, if I had been eating a ton of sugar before. However, the treats I’d given up were in no way equal to the larger portions I was consuming. I knew I was eating more because I felt deprived, so I allowed myself to eat heartily for a few days without guilt. I also discovered mandarins were in season and bought a five pound box. These were the sweetest mandarins I had ever eaten and they helped satisfy my sweet tooth. Which got me thinking, were these mandarins really super sweet or had cutting out processed sugar reset my taste buds?
Highlights: Even an army of Girl Scouts with their evil cookies couldn’t derail me and I’d lost six pounds!
Lowlights: Can a person overdose on mandarins? The last week of the quarter was coming at work and I was scared.
Week Four: Quarter End
I have never been so happy about budget cuts! With the down turn in the economy, our quarter ends were no longer the snack food free-for-all they used to be. We used to have five pound bags of M&M’s™, giant bins of brownie bites, huge tubs of licorice and sugary granola bars galore. This year things were toned way down. I also made sure to bring my own snacks; keep hydrated and not let myself get too hungry. At midnight on February 28th, 2010, the quarter was over and so was my “no-sugar” challenge. I had made it all month long without sugar.
Highlights: I am the ruler of my diet destiny!
Lowlights: Now what?
After a month without it, will I reintroduce sugar into my diet? Yes, I will.
While I know sugar is not necessary to survive or thrive, in moderation certain sugars (like honey) increase my enjoyment of the food I eat. I mean, have you ever tried to prepare a nice honey Dijon salad dressing without the honey? ICK! And what fun is eating, even healthy eating, if you do not enjoy the taste of your food?
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I completed this challenge. It was an eye-opening experience for me on levels both dietary and personal. If I had to sum up what I learned with a quote, this quote by Mark Twain would do the job best: “All things in moderation, including moderation.” Moderation…what a novel concept!?
So, even if my story doesn’t prompt you to start a “no-sugar” challenge of your own, I hope it encourages you to take a closer look at the amount of sugar you eat every day. You may be surprised. Now please excuse me, I have a hot date with some frozen chocolate chip cookies.