This week's update: We just got back from a fun family reunion and it was the perfect break for us! My toddler played with her cousin who just happens to be the only other toddler that she plays with so well, so it was nice for me that she had a little distraction. And it was so very nice of grandma and grandpa to take the grandkids while my husband and I got some Four-Wheelin' Time. The downside to the vacation: Not much, other than eating too many snacks and coming to the realization that I have a serious sugar addiction.
You may be wondering, “Sugar addiction, What?”
Okay, here we go…so maybe this blog is letting you all get to know me a little too well. It's time for another confession. I have had a sweet tooth (my “nice” term for sugar addiction) for…well for as long as I can remember. I've always been jealous of those people who eat a few pieces of candy and then their body tells them that they've had enough and they can't go any further. I didn't think those kind of people exist, but one of them happens to be a good friend of mine, and the other is my sister-in-law. Like they eat a HALF of a candy bar and they just can't handle anymore.
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My body seems to have a much higher tolerance for sugar. I can eat a couple of peanut butter cups, followed by a mouthful of swedish fish, and then starburst? Why not. And my body just tells me it's happy.
I've also always been jealous of those people who use running to handle their stress levels. Why? Because throwing my running clothes on is the last thing I feel like doing when I am stressed. Usually the solution has been to stuff my face with some chocolate and move on with my day.
But it's time to stop.
Not because I'm fat or obese or anything (although I do have some postpartum jiggles to get rid of)…but because my dad just landed himself in the E.R. for like the millionth time and I don't want that kind of future. My dad is a diabetic. He's already had one of his toes removed, he can't really walk anymore, and he's currently in an assisted living center (on dialysis) at the age of 50-somethin'.
I've worked at assisted living centers before. And I know that he is way too young to be in a care center.
Ever since I graduated from high school I have prepared myself mentally to hear the news that my dad has passed away. I don't know that I can ever say that I am ready for that news, but I know it will probably come sooner than I would like. And it will probably happen before my children get to know him much.
I'm getting off track here. I don't want my children to go through the stress of wondering when their mom might die all because she couldn't get a grip on her sugar addiction and poor eating habits. So here's the deal: I'm giving up sweets for a time. And I need you all to know this because once this is published I have to hold myself more accountable. And if any of you would like to join me, I would LOVE for you to! I will send weekly emails to see how you are doing, as well as share any recipes I've been using.
Here's how it will work:
1. NO SWEETS. I will also be going off white flour, but you can modify as you need. No sweets means no candy, desserts or beverages that contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or ANY artificial sweeteners (they are worse for you than sugar–look it up).
2. FREE DAY. I like to give myself a free day so that if a holiday or social event comes up during the week, I don't have to be boring and say, “I'm on a diet.” That's just not fun for anybody. THIS IS NOT A BINGE DAY. One treat. Choose wisely my friend. For some sugar addicts (like my sister), having a free day sends you into relapse. If this is you, omit the free day. For me personally, free days give me added motivation because I don't feel like I'm never going to eat yummy treats again. I just have to wait one week. This also prepares me for life after the diet when I will have to re-learn moderation.
3. INCREASE natural and nutrient-dense foods. To help me with my sugar cravings, my first week will be majorly focused on putting the “right” stuff in my body. As part of this, I have joined the one week REAL FOOD CHALLENGE along with 8 other bloggers over at Mary's Kitchen. I have modified this to fit my “life-with-a-newborn” lifestyle (I'm not about to make my own mayonnaise). But what this basically means is I will be cutting out processed foods and replacing them with homemade wherever possible. I will also be increasing my fruits and vegetables and rockin' my mornings with green smoothies.
4. REEVALUTATE in ONE MONTH: School for us starts in exactly one month. So I will do this until August 22. If at that time I still feel like I am having sugar cravings all of the time, then I will continue for another month. Once I feel like I have control and can recognize that most things just aren't “worth it,” then I will allow myself back into the real world and practice moderation.
Sugar Addiction: Getting Past the Sugar Cravings
If you are as addicted as I am, this will be a difficult challenge. But here are some things that have helped with my sugar addiction in the past:
FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST MY SUGAR ADDICTION:
- Drink lots of water. Many times dehydration will mask itself as a sugar craving, when really what your body needs is water. lots of sugar in your diet also leads to overeating, which leads to being fat and unhealthy. Drink, drink, drink! You can even drink fruit water if you want to encourage drinking more water in a day.
- Chew natural gum. Part of my issue is that I don't like having that “food” taste in my mouth after meals. So instead of popping a dessert in my mouth, I would just chew a piece of my favorite gum (stride or orbit). However, after learning more about artificial sweeteners and how horrible they are for you, I have stopped. I now chew Spry gum which is sweetened with xylitol (The fruit flavored kind taste like Juicy Fruit). It is natural and VERY good for your teeth! I use the same brand for my Kid's toothpaste because it is natural and safe if it's swallowed.
- Eat Fruit. Apples and grapes are my favorite to eat when I am having crazy sugar cravings. I also like to eat Stretch Island 100% Fruit Leather, as well as Clif Kids Organic Fruit Twists. They are 100% fruit and contain no added sugars. You can get them at Costco if you have a membership.
- EXERCISE: Exercising always makes me crave healthier foods. If your cravings are feeling out of control, go for a run or participate in your favorite form of exercise. Eat a healthy snack when you are finished.
- EAT REGULARLY. This will help keep your blood sugar stable and lesson your sugar cravings.
SECOND LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST MY SUGAR ADDICTION:
- 1. 100% Juice. It's not good to fill your body with a bunch of juice, but if you just can't get past the cravings, then make sure it's 100% all fruit juice.
- 2. Make some healthy sugar-free treats. Thanks to Pinterest and the blogging world there are tons of recipes out there. Try to find some that use Agave nector, Stevia or xylitol. If you don't know about either of these two ingredients, look them up. They are plant-based and better for you. And there are some awesome recipes out there that use them instead of sugar. I'll share a granola bar bites recipe I used today using Agave, and if you want to be part of the challenge I can email you my sister's TASTY recipe for homemade chocolate truffles that she made with stevia and xylitol.
Alright! Let the FAMINE begin! 🙂 Anyone else out there with a serious sugar addiction?
Need something for your weak moments? I LOVE this granola bar bites recipe. It's sweetened with honey (you could also use agave), and you can swap out the chocolate chips for raisins, etc. It is so dang good and it has a lot of good stuff in it. The ground chia/flax seed are great for energy and protein too!