How sweet it isn’t!

As many of you realized a long time ago, I think I’ve gone a bit mad.  Off the deep end.  Not all the lights are on.  And all that.  This time, though – there’s proof:  I’m giving up sugar.

Yup – I’m sweet enough as it is, so no need to sweeten me up even more, right?

I’ve been on a mission since December to lose weight and lean up, and the past few months have had me at a relative stand-still.  I’m seeing gains in strength (mostly due to my awesome personal trainer), and inches are (very) slowly going away, but overall progress just isn’t what I want it to be.

So, I thought:  let’s shake it up.  Do something drastic to get my body’s attention.  And so the No Sugar Adventure was born.  I first mentioned it as a possibility on my virtual triathlon home and it was met with a mixed response — there were a lot of very supportive responses (and more people than I thought who came out and said that they had done it and had great results) and a few responses like I would have made (“WHAT?! That’s just CRAZY talk!!”).  But overall, the feeling was generally positive – most thought that it would be just the kick in the pants that my diet would need.

So, I somehow managed to drag a triathlon friend into the mix so I’d have someone to whine to, and starting Monday we’re both going sugar free.  In some ways I’m going to be pretty strict about the parameters of this little challenge… of course, none of the obvious sweet stuff.  Also, no artificial sweeteners (good-bye, my lovely Diet Pepsi… it is you I’ll miss the most…).  Any food that has any form of sugar as one of the top 3 ingredients is also out.  I may also toss a no alcohol edict into it as well, though I haven’t completely decided about that yet (and also – this would not be all that difficult for me).  I also don’t think I’m going to allow myself a “cheat day” once a week.  I find I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person… moderation doesn’t suit me especially well.

What I will allow:  all sorts of fruit – not giving up this!  And this is in no way a no/low carb diet — with the training I do, I think it’s counter-productive to eliminate carbs from my meal plan.  Also, I will allow sugar in the form of gels/blocks/energy drinks but only in conjunction with training (and no, that rigorous walk from my desk to the bathroom cannot be termed “a workout”).

I’ve been thinking ahead to what the biggest challenge is going to be — as I reviewed my diet, I found that on a routine basis, I didn’t have a whole lot of sugary foods (aside, perhaps, from my diet pepsi addiction). Still – there are things that will be difficult.  I supplement my diet with all sorts of bars — fiber bars, protein bars, meal replacement bars… you get the idea.  Mostly it’s a relationship of convenience.  When I need a mid-morning snack, it’s just so easy to pick a bar from my stash at work and gobble it up.  Now I’ll need to do more planning since a lot of those convenience foods will be off-limits.

Another possible challenge isn’t necessarily mine, but rather the people around me who will have to deal with me, god help them!  Not only will they have to hear me constantly saying, “no, thank you – but I gave up sugar and can’t have any of your kindly-offered evil” but will also have to deal with my moods as I break the sugar addiction.  If we all make it through this unscathed, I’ll consider just that a miracle.

A lot of people have asked me why I’m doing this (though, usually, it’s more of a, “Why in the name of all that is sweet and good would you want to do this??!?”) and I’ve got three main, over-riding goals:  the first is to make such a drastic switch in my nutrition that my body has no choice but to let go of some of the weight it’s so desperately hanging on to.  The second is to consume more whole foods and much less processed crap.  And the third is to see if people who have gone before me are right — that once you give up the sugar, the cravings for it all but go away.  We shall see – I’ll remain a skeptic on that until I experience it for myself.

As I mentioned, I’m not starting this until Monday.  So, what does one do while biding their time before giving up all sugar?  Take every advantage of a sugar-filled life, of course!  My well-thought out plan is to eat SO MUCH crap and junk food over the next two days that I hit Monday morning with the biggest sugar hangover ever.  EVER.  That way, I’ll spend my first day of this plan totally not even wanting any sugar.  I mean, how brilliant is that strategy?

But seriously, in a very weird way, I’m looking forward to this change of lifestyle.  I’m ready for something new, ready to take on something that’ll be a little more difficult.  And I’m telling everyone that I come across about what I’m doing, so that there’s a better chance I’ll be held accountable!  I’m less likely to be surreptiously plugging coins into the vending machine if I know that one of my co-workers might catch me and turn me in to the No Sugar Police (they exist, don’t they?).

I understand that I’ll only get as much out of this as I put into it.  If I cheat, the only person I’m hurting is myself.  Sneaking candy – whether anyone knows or not – does not earn gold stars.  And the plan is to report in here a couple times a week with at least a short note to let you know how I’m faring – what’s easy, what’s not so easy, and who I want to kill so I can get through them to the homemade cookies that someone brought in to the office.  So – ya’ll have something to look forward to now, right?

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