Sugar rehab. Diet and lifestyle rehab. It begins tomorrow, again. I actually began a new way of eating back in November, for medical reasons, and did pretty well, despite the intrusions of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. But January first, I got serious about it. I did thirty one days with NO SUGAR. No artificial sweeteners. No natural sugars, even, like Maple syrup or honey. Nothing except the natural sugar found in fruits.
In addition, I got rid of all grains, all dairy products, all potatoes and rice, all fast foods, and processed foods. For 31 days I ate "clean." For 31 days, I ate nothing but fresh fruits, vegetables, meats/seafood, eggs, and nuts. And my body LOVED me for it. From its beginnings back in November, which was when I first gave up most of that, most of the time, until the end of January, I lost 20 pounds without exercising a lick. Just from changing my diet. And, it's a "diet" that isn't a diet - it's really a lifestyle change for me. One I can live with forever, because I LIKE the things I can eat, and - except for sugar - do not really miss the things I can't. And, medically, it has helped, as much as I had hoped it would. But in it's purest form, it is strict. When I'm not intentionally rehabbing my body, I will eat dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, etc. and will use honey or maple syrup and dark, dark chocolate (more than 70% cacao) to create treats for myself, and oddly enough, once you get rid of the sugar, those things are plenty sweet enough, even though if I were to have eaten them back a year ago, they would not have tasted sweet to me then.
But, lately, it seems I have been slipping more and more: "there's no meat already cooked, and the scalloped potatoes and ham look really good"..... "there are no veggies cooked, but that bag of salt and vinegar chips wouldn't hurt just once"..... "I haven't had ice cream in soooooo long......" and before I know it, I'm eating like crap again, and I don't feel good, nor do I feel good about myself, and the weight loss is at a standstill. Amazing it is ONLY at a standstill, and not inching back up again. So far. But that wouldn't last, I'm sure.
So... for awhile I kept telling myself come May 1, I would do another "Whole 30," the strict part of eating the way I now eat, for another 30 days. Finally, after my laziness this morning allowed me to use artificial sweetened flavored creamer in my coffee because I was just too lazy to mix up the coconut milk/coconut oil/egg/vanilla concoction I use, I decided I was not going to wait until Thursday. I'm starting tomorrow, Monday. A fresh week, a fresh start, jumping back on the wagon.
Coffee creamer was the last straw, because that was the absolute HARDEST thing for me to give up, out of EVERYTHING. I love my morning coffee with flavored creamer in it, and I could find absolutely NO substitute that was allowed that even came close. In January, I had to drink it black for 30 days - that's all that's allowed, and I swear, that was very nearly my breaking point, even before sugar. It made me SAD to drink my coffee black, because I LOVED my morning coffee before that, and I do not like black coffee. But, once that was done, I did try the coconut milk mix and, after a month of black, I decided that was ok. I didn't love it at first, but I came to, eventually. It's a creamer with no sugar that I can live with, and still happily enjoy my morning coffee again. But in allowing myself to slip back to flavored creamer this morning, I'm afraid if I don't get ahold of myself now, that will be my undoing, my "slippery slope," my "gateway drug." I have read that sugar is, to the brain, every bit as addicting as meth. While it obviously does not begin to compare in effects to that horrible drug, I do believe the analogy. And it also makes me wonder why sugar is in so much of what we eat - I found it in nearly everything, once I started reading labels: mayonnaise, salad dressings, meats like bacon and lunch meats, chicken bouillon cubes, milk. It is unbelievable.
But I have some new recipes to try, and like I said, I don't mind the things I can eat. I love vegetables, and fruits, and raw nuts. I don't like milk much to begin with, don't like cheese, do miss yogurt and ice cream, but.... oh well. I love my banana pancakes, and pumpkin pancakes, found sugar free bacon, and have come to tolerate water as an ok drink. I love that I've lost 20 pounds, and look forward to trying to rid myself of another 20 between now and the end of June, even if it means I actually have to do some walking to move the next bunch. At least it is nicer weather to do that now than it would have been last fall. And, best of all, it HAS had the health benefits I had hoped (i.e. it lowered my cholesterol significantly without having to be on statin drugs, which I hated), so in the long run, I think kicking white sugar and white flour is well worth what I HOPE will be a healthier life. It's all a crap shoot, I know, but... I'm trying.