I’ve lost three pounds in a month. That means one of two things: 1.) I actively ate right and worked out; or 2.) My clothes aren’t fitting better (in fact, they’re fitting even worse) and I actually lost three pounds of muscle mass. I going to go with the latter. I wish I was joking but my inability to lift a 30 lb bag of dog food tells me otherwise. Now, I am gearing up for some weight loss, that much is true, but I’m also gearing up to build back muscle mass. More importantly, I’m going to break my sugar habit for good. There’s a lot of different reasons why but I’m going with the one where it’s poison. And now I sound like another Internet looney. I’m not. No, really. Google non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and Type III diabetes. Spoiler: it all sucks. Those aren’t the kind of problems I want in life. I also have zero proof (as in none whatsoever), but I’m suspicious that a diet high in sugar likely contributes to cancer*.
* No proof. None. Really. So don’t quote me or cite me on that. Don’t sue me over it either. I could be making it up. We all like to hold on to things of which we have no proof – at least I don’t go around spreading memes about it on Facebook.
I know me well enough to know quitting sugar cold turkey isn’t going to get me anywhere but shoving cupcakes in my my mouth at every opportunity. I decided to spend all summer consciously cutting back on sugar. Yes, all summer. I ate so much of that [insert-inappropriate-word-for-poop-here] on a daily basis that it took weaning myself down from it all summer to get to a point where I could actually attempt one of the quit sugar plans out there. Look, I’m embarrassed to say how much sugar I was eating but I’ll be honest enough to say that my doctor looked at me alarmed and said, “That’s not good.” She really did take dealing with my anxiety disorder SO much better than my sugar consumption. So, I’m working on it. Here is the interesting thing for me… cutting back on sugar means I notice blood sugar spikes when I do eat sugar. No joke, those blood sugar spikes do make me feel sick, sluggish, and crappy – nauseous even. Forget non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and Type III diabetes (I have enough to worry about in my life), I just want to not feel sick.
I’m not one to dive into action, I’m one to dive into research. So, I bought two books at the beginning of the summer to help me figure out what the heck I’m getting myself into and how I’m going to do it. I went with Anne Alexander’s The Sugar Smart Diet and Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar. Alexander is the editor of Prevention magazine and her book may be boring to some people as it discusses (but does not cite!) a bunch of studies. You can either believe her at her word (which I don’t) or research all of it (which I did and it took HOURS). But her book has some recipes, some lovely real life people who completed her program, and some great advice on how to make it through the 32-days. Wilson’s book is trendy. There is no other way to say it. It does, however, offer an 8-week plan and a bunch of lovely recipes. And it is super nice to look at. I like it. I made my own hybrid program of the two (but I am going with 8 weeks) and I start September 1st. I like starting new things on a Monday, I like starting new things on the first of the month, and I like starting things at the beginning of a new season (Labor Day is the start of Fall to me). Obviously, starting this on Labor Day is going to make me sad because it is the official last day of mayonnaise season, but the trifecta of a Monday on the first of the month at the start of a season is WAY too much for my little obsessive self to let go.
I recognized that I would need some recipe inspiration but I really wasn’t finding what I wanted on the Internet. When it comes to food, I need a cookbook because I’m old. And I like them. I sat down at the Barnes & Noble near me with the biggest cookbook section (Portsmouth, NH) and poured over them. I was irritated that I kept coming back to them, but a pair of paleo diet books caught my eye like no other. I was not and am not interest in a paleo diet, but the recipes were just too interesting to me so I bought both Well Fed and Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan. I don’t eat a lot of meat but these recipes and meal plan are heavy on vegetables (I need more vegetables in my life) and I’m going to replace sugar with fat in the short-term to help curb cravings. Incorporating some of these recipes is going to take me in the direction I want to go even though I think making ketchup with figs is just plain weird.
The three things I have going for me are the MyFitnessPal app, a Jawbone Up, and this regal dust mop:
I like MyFitnessPal. I hate tracking everything, but I like that when I enter exercise, it gives me more calories to eat. I really only exercise so I can eat more. The Cop thinks this is ridiculous and counterintuitive and it makes him sigh when I talk about it, but I just want to eat food and if it’s going to motivate me to exercise then I’m all for it.
I keep going back and forth with the Jawbone Up but I’m giving it another go. Up is not a reliable device and I would say they only last 2-4 months BUT Jawbone will keep replacing them for a year no matter how many you go through. Also, if you purchase directly from them, they ship for free and will refund you for any reason for sixty days. I had them refund my first attempt at using Up because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of replacement bands (I was obviously not as committed last year) but I’m giving it another go because they are awesome when they work.
I started doing yoga** again and LOVE the Yoga Studio app and it seems that Agatha likes hanging out with me when I do yoga. She doesn’t growl at me or try to bite me or anything! She curls up with me on the floor and waits to steal my hair tie when I lie on my back. I finally figured out a way to bond with her and I’m all about keeping that up. I’ve been looking forward to spending the time with her every day and adding one more routine in her new life is helping her settle in, in a meaningful way. She lets me pet her now. I enter our yoga sessions in MyFitnessPal and I get to eat more food. Everyone wins here. I like that.
** I have no idea if yoga helps you live longer. I just know it makes me feel better.