Once upon a time (2002) in a land far far away (San Diego), when I was a fairly heavy smoker, there was a coworker, who I will name C. We were both overweight, but he was a non-smoker. He would always preach to me about how horrible cigarettes were, and my counter was that lots of things are drugs (that is, causing pleasurable chemical reactions in your body that made you want more), for example, sugar. I bet I could go longer without a smoke than he could without sugar. He made it until lunch and got a jamba juice without really thinking about it and I was still not even really yet craving a smoke.
At that point, I was also on Atkins so any victory in my cold, carbless life made me feel a little less of a shell of a lifeless person. But it still made me feel validated.
I’ll point out that sugar was never what made me fat. Sure, I’d indulge in deserts now and again but what really did me in was salt. Potato chips. Bagels. Pizza. Burgers. Fries. Taco combo plates. I wouldn’t turn down the ice cream social day or birthday cake or some candy from the candy jar, but I rarely sought it out. I actually find that the skinnier I am, the more I skew towards sugar. As a kid, I ate candy like no other, but in my late teen years til about 30, I’d rarely ever eat sweets. Since I’ve picked up distance running and am smaller again – the sugar smacks come back.
It’s not to the same level as it used to be. As a kid, I’d have a candy bar EVERY DAY at lunch. As a young adult, I would have a smoke after a meal in the same way you might eat desert. Now, I have shifted back to having a sweet after dinner – though it might be healthier like a 60 calorie sorbet or a bowl of whole grain cereal and almond milk, or a hershey kiss or two, it is still something I feel like I want/need/deserve just about every day.
Also, I used to have the “oh, I’ll have deserts when I’m out, but only on a special occasion”. This last week and a half of no deserts made me realize that there are a damn lot of special occasions. So far this week I’ve had to turn down cake twice, tim tams, snickerdoodles, and a few other things I’ve certainly blocked from my mind. I have done 9 successful days without deserts (beyond fruit).
I’m going to try to go a full month. Yeah, I know. I think I’m crazy too.
The reasons are twofold.
One, I’ve tried everything else to lose weight, and maybe the answer isn’t to eat x-amount of calories. Maybe I really and truly need to spend some time cleaning up my intake, and examining that, one area I really can work on and not feel horribly deprived cutting out is desert. A chocolate or 2 while I’m PMSing or having some bacon chocolate brownies or my friend’s amazing fudge at a party? Totally should be in my life. Feeling compelled to get up and snort the sheet cake from costco in the break room? Blech. Having to have some sort of sweet at the end of the day just about every day? Badness.
Second, I just want to prove to myself that I can. Nine days in and I still feel like my workouts are missing a lot of pep. I don’t like feeling like things control me. I CONTROL THINGS. And not having had much of a sweet tooth when I was 265 lbs, it feels like a STEP BACK to have one now.
A minor reason? I want to be able to have the deserts I *want*. Rather than a hershey kiss every day or some sorbet, I’d like to once a month be able to go out and order a slice of key lime pie. Or the fro yo I’ve been craving. Or a milkshake. I want to feel justified that I can enjoy the REAL THING and not just have to make due with a substitute. These are things I’m trying to incorporate in my diet as well (like real cheese instead of plastic cheese, etc) but baby steps.
So the eating rules are thus:
-Fresh fruit in any quantity is allowed.
-A fortune cookie or a starlite mint does not count.
-I’m not worrying right now about HFCS or the sugar content of anything that is a FOOD, just trying to stay away from anything you could classify as a DESERT. Cereal and milk are banned because I eat them like a sweet, but if I was eating them for breakfast instead of my protein bar, it would be ok.
-No sugared drinks (though it’s not like I drink them anyway).
-My 110 cal 1g sugar protein shake is allowed since it’s consumed as an after workout recovery, not desert.
I think that’s it. I figured I should get this public before I reconsider. 🙂
We’ll see how this goes. Wish me luck! Have you ever done a sugar detox? How did you feel? Anything you feel like giving up this month? Who’s coming with me?