Tuesday, March 27, 2012

in which I admit I have a problem, and a solution

Hi, my name is Alison, and I'm a sugar addict. (Really.) I love donuts, and brownies, and cookie dough. Diet Pepsi, sweet cocktails, and a cold lemonade on a hot day. I have sugary cereal for breakfast, and always always need something sweet to cap off dinner after a long day.

It wasn't always this way. Growing up, we rarely had dessert or sweets just lying around. My mom wasn't - isn't - exactly a baker. She made our birthday cakes, and they were divine, but aside from that? I can count the number of times we made cookies on one hand. I didn't feel deprived, it was just all I knew. Sure we had ice cream bars, or popsicles, and Kool-Aid (OH THE KOOL-AID) (unrelated: Kool-Aid was invented in Nebraska. And now you know.), but they were just there if I wanted them, maybe once a week? No big deal.

Before I became a mom, I would scoff at people who talked about their chocolate cravings. I thought they were just wanting an excuse to indulge on some sweet stuff. But something happened after Brecken was born - call it hormones, or sleep deprivation, or maybe just me aging, but I started to want a little something sweet, every day. After Jude joined us, it intensified. Dessert was my reward at the end of a long day of parenting / wifery / working (two jobs!) / housekeeping. And chocolate? Oh I craved it. I still do.

I saw this on Pinterest last fall, it felt like a suckerpunch:

Around the same time, someone pinned this book:

It seemed a little... weird. I mean, QUIT?! SUGAR?! why would anyone want to do that? I kind of filed it away in the "to be dealt with later" place in my brain. I was still nursing Jude. He was still waking up 1-3 times a night. It was all I could do to make it through the day awake as it was. I wasn't about to take away my end-of-the-day reward.

Fast forward a few months and as I was in the thick of half marathon training in February, I met Nic - she blogs at For My Tummy. (Ok, really, I didn't "meet" her, but I happened onto her blog.) In a total kismet moment, Nic was within days of running her first half marathon, AND she'd successfully quit sugar last fall. Since then, I've been picking her brain and reading her posts about how, exactly, she did it! (Check out her old posts, her before and after pics are amazing!)

I've spent the past month on the fence about whether I should really do this no sugar thing. Ultimately, I've decided YES, yes I do want to stop having cravings. I want to stop thinking about getting a blizzard when I'm not even hungry. I want to be able to have two cookies and then stop thinking about all the other cookies that I didn't eat.

So last week, I bought the I Quit Sugar ebook. And yesterday, I quit sugar. It's an 8 week (gentle, slow) detox. But, it's about removing alllll the sugar from your diet. Did you know there's sugar in ketchup? What about table salt? And no fruit - that's the hardest one. (I will eat fruit again, just not right now. And it will be the recommended 2ish pieces a day (5-6 grams) - not the gobs of it I eat now to quench my fruit craving.) There's no fake sugar (no Splenda, no Stevia, no artificial sweeteners) in the beginning either. The goal is to stop all the sugar, stop all the cravings, then reintroduce the good stuff in appropriate amounts.

Yesterday was pretty easy, all things considered. Until 8pm. That's when B is asleep; Jude is meandering around the family room, playing; I'm working on the computer; random tv is playing in the background; Joey is running; and I really really just wanted a tiny bowl of ice cream. Or 5 M&Ms. Or a chocolate milk. But I didn't have anything, I just kept sipping my lemon water. (Yes, lemon is a fruit, but the fructose content is nearly negligible.) Yesterday, I won. Seven weeks and six days to go.

Does this mean I'll never have sugar again? Umm, no. I live in a world of kid's birthday parties where there will be cake. And bomb pops on a hot summer day. Hot chocolate when it's cold outside. In fact, I specifically started this detox this week, rather than after Easter (as was my initial plan) so that I can be done with the detox and hopefully be able to enjoy a small piece of cake on Jude's birthday in June. That's what I want - I want sweetness to be a treat. A once a week, or so, blissful escape. I don't want it to consume my every thought.

I am not doing this to lose weight. I cringe at the term "diet". Truthfully though, while I sometimes get compliments about how I "look like I've lost weight!" from all this running I've been doing - I haven't lost a single, solitary pound since I started running in December. I know things shift, and muscle weighs more than fat. I know. I'm hopeful that at the very least, cutting sugar will help with feeling bloated. And maybe, maybe it will help the scale slide a tiny bit.

Joey is on board, and quitting sugar too. He's doing it for himself, of course, but I think he's also doing it because a) he's always up for a challenge and b) he's so supportive of me. The thing is, he reversed type 2 diabetes. He knows how to handle sugar now. I obviously, do not. (The boys' diets aren't changing, they're still eating fruits daily, and B doesn't eat much sugary stuff anyway.)

My awesome friend and runner extraordinaire, Lindsay, is doing this too. It helps tremendously to have someone to bounce ideas off and cheer for.

So. I'm doing this. And I'm going to blog about it along the way (surely, you're not surprised).

Nic tells me I can eat Kettle Chips and beer, that may very well what gets me through the next 8 weeks. :)


  1. You're going to rock this! You have the most important things: desire & motivation! (maybe the same thing??) I can't wait for you to experience lIfe w/I te grip of the cravings. It really is incredible :)

  2. I have thought a lot about a sugar detox recently, and I guess my only issue woudl be cutting out whole fruits. I would love to eliminate the processed sugar I eat, though. I'll be interested to read about your journey!

  3. Wooty woo - we got this, yo!

  4. I love sugar, so I feel you. When I did my vegan/processed food detox two years ago, I really learned a TON. There is so much sugar in foods, it is ridiculous. ABSURD, in fact. And that detox changed my life. I won't say that I live as strictly as I did but I have a whole new attitude about what I will allow myself to eat, reading ingredients lists and watching how I combine things. Like fruit... I don't eat fruit unless I have some protein first because I know my body cannot handle that rush of sugar without something to help it process that. So a banana? Always eaten after a handful of walnuts or almonds. Cheese with apples, etc.

    It is GREAT to challenge yourself on this sort of thing and learn what foods do to YOUR body specifically because eating simply isn't a one-size-fits-all deal. And I KNOW you'll rock this!!!

  5. Once again, YOU GO! Good luck!!


Thanks for leaving some love!