"You know how you wake up in the morning and sometimes you look gorgeous and other times you look like you got hit by a mack truck? I realized that my mack truck is food." -Mariska Hargitay
Let's start with a throw back to The Four Tops' song "I Can't Help Myself". I mean it. Click on the link and listen to this great song...and while you're doing that, please imagine me crooning the lyrics to sugar and all sugary "foods", and that would pretty much sum up my relationship with the stupid stuff. Is it so wrong to have a passionate, borderline obsessive relationship with a "food" product? Ummmm, yes. Hence, this challenge.
I think one of the most commonly asked questions I've gotten after telling people about my challenge (and after the so very appreciated encouragement for my year of substance-abstinence) is what I consider to be sugar. Some folks were thinking I might not even be partaking in fructose....Oh Em Gee...that would make my life so sad!
Here is what is passable right now: honey or pure maple syrup (the expensive stuff, NOT the corn syrup with maple flavoring) used in moderation for baking or cooking and fruit (my life saver at the moment). Sugar withdrawals is one of the worst experiences...mostly because often I end up caving to the craving and wallowing in failure and self pity. I've discovered that I can't "just do it", I must have a strategy to succeed.
For me, here's what works to get off the sugar train and start having obsessive relationships with more normal things in life, like boys and CrossFit.
1. Do NOT ignore the craving. Put something in your mouth. If you're craving something sweet, that means fruit. The craving may not go away, but it becomes manageable. Yes, in the early stages of detoxing, I have been known to eat massive amounts of watermelon (cold, crisp, sweet, delicious!) and consequently given my digestive system a new sort of challenge. (Yikes.) But it stopped me from eating a cookie, or ice cream, or a whole cake. Boom.
*Note: this sort of overindulgence in fruit must be pulled back over time or your tummy is gonna be mad at you! It also will not expedite the process of losing fat. It has, however, gotten me over the hump to where my refined sugar cravings start to recede.
2. Always be prepared. Especially at meetings, social gatherings, and other places where there will be tempting no-no foods. Again, when you're eyeballing those delicious homemade oatmeal raisin cookies on the table and drooling with desire...put something in your mouth before it's too late. And by something, I mean crunchy, delicious fruit and veggie and nut snacks that you brought with you. People will be jealous. Trust me.
3. Find replacements for your go-to naughty foods. Even when improving your diet, you still might want a treat now and then. For me, I discovered that a bag of mixed frozen fruit and light coconut milk in a food processor or blender made an uber-amazing replacement for ice cream. It was fruity, creamy, cold, and smooth. Sooooo good!
That's a plan that has worked in the past and one I'll be relying on in the upcoming days and weeks as the cravings kick in. So that's it. No excuses.