I hate you, sugar!

I threw away a cookie last night.

I’ve been what I call “on the wagon” since Saturday.  I’ve been logging my calories on MyFitnessPal and making sure I exercise (even if it is just walking) every day.  On Monday I went into work for interviews and staring at me on my desk was a cup full of M & M’s left there carelessly when I went home on the 19th.  I didn’t eat them.  I didn’t eat any of them.  I was totally proud.

As someone who has an incredibly unhealthy relationship with sugar, I know I need to greatly rework the way I view sugar in my everyday eating.  What was once mostly restricted to an unhealthy love of ice cream has branched out into other categories.  The cookies I decorate, chocolate, peanut brittle, caramel sauce, sugary Starbucks beverages… you name it… I have a weakness for it.  It needs to stop.  I need to put sugar back where it belongs: as an occasional treat.  I am not one of the lucky ones with the metabolism/genetic makeup/natural intuition who can moderate my food intake inherently.  I am not one of those people who just don’t get hungry later if I have a big meal at noon.  Eating sugar any time of the day just makes me crave more sugar.

When I started logging my calories again and making an effort to eat healthier, I didn’t set out to go through a sugar detox.  But I did notice that I didn’t go over the grams of sugar goal MyFitnessPal set for me.  In fact, there were 3 days in a row that I didn’t go over that goal.

I have to admit, I was pretty shocked.

That sugar goal has always seemed incredibly low to me.   As a person who lost 50 lbs eating mostly what I want (which included a mini ice cream after dinner every day), I was always over on the sugar.  I would look at the stats and just be dumbfounded as to how anyone would ever be able to stay at such a low sugar goal.  I mean…. sugar is EVERYWHERE, isn’t it?

Yeah, apparently not.

I did go over on sugar the other day – due to a sweet potato… but I’m not going to sweat that at all.  I have also had two squares of dark chocolate sometime in the past few days.  I’m not going to sweat that either.  In fact, I think both days I had the chocolate were days I didn’t go over on sugar.

So last night, my body started to retaliate.  I’d eaten dinner.  I even had stomach cramps though I’m still not certain why.  I almost never have stomach issues (I swear, it’s one of the perks of eating horribly for most of your life… your stomach can handle all sorts of junk).  Even as I sat there with my stomach feeling uncomfortable I began to daydream of sugar.

I seriously had several internal conversations with myself that went something like this:

“You are 230 calories under your goal today, you could totally eat 1/3 of that extra cookie out there.”

“You’re right… I totally could….. no… wait… I’m trying to only have desserts and stuff on special occasions.”

“You realize that eliminates Starbucks from your life.”

“Ouch.”

“How about making a mug cake?  How many calories in that?”  *Google search*

“Only 80 calories?  I can totally make one of those!  Heck, I could make two!”

“And THAT is exactly why I shouldn’t.  I went from having one to having two within half a second of realizing I could fit it into my calories.  NOT COOL.”

“Fine, just take a BITE of the cookie then.”

“You know what?  I’m going to have some peppermint tea.”

The whole time I drank the peppermint tea I was wondering how long I’d have to wait after I was finished until the peppermint taste wouldn’t ruin the taste of the cookie.

“Maybe half the cookie…..”

At which point I ran out into the kitchen, picked up the cookie, and hurled it into the garbage with enough force to knock it down toward the bottom of the trash…. because had it landed on top on a piece of relatively clean looking paper… I’d still be in danger.

After that, it was just over.  No idea why the mug cake wasn’t still calling my name but the simple act of me throwing out that cookie told my brain NO.  And let me tell you, when I was running out there to throw out that cookie I knew there was a distinct possibility I might lift it to my mouth instead.

I also may or may not have emitted some sort of battle cry as I threw it in the garbage.  I cannot confirm or deny.

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It’s like Jenga… only with your life

I ran into someone I sort of know recently.  I say sort of know because she used to be the receptionist at my chiropractor and while we are friendly, I wouldn’t say we are friends or anything.  However, she too went on a lifestyle change and lost a lot of weight a while back.  When I ran into her I told her she looked great and she admitted she’d not been doing so great lately and had gained 5 lbs.  I told her I could relate and joked about how, the moment you stop exercising… you suddenly start hating your body again.  And those 5 lbs?  Doesn’t matter if you used to weigh 50 lbs more, those 5 lbs make you feel like the heaviest woman on Earth.  We giggled and I told her Id’ recently found my workout groove again and told her she’d find hers again too.

You know, it’s one thing if the exercising stops.  However, what I’ve found is that once the exercise stops… the healthy eating slowly slips as well.  Folks, my eating over the past year has slid backwards in horrific ways.  That is… until I found my groove with this April exercise challenge.

Let me backtrack first.  Last week I clocked in at 10.5 hours and when the results came in…. I was a full 2 hours ahead of the closest competitor!  I was completely surprised and also completely thrilled.  I am determined to match last week’s time and, while I’ve had 2 days of short workouts, I haven’t taken any days off this week (and I did last week) so, I’m looking like I CAN get there… which is awesome.  I’d like to be the overall top competitor.

What I found this week has been really surprising:  I am craving good foods.  My breakfast has improved, my lunches have consisted of mostly fruits and veggies (and I’ve thrown in Greek yogurt which is totally yummy).  And dinner?  I craved salad all week long.  I didn’t have the stuff on hand to make a salad, mind you… but I wanted it badly.  I finally got my salad Thursday night in the form of a Wendy’s salad which included grilled chicken, pecans, apples and was so yummy I was in heaven.  Last night?  Same deal, I was craving salad again so I got another fast food salad, this time from Burger King.

So, as I’m sitting here right now I”m reading through my salad books (I’m horribly unimaginative when it comes to salads) for inspiration because I believe I should plan on eating a few salads for dinner this week.  It’s been a while since I’ve craved a good salad.  It’s been a while since I’ve looked ahead at the menu to see what kind of salads a restaurant has before agreeing to go out to eat, but I remember once doing so.

It’s amazing how everything sort of fits together.  If you remove one thing, it can all come toppling down.  Put that piece back in… and everything stabilizes.  I feel good about myself again.  I’m not thrilled with the extra weight, but I’m not throwing a girlie hissy fit in the morning when I get dressed, either.  I just feel GOOD.  And that’s the big difference, isn’t it?  When you’re working out there is no guilt to feel for not working out.  When you’re working out, your body craves the good stuff.  When you’re eating well and working out… life feels good.

And that, my friends, is where I am right now.  (Until my next post when I update you on the job search and rant and rave about crap I’m frustrated with.  haha.)