Two weeks ago, I found
myself eating a Snicker’s bar for lunch because I was running errands and it
was handy at the store. My parents came to visit and brought my favorite
chocolate cake. So what if I had two large pieces in one day? Isn’t that what
you are supposed to do?
As I found myself having a Snicker’s bar for lunch for
the third time in one week, I realized I had to do something. I had to get a
handle on my sugar habits not only for me, but also for my kids. I was supposed
to set the example. My boys get only a very small amount of sugary treats, but they
still crave them — and not always because they actually know what they taste
like. They see ads on TV, watch their friends eating the stuff and, worst of all, watch me sneak bites and deny them because it is a “mommy treat.”
So I’m biting the bullet. I’m quitting sugar. But I'm not going alone, I'm following the I Quit Sugar program.
If you aren’t familiar with the I Quit Sugar program, there
are a few things you need to know. Sarah Wilson, the brain behind the I Quit
Sugar movement, cut sugar out of her life more than three years ago for medical
reasons. She knew something had caused her autoimmune diseases, and she had
tried a lot of other things to help heal her. Finally, knowing that the culprit
was probably sugar, but not really willing to let it go, she quit sugar. She
found ways to satisfy her sweet tooth will still getting the necessary
nutrients she needed.
I Quit Sugar isn’t really a diet; it is recalibrating your
system to what Wilson refers to as our body’s natural state. We weren’t meant
to eat as much sugar as we do every day. Even 100 years ago we didn’t eat
nearly as much sugar as we do now, let alone in cave man days. There are some Paleo
elements to the program, mainly because Wilson has gluten intolerance, but also
because so many gluten products have sugar in them. Just check the labels on
your bread and pasta boxes. There is sugar in there.
Now, is all sugar bad? No. But in the program, you need to
eliminate it all before you can add things like berries and fruit back into the
mix. You need to break your addiction before you can slowly add back in the
good stuff — in moderation.
Why I am doing it?
I recognize that I have a sugar addiction. I ticked every box on
Wilson’s “Should You Be Quitting” checklist.
"Do you get an energy slip in the afternoon?" Yup!
"Do you need something sweet after meals?" Yup!
"Does your stomach get bloated after meals?" Yup!
"Are you unable to eat just one piece of cake and walk away?" Yup!
"Are you pudgy around the middle, perhaps even slim
everywhere else?" Well, I did have two kids, so who knows, but my middle has
always been an issue.
I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but I also like a bowl of cereal in the morning — and maybe a little late night Honey Nut Cheerios action before bed.
"Do you often feel unclear? That you’re not always sharp and
on-form?" Not sure.
I am not happy with my weight, even though I may look thin
enough to some. After having two boys and eating whatever, whenever I could, I
am still 15 to 20 pounds over my pre-baby weight, back when I was in great shape and
eating well. Unfortunately, I hold all of my extra fat in my stomach. Three
times this year (yes, three) someone has asked me when my baby is due. My
youngest is now almost 3. This is a problem if I still look pregnant. I’ve
started exercising three to four times a week again to get my muscles toned and dance out
the extra fat (thank you Zumba!). I’m curious to see how much cutting sugar out
of my diet will help me kick those last few baby pounds though.
What has me worried?
Naturally I am concerned that I will fail. I’m also
concerned that I may never like to eat cake again after I reset my appetite.
More than all of that though, I’m wondering how I will maintain a healthy
balance in my diet when so many of the recipes and snacks that are supposed to
help curb your sweet tooth are meat, eggs and cheese. This program is packed
with protein to help your body remember that it is full and doesn’t need those
sugary snacks. The only problem with this is that I have high cholesterol.
I am your typical genetics case. My dad has high cholesterol, and I do too. I can control my cholesterol, specifically my triglyceride
levels, with diet and exercise. But I have to be careful of how much meat, eggs
and cheese (my go-to savory cravings) I consume. Why don’t I just switch to
soy? Well, I’ve tried that but I broke out into hives immediately and that
allergy has only gotten worse.
It has been a tricky thing to watch my cholesterol levels in
between each of my boys. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry too much while
pregnant since all those lovely hormones could handle a little extra animal
I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but I also like a bowl of
cereal in the morning — and maybe a little late night Honey Nut Cheerios action
before bed. This will not be an easy eight weeks. I need to continue to work,
raise my boys and thrive despite my loss of hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day.
But I need to do this. I need to see if I can kick my sugar habit. My kids need
me to be healthy, active and here for the next 80 years (OK, maybe only 70. I
can die at 105 I suppose). We’ll see how this all ends up. I could
be 10 pounds lighter, have glowing skin and rock hard abs. Or I could still
really like the occasional slice of chocolate cake for breakfast.