Monday, January 18, 2010

Feeling Better, and Getting Off Sugar

I think today I managed to turn a corner on the Mopey, Tired, Blah feelings I've been dealing with lately. Not only that, but I think my foot is going to be okay and tolerate my return to higher activity levels! I am quite happy about that.

The forecast for the next 15 days, which I obsessively check for hints of sunshine, predicted Rain, Cloudy, Overcast, Cold. One hundred percent of the forecast was bleak. Imagine my excitement when I woke up this morning to blue skies and sun! It was so unexpected, and I had no idea how long it would last, but I knew I HAD to take advantage of it for my sanity's sake! So I skipped the Light Box, got kids fed and dressed, and went out the door. We ran errands, and then headed to the local park. It was still bright and perfectly sunny when we arrived, and stayed that way for the hour and a half we were there playing, walking, enjoying life. It felt SO GOOD just to be in the sunshine! At one point I took off my coat, pulled up my sleeves, and sat facing the sun, trying to soak up as much as possible. And I do feel so much better! I know part of my wintertime happiness depends on getting sunlight or fake sunlight every single day until the days get long enough and warm enough for me to be outside more often.

We did a lot of walking today, and while my knees were in fairly bad shape (pain) when we got home, my messed-up foot was okay. So the plan is to bike tonight, gently, after I take some anti-inflammatories for the knees. I'll go easy and probably do 20 minutes to start. If that goes well, I will try 30 tomorrow. I admit I am nervous about my foot. I don't like being incapacitated and don't want to hurt myself again.

My sugar intake is down but not 100% today. Since I don't have any junk in the house anymore, my goal is to get back to a low-sugar diet (I am not talking about fruits, here. They do not trigger me to binge or put me into a sugar fog like the refined stuff does). The goal is to limit my daily sugar/sweets intake to:

1 tsp local honey daily (I take this for allergies, in tea)
2 tsp or less agave nectar, in tea
1-2 tsp real maple syrup in oatmeal IF I have oatmeal for breakfast

So my maximum sweets intake would be 5 tsp/day. I realize some of you health food junkies are thinking, "FIVE TEASPOONS??? That is a LOT of sugar!"

Well, remember that Coke I used to drink? Couple of cans a day? TEN teaspoons of sugar per 12 oz can. Now add in all those boxes of donuts and Little Debbie Cakes and candy bars. That is an incredible amount of sugar. I used to mix up brownie batter just to eat the whole batch myself (or bake a 9 by 9 square pan of brownies and eat them in ONE DAY. Yes, one day.) And do you know how much sugar is in my recipe for a 9 by 9 pan of brownies? I will tell you. One Cup. A whole CUP of sugar I would eat in a sitting. That is 16 Tablespoons, which is 48 teaspoons. So no. In *my* world, 5 teaspoons a day is *not* a lot of sugar.

I'd like to cut back to less, eventually, but right now I need a little slack. I rarely use white sugar or its tanned cousin, brown sugar. I watch out for corn syrup and other sneaky sugars in my processed foods. Eventually, say within a month, I'd like to completely stop eating *any* artificial sweeteners or processed foods containing sugars. I have a few things in the fridge, like pudding cups, and in the pantry, like whole grain cereals, which contain sweeteners of one kind or another, and once they are gone (eaten) I will not be replacing them. If I want a sweet, I can make myself some pumpkin custard. At least I know what's in it and am getting some nutrition with my sugar.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll have another healthy habit up for us to work on. That'll be fun! Remember to keep drinking your water and exercising. I love knowing that every day, I am doing something to make my life better.


Autumnforest said...

BRAVO!!! My entire life I was underweight until I hit my 30s and went off the pill. I used sugar as a good group. Instead of eating meals, I enjoyed eating cookies, cake, chocolate milk for fast energy because I didn't want to sit down and eat. It caught up to me with rapid weight gain. I want off that sugar rollercoaster too and not allow sugar to be a food group anymore. You're my hero. Keep it going. I understand once you get through a week or so, it's really easy to avoid sugar.

Kimberpeas said...

I truly know how addicting sugar is and how "painful" it can be to break that addiction!! I bet that real sunshine and outdoor time with your kids really made it easier to deal with. You are a great inspiration to me and I'm so glad I found your blog!!

soontobe...skinnygirl said...

Good for you! I'm trying to cut out sugars as well. It's amazing how you get used to eating cereals, oatmeal, etc. without it once you start. In fact, I put sugar in my coffee a while back and hated it!

It's something I needed to do. Sugar definitely triggers overeating for me. I'm tired, sluggish and I'll grab at almost anything to satisfy my sweet tooth. When I'm off sugar like I am now, I don't have ANY cravings at all! Amazing!

Best of luck to you!

BrendaKaye said...

You might enjoy the book Clean by Alejandro Junger. I love this book. After I turned 40 (5 years ago), I developed some allergies I had never had before. I also have sugar issues too. I found this book and program very helpful. I gave it to my 60 year old mom and she loves it also. Glad you are feeling better!

BrendaKaye said...

Sorry, I meant to type 69 year old mom in the last comment.

Kathleen said...

How cool that you can have maple syrup and agave nectar and honey without getting triggered! For me, it has to be 100 percent gone -- or I feel it. Good for you for getting out there and walking. I hope your knee feels better.

MizFit said...

I didnt think THATS A LOT OF SUGAR!! :)

I thought: great job segueing to less and maybe to less still should you decide it works for you and it's something you can keep up/maintain.
xo xo,


Kelly said...

Where do you find the agave nectar? I live in a rural area and only have a Walmart and Kroger and cannot find it either place. Any suggestions? Thank you

Seren_Sighs said...

I wouldn't say five teaspoons is a whole lot throughout the day. Especially if you plan on cutting down even more.

I really try not to eat High Fructose Corn Syrup or artificial sweeteners anymore. When I go out to eat it's definitely hard to avoid that but other than that I make an effort to avoid it in all foods. I even bought organic ketchup so that I wouldn't eat HFCS. Both ingredients have been shown to raise one's set point.

Have you looked into some yoga stretches for your knees? I just read the results of a study that said eight weeks of yoga reduced arthritis pain in patients. You don't necessarily have to do yoga but the stretches might help.

Good luck.

Hope's Journey to Healthy said...

Glad your feeling better, and I don't think five teaspoons is that much sugar. Honestly, you need to do what is right for YOU, and if you need to eat some sugar (and I know that I do, too, daily, in order to stay sane and not binge) then you do it. Plus, make sure when you cut down, that it's a change that is sustainable for you. That's the key. Keep up the great work.

Hope @ Hope's Journey

Anonymous said...

I just gave you an award for your blog! Keep up the hard work!

Lyn said...


If you have a Kroger store in your area, they often have agave nectar in the health food aisle. In grocery stores, it's either in the health food (by the peanut butter or sweeteners) or else it is in the regular section by the honey. I know you can buy it at health food stores too, but I believe it is cheaper to buy online from someplace like amazon.

No, I have not tried yoga streches for the knees. I will definitely look into that now. Anything to ease the pain! Thank you :)

Cathy said...

Hi, my daughter and I have been reading your blog for a few months now. We can certainly relate as we both fight our weight constantly and your blog helps in knowing we are not alone in this fight.

The reason I'm delurking today is to tell you about an exercise video specifically for larger women. It is called "Women at Large". I bought this video from AVON gosh probably 18 years ago. Although I belong to a Curves for Women circuit gym, I have been slacking off to the point that my hips are achy. Istarted back at Curves a couple weeks ago and altho its great for strengthening, it doesn't do a whole lot for that spare tire. This video is geared to and instructed by very large women. I'm talkin women who need to lose 50 to 150 pounds. It is very very low impact aerobics and floor work. About 20 minsfor the floor work and 25 for the aerobic part. I don't know if it's still available...maybe online somewhere. If you can find it, it would be great to use on those days when you can't get out and dread the bike.

By the way I was very interested in your "light box". I suffer in the winter too from lack of sunshine and thought I\d ask where you got it and if it truly does work. I'd love to lose this depression. thanks

The Chubby Girl Diaries said...

WOOHOO! YOu go! Sugar is such a beast isn't it? I can always tell when i've overloaded on sugar. It feels kind of like i'm pmsing and hung over at the same time!


screwdestiny said...

Good job on cutting way back on the sugar! That's my weakness. I have quite the sweet tooth (although I don't ever drink soda), so I just make sure to never have any sweets in the house.

It will be very hard to cut out ALL processed sugars though, as you said that's your goal. They put that crap in EVERYTHING. But as long as you drastically cut it down, you should be good.

Alysha said...

I love the feeling of being off sugar. I feel like i am lighter and i am less hungry and i tend to crave food less it is a great feeling keep it up!!!!!

Lyn said...


Hi, sorry so late in responding. It does seem to be helping, yes. I got it on amazon. In my last post about S.A.D. I had a link to the one I have. HTH.