Tuesday, November 24, 2015

100 Days

It's been 100 days with a new relationship with sugar.  I actually have had sugar a few times; I had some pumpkin bread with chocolate chips on halloween and the last time I went to Chicago I had a brilliant piece of cheesecake (that I split with my daughter and still we could not finish it!!).  But mostly I don't eat sugar unless it's in fruit.

As of this morning I'm officially down 30 pounds for the year.

It's been strange these past three weeks because I got sick right after halloween and no one knows what's wrong with me (though the best guess they have is Colitis).  I have no appetite and I get sick after eating so I'm not eating very much, so you'd think I'd at least be dropping weight as a bonus for all this trouble, but not so much.  I go in for a colonoscopy in a week (sexaaayyyyyy!) and hopefully will have some answers and go back to feeling healthy soon.

Just wanted to let everyone know it's been 100 days.
I don't really have any time to do more.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

nice milestone

Today a friend who I see on a regular basis but who I haven't been able to chat with in a long time asked me "are you losing weight?"

this is the first person who doesn't know that I'm doing this to ask.

That felt nice!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to survive Halloween without sugar? ... hide

It's been awhile.  I apologize.  I was directing a show and then it opened and then it closed and since then I've been trying to catch up on all the grading I wasn't doing while the show was getting ready to open, then running, then closing.  Long story short: I'm 70 days sugar free and I've lost almost 15 pounds in the process.

Mostly it's been going very well.
Except now we enter an ominous time of year...

I went to a halloween party this afternoon.  A super adorable party thrown by the mom of one of the other kids in my daughter's daycare.  We got all dressed up:


And we head over to the party.
At first I was really pleased with how I felt.  I was standing there chatting to these moms, I was standing next to a huge plate of cupcakes AND a giant bowl of candy corn and candy pumpkins (which I have always weirdly loved) and I was FINE.  I was standing there thinking how cool it was that I was fine and that i didn't feel hungry and I didn't want any candy at all.

And then, I guess I hit a point where I had stood around people eating sugar for too long.  And suddenly I really really wanted some.  I didn't have any (unless there's sugar in doritos because I had some of those since I couldn't the treats and I didn't check the bag b/c f-that man!)  I made it out in tact.  But I really wanted to have some.

It's been interesting.  Most of the time I don't want sugar.  Except when I suddenly do.  And usually that want is more like I need comfort than any sort of hunger.  I also think there should come a time when I do chose to have sugar as a rare treat and then go back to not having it.  I just don't know when that will be.

I found a lovely snack at the grocery store today.  I got a few things that were only sweetened with dates or coconut sugar (both of which are allowed in IQS/SWEET POISON books) and all of them tasted like ass until I sampled some DANG COCONUT CHIPS.  Super lovely.  So I just need to replace this:

 with this: 

and maybe I will survive halloween.

next stop: thanksgiving!

Oh, ps, fun story... Today at the grocery store I was looking for Kool Aid packets to dye Madeleine's hair for the costume and she saw some containers of Kool Aid juice (not packets) and we had this conversation:

Madeleine: Momma, what is this?
Me: Well, that's a drink that some people like, but it's not very good for you.
Madeleine: No.
Me: yes, honey, it's junk, but it's a drink that's sort of like juice and some people like it.
Madeleine: They like it?  But it's bad for you.  It has sugar.  How can they drink it?
Random Lady Shopping Nearby: You are doing a great job mom!

yes yes, it was a lovely moment of pride for me.  And then she ate 3 mini cupcakes, drank a capri sun juice box, ate a packet of skittles and a lollipop at the party and I still felt like a jerk because I said "no more sugar" when all the other moms were just letting their kids enjoy the treats.

we fight the battles we can fight, right?

Friday, October 2, 2015


I've just entered Tech Week.

For those of you who have not been in a play in awhile (or ever) this means that we are soon to open and all the various elements of production (actors, costumes, scenic, lighting, props, hair/makeup, and sound) all get to come together in one room.
This can be a stressful time.

So far this show (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot) has been amazing to work on.  I have great designers coming up with brilliant ideas; great actors also coming up with brilliant ideas; and a tremendous stage management team who are keeping everything on track.  Rehearsals have been fun and inspiring and production meetings fruitful.
Basically: living the dream!

The reality is, though, that I'm a single parent of a small child who hates to be left behind (read: crying hysterically at the window "JUST ONE MORE HUG!") and there's also the other (more than) full time aspect of my job: the teaching.  So my days have been long, and while everything is great, it's still a lot to stay on top of.
Or, you know, almost stay on top of.

I'm also experiencing some low-grade sickness that seems to be storming through the ranks.  For me that means a sore throat and some chills and an overwhelming desire to lie down (though I pretty much always feel an overwhelming desire to lie down).

pretty much the only way to keep me from the chocolate
was to tie me to the mast
Last night at rehearsal when we were on a break, I walked past the vending machines on my way to fill up my water bottle.  My relationship with the vending machines changed somewhere around week 3 or 4 when I stopped having to turn away so that I wouldn't see the candy inside and thus be tempted by it's siren song.  Now when I walk past it, I look at the stuff inside like it's a wall of shoes or transistors radios; there's absolutely nothing that registers in my brain as it being food.  Or at least, it didn't until last night, when all of a sudden I saw the hydrox cookies sitting there (something I NEVER would have thought about eating 7 weeks ago when I was still living in Sugarlandia (population: almost everyone) and I really wanted them.

This was surprising.  I haven't really wanted any sugar at all in awhile.  I also knew I wasn't hungry.  I was just really tired, about to get sick, and running on fumes and I just wanted some comfort.  Sugar comfort.

Last night I resisted; though I started sort of bargaining with myself whether maybe I could have a real treat once in awhile.  But today I still sort of wanted some cookies (also interesting because with this slight illness I don't really want to eat any food).  When it suddenly dawned on me: surely one of these No Sugar websites will have some cookie recipes!

And lo and behold they did!  (my I QUIT SUGAR book also had recipes, but they were at home and I wanted to know if I needed any new ingredients) I printed out several recipes and made these two different ones tonight, with the help of my lovely daughter:

I made a double batch of the lemon coconut cookies because it called for the juice and zest of one lemon and I wasn't about to zest half a freaking lemon.  Also, I know the kids in my show are curious about this no-sugar thing, so I'll bring them in and let everyone try them.

I don't think anyone who's been eating sugar on a regular basis will think this, but I think they are both WONDERFUL!!  The first bite I took of the lemon cookie I thought "good lord, this doesn't taste like anything!"  But then I chewed and swallowed, and the loveliest taste blossomed in my mouth.  Soft and warm and almost sweet (or maybe sweet, but in the tiniest, least-offensive way).

I was still feeling sick so I just heated up a cup of chicken stock for dinner, then had one lemon cookie.  Then Madeleine (who was RRRRREAALLLLLYYYY excited to be making cookies) tried a bite of the lemon ones and spit them out.  Her palate still has a fair amount of sugar every day (try as I do to shield her, she still gets juice and granola bars and graham crackers at school)(and I let her have yogurt and oatmeal and jelly at home--but her story is another post I'll get into) so I'm sure these cookies tasted like dust to her.  So I finished her little cookie.

After I put her to bed I got a little plate out and put one of each cookie on them and carried them into the living room with some (whole) milk to write this.  And I couldn't finish the second cookie.  Or the milk.  They sit on the coffee table to my left waiting to go back to the kitchen, their snack destiny left unfulfilled.

And the thing is: these cookies are lovely!  I'm so glad I made them.  I am excited to eat them again sometime.  But I don't want any more now.
Said me before this NEVER!

not gonna lie: feeling a little Obama-y

oh yeahhhhhh!
ps. wish me luck on tech week :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"A Sunday Trip to the Grocery Store" AKA "...Are You F*cking Kidding Me?!?!?"

About two weeks into this sugar-free world, I cleaned out my pantry.  It became a thing of order and beauty:
That hot chocolate tin now holds sugar free dutch cocoa and that "natural" (*eye roll*) peanut butter is almost gone and has only been eaten by the 3 year old.
I had been meaning to do this ever since we moved in two years ago and I just threw everything up there while unpacking, but now I had a reason to do it: get rid of the sugar!

And I did.
I got rid of everything except the Vermont maple syrup and a few "chinese" food options that have sugar in them, and those went in the shelf over the sink that never gets opened (hoisin sauce and mirin cooking wine, I am sad I've had to hide you).

And that was that.

except, I just found out that was not fucking that.

After I finished reading Sarah Wilson's book I Quit Sugar, my dad told me about a book he'd read called Year of No Sugar.  This book chronicles a woman (and her family) as they spend a year not eating added sugar of any kind.  I bought it.  I'm reading it.  La-la-la.  Suddenly she starts talking about how she and her husband can't eat out anywhere because everything has added sugar.  I got a little sniffy and thought "surely you can just have non-sweet things like meat and vegetables and cheese and bread, etc."
Here's the thing this book has just opened my eyes to: ALL THAT STUFF HAS SUGAR IN IT.

I know, right George?!?!

(Me reading the sugar book)
Still I think, ok, sure there probably some crap brands out there that add sugar to bread or mayo, but that can't be all of them.

welcome to my sunday at the grocery store...
We arrive and luckily find the magic purple cart (which means Madeleine will be happy).  We go through the produce section and get what we need.  Then I move on to the bakery.  I pick up several loaves of bread to find that they all have honey, sugar, molasses or some combination of the three.  Fortunately they have some "artisinal" french bread that has no sugar so I get some of that and think I'll get a loaf of one of the organic/uber healthy options.  Except when I get to the bread section there are literally ZERO loaves of bread that do not have sugar in them.  Even the so-called healthy/organic ones.  Everything has added sugar.  The same is true for all the mayonnaise jars for sale.  And the sandwich meats.  And the freaking bacon.  THE BACON.

I found sugar in chicken stock (not like we should buy commercial chicken stock anyway since it doesn't taste like anything), sugar in the organic veggie chips (!?!?), pretty much anything that has a sauce in it (especially tomato sauce), salad dressing, it just went on and on.

this was me at the grocery story 

So a deeper level of sugar purging went on today.
I was pleased to find a brand of bread (Ezekiel) in the frozen organic section that didn't have sugar.  I can make bread (I can even make mayonnaise) but I'm not sure how to find time for that sort of activity now when I'm supposed to be in rehearsal till the middle of the night every night.

Anyway.  It was frustrating, but I guess I'm glad I know.  Helps me in the future.

This is the label for Wonder Bread (which I wouldn't have bought before hand) but it honestly
wasn't that different from the rest of the store brands :(

oh well. bring on week seven.

Friday, September 25, 2015

40 days and 40 nights

40 days and 40 nights of rain
(this is pretty genius)

Today is day 40 of not eating any sugar.

I'm almost through week 6 of the I Quit Sugar 8 week plan to detox from sugar.  This is the week where you're supposed to add back in some fruits.  I had some grapes on Wednesday.  They were lovely but I haven't really wanted any more.

I miss the idea of sugar sometimes, but I feel very differently about the junk food packaging I walk past every day.  I see a candy bar or cake or ice cream or whatever and there is no kind of pull whatsoever.  I'm more likely to get sad about not having baked beans than cookies.

So this continues to work for me.

I haven't been losing weight at the same speed as I did in the beginning, just creeping down ounce by ounce.  But this morning I did hit a fun milestone... I've been working with two different sets of numbers.  The first is how much weight I've lost in these past 40 days (today the total is 11 pounds), but the second is the amount of weight I've lost since the year began (this includes the weight I lost at weight watchers in the spring).  So today I've officially lost 25 pounds this year :)

so that's cool

yeah, that's cool!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Micro Post

I'm wearing a dress today that I bought two years ago but have never worn.

I got it in the days after moving here to Wisconsin even though it was too small.  My thinking at the time was "surely this only doesn't fit because I have just moved and am stressed and am eating too much.  Surely I will start losing weight immediately and then this top will fit."

Except I didn't lose weight, I went in the other direction.
Until this year.
Until now.

So I am happy that I am wearing this dress today :)

That is all.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

28 Days Later...

I mean without sugar: 28 days since I cut fructose out of my life.
(oh yeah, and because I'm mildly obsessed with zombies)(and it's sunday so FEAR THE WALKING DEAD will be back on tonight - even if I won't be able to watch it until Friday...anyways!)

So it's been 28 days since I decided to follow the instructions in a book called I Quit Sugar and stop eating anything with fructose in it.  No junky sweets, no sauces that seem savory but in fact have a lot of sugar in them, no fruit.
(well, mostly, I have accidentally tried a few things that had sugar in them without realizing it, but 99.9% of my food intake has been fructose free).

So far the net result is that I have lost 10 pounds and I feel really good.  I sometimes miss sugar, but I've only had one really bad day (more on that in a minute).  The rest of the time it has been surprisingly easy.  I don't eat the thing I'm not supposed to eat, and somehow because I'm not eating that, my body tells me the right thing to eat.  Like "hey, you know what would taste great?  How about some sausage and beets and spinach sautéed with pecans and pumpkin seeds!!  RIGHTEOUS!"
Trust me, he's saying "RIGHTEOUS! RIGHTEOUS!"
There are all sorts of combinations that are occurring to me that I never thought of before, thanks to the suggestions from the book (like pouring seeds -- chia, pumpkin, sunflower, flax -- on top of food for an extra nutrition bonus).  The best dinner I have had all month was mushroom ravioli that I got from the store that I cooked with some asparagus (out of season, I know) then I grated some fresh parmesan and lemon zest and then topped with some truffle oil.

I made both of these faces when I ate the ravioli
probably with every bite.

I better cool it with the GIFs for awhile before I give someone an aneurism.

My one really bad day was last sunday when I got my period and it seemed like the only thing worth living for was chocolate.  I managed to white-knuckle it through the day (even through an afternoon at the Renaissance Faire which was up to your eyeballs in junky treats) until I could make this recipe: Chocolate Nut Butter Cups:
I call these "Not Reeses" 
They seriously did the trick!  It was crazy, they're not even really sweet, but I had one and didn't want any more.

That never happens.

I told my dad that and he said "I'm not very good with 'one.'  I am good with 'zero' or 'all'."
So at least I know where I get THAT from.

I have so far been having a really great semester too.  All of my classes (all 8 total) have been really fun and feel successful.  Rehearsals for the show that I cast have been going well too (hopefully I have not jinxed both by mentioning it).  I have just started to wonder if the sugar is affecting these things?  If my mind is clearer or if I'm just exceptionally on my game (or wildly deluded as to how well things are going).

Madeleine and I went out for pancakes the other morning (well, me for poached eggs) and when the waitress asked her what she wanted she said "May I please have pancakes without sugar?"
that made my heart well up with happiness.

So yeah, 10 pounds.  And literally all I've done is stop eating fructose.  I do exercise some (twice a week I get a great workout when I teach my movement class; the rest of the time I'm just aiming for my 10,000 steps on my fitbit).  I don't restrict my food intake.  I just listen to when I want to stop eating -- something I am *bizarrely* able to hear for the first time in my life.  I eat cheese and eggs and meat (organic).  I've been drinking coffee (decaf) with half and half most days.


That is another strange development in a month of strange changes in my palette.
One morning I went to school for convocation and I was really tired and I decided to drink some coffee (which I have hated my whole life) with some creamer.  And I really liked it.
It has replaced a morning snack most days.

Back to my eating habits... I find that I'm just not that hungry.  I mean, I get hungry.  But Friday night I had a large breakfast and a late lunch so come dinner time, I just didn't feel like eating a meal.  I had a few veggie chips while I gave Madeleine her dinner, but I literally cannot remember a time in my life when I just didn't feel like eating a meal.  I have, it is true, occasionally, been so broken hearted over a boy that I couldn't eat; but to just not feel hungry and be cool with it.
it was so strange!

I am enjoying feeling my body shave down a bit.  The changes are too subtle for anyone around me to see them.  But I'm comfortably wearing a pair of Next-Size-Down jeans that I barely squeezed into (and bought) in May when I was doing well with weight watchers.

I get sad sometimes when I think about sweets.  I miss them sometimes.  Wistfully.  Like a toxic ex.  There's a line in the play we're rehearsing now about God bringing someone Krispy Kremes and every time I hear it I want one.  If I think about an entire lifetime with never eating sweets again it is sad.  But I don't want them now.  Or at least, I don't want them enough to give up feeling healthy and losing weight.

Finally, I want to say a word about losing weight (well, that's a lie, I want to write a rambling paragraph about it): this shit is hard.  And not just because sugar is addictive, but also because it's such a difficult war to engage in.  Every day people who are trying to lose weight have to resist eating the things that are not healthy, they have to find some way to move their bodies more than their bodies (think they) want to move, all day.  every day.  And, if you're REALLY lucky, after maybe 4 days or so you step on the scale and the number goes down by one.

Losing weight is hard because we, as humans, tend to suck at the long range.  It's hard to think "well, if this keeps up for a YEAR I'll be half way to where I want to be."


ten pounds is ten pounds, man.  I'm proud of that.
I'm proud that I just ate a small dish of cashews and macadamia nuts and half a cucumber for lunch and that's all I want.
I'm proud that something is making a difference in my health and my well-being :)

I'd write about it more but I'm absurdly busy.
I'll check in when I can.
I leave you with some happy dances:

(oh yeah.  I'm definitely Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Alexander Days = sugar sadness

I'll admit it: today I want sugar.

It's not bad.  It's like wanting to call an ex-boyfriend that you broke up with for all the right reasons, but you had a crappy day and you just wish you could talk to him for a little bit.
But you don't.
Because you're a grown up.
blah blah blah.

So I had kind of a low-grade, crappy day.  The kind of day where things all go just wrong enough for you to be annoyed, but not wrong enough for you to be able to wring any real sympathy out of it.  The kind of day that a half pound of chocolate would make so much better.

(honestly, the worst thing that happened with my day was that I tried to make gazpacho from scratch and it turned out unpleasant, and the bread that I baked had been rising for too long and it kind of tasted like alcohol)
kitchen fail (ps I just google imaged that and it made me laugh, here are some of the images I found:)

Anyway, I didn't eat any sugar, but it's not all guns and roses.

Here's hoping FEAR THE WALKING DEAD will fix everything.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I'm Confused... but pleasantly surprised

Here I am at work.  It's just after 3

and I'm not hungry.


It's pretty normal that round about this time of day I want something to eat (preferably something chocolate).  Normally I'm usually of this mindset:

I even have a very healthy snack waiting to deal with the afternoon hunger.

I'm not hungry.

I'm so confused.
I keep thinking "How about now, do you want to eat your snack now?" and my body says "nope. we're all good."
I don't know what to do with myself!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

End of Week #1

The big, splashy news at the end of week one is that I'm down 4 pounds.

But it's weird, I don't feel slimmer and usually I would with dropping that much weight, because usually it would happen because I would be starving myself.  But I haven't been focusing on losing weight, I've just been focusing on not eating sugar; and the way Sarah Wilson suggests you do this is by Crowding Out the bad stuff by eating more of the good stuff -- particularly by, initially at least, replacing sugar with fat.

Good fats, obviously, not just heading to the closest "Yellow M" (what madeleine calls mcdonalds).

And that's what I've been doing.  Lots of eggs and almonds and cheese.  I made this "Cashewy Chia Pudding" (chia seeds, cashew milk, vanilla, stevia) that is massively filling and sort of like dessert (I put raw cacao nibs on top so it smells like chocolate though it doesn't really taste like it as there is no sugar).

I learned how to poach eggs this week (way easier than previously expected since not all restaurants will do it) and ate them for breakfast on top of all sorts of leftovers: salad, chopped orange peppers, rolls, mashed cauliflower, whatever.  It's incredible the difference I feel after eating eggs and vegetables for breakfast instead of cereal or pancakes or sweet-based things.

For me, though, the biggest difference is just... feeling simply a little better.  Nothing riotously different, just a little more energy, though a lot less sick.  Every day I was eating sugar (as in most of the 16,000 days prior to the previous 7) I hated how I felt as soon as I was done eating it -- it makes me nauseous, it makes my stomach cramp up, it makes me tired, it makes my throat hurt.  I would sit there eating it wondering why I was eating it but feeling absolutely unable to stop.

And I'll admit, it feels genuinely sad to think about a life with no sugar.  When I think about years stretching in front of me with no cake or caramel I do want to cry.  But the thing I'm really aware of is that I don't want any right now.  And there are all kinds of recipes on the website and in the cookbook for low-fructose sweets to have as treats now and then.  Not that I've ever done "now and then" well with sugar.  Here are some:



But before I get all weepy about not eating 7 candy bars a day, let me focus on a few cool things that happened this week:
1. I found my fitbit charger and got 10,000 steps in every day (often taking a long walk through the gorgeous natural areas around the campus--putting the Park in Parkside)
2. I didn't eat any crap sugars.  At all.  Didn't even really want them.  I still had a little bit of fruit, I had one lemon pelligrino soda, and I had a couple of chocolate Bel Vita crackers because I'd bought them from the store before I knew what I was going to do this week

3. Yesterday at the farmer's market I saw a lady selling fruit bubble teas at a chinese food stand.  I asked her for one (assuming she actually put fruit in it, and thought "it's still week one, I can have some fruit").  As she started to assemble it I saw her put in milk, ice, and then try to open a jar of a clear liquid.  I asked if that was sugar water and she said yes.  I asked her to leave that out.  She got very concerned but I confirmed my request.  She said ok and then opened a box of orange powder (I had ordered the mango kind -- silly me for thinking there'd actually be fruit in it) and put in a few tablespoons of what I can only assume was powdered mango dust.  She blended it up and gave me a small sip to make sure I was ok with no sugar.
It was lovely.  It was like a cool, ice-y milk with a tiny aftertaste of mango but without any cloying sweetness.
I really, genuinely liked it.
I also got some empendas for us to eat.  So with those and the bubble tea I felt fantastic!

4. Madeleine and I had dinner at Applebees last night.  I ordered steak and shrimp with broccoli and potatoes.  Without any sort of deciding to, I ate all the broccoli, some of the potatoes, all of the shrimp, and a bite of the steak.
and was DONE.
My body was very clear -- in a way I am not used to -- that I had eaten enough and should stop.

I think this is what life is like for some people, but for me it's usually just: eat until the food is gone.

so that's been my week.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll wrap some turkey meat in a piece of kale for a snack and head off into the day.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


I am hesitant to talk about this because I don't want to be all Tom-Cruise-on-Oprah's-couch about it,

but the truth is I've found something that makes sense to me.

Last weekend Madeleine and I were walking through the local Target and I saw a book that I had seen before but hadn't bought because it was $25 and I am apparently incapable of leaving Target without spending less than $100 so why add to that.  But I saw the book again and had only put a few things in my cart, and I was at the end of the store, so I bought it.

Also, because I can't stop thinking about how I have a real problem with sugar.  A real problem that I can't seem to figure out how to control.  Like I don't know how to eat a few cookies, I can either eat the entire bag, or until I feel like I'm going to throw up, or not at all -- no in between.  I know other people struggle with drugs or alcohol or cigarettes; I have no problem with these things.  Drugs and cigarettes, obviously not my thing and if I never drank another sip of of alcohol in my life I could really care less (though margaritas with The Empire or Mr. Asthe were a lot of fun).

But sugar.  For so long I have just struggled.

And it's so stupid!  I feel sick when I eat it, I hate that I'm overweight, and yet I can't stop eating it, I can't even stop thinking about it.

Earlier this year I signed up for Weight Watchers for a few months.  I lost close to 20 pounds and was pretty excited about it, but then I just stopped.  I don't know why, and I couldn't seem to start again.  I went to the meetings with a friend and we snarkily commented on the things the section leader was saying, but I didn't get any help from the meetings.  I just hated knowing that I would have to add up too many points so I avoided bad sugars for awhile.  Though sugar is still such a huge part of WW (or sugar substitutes which are even worse!) that I would make one of their "acceptable" desserts, only to find myself eating the whole tray of it (though, really their Rocky Road Bars are unreal delicious, I challenge you not to eat the whole tray yourself).

So I keep meaning to go back to weight watchers, even went to one meeting in Vermont this summer.  But it never clicked with me again.  It bothered me that I would go to these meetings and that there was a set agenda, that was never about what I was struggling with.  It bothered me that they were always giving out free samples of some incredibly sugary, low-fat WW treat that they wanted you to buy (which I always ate because I never ate before my weigh in and I was starving!!).

My weight has gone up and down throughout my life, though the weight I gained with the pregnancy (most of which still sits on my frame like a 50 pound wet down pillow) took me significantly higher than I'd ever been.  In the past it has mostly been exercise that kept my weight someplace healthy, and it has usually been some kind of heartache (read: boys leaving) that got me too sad to eat anything tasty and thus set me in the direction of not eating junk long enough to start dropping pounds.  I have gone long stretches where I ate little to no sugar, even a few super healthy times when I could occasionally eat sugar then get back on plan with no problem.  But mostly I've just wanted to eat as much sugar as possible, then I run a bunch, or take a bunch of dance classes to battle back the caloric intake.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the 80 hour a week job and the single parenting make it a little tricky to squeeze in 2 hours at the gym on a daily basis.

I have been wondering on an almost daily basis why I can't seem to walk away from the sugar unless I white-knuckle it for a day or two (the entire time wanting to eat sugar pretty much every second).  Why the one thing I continually wish for -- to have my pre-pregnancy shape back -- is the very thing I sabotage while I reach for whatever chocolate is closest (and as much of it as possible).

This has been going on since I was a teenager.

So there I was in Target, and I decide to get this book to see if there's anything in it that might help me in my struggle:

and there was.
Obviously or I would not be writing about it.

This is not a diet like any other I have read about.  This book simply says: human beings, metabolically speaking, were not designed to eat much sugar.  In fact, we are designed to be able to recognize when we are full if we are eating proteins, fats, and non-sugar carbs, but that back when our current metabolism was developing sugar was so rare that our bodies did not develop the ability to know when enough was enough specifically so that we would eat as much of it as possible to store fat (sugar pretty much entirely being in the shape of fresh fruit or the odd honeycomb).

This book tells me that we actually don't, as humans, possess the ability to stop eating sugar naturally.  I know that some people have learned this, and that some people don't like sugar, but 36% of the people in this country are overweight or obese so clearly I'm not the only one who has a problem with this.

The author, Sarah Wilson, goes on to say that we're not really designed to take in more than 6 teaspoons (or so) of sugar a day -- and children even less.
For perspective a can of coke has just over 9 teaspoons of sugar in it.

So this book says that you should spend 8 weeks not eating any sugar of any kind.
Including fruit.
The fruit part surprised me.

She goes on to say that you can add fruit back after the initial 8 weeks, but that it takes between 30-60 days for a true habit to form, and that the sugar in fruit is still recognized by the body as sugar.  So no sugar for those 8 weeks.

There's a great deal more to this, as you might guess, it is a book.  And I am really engrossed in the reading of it.  But as soon as I started reading this on Sunday I knew that I was going to follow it.  Sadly, I had already been to the grocery store and had bought a lot of fruit, however, she kindly says week one is really just to cut back on the processed sugars -- she thinks we should go slow.  She also says that deprivation goes against human nature, that if we starve ourselves our bodies kick into famine mode and become fixated on food.  So she recommends replacing the calories of the sugars, in the beginning, with proteins and fats.

So I've been doing this for 4 days now.
Not exactly 20 years of marriage.
But I feel... better.
I don't feel sick all the time.

I find if I can avoid looking at sweet things (looking up that WW recipe was a bit of a mistake) and I can stay on top of eating regularly, I really feel fine.
The few (very few, really) cravings I've had, it was much easier to silence them with this understanding of sugar craving/addiction.

I don't know if this will last.  But it's working today and I feel strongly enough about it to want to write about it.

I can also say this for certain: normally at work I often start having terrible headaches around 3:30pm.  I never once thought it might be related to what I was eating -- I always assumed it was stress or sleep-deprivation related.  Two days ago I had a lemon pelligrino soda (there was one left in the fridge) and a package of chocolate bellvitas (again, it seemed like a reasonable "treat" at the grocery store before I opened The Book) at lunch time, and by 3:30 I had a raging headache that lasted until I ate dinner.  I might not have made the connection even then, but I remembered reading about it in the book.  Next day at work I didn't have any sugar at lunch and 3:30 came and went and I felt fine.

One more thing: I still had energy after I cooked dinner (tortellini salad from the Super Natural Every Day cookbook) and after doing the dishes so I walked with Madeleine to a nearby playground (something we have NEVER done after work) and I even played with her on the playground (as opposed to my normal slump on the side bench).
It's a little different.

So I'm gonna see where this goes.
Wish me luck.