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#SUGARNOPE: Week 1

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Last night I went to my first real Crossfit class by myself. Despite it being my boyfriend’s gym and despite me knowing most of the people there already, I was still concerned I’d feel a little like the Brazil nut of the mix–unwelcome and out of place. (No one likes a Brazil nut, duh.) This, obviously, was not the case. Everyone I’ve worked with has been super accommodating in making an intimidating sport very approachable. Nick also bought me real Crossfit shoes (there are Crossfit shoes?) so I can attempt to fit in.

Even with the shoes I can’t really “do” any of the moves, per se. I’d say if you had to describe me in the mix of all the actual athletes, I’m like a wiggly noodle at the moment. But whatever. So far so good.

I’ll try to keep you updated on that experience without being waaa-aaaaay too annoying about letting the world know every single time I go to the gym. I am curious about committing to the sport for a month though since I’ve been vocally critical of it in the past without actually trying it myself. So let’s give it an honest go, shall we?

Now let’s talk about sugar…

Today marks 7 days sans sugar and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty great. It pains me a little bit to say that since I have always rolled my eyes at people who claim eliminating sugar is such a life changer. I don’t eat that much so I didn’t think there would be so notable a change. Here’s what I’m seeing so far…

Cravings

Surprisingly minimal. I had one day in particular where the 3 o’clock slump demanded sugar, but I just ignored it.

Necessary Swaps

I usually eat a KIND bar every day around 3pm, but it’s made with some kind of sugary rice syrup so I just eat a Larabar now instead (which is made with dates). I’ve also been leaving protein powder out of any smoothies because it has stevia in it. I just add peanut butter to up the protein instead. On PBJ I just mash up a banana instead of using jelly. Where Nick and I would usually put away a bag of gummy bears or something at night, we’ve taken to eating an entire pineapple. Baby steps.

Energy

This is the real winner. I feel. so. much. better. I can’t really explain it, but I wake up better and I especially feel more energized after work. I used to drag ass home and then collapse on the couch until going to bed. The thought of going out for any reason (especially exercise) was just out of the question. I thought it had something to do with just sitting at a desk all day, but it turns out it may have something to do with eating Lemonheads all afternoon. This week, for example, I have worked later (after 6 is late for me), come home, dropped my bags and immediately headed out the door for different activities. Before this week I would haul ass out of there at 5pm because I wanted to curl up in a ball and die from exhaustion. So that is really worth noting.

Physical Changes

I actually didn’t plan to even consider physical changes, and there aren’t any for me, but one girl commented this morning that she’s lost an inch off her waist so I figured I’d throw that out there for your consideration.

Cheats

Ok so I have to confess I am chewing gum and I just don’t care. It definitely has artificial sweetener in it. There, I said it. Last night I also got so excited when I bought this local raw chocolate granola that appeared free of sweetener. After a handful and a closer inspection of the ingredients, I noticed agave way down at the end of the list. It is very possible I will still eat it because it cost me $12. There’s that.

How’s it going on your end??

13 Comments

  1. The thing I’ve noticed the most is my energy! I don’t crash on the couch when I get home and this week I’ve started a new running program. I feel fantastic and am going to try Crossfit for the first time next week (thanks, Nick!). I didn’t think I would notice changes so quickly!

  2. JC JC

    I really applaud your honesty and openness with your consumption, i know it’s not often easy to share your daily food intake out to the public. However, I just feel the urge to put my opinion out there. I’m no nutritionist or dietitian in any shape or form, but I read a lot to strengthen my awareness of how what I eat can affect my body. As you’re doing this whole “sugarnope” movement, do you ever feel that eating medjool dates can have similar effects to your body as say, having a piece of sweetened chocolate? I know when I’m trying to shed pounds or just detoxing from relying on sugar, I tend to avoid foods with high volumes of natural sugars, like bananas and pineapple, and try to stick to an apple for my midday treat. I’m aware you have no intention of losing weight, but I once read someplace that “a sugar is a sugar is a sugar” and it has really stuck with me. I even try to eat Larabars in moderation due to its [naturally] high sugar content. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Katie Katie

      Hi JC,

      This is an excellent question. I’d agree that, calorically speaking, “sugar is sugar”. Specifically, we’re talking about 4 calories per gram of sugar whether that sugar came from glucose, fructose or galactose (or any combination thereof). But I think we’re missing the bigger picture when we just look at the total on nutrition labels. I know some people prefer to avoid all sugar (even those naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables), but I find that the benefits of fresh produce far outweigh the negatives of the sugar in them–specifically, the fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. So while a Larabar and a candy bar might have similar nutrition labels in terms of calories, fat and even sugar, they are (in my opinion) delivering very very different nutrients.

      There are loads of studies that say fructose (often described as the “fruit sugar”) is bad for you compared to glucose, but these studies are almost always done with processed fructose-sweetened beverages (ie high-fructose corn syrup in soda) which I think we can all agree is terrible for everyone. In order to consume as much fructose used in the studies, you’d have to eat an astronomical amount of fruit. For example, to consume 500 calories in fructose (the amount used in the study reviewed in the link below that indicated weight gain in participants), you’d have to eat 20 apples or 20 pears or a pound of raisins, or 9 cups of apple juice. (Just for the record, I think whole fruit is a smarter choice than juice because you’re losing all the fiber and concentrating all the sugar.)

      This post from Precision Nutrition is an excellent critical look at a fructose vs. glucose study done with processed sweetened beverages and the equivalent amount of fruit you’d have to eat to consume that much fructose: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-review-fructose-vs-glucose

      There are some fruits I will eat with abandon–berries, for example. But I totally agree with you that some (including sugar-dense dates and fruit juices) are better left in moderation. It can also vary from person to person. If you feel significantly better not eating bananas or pineapples or dates, I’d say honor that in your own body and avoid it. If I feel pretty excellent just knocking out refined sugars, I’m good with that too.

      Thanks for the question!

      Katie

  3. kacypleasants kacypleasants

    What kind of PB are you using? My fave is Crazy Richards. Even my kids love it and are so used to it, that when they eat Jif or whatever at a friends house they tell me so and so eats weird peanut butter! Ha!

    • Katie Katie

      I buy the organic crunchy peanut butter at Trader Joe’s. JIF is nas-tay.

  4. Cynthia Cynthia

    You are still eating fruit sugar, which your body processes in the exact same way. This is quite possibly the dumbest “challenge” I have ever come across.

    • Katie Katie

      Aren’t you delightful?

      • Agreed!

    • Actually Cynthia “Fruit contains many benefits compared to refined sugar. Besides being rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, fruit is an excellent source of fiber. The presence of fiber in fruit determines what happens to fruit sugars in your body and how quickly they are broken down in your gastrointestinal tract. Unlike refined sugar, fiber in fruit expands in your gut, making you feel full. Fiber is the biggest secret as to why fruit sugars are not as dangerous as refined sugar, preventing the sugars from being rapidly broken down and stored.” http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/body-process-fruit-sugars-same-way-refined-sugar-8174.html

      • Also meant to add, Cynthia you are quite possibly the dumbest commenter I have ever come across.

      • Cynthia Cynthia

        I would argue that challenging a healthy body for no particular reason other than blog fodder, and conveniently to coincide with the holiday season sounds like “dumbest” thing I’ve ever heard; especially when it comes from someone who allegedly suffered from disordered eating and severe anxiety. iBut to each her own. Enjoy stuffing your face with as many medjool dates as you can fit into a pie pan- I’m sure its MUCH better for your body and blood sugar levels than enjoying a few tsps of actual sugar. Now YOU sound like a brilliant holiday delight!

  5. The Lucky Duckling The Lucky Duckling

    I think No Sugar November is one of the hardest dietary restrictions I’ve ever done. More so than meat and gluten. The hardest part for me is simply remembering that I’m not eating sugar. Once I can actually remember that fact, it’s not that bad. I did accidentally put raw sugar in my coffee the first three days, but haven’t done that since, and now prefer my coffee without it (and creamer!). Also, I’m a Greek woman, and I think a life without honey might actually be killing me, so I had to have some with my yogurt over the weekend. Sorry not sorry. Otherwise, I’m doing pretty good! Thanks for the motivation!!

  6. Lily Lily

    I’m doing a modified version of your challenge: No Dessert November. It’s definitely less extreme, but works for me: no cake, cookies, ice cream, candy, etc., but I’m okay with fruit, homemade granola (which I’ve always eaten, so I know how much sugar is in it), and other relatively ‘unrefined’ sugars. For me, the purpose is primarily to practice self-control, which I am notoriously bad at. I’m a sucker for office treats, and it was getting OOC. So far, it has actually been a confidence booster to remind myself that I have turned down desserts, including a 4-layer homemade birthday cake I made my husband. At this point, it’s about keeping the streak alive 🙂

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