During the last week of July 2013, Lisa noticed an article in Bottom Line Personal entitled, "I'm Kicking the Sugar Habit!" We receive BLP in print form every two weeks, but most of the articles make it online, this among them.
The article laid out a really simple, four-week plan that basically is geared to help folks build new eating habits that limit sugar intake. I'm always game for challenging and/or breaking habits, so when Lisa suggested we try this, I was right on board. I don't eat much sugar, so I figured it would be a pretty mild experience.
The plan starts out with a three-day sugar fast where we ate nothing that included any sugars whatsoever. That meant no starches, no fruit, no dairy ... and obviously no cookies before bed!
During those three days I ate plenty of food, but at the end of day two I was experiencing hunger pangs, headaches, and general physical resistance to this new concept. Much to my surprise I was addicted to sugar.
More than that, I had developed a very incorrect meter of what it felt like to truly be "full." Eating breads and other processed starches really twists your perception of hunger. There's a reason they call that stuff "comfort food," and like most folks I had easily fallen into that trap.
But I pushed through that and after three days I was on a good road. I followed the articles plan for another few weeks, slowly re-introducing foods (starting with red wine and cheese!), and continuing through to whole grains and all of that.
In that first three week period I lost about 8 pounds. Weight loss was not my goal with this (I've never been fat or even close to it) but I realized I was carrying some extra weight, so this was a nice thing to see. A good bit of that weight was likely water weight (carbohydrates cause us to store a ton of water), but some of it was truly weight loss.
By about week number four I had come up with a new eating routine for myself and abandoned the article's strict schedule. My goal was to challenge and re-evaluate my eating habits, and I had accomplished that.
Since August 1, 2013 I've lost an average of one pound per week, and I'm down almost 25 pounds since then. I don't really need to lose much more, so I may have to increase my intake of something at some point soon, or maybe my body will level out.
I basically still eat what I want, and if that means I want bread I eat it. But I do so with the knowledge that eating bread or grains or carbs at every meal is not something I need, nor is it good for me. So now instead of a sandwich for lunch I'll often have a salad if that's convenient (but I sometimes still have sandwiches). At night instead of having cookies I'll have a piece of dark chocolate and maybe some cheddar cheese (but sometimes I still have cookies!).
Breakfast is where the biggest and easiest change came for me. Instead of a quick bowl of cereal I now have an apple and a few slices of cheddar (and I still drink orange juice). Not only does that keep me from starting the day with processed carbs, but it also leaves me feeling full a LOT longer.
Oh... and I snack on nuts now. LOTS of nuts.
If you're looking for something to do in the new year, I highly recommend taking a look at this simple plan.