It's not just sugar . . .

Monday, July 22, 2019

In my last post, I shared with you my decision to give up all sugars. For life. Thank you to those who encouraged me to continue to blog about this. It will help me to stay on track and I hope it will help somebody else as well.

It hasn't taken me long to realize that "giving up sugar" means a whole lot more than just giving up sugar. It also means, for me:

  • Giving up "whites" -- white flour, white rice, pasta. Because all these convert rapidly to glucose in the bloodstream. The net result is almost the same as it would be if you consumed sugar itself.

  • Dramatically reducing the fruit I eat. I love fruit and eat a lot of it. But it, too, contains sugar. Yes, it is natural sugar combined with fiber and therefore hits the bloodstream more slowly than refined sugars, but it is still sugar. I do not plan to give up fruit for life. But for these first few weeks, I am avoiding it, and will then eat it with intention. I will especially avoid mindlessly consuming lots of high-sugar grapes, for example, and stick to antioxidant-rich berries. Dried fruit is definitely out, as it is super high in sugar.

  • Giving up my sleep medication. This is HUGE for me as I have had a sleep problem for close to 20 years. But my doctor thinks it may be hindering my weight loss. And, to be honest, it doesn't always work that great anyway. Without it, I'm up until 5 a.m. maybe four nights a week. But even with it, I experience at least one night like that a week and regularly need an hour or two to fall asleep every night. There has to be a better way! (I am trying to use a cognitive behavior therapy program to help with sleep habits, but that is another post.)

  • Which brings me to exercise. That helps with everything! I just read that smokers who exercise have better health than nonsmokers who don't! I have no idea if that's true, but I've also heard that sitting is the new smoking. If there is a cure-all for everything, it's exercise. And I don't do nearly enough. I know it will help with my sugar cravings and my sleep and a host of other issues.

  • Reducing caffeine. Mostly to help with sleep. I'm trying to have just one cup in the morning and no decaf at night, because there's a little caffeine even in decaf. Herbal teas are not my favorite, but I am going to try and make friends with them. 

  • Giving up vegetable oils. These are just not good for you. Canola oils, sunflower and safflower oils, corn oils -- they're in many processed foods, but also in many "healthy" foods, too.  I know I need good fats in my diet, like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil. These fats are helping with the cravings and helping with satiety, so I don't feel so hungry.

I'm not sure that what I've set up for myself here is the wisest thing to do all at once. Some nutritionists urge going slow in implementing such radical dietary changes. But I seem to be an all-or-nothing type of person. Moderation doesn't work. Cold turkey, just like I did with alcohol, is best for me. And once I set my mind to something, I want to do it!

I have given away boxes of food. And really, my cupboard maybe only had one box of cookies, and my freezer a couple pie crusts and a cake. The rest was pasta and flour and molasses and canned goods with sugar in them, and condiments (steak sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, pickles, salad dressings). I found beef broth that had sugar in it, as well as cans of spicy black beans with added sugar (who knew?!). I found sugar sprinkles, cake decorating bags, confectioner's sugar, hot chocolate. Every day I thought I was done and then I'd run into more items that contained either sugars or white flours or vegetable oils.

People, it is everywhere.

I wish I had a "before" picture of my pantry. There were no empty spots on the shelves.
I am slowly sourcing foods to replace these items. My husband, who has agreed to do this with me -- yay! so thankful for that -- likes his steak sauce and ketchup, so I have found no sugar-added versions (not made with artificial sweeteners, a big no-no for me).

To keep me motivated, I made a quick list on my phone of the detrimental effects of sugar. I have been reading this list every day.

  • Constipation -- colon cancer (I have had (benign) polyps on two colonoscopies, so this is a real motivation)
  • Saggy skin and age spots (sugar breaks down collagen)
  • Belly fat
  • Insomnia (sugar can speed up my heart rate and "juice" me up)
  • Cancer
  • High cholesterol (studies have shown that it's sugar and vegetable oils that cause high cholesterol, not saturated fats)
  • Achy joints
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Depression (already prone to this, so don't need to add any more contributing factors)
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue and lethargy (all those blood sugar spikes and crashes)
  • Cellulite (wouldn't it be nice to get rid of this?!)

And to motivate me further, I wrote this:

Do I want to be an obese old woman with sagging, wrinkled skin and age spots, constipated and unable to move around and participate in life,  diabetic and cranky and depressed? Suffering from insomnia? Prone to deadly disease and an early demise?

Yes, I have to make it dramatic and awful-sounding. Although it's probably not far from the truth. 

I want to be able to play with my grandchildren. I want to be able to travel. I want to be able to live as a healthy old woman, and do the work God has for me. You have to find your own motivation if you want to implement such a radical lifestyle change.

One of the most important things I am doing here is praying. I know that I can't do this on my own. Willpower alone isn't enough. I'm also praying to try and discover reasons for my sugar addiction and overeating. I'm looking for ways to take care of myself rather than numbing with sugar. Just being mindful is a big step.  

Next time, I'll give you an idea of what I'm eating these days, and share some of the sources of good, healthy, sugar-free foods I've found. And some of the websites and books that have helped.

Please note: I'm not a nutritionist and I'm not following any particular advised protocol here. I'm just doing my research and learning from my own experience. Please don't take any of this as medical advice. Do your own research!

16 comments :

  1. Wow this is all so interesting to read about. I did not know that sugar is in so many things. We have been eating black bean pasta and chick pea pasta. I don’t like the way I feel after eating dessert. I wish you luck with this journey.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really appreciate what you are sharing. It's not easy but we can all feel better when we make healthy changes. I'm proud of you! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good for you, Deborah! (My first comment to your blog.) My husband & I "went" keto in February. Your changes sound very similar to that kind of diet. His Type II insulin shots have gone from 24 units to 10. He was using less for a while but did not feel well. The doc recommended he wait until next winter when he is not so active to cut back again. He is so physical in the summer (cutting wood, yardwork-several acres-no riding mower for him, and so on). I have lost weight as well, although not as dramatically as he. I now have to take in the waist of all my pants, although the bum still fits well. I have gone down a shirt size and will be donating 6 bags of too big clothing this week. Best of luck on your journey. You seem to be doing well so far. Carol in VT

    ReplyDelete
  4. All the best with these huge life changes. I can not imagine what a challenge it will be for it is, as you say, everywhere. Wonderful that your husband is joining you on the journey. Support will be so important.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am right along side of you making such changes in our home and lives. Keep up the good work, stay strong, and feel better :) Sending hugs

    ReplyDelete
  6. We don't really realize what is in our food until we take stock, and then we are amazed. I wish you and your husband all the best as you take on some dramatic changes. Summer fruits have been delicious and I know we are guilty of excesses.

    ReplyDelete
  7. These are such wonderful, life-speaking words to all of us. You are so right that the carbs turn right into sugar, and we have to take this past just white, refined sugar. Prayer is such a powerful weapon and will absolutely enlist the angels of Heaven to come to our aid. The thing that is on our side the most is that this is God's will. It is His will that we do not defile His temple and that we live in good health and wellness while on this earth. Our will to align ourselves with His will is so well-pleasing to Him, and I know He is smiling upon us for wanting to do this - not only wanting to do it, but putting forth the self-control to actually do it. Praying for you and trusting God to help us all.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, it's too bad sugar is in a lot of things we eat! And in fruit! Alas! I think moderation is key when it comes to fruit. But God created fruit for us, so I believe it's healthy for us - minus the pesticides! Five years ago I discovered a nutritional plan of sorts - a group of special supplements - that truly work on gut health. If we continue to eat sugar-laden things and eat unhealthy foods, the gut will not heal. But taking the right supplements that actually turn things around for your health and get to the root of illness is the key! Even eating the best diet doesn't always turn things around for us. I know from my own experience. Constipation, lack of energy, not sleeping well, moodiness, etc. comes from poor gut health. I'm very thankful the LORD brought these products into my life, my daughter's life, and other friends, because they actually work! (along with changing the way you eat). These supplements bring balance to your body to get rid of constipation, help you sleep well, balance your moods, and a whole lot more (including weight loss)! So thankful the products are making a difference in my life. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Praying for you as you go through these changes in your life. I am going to try and change my eating habits but at a slower pace, but definitely working towards a better lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, Deborah, you are courageous! But if there's one thing I've seen in you over the years on your blog, it's a powerful, determined personality, coupled with intelligence. So I think you can do this.
    I envision the type of older woman you want to be -- I want to be -- that we do sometimes see in the world. She is slim(ish), active, lively-minded, involved. I want to be her too, and I am far from it.
    I find it very, very hard in the summer, here in the South. The weather is so horrible that you can't go outside. You go from AC to AC to AC, trying to stay cool. I try to keep busy, but I'm more sedentary than not.

    Your pantry!! Amazing. It sounds to me like you will start eating lots of vegetables -- LOTS, of all kinds. They are diverse in texture and flavor, and I think you will be able to have an interesting diet with them, and good meats (lots of that!) and some fiber-rich breads. That's a pretty broad, enjoyable diet, I think. Plus cheese, yes? I think it all boils down to: what do you keep in your frig when it's time to be hungry? If you have a frig full of veggies, with some cheese, lean meat, you'll have great meals.

    ReplyDelete
  11. having to watch what you eat is one of the hardest things people ever do!
    good good luck to you...i know you can do this

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, my, oh my!!! Talk about discipline, it will take loads of it and I'm a highly disciplined person but not sure I could adhere to no sugar. I can't wait for the next update. Blessings abundant on your journey!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh good for you! I know it is a little daunting but after giving up sugar, we start to need it less and less. I hope that it will change your life like it has mine. : ) I still slip once in a great while (holidays are really still difficult) but the change it's made is incredible. I actually sleep at night. Now when I eat something that has sugar in it, by accident like at a restaurant, my heart actually starts racing! Yay for the sugar - less. Cheering you on!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I commented on your newest post but should have read these first. Good for you making these significant changes. You can go it and it's so nice your husband is joining you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How wonderful that your hubby is doing this with you!! Good for both of you for making these changes.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's great that your hubby is joining you. The couple who gives up sugar together, stays together!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting! I'm truly delighted to hear from you.

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs