I lost nearly 30lbs a few years ago with the help of both Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal. What I liked about tracking my calories was that I could eat anything I wanted, provided that I adjusted my calories in other meals. I could have a burger at a restaurant. I could have chocolate, and brownies, and cookies. I just needed to plan for it.
I’ve kept off about 25lbs of that weight loss by keeping daily track of maybe 70% of my calories. (And running and swimming and biking, of course.)
70% of how I eat is healthy. We make dinner most every night, and it’s usually chicken or fish or vegetarian, balanced and healthy. I try to snack healthy as well – peanut butter crackers, special K strawberry waffles with nothing on it, avocado toast, etc.
The other 30%, though, is absolute crap. I have been having trouble the past year with my sweet tooth, which is somehow out of control.
Once I have candy or brownies or cookies?
I, quite literally, cannot stop.
I’m not kidding, either. The other day? I ate nearly an entire 1lb bag of pretzel M&Ms.
This is disconcerting for two reasons. First, there is a high prevalence of diabetes in my family. My mother and her two sisters were diabetic. My younger brother was diagnosed with it last year. And though my most recent fasting blood sugar was less than 100, which is normal, it was just under 100; a number which is correlated with a higher risk of developing diabetes in the future.
I have noticed over the past few years when I follow a high-carb diet while marathon training as the current running literature promotes, I am more hungry, more unable to eat things in moderation, and I have a lot more ups and downs.
But secondly, and most awful?
That bag of pretzel M&Ms was not mine.
It was Owen’s – a present to him from me, because he, unlike me, loves a few pretzel M&Ms after dinner.
I ate my kid’s Christmas present.
That’s a PROBLEM, people.
I won’t go into just how badly I felt about it, and how he forgave me nearly immediately, because he’s amazing. (He told me I was allowed to eat his M&Ms whenever I wanted.) Still though, that post-it note on the picture above will stay on the bag even when it gets opened.
And putting more post it notes on OTHER things in my pantry.
I am cutting out sugar.
Usually I am very leery of doing radical things with my diet. I lost weight BECAUSE everything was allowed and nothing was off-limits. For me, telling me I can’t have something is fine, until I am in a situation where it’s free and available and then I lose my mind and go crazy.
But I can’t do moderation with sugar anymore. I think I might be even addicted to it.
So I’m going to get radical and cut out sugar from my diet, on purpose, from now until the end of the month.
Because I’m busy and need to keep it simple, here are my rules:
1. No sweets. No muffins, no scones, no cookies, no brownies, no candy, no cake, no pie. Nothing where sugar is a large ingredient, either homemade or store-bought.
2. No processed snacks (like peanut butter crackers); they often have more sugar than you’d think.
3. No (flavored) yogurt or ice cream; limited dairy.
4. No boxed cereal. My plain Irish oatmeal is okay with cinnamon or frozen fruits and maybe a teeny bit of maple syrup, but better for me to have eggs and quinoa or eggs over a sweet potato instead.
5. No juice. I will derive my sugar from whole fruits only.
6. No “fake” sugar – diet coke, stevia, etc, or any chemical which tricks my body into thinking that I’m having something sweet.
Where I’m “cheating?”
The aforementioned maple syrup. If I’m eating something like oatmeal, I’ll allow myself a touch of sweetener.
I will still have half and half in my coffee every morning.
I will still eat bread and english muffins from the grocery store.
If I want a beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day, I’ll allow it.
I’m not sure to what end this will be; I am hoping that maybe once I cut out most of my sugar intake and am used to it, I will be able to have something with sugar – in moderation. I don’t want to be “SUGAR FREE!” forever, or get all religious about clean eating.
But I also don’t want to be out of control when it comes to sugar and sweets anymore.