No-sugar vacation

September 9, 2019

We got back last week from a lovely visit to Charleston, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina where my son and his wife live. As we were leaving Michigan, where the weather had cooled a bit and the humidity had lowered, I asked my husband why in the world were we going to hot and humid Charleston?! (This was a couple weeks before the hurricane.)

But we had great weather there, in the 80s and low humidity. We were assured by a number of people there that we had picked a good week, somewhat unusual there, where in late
August it is normally in the 90s or higher with high humidity.

And thankfully, we got there and out before Hurricane Dorian. We definitely would have had to cancel if we had gone after Labor Day, which was our original plan.

Anyway, I promised a series on my new, no-sugar life, and I wanted to let you all (y'all -- I just got back from the South!) know how I managed, eating in restaurants almost exclusively.

Our very first stop was McDonald's. (I know, not an auspicious beginning!) We rarely stop there, but we wanted coffee and something fast as we got on the road. I got a sausage, egg, and cheese muffin. I took the muffin off, which most of the cheese stuck to, and just ate the egg and the sausage with my coffee.

Cracker Barrel had lots more options.

There was a wait at Cracker Barrel, so we had time to browse. So much candy! I reminisced about the "old days" when I would have bought the Moon Pies and the sugared pumpkin jellies, and more.

I'm proud to report that I didn't have any sugar on this trip. At. All. Or white flour.

It wasn't easy, and I had to get creative with my orders, but it can be done! 

Just before we left, I decided that I was going to do the Mediterranean diet, instead of Keto (which explains the sweet potato).

The sauce had sugar, so I removed that.

Low country boil, eaten at a restaurant on the beach. We were able to spend two full days lounging on the beach. It was so relaxing. I love to listen to the waves. The water was 84 degrees! So different than our (to me) freezing cold Great Lakes!

I decided halfway through the trip that Mediterranean wasn't working (couldn't get enough good carbs), and switched back to Keto. Now that I'm home, I'm back on the Mediterranean. I just can't manage all the fat on Keto. It's been trial and error, and restaurant eating is so different than home eating.

I've been tracking everything on a free app called LifeSum. You choose the diet you want to follow, and they have quite a few options, and then you plug in what you eat and it tracks macros for you (carbs, fats, and proteins), as well as calories. You enter your current weight and your goal weight and it tells you how many calories you need. It adds calories to your plan when you exercise. 

I usually don't like to be tied to food tracking like this, but it has been a really useful tool to educate me on what constitutes Keto or Mediterranean. I was always falling short of the fat intake on Keto, and I've been running short on carbs on the Mediterranean. Yesterday I got three big smiley faces for each meal, so I guess I finally nailed it!

We had friends over for dinner Saturday evening. We hadn't seen them for several years (they live out of state), and I didn't want to make a big deal over my diet as we had so many other things to talk about. I was able to eat sugar-free and sensibly without anyone noticing.

For appetizers (we ate them out on the deck -- the Michigan weather was perfect!), I had whitefish spread (from the straits of Mackinaw in Michigan) on (sugar-free) crackers, vegetables and (sugar-free) dip, cheese, and olives. 

For dinner, I made large, composed salads with greens, tomatoes (fresh from the farmer's market -- yum!!), cucumbers, celery, and marinated, grilled chicken sliced on top. There was blue cheese crumbles, shredded cheddar cheese, and pecans to put on top as desired. I bought some salad dressing (ranch, which has sugar) and had some homemade olive oil dressing. I noticed everyone had the homemade, sugar-free version! I also bought some dinner rolls to go with.

The tricky part, dessert, was an assortment of lemon bars, brownies, and chocolate peanut butter bars that I bought, cut into smaller pieces, and arranged on a tray. I also bought some Lindor truffles. And I had a bowl of strawberries and a pot of decaf coffee.

I had the coffee and a few strawberries. I told my husband that any dessert left over by Monday morning was going in the trash. He had a couple small brownies on Sunday, and this morning, three or four leftover lemon bars and brownies went straight in the trash! I put the rest of the truffles in a baggie and sent them to work with him. I'm doing well, but I really don't quite trust myself. And why have temptation lurking around?

The discouraging thing is that the weight is coming off SO slowly. A pound a week. I had gone to Target at the beginning of the summer and bought a few cotton dresses that I wore all summer. Now I've got one pair of jeans to wear every day until I lose some more to fit into my fall/winter wardrobe. Losing one pound a week, I will be wearing these jeans exclusively until Thanksgiving! I just don't want to buy anymore clothes at this size.

Two whole months today sugar free!

Thank you for following my journey everyone. Your support is so encouraging. xo


  1. Well done! Cutting out sugar is hard! I think a pound a week loss is a good steady rate.

  2. Dearest Deborah,
    It indeed is rather challenging to eat 'healthy' at any restaurant.
    Either food or sauces are too salty or too sweet and often it contains both!
    Fresh fruits for dessert are the very best option.
    So we could have met in Asheville more or less? We got home on July 31st and we'd shopped at Whole Foods Market in Asheville before we went to our Log Cabin on The Hill by Cherokee Lake in East Tennessee. We both love the area and the weather was not humid at all while we were in the area.
    Sending you hugs,

  3. It's amazing how the restaurants have packed in and on the "sugars".
    Good for you, traveling, visiting and vacationing without SUGAR!!!
    It can be done!
    Do you travel with your own snacks? If you do, what are they?

  4. It really is hard when the weight comes off so slowly. But I know you are feeling great and how nice that you could figure out meals while you traveled. You would not want to be in my house. My hubby eats sugar and I even bake for him and for others...occasionally. Since I'm allergic, I can't even lick my fingers! lol Enjoy your week and thanks for sharing!

  5. There's a really good feeling when you throw leftover naughty food in the trash, or send it out the door for others to eat! You're doing really well. Remember -- it is NOT only about the number of pounds you lose. It's not even primarily about those pounds. It's about being healthy, improving your body, avoiding the pitfalls of old age, keeping mobility -- all those really important quality-of-life issues. The pounds are not an accurate gauge of those things.

    Glad you got to relax on the beach. I need to do that soon.

  6. So nice to get away and stay on your eating plan. (I would not have been able to toss the desserts. You did very well!)

  7. Well, so impressed that you could stick with your diet while traveling. And, can't believe you are losing just 1# per week. It seems it should be a lot more but the slower it comes off the better chance you have of keeping it off or so they say. Hang in there, the prize awaits!

  8. It sounds like you are doing a great job with the no sugar diet. It must have been hard while you were away but it sounds like you are getting through it. Lucky for you that you went away before Dorian. Here we do not have any cookies or cakes in the house too and thanks for the update!

  9. Hooray for you!!!! Wow! I am just so impressed and proud of you! These are major accomplishments, and even though the weight is so slow to come off, think how much healthier you are! I am sure you feel so much better, too. :) Thank you for consistently inspiring me on this journey!

  10. Congrats on reaching the 2-month mark of sugar-free living!

  11. Congratulations on doing so well, Deborah! It's easy to get discouraged when the weight comes off slowly. The older we get, the harder it is too. The food I have the hardest time leaving alone is cheese. I cannot trust myself, so I don't eat any. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip and Dorian was horrible! It hit us last weekend and it will take up to a year for some people to get repairs on their property. Some folks still don't have power. More than 80% of the trees were downed out in Cavendish, our main tourist area where LM Montgomery hailed from. It's very sad! But no one died so we are all thankful for that. Sometimes it's best to take your trip in the summertime especially when you're visiting along the coast. I have always wanted to visit Charleston, South Carolina! Lucky you! Hugs...Sandi

  12. Well done Deborah! I'm traveling myself now and it's so hard to keep up that diet at restaurants. And for guests I've even made some sugarless desserts using Stevia and they have enjoyed them. But still learning a lot. One pound a week sounds good to me. Slow loss seems to stay off better. I'm going to check out that app.

  13. That's awesome, Deborah! Keep on doing what you're doing!!

    I have decided to get back to blogging. What I've done is take the private blog I've had since 2006 and make it public. Please stop by if you have a minute (get there through my Blogger profile). I wrote about weight loss today myself.


  14. Have missed you...hope that all is well.

  15. Deborah, losing a pound a week sounds like a sensible sustainable way to go! I don't follow any particular diet, I just do two things: 1. Never have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in a day, no exceptions (I've been doing that for many years) and 2. Intermittent Fasting 16:8 (been doing that for 2 years). Both work so well for me that I'll never stop!


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