Tag Archives: sugar

My body finally got on board with my brain

So. Hi all. I know it has been quite some time since I’ve done this. Write about my journey towards health and happiness with my physicality, that is. So there’s lots to say. But it is 1:35 AM at this moment, so I’m going to pare it down a bit.

So after my ex and I became, well, exes, and thus I had to depart from his homestead and move back in with my parents, I put back on a decent portion of the weight I had lost in the months prior. And that was sad, and I wanted to do that thing where you already feel bad about yourself so you eat even worse and workout even less because, what the hell, I already look like shit, what’s one more pound? But I didn’t. I fought tooth and nail to regain control of my eating habits which, I must say, is not an easy thing to do while living with a woman who naturally burns 4000 calories a day. Why God? Why wasn’t I born with my mother’s metabolism?

Anyway, I lost nearly all the weight I had repacked on and was getting on my way to losing more. I was still struggling with sugar, so I was getting lax about what I was eating, and started caring more about how much I was eating. And that was working alright. But I felt awful after eating wheat. Not guilty awful. No, unwell awful. So I knew I needed to get back onto the Paleo train. BUT, a week at the lake with my very large Italian family threw a wrench into that plan, and rather than getting my ass back into gear, my ass got bigger yet again.

Sigh.

So then there’s July. It is UNGODLY hot here in Michigan, especially in my parents crap-ass house that doesn’t have AC. This climate crisis is bad because it prevents me from being able to go running without getting heat stroke, and the very notion of spending an hour in the 80 degrees+ yoga studio makes me want to vomit, so my exercise becomes limited to taking walks after dark. Not what I’d call kickass cardio. BUT, the good thing about it is my appetite disappears when I am dying of heat exhaustion. So once again, I start shedding weight, praise the lord.

And then, about two weeks ago, something wonderful, something glorious happened: my body spontaneously decided it no longer wanted carbs, but especially, sugar. I hadn’t been obsessively limiting my sugar intake, I’d even let myself eat a little pasta when it was the only thing that sounded appealing, but then *POOF* I lost all taste for grains and sweets. Do you have any idea how freeing it is to stand in front of a cake and have absolutely no desire to eat it? To see a sea of mostacciolli at a wedding and pass it by without a second thought? I don’t crave cookies anymore. I crave salad with a great homemade vinaigrette, or protein protein protein. Yum. It’s as if the heavens have opened and I can hear the angels singing.

So I am now officially back down to the weight I was at my lowest pre-break-up. Hurray! I don’t feel like I look as good as I did then, which is probably because my muscle mass is down since I haven’t gone for a run in ages and just this week finally made it back to yoga. But taking 4-mile walks to the library with the kiddies during work, and re-introducing myself to my yoga mat will even things out soon, and then I may finally–FINALLY–be on my way to meeting my goal weight.

This has not been an easy journey, but I have not  any point, fully fallen off the wagon.  I’m not sure why my body suddenly decided to get happy about Paleo,  but I’m not going to question it. I’m just going to be thankful that my brain and my body are on the same page, and I might be able to ride this train to my final destination: physical health and self-confidence.

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All Aboard the Sugar-Addict Express

I knew I had a carbohydrate addiction when I was 14 years old and I read an article in Self magazine. It noted that the post-dinner cravings that alternate between sweet and salty were a huge indicator of a carbohydrate addiction and well, that was me to a tee.  Every night it was, “Oh! I want ice cream! I want popcorn! I want chocolate! I want potato chips!” Back and forth, back and forth until bed time.

It’s only now that I’m doing something about it. I’m feeling much healthier, I have so much more energy, I’m sleeping better, and I don’t get the 11AM sleepies anymore. But going from being completely enthralled with sugar to attempting to ban it completely has its negative side affects. I binge now. I never did before (or, rather, never called it that because I already had a steady stream of sugar entering my bloodstream all day), so it’s a little alarming when I go off the edge and just start inhaling pints of ice cream. Also, after eating almost any carbohydrate, the blood sugar spike is more pronounced, so the come down is more jarring, as is the lingering desire for more. BUT, I’m still happier now than I was last year, 15 pounds heavier and calling myself hypoglycemic.

Due to my improved health and well-being, I feel a bit more passionate about others finding moderation in their lives. I would never suggest anyone jump into a low low carb diet, or the paleo diet, or any health regimen just because it has helped me. That said, I don’t feel like I’d be exaggerating if I said I bet 75% of Americans are addicted to sugars, if not more. They may not binge, they may not be overweight, but our dependency on carbohydrates is not isolated to a select few.

[Note: Have I done research on this? NO. Feel free to throw some real data at me, if you have it. I don’t feel like googling this right now, I just want to speak on what I’ve seen and what I feel could very well be true. If you want the numbers, go ahead and search for yourself or leave a comment and ask for them and I’ll do some digging later.]

Now that I’m observing others’ eating habits a bit more (Yep, I’m a creeper) I’ve realized that this carbohydrate dilemma starts much earlier than I’d once thought.( I sort of always figured my addiction began when I hit puberty and garbaged up on beef jerky and Oreos all summer, but now I’m thinking that was TOTALLY wrong.) I’ve watched 2 dozen little cousins grow up before my eyes, so I’ve kinda got a handle on how many parents feed their children. But seeing as two little ones are in my care 5 days a week, I’m going to use them as my example.

Graham, from age 6 months to 10 months, was fed strictly organic baby food. Every day the kid’s face was smeared with green beans and sweet potato, oat cereal and turkey puree. No salt or sugar added. No preservatives. About as pure and healthful as you can get. But as he neared his first birthday, the little guy was making it clear that he wanted to chew on stuff. Now, it is SO EASY to take a sweet potato, bake it, and cut it up. It takes no brains or culinary skill to steam broccoli. Graham’s parents could still be feeding him salt-free, organic food, just made themselves. But no. They’re giving him canned green beans swimming in salt. They’re giving him salty and sweet crackers rather than his veggie puffs of the past. His mom even said to me one day, “You think if I cook a sweet potato in some butter and some sugar he might eat it?” WHAT?!

I remained calm that day and told her, yes, he’ll eat it and love it. But he’d eat it and love it without the butter and sugar because he’s a baby. He’s never had that stuff, so he can’t miss it if it’s not there. But what I wanted to say was “ARE YOU STUPID?”

Sorry, I’m passionate about this. And here’s why.

Edy, just a year older than Graham, won’t eat any vegetables. The food they keep in the house for her is macaroni and cheese, Kraft American Singles, processed chicken nuggets, waffles, etc. Her parents told me when I started working for them that she won’t eat any bread product without butter, and I did see, at first, that they were right: Edy didn’t ask for toast in the morning, she asked for butter. She likes apples and strawberries, but won’t touch other fruit. She is two. She is too young to be picky. Clearly, somewhere around her first birthday, her parents deemed that the above mentioned processed CRAP was appropriate toddler food and stopped giving her the wholesome stuff they spoon fed her before. Because, if they had just given her all the same stuff she was eating at 8 months only in bite-sized pieces instead of mashed up, she would still happily be eating peas. But instead she throws the peas at me. Her parents let her try their pop and now she wants orange soda instead of orange juice. A few weeks ago I said brightly, “I like broccoli,” and her reply was, “I can’t like that. I like…birthday cake aaaaand chips aaaaaand cookies aaaaand…” The list continued like that.

:/

Now, over time, she hasn’t seemed to notice or care that I stopped putting butter on her food.  She eats whole wheat pancakes naked, no butter, no syrup, happily. We baked a banana bread, but I called it “cake” and she was thrilled to death. She has some of my eggs every morning, and frequently tries the tuna salad or quinoa I bring for lunch. She’s not eating a wide array of foods, and 90% of what she does eat has sugar in it, but it’s an improvement. Unfortunately, her mother LOVES to undermine me. On banana bread day,when her mom came home and Edy asked for a piece of her “cake,” Mommy dearest buttered a slice. (Why? Why did she butter it? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.) Any time Edy has tummy troubles her mother attributes it to the “strange food” I let Edy try, and thus she’s not supposed to eat my food anymore. The parents complain that Edy is so picky, but when they get ready for dinner they ask their two-year-old if she wants grilled cheese or noodles. (She’s fucking two. Why should she have any say at all?!) If they just put food in front of her and insisted she eat it, after a few weeks of whole plates of food ending up on the floor, the kid would eat everything. But they let her call the shots and thus, the kid is a sugar fiend.

And I’m just the nanny who has to do as I’m told or rick losing my job.

I don’t ever plan on being a psycho mom who never ever lets her kids eat birthday cake at a party. But I don’t want to set them up to be unhealthy either. I’m seeing first hand that starting way too young we’re pumping sugar into children like it’s their life force when what their tiny growing bodies really need is Vitamin D and protein. Why should Graham have had a cake at his birthday party when he gets so excited over applesauce?

Eh, what do I know? I’m just a stupid girl wanting health and happiness for all and the kids are just the future sugar-addicts of America.

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The Battle of the Bulg(ing Waistline) Vol. 3

Yes, it’s that time again: I am going to talk about my food struggles. Aren’t you excited?

It’s been one week since I announced Get Fit Quest 2011, with a deadline set for my ever-looming birthday. And I have to say I’ve done a fairly good job. From flank steak to salmon, from squash to bacon-topped salad, it was a very Paleo-friendly week. I went nearly 100% grain-free for a few days, and then when I gave in and had a little bit of pasta, it was just a little bit. Hell yeah self-control! In just a couple days of forsaking nearly all sugars, I felt really great and could have sworn I already looked thinner. But then, oh but then, yesterday happened.

I went to a baby shower (see my opinion on that matter here) and the room was filled to the ceiling with carbs. The little snacks on the table consisted of goldfish crackers (one of my dearest loves), chocolate covered peanuts, chex-ish mix, punch, and soda. *twirls finger over head* It was my own personal walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I sipped water and prayed that lunch would be served before my will broke down. But here’s the funny thing: I didn’t even want any of that stuff. It didn’t sound appetizing. But someone in me my body remembered that a certain wonderful and addictive satisfaction would come with nibbling, and it’s just too easy to let your hand act of its own accord and grab a handful of munchies.

I resisted, and then filled up on salad, steamed veggies and roast beef during lunch. And I was happily and comfortably full. So happy and comfortable that I easily passed up the dry-looking cake. But you try explaining your diet in a room where the star is a pregnant woman…it’s frowned upon. So I was being pressured by my table mates to partake in the treats. I had already poured myself a small glass of alcoholic punch and declared that it would be my dessert but they weren’t happy with that, so I grabbed one chocolate covered peanut to prove a point, popped it in my mouth and said, “There. Happy?” And even though I hadn’t wanted the freaking candy, and even though it didn’t even taste that good, the switch was flipped and suddenly I wanted more. My sugar-addiction that I’ve been suppressing kicked in, the dopamine kicked in, and I just…couldn’t help myself. I ate the whole bowl.

I’m so disappointed.

When I left, I remembered this Paleo Pepper post and started forming a plan for the rest of the day. So I had a moment of weakness, it didn’t have to continue into a full-blown binge. But alas, I followed up one food-ridden shin-dig with a family party where there was…*drumroll*…more cake! And this time I had not a friend but an auntie demanding that I help make some of the leftover food disappear, plus, the cake actually looked good (which was probably just an illusion caused by the dopamine coursing through my veins) so I had a piece. And then took two more home and ate them before I even got in the door. I didn’t eat anything else the rest of the night except a carrot before I took my vitamins, but still, I define that as a binge, albeit a small one.

Again, SO DISAPPOINTED.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. A little over a month ago, I had been doing very well, hadn’t eaten anything sweet for almost a week, and then I baked cookies with the little lady I watch, and I tried one to make sure they were fit to feed the kid, and it led to a two-day binge. And NOT a small one. It got to the point that I had to sit on my hands, and eventually had to email Ms. Pepper herself for support because I was about to go out to buy ice cream so that I could continue sabotaging myself. She talked me off the ledge and helped me get back on track (SHE ABSOLUTELY ROCKS!) but I knew what I was capable of. I knew that I could snap and eat so much sugar that I wanted to throw up but still want more. It’s a frightening thing g to watch yourself sink so fast and feel like you can’t stop it.

So yesterday could have been much worse, but I’m still not pleased that it happened. I’m not happy that I let peer pressure–fucking peer pressure–get to me. I’m not happy that I saw what was coming before it happened and didn’t do something to stop it (I mean, I could have simply gotten up from the table! But I didn’t.) I’m not happy that even after an hour-long break and making a plan to stop myself, I couldn’t stop myself.

Thankfully, my binge ended by 7 PM and I had a lovely 14-hour fast to recover. This morning I started the day with some broccoli and a few breakfast sausages then hauled my ass to an intense vinyasa yoga class that made my freaking elbows sweat. I followed that up with a 3 mile walk with my dog and mowing the lawn with my manual mower (a GREAT WORKOUT. I highly recommend any able-bodied person forgo the gas-powered noisy machine and just pick up a cheap rotary blade mower.) Finally, I ate a bunless burger, some sweet potato fries and a big cherry tomato salad.  So I feel much better about life today.

Now I’m preparing for a new week ahead of me full of protein and hard workouts. After those couple wonderful carb-free days last week, I really don’t have any excuses anymore: I need to dive headfirst into paleo. And not just when it comes to grains and sugar; I need cut down on my omega-6 intake, I need to start saying farewell to dairy, I need to have faith and take the plunge. It’s time to really out my well-being ahead of my appetite. And, frankly, my appetite is even beginning to give up on toxins, so why am I still giving myself the option.

I think the time is now. I’m going primal!

Wish me luck, friends!

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