Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Beginning and Why

I am not one of those people that can eat sugar in moderation.  In fact, on most days, I'd say that sugar and refined carbohydrates make up the majority of what goes in my mouth; I feel like sugar water is pulsing through my veins.  But something's got to change and since I'm fairly certain that other people won't stop offering me sugar, the thing that needs to change is me.

Starting tomorrow, I'm giving up sugar and refined carbs.  I'm sure it won't be an easy thing, but I feel a little more determined this time around than any of my previous attempts.  Maybe it's just that it's summer and sugar and treats are overflowing at every BBQ, party, and family reunion I've attended.  I feel like I've got s'mores, twizzlers, cotton candy and creamies coming out my ears.

I don't feel like sugar is inherently evil, but I know that it is not healthy.  I'd love to just say that I will keep it special (like for holidays and birthdays) instead of completely cutting it out of my diet, but before I can do that I feel like I need to retrain my tastebuds and squelch the cravings that seem to get me every. single. time.  That's why I feel like saying goodbye to sugar for an indefinite period of time is my only option.

Nearly two years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycycstic ovarian syndrome) which made it difficult for me to get pregnant.  When I first received the diagnosis, the most imminent concern was [not being able] to have a child.  But the doctor also [very casually ] mentioned that PCOS patients also commonly deal with weight gain, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.  That really shook me.  I checked out every book I could find on the subject, and did all sorts of research on the internet.  Many recommendations pointed to one thing to treat (or least not exacerbate) the symptoms (and thereby related illnesses) of PCOS: a whole foods diet low in sugar, fat, red meat, dairy, caffeine, refined and processed foods, and high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds.  So, for nearly two years I've had this diagnosis and not changed much about my diet.  It's time.  I was able to get pregnant and have a beautiful healthy baby, which adds even more motivation since I want nothing more than for her to continue having a healthy life.  I'm going to deal with sugar and processed carbs first because I feel the most strongly about them.  I'll work on the other things another time.

Also, having had a baby six months ago, I definitely have a different body.  I'd like to get back not only to my pre-pregnancy body, but better.  I know that I have to think in baby steps though.  One thing and one goal at a time.  My first goal is to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (I'm currently about 10 pounds away).

For now, I'm focusing purely on cutting out sugar, refined carbs and excessively processed foods.  I'm not going to worry about cutting back calories (though I'm fairly certain that will happen somewhat naturally) or anything else.  The point of this initial sugar fast is just to get it out of my system and lessen my desire for it.  I hope to get to the point where my sweet tooth can be satisfied by a peach or handful of strawberries.

I'm a little worried about planning meals around this challenge.  Desserts and treats will be fairly easy to leave out, but when it comes to white flour and other processed foods, and the fact that sugar comes in so many forms in so many foods, it will be more difficult.  I think that planning will be HUGE for all of my meals.  I need to know what I'm going to eat and have it at home.  I need to have healthy snacks at the ready.

I hope to check in very regularly to give updates and progress reports.  Wish me luck.

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