After last week's lengthy rant on the dangers of sugar and why I've decided to quit, several friends and family members suggested that I keep track of my progress (and setbacks) on my blog, sort of as a way to hold myself accountable. I like this idea, not only because it will be beneficial to record the ups and downs of my sugarless journey, but because I believe that everything's easier to accomplish with a support system. With all of the positive feedback that I've gotten already, I feel like I have an encouraging group of people behind me on this, and that might be all that I need to stay true to my resolution.
It's been one week since I made the powerful decision to wean myself off of sugar, and although it hasn't been easy, it also hasn't been as difficult as I anticipated it would be... yet. I'm sure this will change within the coming weeks, but I feel like the little victories (and mistakes) I made this week will really help guide me in the right direction for the testing days to come.
So, Week One:
The first few days were a cinch. Kristen and I made a trip to HEB on Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?) and stocked up on a month's worth of fresh fruit and veggies. I vowed to cook dinner more often—three or four nights a week—and eat out less. I made time to exercise for 45 minutes every other day. By the time Friday rolled around, I was feeling good. Healthy, energetic, thin.
And then I went home to Mom and Dad's place in Houston. Now folks, you have to understand... My parents are very healthy people—constantly active conscious eaters—but whenever I go home, we like to have a good time. Naturally. This time around, pizza was involved. And red wine. There may have even been some buttered popcorn thrown in there. But you know what? The pizza was topped with veggies and made with whole wheat crust, the wine helped with our daily antioxidants intake, and going to the movies just isn't nearly as fun without having something to nom on (Buncha Crunch was not an option, for obvious reasons). Plus, Dad and I actually ran through the rain and cold to get to the gym on Saturday morning. That's commitment right there. So all things considered, I feel like I did pretty well, regardless of my little weekend indulgences.
The real setback came later, on Sunday evening after I got back to Austin. I think it's pivotal to mention that there's just something about this wretched day of the week that depresses me to no end. You know what I'm talking about: that pre-week stress-inducing Sunday night slump. And I hate to be stereotypical, but what do girls do when they're feeling less than joyful? We eat. Okay, I really shouldn't generalize, because it's not every single one of us. But I eat. Usually the bad stuff, too, like Girl Scout Cookies (which we do currently have in our freezer) or chocolate covered raisins... Anything sugary that I can snack on while grudgingly sifting through my abandoned pile of homework. Well, this time around, I replaced cookies and candy with my favorite Fiber One cereal. Sounds healthy, right? I'd like to think so, but if I'm being honest, this particular kind—appropriately named Caramel Delight—is not so great. I'm talking ten-grams-of-sugar-per-cup not so great. And as I was mindlessly nearing my third or fourth cup (never eat directly from a box), I suddenly realized that this was NOT OKAY. That's 30-40 grams of sugar, people! Consumed in less than an hour! I mean, what's the point of giving up the good stuff if you're simply replacing it with sugar that is just a bit more...fibrous?
I do remember saying that I was going to cut down on all kinds of added sugar, even if it means changing my breakfast cereals. So I have no excuse. Although the cereal brands that I eat are considered more healthful than the rest—think Kashi & Fiber One—there is just as many grams of the white stuff in most of these as there is in Cocoa Puffs. Yeah, the stuff I ate when I was ten and my metabolism rivaled a speed demon. Alas, a new rule of thumb for eating breakfast cereal: aim for those with less than seven grams* of sugar per serving (and always stop AFTER ONE SERVING, not after half the box has disappeared).
Here are a few tasty "adult" cereals that fall under this low-sugar category:
1. Shredded Wheat Original
2. Fiber One Honey Squares
3. Kashi GoLean
4. Cheerios Original
5. Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal
Also a brilliant idea? Combine half a serving of a low/no-sugar cereal with half a serving of lightly sweetened cereal to get the perfect balance. Speaking as someone who eats the grainy stuff every single morning, mixing it up keeps things fresh and exciting. But anywho.
Now that this little cereal hiccup is water under the bridge, I'm onto Week Two! Wish me good luck.
*I was thinking of cutting it down to no more than five grams, but that wouldn't leave very much room for any of the cereals I love. And life's just too short for that. Seven will have to suffice, at least for this week.
[Cereal box collage by Chris Toumanian.]