Taming the Sugar Beast | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Taming the Sugar Beast

In my post about my New Year's Resolutions, I casually mentioned that I wouldn't be eating any sugar for 2010.  And boy did all of you ever latch on to that one!  What?  Lara's getting organized (again)? Whatever. Yawn. But, she's not going to eat sugar? What? Is she SERIOUS? REALLY?

Made me laugh.

It also made me realize that it's hard for all of us, this sugar beast.  And for me it's absolutely necessary to get rid of it.  I am overly sensitive to it.  When I am partiularly out of control (like, say, during the holidays), I turn into a monster.  I yell for no reason.  I hate my life.  I have no energy.  And, I gain weight like nobody's business.

Part of it is PCOS and the insulin resistance that is packaged with it.  Part of it may just be the way my body reacts to sugar. I don't really know.

What I do know is that when I don't eat sugar (I have done this before several times) I am the calm and happy person I know I can be.  I feel good, and I have energy.  And, I drop pounds alarmingly quickly.

This time, though, it's not about the weight.  While it will be nice to lose, I don't care nearly as much about that as I do the way I feel.  And the way I act.  I do not want my children to have a mother who loses her temper just because she couldn't control herself with the brownies.  That is not fair to them.  Not to mention how confusing it is for them (and me!) when I freak out about absolutely nothing.

For some reason, it's been easier this time.  Maybe because it's for a more honorable reason than just getting skinny.  I started weaning myself from sugar the day after Christmas.  There were still so many goodies around, that it wasn't exactly easy, but my first full day off of sugar was December 30.  I had a horrible migraine that night due to the good old withdrawal, but I survived.  I ate a little bit of toffee on New Year's Eve, and I have stayed true to my word that I will not have sugar in 2010.

For now, I am just not eating obvious goodies.  In February I will also eliminate white flour from my diet (not too difficult for me since I usually eat whole wheat anyway, but I'm not fretting about it right now).  In March  I will go whole hog and eliminate anything from my diet that has the words sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the ingredient list.  You may say it's extreme, but it is absolutely essential for me.  I promise.

Besides, once you've been off sugar for a while, you start tasting the sweeteners in everything.  Like spaghetti sauce.  I can't even stand how sweet it tastes once I've been off it for a while.  Thank goodness for the no-sugar-added kind.

I am definitely feeling much better already.  One week completely off, and two weeks of major reduction.  I've lost some weight, but what's really amazing is my energy level.  Remember my main New Year's Resolution?  To get organized?  To have a routine?  It's working.  I'm loving my lists.  My house is cleaner than ever and I feel like the tone of our home is changing for the better.

Now, please excuse me while I go organize my spice cupboard.   

(Hey!  It's on the list today.  I'm not that freaky, I promise!)

38 comments :

  1. Wow. You have some serious dedication, woman!! Congratulations. I'm glad you are feeling happier and more energized! Way to go!

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  2. I know for me, once you take sugar out it's easy to keep it out. It doesn't taste good anymore.

    Problem is with the cold weather I craved hot cocoa, brought the sugar back in. . . and then how do you turn down all the holiday sweets?! So back to day one for me again.

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  3. Good for you! And just you! :)

    You do have a lot of strength. I just couldn't do it.

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  4. I think I just don't eat enough "good" food and then I crave energy which my dumb mind interprets as sugar. I'm always afraid I'll eat so many handfuls of chocolate chips as I pass through the kitchen that I'll end up diabetic.

    In other words, your idea would be a positive change for me, too. I'll have to start thinking in that direction. Unfortunately my self-control of stuff like this is not nearly as admirable as yours is.

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  5. I am so very proud of you... I think it's admirable whenever people do anything that makes them feel better, and more in control. That thing may be different for all of us, but the conviction to do it is the awesome part.

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  6. You have done this before, and I was impressed with your willpower. I know you can do it again, and I'm so glad it is already working so well!

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  7. Here's my question: what about wheat bread? Cuz my mama makes wheat bread, but I'm pretty sure it's got some sugar in it. Can you eat that? Or say, a bagel? I'm just trying to figure out how eliminating sugar is possible:)

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  8. I'm right there on the same track with you--just not AS gung-ho. I've been eating MUCH less sugar for the last couple of days, because I suspect I'm sugar-sensitive, and holy cow. What a difference. HUGE difference. I can THINK! I don't feel angry all the time! :)I wish you the best of luck and the optimum amount of willpower!

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  9. Yeah!! I was going to post pictures of something sweet I baked and the thought of you prevented it. I really want you to succeed and feel better. I would like to get off of sweets as well. I do love vegetables and eat more than most people I know so that could be a huge help if I ever decide to try this.

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  10. PCOS? We have that in common. too. And now you understand why it's such a miracle that we conceived our last two children the old-fashioned way. (First two are IVF babies.)

    It sounds to me like you are ready to do this for real, and I salute you! You are a better, more will-powered woman than I!

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  11. Sugar really is such a drug. I think your goals are terrific! And anything that helps keep the house cleaner and more organized is great!

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  12. Will there be anything left you *can* eat after eliminating sugar & flour? lol.

    I tried doing a 40 day fast from chocolate as a missionary in Uruguay and it worked. For one day. Fasting from sugar would probably kill me. But it would also make me stronger, healthier, I think.

    About weight issues: A thing that works for me is portion control.

    I ate like a pig through all my pregnancies. I was hungry all the time. And often gained 60+ pounds as a result.

    And then I ate like a pig when I was nursing b/c I was hungry all the time.

    When I had the twins, it was everything X 2. Talk about crazy times & a big fat reason (my butt being one of them) for PPD. :/

    Many of my friends have gone raw, organic, vegan, off sugar, dairy, etc.

    While I heartily admire them, it's not my cup 'o tea. I just proclaim, "I've gone chocolate."

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  13. Just so you know, I think getting organized is a really cool resolution, too!

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  14. You're amazing. This is something I really, really need to do. I have PCOS too, and the healthiest I've ever felt is when I was cutting back on sweets and white processed foods. Self control was never my strong point... But I think I've just been inspired!

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  15. I did it for a few weeks last year and while it was super hard at first, it wasn't so bad once I got in the habit. I keep thinking about it now, but I just can't get myself in gear. Keep us posted how you're feeling. Hearing positive things might help me make the leap again.

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  16. Really, you are an inspiration. Organizing your spice cupboard? On a Thursday? Inspiration, I tell you.


    Oh, and the whole no sugar thing? That is pretty admirable too. :)

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  17. I can't eat sugar (it makes me burst into tears and fall asleep). I'm pretty much used to it. My sister recently found out she has celiac and had to cut out gluten. That I think I would have a hard time with.

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  18. Three cheers and kudos for knowing and being true to thyself. I'm a big believer that the Word of Wisdom is different for everyone (besides the basics - that stays the same.) People react differently to different foods, and part of taking care of your body is knowing what's good for it.

    You make me happy.

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  19. Great point about how you can taste sweeteners in food. HFCS is so gross!! Go off of sugar and amazingly FOOD tastes good. Fruit, whole grains, even oatmeal. So, I believe in you. I absolutely believe you can do this. I am curious if you have decided on options for a 'sweet' tooth. Will you be using artificial sweeteners? Small doses of natural sweeteners? Barbaloot pointed out that bread usually has sugar. I use honey in my home-made whole wheat. It's needed for the yeast. Personally I would much rather use small amounts of natural sweeteners like honey than using fake sugar. Which is disgusting. Keep up the good work Lara.

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  20. Ok, here's the big question. I get going off of it for a month, or whatever. But once you've completed that, are you planning to stay off of ALL SUGAR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE? Is that seriously your plan? You need a maintenance idea.

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  21. How do you know about having POS? Is there a test for it? I'm not suppose to have sugar and other various food allergies. I know that sugar does the same thing to me. But I just don't know how to quit. It's like crack for me. Any tips send them my way! Because I'm suppose to keep sugar out for multiple health reasons.

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  22. Impressive! I can totally relate and its something I should do too. PCOS really sucks! I just need to find my will power. Good luck with that. I am really glad you are feeling so much better all ready.

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  23. I'm totally behind you. I'm glad you're doing things to help you be a happier, healthier you!

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  24. I am 100% certain you can do this. And because you're doing it for the right reasons and with the right attitude, I'm certain you'll have an easier time of it.

    A skinny, pleasant Soprano? What a lovely surprise!!

    (tee hee)

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  25. I am so impressed - a whole year!!! A few years ago I was having some strange body things going on and I read up on and studied A LOT of different things as there was no apparent explanation for what was going on. Anyhow, one of the things I tried was a Candida diet and that cut out ALL sugar and corn syrup and fungal products. It was kind of crazy. But seriously, I dropped 10 pounds in a month. It really felt great. And then I got pregnant and went back to life as usual!

    The candida diet didn't seem to help the problems I was having, so I kept studying and finally got some very unexpected resolution. But I am glad I did the month experiment - I really should do it more often.

    So - best of luck to you and keep us updated. Maybe I will pick 3 or 4 months this year and do it then. I appreciate your motivation and will see if I can pull from that and use it in my own life.

    ps - I lived on red grapes when I did it - they were the perfect sweet little munchie!

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  26. Good for you. I recently was asked to take dinner to a sister in the ward who had a baby. I'm happy to do that sort of thing, but she's a vegan, and I had NO idea what to do. The CS lady told me to take baked potatoes with nothing on them, and a green salad (no, cheese, dressing, etc.). Seemed likes sides instead of a meal, but I guess you get used to those things once you've done them for awhile. Hopefully your adjustments won't be too hard to do.

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  27. Well, I know you are a very determined woman when you put your mind to something. That has been proven for sure.

    Sugar can be a beast.

    But I can be a beast without it.

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  28. Wow. I know, I truly do, that you are right. I know I could feel that good too. Oh, but it seems so daunting!

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  29. Erin sent me your way since I have PCOS too. Sugar is the bane of my existence, so I feel your pain. I had some mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and wished for sweet death I got so wonky afterward. I know better! It's nice to know I have a friend in the same trench. :)

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  30. You know, I wonder if going off of sugar would help me. There are days when I realize that I am yelling at my children, and I honestly don't know why. I wonder if it has a similar effect on me.

    Just out of curiosity, will you eat honey or agave nectar, and things like that?

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  31. You have a great outlook on this...I need to get back to the no sweets thing I did just before Thanksgiving. I went two weeks without! And honestly, I don't think I would have started eating the treats again if it hadn't been Thanksgiving. But once I got started eating them again, it's hard to stop. I find if I can get past Day 5, it's smmoth sailing. So, thanks for getting me motivated again!

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  32. Wishing you all the best! I'm happy for you that you know your body and your needs, and that you're willing to make a commitment to yourself! I haven't cut out pure sugar, but part of our commitment to whole, unprocessed foods is never, ever buying anything with high-fructose corn syrup in it. And you're right—when you haven't had it in a long time, you really notice it when you taste it again! Sweeteners are like painkillers or caffeine or alcohol; your body develops a tolerance to them, and it takes more and more of them to feel the effect.

    Wishing you all the best!

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  33. Doi. I said "Wishing you all the best" twice. And now I've done it a third time.

    Sorry about that. Maybe I need to give up sugar, too!

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  34. Wow, that is awesome! Good job!
    I am going to be a little skeptical for a minute and say in a "I wonder tone". Would natural sugar be okay for you? I wonder if it is just the processed stuff that affects you?

    Yet at any rate being off any sugar is a great thing.

    I would like to say I wish I could do it. But I don't at this point, but thank you for the example. I just might follow some day.

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  35. I've cut back the sugar big time. I stopped drinking diet coke, and I only allow myself to indulge ont he weekends. I feel great! It's nice not to be craving chocolate after every meal!

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  36. We are so soul sisters in this, Lara. I'm off sugar, too, after a horrendously awful Christmas season (I won't even go into how much weight I gained), but you're right- everything in my life goes better when I'm not eating sugar. Wish you were closer, so we could cheer each other on (and so you could be in a warmer place!).

    Mary

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