I’ve known for a long time that too much sugar wasn’t good for you. My parents didn’t forbid it in our home or anything. We just weren’t big dessert people. Dessert was for special occasions, but there was usually plenty of fresh fruit around. My parents were smart like that.
Graduation night, 1988
Here I am at my high school graduation with them. I probably weighed in at a whopping 110 lbs. I thought I was just naturally skinny, that I was simply “blessed” with the kind of metabolism that would let me eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight.
“Hello, 1988? This is 2011 calling, you’re going to want to enjoy wearing small sized clothes and having lots of energy and thinking you can tackle the world, it won’t last forever.”
For whatever reason, as I had each boy, I would gain a lot of weight and never be able to lose all of it. I was puzzled because staying healthy had never been an issue for me. And then things just kept getting worse in the past year. I just kept gaining and gaining. I felt really out of control.
This summer I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which helped explain why it was so difficult for me to lose weight. I was actually insulin-resistant so it made my body store my glucose as fat, rather than using it for other functions. Aha! That’s why I didn’t have any energy and just kept getting fluffier.
But what’s a girl to do?
Desperate times call for desperate measures!
I had thought of cutting out sugar before. I had read the books and information online. I knew that I was a carbohydrate addict. But I wasn’t sure if I could really stay away from sugar. I remembered that a friend had told me years ago that she stopped drinking sodas because they only made her crave them more, so that’s where I started – cutting out the sodas. When I got tired of just drinking water, I would make lemonade sweetened with a little bit of honey. And while not every no sugar/low sugar diet plan would agree with this, I pretty much ate a lot of fruit. Mainly apples. That was my way of having a naturally sweet treat without getting into processed sugar.
After a while, my taste buds began to adjust and I didn’t find myself craving sweets as much. I also started trying to read labels on everything and trying to keep my carb count for the day under 36g. It’s not easy, and sometimes I fail, but I just keep my eye on how much BETTER I’m doing with my eating, rather than beating myself up for giving in on occasion.
If you’re trying to cut out sugar, here’s a great article by the Healthy Home Ecomonist called Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Doable Steps.
I will say that I also started taking a cinnamon supplement to try and help my body metabolize sugar better, I’m taking a lot of coconut oil to try and help fight off cravings, and I try to focus on eating lots of protein throughout the day. I really do believe that if you can have healthy options that you ENJOY available as you’re weaning yourself off of refined sugars, it helps.
I’ve been happy to see the numbers on the scale going down slowly, but surely. I’m hoping that as I eat more healthy, the Carter men will get on board. So far they still enjoy teasing me about what I’m eating, but maybe after a while I’ll win them over. I know it took the fear of becoming diabetic to make me willing to make the change. And don’t worry that I’m going to cast a judgmental glance at you if you’re enjoying a yummy brownie, a gorgeous slice of cheesecake, or quick candy bar. I know how good they taste and how hard it is to steer clear of them, especially if it’s a comfort food for you. Trying to stay away from sugar makes me more understanding of how people have such a hard time giving up smoking. Even when you know something isn’t healthy, it’s hard to give it up when you like the way it makes you feel. I just thought I’d share how I’ve made some gradual steps in the less sugar direction in case anyone is just overwhelmed with the idea of totally giving up sweets.
I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through Thanksgiving without eating a slice of pumpkin pie. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to give in on that one, but I’ll try not to let the Sugar Monster get me back into my old habits.
How about you? Have been making any dietary changes? What are your favorite sweet treats that don’t involve refined sugar?