Hello there. Today I have declared Funday Monday, just because. I feel that on Day 9 of this 21 Day Sugar-Free Journey, I am learning a whole bunch that I would like to share with you. I’m not even half way to the end of these 21 days, so you can expect another post in due course.
For today I introduce some non-scientific, no-way -to -prove -them- other -than -to- trust -me findings on life without sugar.
1. For No Reason or Under Any Circumstance Will I Ever Give Up Fruit
A life without fruit is not a life. I’m sorry. I knew immediately when My Friend Diane (author of 21DSD) said that no sugar was allowed on this journey, NOT EVEN FRUIT, I imagined this going down in my head.
Me: “Now Diane, Diane, I’m gonna let you finish, but…let’s make this clear. I’m gonna be eating up them fruits for the next 21, okay?”
Diane: “Your funeral.”
Me: “It’s gonna be your funeral, Diane, if you don’t step back and let me have my berries.”
Diane: “Okay fine. Just none of the processed stuff.”
Me: “Who do you think I am, Diane, a crazy person?”
Diane: “No comment.”
So needless to say, I’ve been EATING UP ‘DEM BERRIES and slathering them in almond butter and feeling positively positive about it. I know for a fact I would not be making it through these days without reaching for some Ben & Jerry’s if it weren’t for my fruit intake.
Sorry not sorry, Diane. Fruit forever.
2. Sugar Makes me HUN-GRAY.
I guess the correct thing to say would be that when I don’t have sugar I’m not constantly thinking about consuming food. So by process of elimination (like, literally, getting rid of sugar…) I have seen that I am not as hungry as I usually am. Not in a “I’m not paying attention to my body and I actually AM hungry” sort of way, but in a, “Oh? It’s time for dinner already!?” sort of way. Maybe it’s because of the large amounts of protein I’m consuming, and I’m sure that’s part of it, but I really think processed foods make me hungry.
I heard in the documentary Fed Up that sugar actually cuts the signals going to your brain to tell you when you are full, so if you’re eating sugar, you’re more likely to overeat. I’ve also heard that artificial sweeteners make you crave real sugar, which would probably cause the double whammy of eating something with Splenda, and then deciding you should have just had the real thing, and then having the real thing, and then wanting to eat more food.
So basically, for me, no processed sugar has equaled no need to think about food 24/7, which is great.
3. Relaxation Station When It Comes to Workouts
Chalene Johnson, the awesome creator of Chaleanextreme, TurboFire, PiYo, etc…has always been telling me, “Abs are made in the kitchen.”
Let me tell you about 9 billion reasons I don’t want this to be true:
Reason 1: I like food. I store my food in the kitchen. Sometimes these items are not ab-friendly and are just plain delicious.
Reason 348: If said statement is true, this means that no matter how hard I try, I can’t “run off” a Starburst. Plus, who wants to!?
Reason 734: I REALLY like sugar. This became clear when My Friend Diane said I couldn’t eat any processed sugar and I realized (in my mind) how narrow my food options became. Wah wah wah. First world problems.
Reason 3.2 Billion: I don’t REALLY care about having abs, per say. But I do care about a healthy body, and that’s really what she means. “Healthy bodies are made in the kitchen. Be careful that you don’t treat your body like a garbage dump and fill it with whip cream, Cheez-Its, Mountain Dew, milkshakes, or Oreos. And definitely not all at once. The consequences will be dire.” Maybe not that last part, it’s just a reminder for you that I added. You’re welcome.
Reason 9 Billion: I LIKE working out, but I do not always LIKE eating healthy. You’re telling me that my workouts are basically cancelled out by what I eat in the kitchen if I’m not eating nutritiously? Oh, poop.
The GOOD SIDE OF THIS is the following: I have noticed now that I am eating better, I do not feel so pressured to workout. I have a much healthier mentality now, which is not that I need to workout to “keep up” with what I’ve been putting in my body, but rather I workout as a nice alongside to what I’m already doing in treating my body right through nutrition. It’s chillville, over here, people. I’m eating well and exercising every other day instead of the other way around. Living the dream.
4. The Crazy Reason I Actually Think I Can Keep This Up After 21 Days
BECAUSE IT’S NOT CRAZY. Most importantly, it’s not a “diet.” I do not feel like I am restricting or wanting to binge or go crazy because I’m not having sugar. I actually feel better. And when these 21 days are over, I do not want to go back to eating processed foods, and I know that won’t be a problem, because I am finding out just how sweet and delicious REAL foods are without all that added white sugary addiction stuff.
Now, let’s be honest- I won’t be saying no to every red velvet cupcake that crosses my path, because that’s nonsense. I will be enjoying the good stuff when I want to, and the GOOD STUFF, for me, means no processed foods. The good stuff means REAL dessert when I REALLY want it. No store bought cookies or cupcakes, no Sara Lee or Cracker Jacks, but the good stuff. The White Chocolate Brownie from the White Chocolate Grill (if you’ve had it, you will understand). My Dad’s chocolate cheesecake. My Mom’s apple crisp.
I’m gonna save my sugary yums for the homemade good stuff. If I don’t see the hands that made it, it’s not going in my body.
5. Cheating is Not Cheating, It’s a Choice
I hate it when people say, “I had a cheat meal.” Why? Well, because you made a CHOICE. You didn’t “cheat.” You can’t cheat on food. If you’re trying to express that you are choosing differently than the way that you normally eat, just call it “choosing something else.”
CALM DOWN with the food morals.
Let’s play this out in a people situation.
Girlfriend: “Hey, babe, I hope it’s okay with you, but I just had a cheat date with that guy down the street.”
Boyfriend: “I’m sorry, what?”
Girlfriend: “You know, that weekly time I set aside to kiss Ben down the road? I assumed you’d be okay with that because the other 100 kisses a week I have are with you. It’s just a one-time a week thing, it’s not like it has to throw off our whole relationship. ”
Now THAT is a moral situation. And she’s an idiot.
You eating something or not eating something is not a moral situation.
When I have a cupcake in the future, or a piece of cheesecake, I’m not going to write that off as a “cheat meal” because that puts food in a moral category it doesn’t deserve. That’s why women end up with eating disorders and binge issues- because some foods are “good” and some are “bad.” Food isn’t good or bad. It may have better or worse nutritional value, but it doesn’t have moral character.
You just choose. You choose the cupcake or not. You choose the chicken or not. It’s a decision, not a way to cheat on your other foods.
Just make your choices and be pleased with them. Listen to your body and find out what it needs. Odds are it needs some veggies and yummy protein, but sometimes it might want a cupcake and that’s okay too.
If you have to call it a “cheat” meal, it probably means you see eating a certain food as something illicit or prohibitive, which is going to make it appear way more desirable than it truly is if you welcomed it into a balanced diet. A cupcake is just flour, sugar, eggs, cream cheese, etc…but if you start to see it as the holy grail of all foods that you can only touch once in a lifetime, you’re giving it more credit than it deserves. And you’ll probably eat more of it than you even wanted because you won’t be sure when you can eat it again.
Newsflash, you can eat it whenever you TRULY want it, so you don’t have to hoard it like a bakery squirrel.
Keep perspective, and choose on!
I have just recently come to understand that I don’t ever want what I’m eating to be able to have a “title” that others applaud for being strict and prohibitive. People, life is just too short to ask if your chicken was sprayed with olive or coconut oil, and then asking for special accommodations so that everything you eat can be like a caveman (because he used coconut oil….). I’m not just picking on Paleo, it’s just that that one happens to be all the rage right now. I’m thinking…you have your 100% Cacao Cookies made of almond whey protein and I’ll have my skillet cookie (as seen above). You FEEL ME!?
Life has to be flexible. There will be parties, and a stop by Papa John’s after your sons basketball game. There will be weddings and funerals and desperate airport situations when all you can eat is a muffin, and that’s okay. I’m not going to freak out because the world can’t accommodate my every dietary need. I’m not going to make it a big deal. Because it ISN’T A BIG DEAL.
Health is balance, not beating yourself up. So I’d like to call what I eat “Claire’s Yummy Delightful Colorful Bountiful Abundantly Delicious Eating Items.” Want me to define that for you?
Too freaking bad. It’s whatever it is. All I know is that it doesn’t include Ho-Ho’s and Cheez-Its.
7. My Body is a Temple of God
In this process I have been freed up from thinking about food so often. It’s been really wonderful as someone who has struggled with body image issues for awhile now. It’s nice not to overthink my food, nice not to call foods “good” or “bad,” and just relax knowing that if I’m doing my best to avoid processed junk (because it makes me feel better), then everything else is on the table, so to speak. It’s an option, not a MUST or a MUST NOT, but there to enjoy.
So my focus goes from me towards God, where it belongs. I follow Alisa Keeton on Instagram, and she’s an awesome fit lady who loves Jesus. She recently posted a picture that said this:
MY BODY IS A TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD.
I WILL NOT: CURSE IT, MISTREAT IT, WORSHIP IT, COMPARE IT, HATE IT, RATE IT, DISCOUNT IT, FORGET IT.
I love that. Because guess what? What matters most about my body is the heart that beats inside of my chest and how much that heart is given over to Jesus instead of obsession with my own appearance.
All of the glory goes to God for all of the deliciousness he puts in our lives. Not just for fruits and cupcakes but for love and compassion and grace. For what happens when we share food with other people and spill our hearts over a pan of homemade brownies. For what transpires when we trust God to shape our hearts more than we want to shape our own bellies.
Fill your heart with His life, and the rest will follow.
Marvelous are your works, my soul knows it full well.
– Psalm 139