Wednesday, March 23, 2016


If there's been one consistency in my life, it is my dear friend Sugar. Sugar with a capital "S" because it is always with me. I'm never an hour or two from my favorite vice.

So with much trepidation I gave up sugar - namely desserts - for Lent 42 days ago. (Let's not even go into that Lent is more than 40 days or why I'm participating in Lent because my relationship with Catholicism is tenuous at best.) I didn't give up fruit, and I know that can be divisive. I did try to stick to berries and an occasional banana, apple or orange.

I resisted a chocolate fudge cake at a baby shower. I resisted several yummy-looking desserts at a party. I looked mournfully at Legendary Doughnuts as I drove by every week.

It was difficult but not impossible. They say it takes three weeks to develop a new habit. No, not long enough! But I did turn to substitutes. Probably my biggest substitute was cheeseburgers. My cheeseburger intake was insane.

Which leads me to...I wish I had a before and after CBC (blood panel) done. I would be interested in knowing my glucose (sugar?) levels before and after. I would bet a lot of money that my cholesterol went way up. My whole life with mainly white meat/fish and then a huge influx of fatty beef? And who would have predicted that taking desserts from me would make me become such a carnivore??? That was completely unexpected.

I've never eliminated sugar so much from my diet. In fact, I had a few days in the past month where I ate 0 grams of sugar, which I don't think has EVER happened for me. In the past whenever I went on anything close to a traditional diet, I would mainly focus on keeping my daily calories within a specified number. I didn't necessarily ban a specific food or my favorite foods. I just ate a smaller portion of it.

In weeks 2-4 of my Lenten experiment, I lost 8 pounds. Same calories per day, but merely cutting down the sugar gram intake and basically substituting cheeseburgers. In the first few weeks, I was still eating my much-loved Lara Bars...until I realized they had 26 grams of sugar in them!!!! Then I switched to a bar with 0 sugar grams. But, yeah, 8 pounds in a month, which puts me comfortably in the normal BMI range and into jeans I haven't been able to fit in many, many years.

Weeks 5-7 haven't brought me any weight loss. I've actually cut back on the cheeseburgers (my cholesterol is thanking me!) after getting burnt out on them, and I've seemingly plateaued.

Here's what I ate yesterday:

2 salmon burgers (Trident brand, found at Costco in the orange bag)
2 cups of mashed potatoes with a bit of butter...I really love mashed potatoes.
1.5 cups of blueberries (frozen, found at Costco)
2/3 cup of almond milk (Blue Diamond)
8 oz baby spinach (Costco...see a theme?)
Think thin bar (Business Costco...peanut butter flavor is my fave....0 grams of sugar)
1/2 cup buttered noodles

It's not perfect, but I know when I'm having a "must have carbs!" moment and try to fulfill it in a better way than eating 12 cookies.

I've also figured out what the dessert I most crave is. Apple fritters. I would have thought it was 20 different things, but the consistent craving I've had over this month+ is apple fritters. The hard outer shell coated with glaze. So really I'm only craving the outside of an apple fritter. I don't even need the dough inside.

What I hope will stay with me after Lent ends: Cut back on sugar. When I looked at nutrition fact labels in the past, I mainly looked at three things: calories, fat, ingredients list. Things like Lara bars slipped by me because it passed my three criteria. Now I know I also need to look at the sugar grams. I don't need to be a sugar Nazi, but making sure I stay within a reasonable sugar threshold per day would be good. Since I've never done that before, that could be a wise step for me.

I just looked it up. A Snickers bar has 27 grams of sugar, and a Lara Bar has 26 grams of sugar. The World Health Organization recommends 25 grams of sugar per day.

I wonder what my daily sugar intake used to be. Back to that blood panel, wish I had gotten that done.


jojo cucina cucina said...

So Bethany, how are you celebrating today????
My thing isn't sugar at all. Before I was married to Brian ice cream used to go bad in my freezer. However, I could sit and eat a whole bag of potato chips if I didn't have to run 15 miles in order to work it off. I love salt. It is probably why I have high blood pressure and take medication since I do exercise faithfully.

What's funny is I wonder if the sugar/salt thing is a genetic deal. All of my siblings also do not care about sugar. I am not kidding when I say we are a family that has no dessert at holidays. They too love the salt. And just the other day while babysitting my Cheeto-colored great nephew Brady (who is 2-1/2) I laughed as I watched him eat a saltine cracker. He took forever to eat one cracker because he kept licking the top of it.

So we must be predisposed to be drawn, much like alcohol.

That's amazing that you lost that kind of weight by cutting out the sugar. Why can't sugar and salt be like a vitamin dammit?

B said...

I ate an apple fritter (finally, but not quite as good as my mind had imagined) and some jelly beans. And half a chocolate bunny.

And today someone gave me a piece of cake.

Going back to my old ways if I don't get it under control!

I used salt as quite a crutch during Lent. Mmmm...potato chips, some Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles really hit the spot!

Your family is all about the salt and Brady too. The legacy lives on! It probably contributes a bit to your high blood pressure -- all the stupid people in the world probably contribute more. :)

Back on the wagon because it would suck to gain 8 pounds back in a couple of weeks.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Sometimes you just need a little incentive. LIke losing 8 lbs and knowing exactly how you got there might be the ticket.

I don't really subscribe to a diet plan other than making temporary adjustments whenever I get over my magic weight. Last Monday I was 2.2 lbs over it ( I purposely didn't weight myself until I thought it might be only about a 1 lb, but I knew my jeans were feeling uncomfortable so I was not too surprised.)

Then I got sick on WEdnesday. And just like that I am now a week later, nearly 3 lbs UNDER my magic weight. 5 lbs difference is a lot for someone my frame. My tracker for three days didn't even come to 3,000 steps for all three days.

Certainly not eating and throwing up and going to the bathroom every 5 minutes is no real way to keep it off but I also haven't had any wine for a week and I think that is definitely a contributor because alcohol slows down your metabolism. So now that I have it under my magic weight I do want to make adjustments from my earlier habits and get back to not having wine so often during the weekdays (just because I am really retired) and not eating the junk that is sitting around. Being at Soundview even part time didn't help because they have all kinds of easy snacks within reach. Coming out of the bathroom, grab a handful of pretzels and crackers on the way to your desk....getting your lunch out of the kitchen? A few chips from the bag sitting on the shelf will go nicely with that lunch. Bowling? Well... I am still going to drink beer while bowling, but maybe I don't need that extra order of tator tots!

So yeah, summer is coming and I have a jumpstart on getting back to where I want to be. Incentive and a measurable goals are the best diet plans I've ever had. I love measurable goals and rules. So I want to get back to them. I don't run every day or even exercise every day so I have a new one that shows my weekly average still has to amount to 8,000 steps which means I might find myself going for a walk after dinner where I normally wouldn't. Which is an easy thing to do!

B said...

I love how you're so in touch with your body that you know how much you "should" weigh and can tell slight differences (2 lbs is a slight difference!). I remember you saying you had your magic weight that felt good and strived to stay at it, making little adjustments if the scale slid upward. Too bad that you had to have a tummy bug to get you in the zone!