Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sugar Fasting. How to Ween Yourself Off Sugar

Last night I went to a "favorite things"party. It's like a white elephant gift exchange, except that you're supposed to bring your favorite thing wrapped like a present. And another selects your wrapped present and you tell everyone in the crowd why it's one of your favorite things. When it was my turn to select a gift, I intentionally skipped the Sees Candies and the Sprinkles cupcake. Instead, I chose a large heavy present under the rational that it wouldn't be candy or a dessert.
It was a 5 lb. bag of chocolate chips. Probably the most sugar-laden thing in the room.

But I'm closing in my second month of my sugar fast, and honestly, sugar has little temptation for me know. Why? I really haven't lost weight, although I'm sure I would if I stopped eating empty carbs. I have gone down a pants size, but that isn't the incentive. Here it is: when I don't eat sugar, I sleep through the night. When I sleep through the night, life is good. When I eat sugar, I don't sleep through the night. When I don't sleep through the night life is BAD. That's right, all capitals BAD.

So, how do you ween yourself off sugar? Below is a blog post from three years ago. It's rather disheartening that I've been flirting with giving up sugar for more than three years, but since I've been living and eating for much longer than that, I shouldn't be surprised that sometimes, maybe even often, it takes a really long time to reset lifelong patterns. There are a few that can flip a switch and be forever changed, but I don't think most of us are wired that way. Since the New Year, I have been living with the motto, not even once. And so far, it's worked for me. But I also like to keep the teeth brushing analogy in my head, and that is this: if you skip brushing your teeth one night, you don't throw away your toothpaste and say, "well, I blew it. I guess I'm done with brushing my teeth." No, you just get back to teeth brushing. It can be the same way with healthy eating.

Here's my post on sugar fasting from three years ago:

Sugar Fasting

Day three of my sugar fast. Already, I'm sleeping through the night. (Hooray!) And I've lost a pound. I have friends that have been wildly successful with their sugar fasts.

Nancy: age 53. Lost 15 pounds
Claudia: age 75. Lost 20 pounds
Janet: age 52. Lost 50 pounds
Skeet: age 57. Lost 120 pounds

But weight loss shouldn't be the motivating factor. Each of my friends gave up sugar as a way to combat different health issues. I think it's interesting that three different health concerns were all addressed by this one (simple/ not so simple) remedy.

 Last year I went without sugar from my birthday in January until Valentine's Day, and I learned some things.

1. Going without sugar is actually easy if you can survive the first horrendous, no-good week. Why is the first week so hard? By about day three I went through withdrawal and had a massive headache, but if you can power through until about the fifth or fourth day, you should lose your craving for sugar.

Counter Attack: Plan a reward. On day 5 I'm going to buy a gizmo that will count how many calories I burn when I walk/run.

2. When I don't eat sugar, I sleep through the night. I can't tell you why I sleep better without sugar in my diet, all I know is that I do. It might be because I don't have that afternoon sugar crash around 2 or 3 p.m. where all I want to do is nap. Maybe because I don't need to nap, I sleep better at night. And I can't even begin to tell you how much better I feel after a good nights sleep.

Action Plan: Keep a journal of your sleep patterns and see if it works for you.

3. Without sugar, fruits and vegetables taste better and sweeter, and refined sweets lose their draw.

So, why did I quit my sugar fast last February? Because it was hard. Everyday something delicious comes my way. I'm confronted with birthday cakes, morning donuts, and treats at every writers' group meeting, every church social, and every get-together.

Counter Attack: I'm going to take a picture of the treat with my phone and use it as a symbol of the temptation I was able overcome--a trophy, if you will.

Is it reasonable to give up all treats, always? Probably not. But a warm peach sprinkled with cinnamon can satisfy even a raging sweet tooth.

Penny, my main character in Losing Penny, is a food blogger who struggled with weight issues her entire life, but finds life just as difficult after she loses the weight. Here's the blurb. 

A cooking show diva in hiding,
A literature professor writing genre fiction,
An admirer who wants more than the tasty morsels a cooking hostess is willing to share—
A dangerous recipe for romance in the town of Rose Arbor.

Cooking show diva, Penny Lee, loses fifty pounds, and gains a stalker. To avoid the attention of her most devoted follower, Penny concocts a plan: while pretending to take a culinary tour, traveling the world, collecting recipes and posting them on her blog, she hides at a remote beach house in Rose Arbor, Washington, where she spends the summer compiling her cookbook.

When English Literature professor Drake Islington is offered the chance to spend the summer at a remote beach house where he can write in peace he happily accepts, never dreaming that he is a pawn in a match making scheme. His encounter with Penny promises a delicious summer, until uninvited guests arrive forcing Penny and Drake to cook up a scheme of their own. When Drake’s mother, a stalker, and a donkey named Gertrude join the mix, the town of Rose Arbor sizzles with another tale of romance and suspense.

Losing Penny is free this weekend. GET YOURS HERE

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