30 Days 0 Sugar
I am an athlete.
I spend 10 hours or more each week working out. From cardio to strength training, my activities run the gamut. I’m always pushing to achieve more in the gym: lower squats, heavier weights, quicker rides. I’m never satisfied. I hate to miss a workout. If a class is canceled I will find something else to do to replace it even if I have to try a new gym.
I take care of my muscles and my body with regular chiropractic appointments and physical therapy sessions to work out sore, tight muscles and keep me in peak physical condition so that I can’t be stopped.
But there’s one thing that keeps stopping me. It frustrates me that I can’t seem to get it under control. It impedes my progress and limits my ability. It keeps me from losing the few extra inches around my waistline, it keeps me from seeing the number on the scale drop anymore.
And I’m tired of it.
Sugar. Sugar in any form, but particularly chocolate, cookies, brownies, cake. I can avoid sugar found in gummy candies, suckers, sodas, teas, etc. But if it’s combined in some sort of chocolate concoction I’ll most likely cave.
Here’s the thing. I plan my meals every week. I pack a lunch for work. I don’t keep sweets in the house except for 72% dark chocolate, which I’m usually good about not snitching from. Jon is more than supportive of me not keeping sweets around and even though he loves to bake, he doesn’t do it except for certain times (e.g. holidays or birthdays). If he wants sweets he hides them from me. If I’m craving chocolate and think I’ll snitch from my dark chocolate stash, I’ll ask him to hide it.
But then there’s life outside of the house: the office, running errands, hanging out with friends.
The office is probably the worst offender. When a colleague asks if I want to grab a coffee and I walk with them, sometimes I’m tempted to buy the cake pop or the new flavor cookie. Other times someone will bring in the new flavor Oreos to the office or baked goods to celebrate a birthday or work anniversary. Then there’s those times I’m running errands and I’ll forget to pack a healthy snack… Or I’ll be with a friend and we’ll decide we should get a sweet treat.
In all of those scenarios I have the power to say “no” and stick with eating clean and healthy. And many times I don’t indulge, but it seems like there are plenty of times I do indulge. That indulgence can lead to more throughout the day or week justified as Just one more piece. I’ve already messed up for today. I’ll get back on track tomorrow.
And for the most part, I do hop back on track right away. I’m really disciplined with eating the right meals and snacks, but it’s the sweets that get to me. I understand that I don’t need them but sometimes my mind plays tricks on me and makes me feel like I need some sugary, chocolatey goodness. Other times I have no desire for something sweet but someone will offer me something and I’ll mindlessly grab it. Perhaps I don’t want to be rude, maybe it looks really tasty or in the moment it seems like a good idea. In hindsight (after I’ve eaten said goodie), I can never really put my finger on why I accepted something, other than hey free food!
This is my daily struggle, my daily battle. Should I eat that treat? Should I behave? Is it really that bad for me? Will I regret this later? It’s even more frustrating to me because when I first started my weight loss journey, I was bound and determined to do exactly as my plan outlined: no eating out, no processed foods, low sodium, no sugars (besides naturally occurring). I can still remember it. The first four weeks I did flawless. I complained to my friends who were supporting me on the journey, and there were many tears, but I did it. Then one evening I caved and had half a small spoonful of Speculoos Cookie Butter. I still remember standing in the kitchen eating it in my pajamas. It tasted amazing and it was such a small serving that it was satisfying and hit the spot. And after that I hopped right back on track. I think the next time I ate anything sweet was around the time Jon came home from grad school.
The most frustrating part is that I now have the knowledge of just how bad certain foods can be for you and your body, but yet I still give in. I also know how much better I feel when I don’t eat sweets. I can workout harder, I don’t feel lethargic. But I forget that in the moment.
After I read this article last week about moderation, I realized that I had started to confuse a habit with moderation. More and more sugar and sweets have been inching their way into my life again, but I am aware this time and am ready to break that cycle. I am ready. I am bound and determined to get back on track.
So, for the month of October I’ve decided to do 30 days without sugar. I have no doubt that it will be a challenge, especially as I’ll be on vacation during part of this time. I’ll still eat naturally occurring sugar like what’s found in fresh fruits, but no added sugar or processed sugars like chocolate, cookies, cakes, donuts, and brownies. Feel free to join me (you know you want to) and follow along with my journey on Instagram and Twitter with #30days0sugar.