Is quitting sugar right for me?
Let’s get a little personal today. I’m not one for usually getting too personal on the blog, however maybe I should from time to time. After all, people are curious sometimes right? And if you knew me IRL (in real life) it’s not like anything I’m saying would be a surprise or unknown to you already. Yet as for on the internet, this is personal. There are some blogs that shout about their exercise and dieting efforts. I’m so not that person. I won’t keep it up and then people will notice and judge me, right? I’m a try your best as often as you can type of person.
Hmmm… Where to start?
As a youth, I wasn’t a terribly skinny person. I always thought I was heavy, but looking back I realize I was not. I just wasn’t as small as my friend the model. Go figure?! As a college student, I was great and right where I wanted to be. Walking all around campus, living three flights up without an elevator, parking at the end of the grocery store lot, sushi once a week, and peanut butter with a spoon to keep me going. I was a decent size. At this time I lived the South Beach Diet (SBD) and did it well.
I still have those jeans in my closet somewhere because there might be the someday…
As an engaged early 20s, I was severely stressed out about a particular friendship and the future and saw a natropathic doctor that got me started on a regime for depression (which I’ve truly had since mid-highschool) and it was not until later that I realized he was trying to increase my cortisol. Which in turn made my gain about 60lbs in the months coming up to my wedding. Let’s say, I was less than impressed.
Guess what, the Enginerd married me anyway!
In the years later, we tried to get pregnant and didn’t succeed. Until I found a great doctor that started me on what we called at the time my little purple pal. It is a drug with large levels of Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid. It had two effects on me. One my depression was GONE and two I got pregnant! Pregnant, delivered, running after a toddler, and delightfully pregnant again, delivered, and running after two toddlers found my weight significantly down and the dresses appealing. Then if you recall a few years ago, I had sinus infection after sinus infection and it wasn’t until after multiple doctors appointments, surgery, steroids and so on that we through pain discovered an infection in my jaw. A root canal that took nearly a dozen appointments and many antibiotics and steroids later I was pain free and infection free. However, all that weight I had lost was back and not budging.
Around this time I remembered my days of SBD and all around me I was noticing mamas getting in the THM mode (Trim Healthy Mama – or in some cases Trim Healthy Man for those husbands of ours). Apparently limiting sugar or going sugar free was making people drop weight that have never been able to. It was curing PCOS and depression and seemingly dozens of other issues. We weren’t trying to get pregnant, and I wasn’t depressed. I just wanted to lose the weight that wouldn’t budge from the naturopathic drugs in 2006 and then the steroids in 2011. Finally I looked into the plan and got on board.
Fully committed to THM I didn’t lose any weight. I didn’t cure any issues. As a matter of fact while using stevia I had a miscarriage in a new pregnancy and I think there is a great possibility they’re related. The THM community is severely divided on this, but let’s just leave this conversation at I’m not the only one that believes this and feels this way about stevia.
So my next step was to do THM-my way.
I stopped worrying about using stevia and just went without. I didn’t add sugar substitute of any kind to my smoothies or my tea. I found that overall I just prefer nothing than the chemical-to-me aftertaste of this “natural” alternative. I stopped worrying about being perfectly on plan and just lived with the basic principles in mind from both THM and SBD where they met. The outcome was a loss of more than 20lbs and a meal planning life style that was full of whole foods. Forget the low fat/high sugar. Forget the things called healthy that are damage in disquise. It was good. I even found myself pregnant again. This time I wasn’t using stevia, I was using coconut sugar.
I use coconut sugar and other whole food sweet things, not stevia.
In my efforts to follow THM I either left out the recommended sweetner completely, or I used what I consider a whole foods substitute for the substitute. I used coconut sugar in baking, or a splash of syrup or applesauce. I wasn’t sugar free, but I wasn’t going crazy for sweetness and I wasn’t poisoning my body with stevia either or forcing myself to live with bitter or cardboard tasting foods. (You may love stevia and live well on it. I never found a happy medium there and it doesn’t work for me. You can have it and I hope it continues to work for you. It’s just not my cup of tea.)
So what’s next? Well. In this pregnancy I decided to forego the glucose tolerance test and just eat and treat myself as if I were already diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I had it twice before, and the recovery period from the GTT was one of the worst parts of my pregnancies and always made me so miserable for days (not hours, days!) afterward. So on we went. The pregnancy went great. Overall I gained less than 12 pounds. When my son was born, I lost 27 lbs! Things were going grand.
When illness derails your dietary lifestyle…
My son was born in July and in late November we were passed the flu, or specifically the Influenza A virus. It was horrible. There was a week and some to pass it around the house family members and I was the nurse all the while, plus nursing a four month old on demand as well. Finally I got it, and it seemed that I just stayed exhausted for months. Then in February/March we got a stomach virus that just couldn’t be quickly beat. This left me with no desire to meal plan. No desire to fight for healthy foods. Cereal was there so that’s what I fed the girls, and it ended up that’s what I would eat too. If I ate. More often than not I found it was about 4:30 and I was cranky as can be and probably hadn’t eaten a thing. A handful of m&ms became friendly way too often. Cereal, sandwiches with whole wheat bread – when I did eat there was way too many forms of sugar (even if not terrible ones) and often I didn’t eat enough so my metabolism is fried.
At this point I was just too tired. Too sick and any decisions made were just get it over with, with whatever is available. Sodas became friendly, too. It’s not the sweetness I want, just the carbonation, but it got out of hand.
This is me, right now. I haven’t been gaining weight with all this, but I’m not losing weight either. But more than anything I’m just irked by how I have gotten into a routine of so much that I know puts me in the wrong direction. My fasting sugars are too high, though my after meals are right on key. My metabolism hates me and it needs some tender loving care and a better direction.
Making better decisions
This morning when we woke up I fixed us oatmeal (mine with chia seeds) and thickened the girls with milk instead of bottomless bowls of cereal. I’m drinking my water, but I also got a good cup of herbal tea going to get even more liquid in. It’s only two days now, but it’s a start right? Let’s jump off the band wagon, dust off, and get back up again. No harassment needed, just do better next time.
Quitting sugar?? What are you reading?
I’m often referring back to my THM book, but honestly I don’t like many of the recipes in here. Most of what I have found to be THM-friendly that I like came from Buildamenu.com, but I couldn’t afford it anymore and had to let my subscription go. It just wasn’t practical to pay for when I was so sick or tired from tending the sick that I didn’t care what we ate.
I’m using Karen’s Kitchen recipes (a SBD blogger) and a few Pioneer Woman recipes with some tweaks. I’m also scanning pinterest for options and find lots of good recipes under the name of paleo even though I’m not going to label myself that. Today, I’ve also added a new book to the mix thanks to SisterB called I Quit Sugar, it’s a detox and recipe book and so far in the introduction I agree with the reasons why quitting or really limiting sugar makes sense. Now just to read more…
What about you?
Have you quit sugar? Are you a THM? Are you diabetic, gestational or otherwise? What works for you? What’s your favorite whole foods recipes that make your family grin? I’d love to know.