Friday, March 22, 2013

No Sugar: Day 20

This challenge to avoid sugar for a month has been so educational.  After about two weeks of fasting sugar, I noticed that not eating sweet things wasn't hard anymore.  I didn't crave it insanely, and fruit seemed to satisfy my desire for something sweet.  I still wanted sweet things, but I was content without them.

Then I invited a group of ladies over to my house for coffee.

One gal brought muffins to share.  I thought it would be rude to not eat one, and I didn't wish to offend her.  So, I ate half of a muffin.  It had chocolate chips in it, and I tried to savor every bite.  It was a store bought muffin and wasn't bad, but it wasn't as amazing as I expected it to be.  Even though it wasn't fantastic, the other half of that muffin was so tempting to me!  I looked at it and longed to eat it for a day.  Finally I gave it to my kids so I wouldn't eat it.

After eating that half of a chocolate chip muffin, I felt like I was starting over on day one of my sugar fast.

I had terrible sugar cravings for about three days!  My mind was screaming at me, "Give me sugar!!"

I was so surprised at how my body reacted to just that little treat.  Thankfully, the feelings of insane craving have subsided and I'm once again content with my sugarless diet.

One thing that has helped me immensely is to find replacements for the foods I used to love.  I've purchased all kinds of tea to replace my beloved Chai.  When stress strikes, I get a cup of tea.  When I'm craving a pastry type of sweet, I eat gluten free rice Chex.  When I just want sweets, I have some kind of fruit.  When I make peanut butter and honey sandwiches for my kids, I have a pb and banana sandwich.  It's not bad!  I've tried applesauce on my peanut butter sandwich too.  That wasn't so great.  By far, my favorite treat is home made fruit smoothies.

As I'm nearing the end of my fast, I'm wondering what I should do now about sugar.  I don't want to avoid it for the rest of my life.  But I also don't want to be a slave to it.  I definitely don't want to go back to the sluggish, tired, pants feeling-too-tight living that I had before this challenge.  I guess these thoughts will be explored further on my day 30 post.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

No Sugar Update: Day 10

It's been ten days without sugar.  The first week was REALLY tough; I wanted to quit every day!

I was so cranky and feeling so sorry for myself whenever I couldn't have a treat.  My poor family had to put up with me being a grouch for a while.  Around day four, my husband joked about pinning me down and pouring some sugar down my throat!

After a week went by, it seemed like I turned a corner and avoiding sugar has been easier since then.  I'm not craving it as much or as intensely.  I miss treats, and I still want something sweet four or five times a day.  But, I'm not feeling irritable or cranky anymore.

It has been an eye-opener to find out how my body and my mind has been so reliant on sugar.  For example, I will eat dinner and feel full but my brain will send out signals that I'm still "hungry" because my body is craving something sweet.  I also still find myself yearning for chai or chocolate when things get stressful.

However, there have been benefits too, and that has kept me going.

One change I didn't expect is that I'm less tired.  Before the challenge, I'd eat a meal and then feel like taking a nap about twenty minutes later.  Not anymore.

Also, food has more flavor since I quit eating sugar.  Some processed foods that I enjoyed before, like chicken nuggets, don't taste good to me now.  I can detect the additives that aren't natural.  It's really weird.  Other foods that were just o.k. before are now delicious!  Fruit is so much sweeter than I'd ever realized.  Tonight I made a fruit smoothie and added unsweetened chocolate.  Wow!  What a treat that was.  (The kids didn't think so though.)

Another awesome result is that my too-tight pants aren't so tight anymore.  I have known for a while that I needed to make some changes to my eating habits because all my jeans were getting uncomfortable.  But, I had been ignoring the problem and hoping it would go away without any effort on my part.  HA!!  Other days, I'd feel like there was no solution to my pants shrinking and I'd just have to live with my body expanding.

So, here's the crazy thing, in just three days of no sugar I could tell a difference.  I tried on my too small pants and found out they were wearable!  I now have three pairs of pants that I can wear again.  (They were actually on their way to the "donate" pile because I was giving up on ever fitting into them again.)

Seeing physical improvement has been the biggest motivator to keep going with my No Sugar for 30 Days challenge.  I am so happy to be taking charge of myself.  (Apathy was a miserable place to be!)  Although self-discipline is not fun, it sure has it's rewards when you keep going for a while.

I'll be checking in again on Day 20.

I'd love to hear from you.  What changes are you making in your life?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

30 Days Without Sugar

Character training is a major part of parenting.  Right now, the lesson of obedience seems to be the theme with both of our kids.  (I've been quoting Ephesians 6:1 to them a lot!)  As I prayed about the issues of disobedience that have been cropping up, the Lord reminded me that He'd challenged me a month ago to give up sugar for a while.  I'd ignored it and kept on doing what I wanted to do.

Then I saw the irony of it, how could I continue to ask for help with my children's disobedience without addressing my own?  Well, what better way to teach obedience than to model it?

Yesterday I decided to say good-bye to sugar for thirty days.

Yesterday was a rough day!  My mind kept screaming..."Give me something sweet to eat!!"
Chai is my morning "coffee".  I think this has been the hardest thing to give up!

Today hasn't been easy (or pretty) either.

I'm realizing that sweet foods and drinks are my go-to snacks when I'm feeling stressed, tired, or sorry for myself.  First thing in the morning, and during the tired times in the afternoon, I love to drink Oregon Chai tea.  If the kids are being unusually loud, rowdy, or naughty... I surreptitiously gobble a Dove chocolate.  Late at night I often have cold cereal before bed.  Problem is, all our cold cereal options are high in sugar too.  Telling myself no to these treats is a bummer!
My favorite go-to stress reliever.  One chocolate, not the whole bag :)

However, I know that eliminating sugary foods is good for me.  If nothing else, it's helping me to eat better.  Oh, and food already tastes better too.  Crazy, but the natural flavors are more obvious when you're avoiding sweets.  Another bonus is that I do feel better about myself.  It feels good to do something healthy and a bit radical.

When stressed, this was my snack of choice today...sliced and dipped in Adam's peanut butter.

I wonder what other benefits there will be from this 30 day sugar fast?  I think God has some things to teach me.  Things that have nothing to do with food, sugar, or eating per se.  I'm praying that He'll do a good work in me, and help me to not have a bad attitude about what I'm giving up for a while.  I'll be blogging now and then to share the journey and the lessons that go with it.

What changes are you making in your life?  Is there something you've felt challenged to do, but haven't started yet?  Maybe today is your day to start.