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Need Help Saying Goodbye to SUGAR: It's Transformation Time


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After three plus weeks of rampant "reintroduction," I have had to come to some hard-core conclusions about myself and what I eat. I have had long, but increasingly shorter, periods of success sticking to Paleo/Whole30 eating, but it's clear to me that I still haven't internalized it as a lifestyle, rather than a temporary diet that I follow for a while, then return to "old me." I've done a good job eliminating most things from my diet. 


I don't eat frozen dinners or the like anymore. Most of my food comes from that "perimeter" of the grocery store (except my olives, LOL). Whenever possible, I indulge in grassfed beef and pastured pork. Chicken and fish are a little tougher to get, but I do my best.


I try to stick to organics for the "dirty dozen" and shop at my farmer's market whenever possible. Vegetables and fruit are a greater part of my diet than I ever thought possible five years ago.


I have been off gluten for over a year now, other than a brief disastrous period around the holidays last year. I don't really miss it. I don't drink milk or eat cheese anymore and don't miss that much either.


But I have one last demon, the worst one by far, to defeat: SUGAR. Sugar is not just a part of my diet, it's been a part of my identity. It's what I look forward to at the end of a long, hard day. It's how I soothe myself when my husband isn't home, entertain myself through a long car ride, reward myself after a tough WOD (ironically), and celebrate things from my wedding anniversary to "hey, it's Friday." Time and time again over the last few weeks, I've said, "One last time," and dumped gigantic amounts of sugar into my system as a way of saying farewell - only to get up the next morning and do it again. 


As a psychologist, I know part of the problem. The image of myself as a toned, healthy eating athlete is at odds with my lifelong identity as the "fat little freckle-faced strawberry" I've been since I was a child.


So from this point forward, going Whole30 isn't just about eating for me, it's about transformation. It's about loving that child enough to let her become that athlete once and for all. It's about finding other ways to celebrate/soothe/entertain/reward, other ego-syntonic ways. it's about internalizing a sugar-free lifestyle, seeing sugar as the same type of allergen as gluten.


It's also about giving my body what it really craves - even yesterday, while I was buying ice cream ("one last time"), my body was saying, "What I really want are those green apple slices you've got in the fridge." 


I've started out well today, as I nurse a truly hideous sugar hangover that has my belly and my joints looking something like a Macy Thanksgiving Day balloon. I'm ready to say goodbye to sugar once and for all, but I know I'm going to need help. Lots and lots of supportive help, especially during these first few weeks when I have headaches and crying jags and won't see the results just yet.


So if there's anyone else out there who can relate to my story, who shares it, come along the journey with me. I know how critical support is, and I'll welcome anyone and everyone!

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I'm one of those people who thrive when I log/blog, so you'll find me posting what I've eaten and my workouts. It's a big reinforcer for me. 


So far today: 

Side bacon (not cured at all - I prepare it with a little bit of sea salt from our health food store)

2 eggs

Cherry tomatoes (didn't get to the farmer's market this week so these were a pale imitation from the grocery store)

Green apples




As I said, I'm nursing a big sugar hangover from my weekend. Saturday I ran my first mud and obstacle run - what an absolute blast! But I'm also nursing sore knees and back from extra driving and running on uneven terrain - tough on joints that are suffering systemic inflammation from the sugar influx. I broke down and took some ibuprofen this morning, but it'll be curamin, ice and topicals from this point forward.

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My goals for this 30 days:


1.  Whole30 plus some new supplements (Maximized Living) that I'm hoping will further enhance my energy and recovery, especially my joints. 

2.  Exercise: Crossfit 4 x a week. Active rest days - either walk/run/Zumba. One of my biggest challenges will be scaling without embarrassment; I tend to push myself too hard and push my weight up, thereby sacrificing form, hurt myself and have to rest for a week.

3.  Back hygiene: PT and chiro every day

4.  Back and core strengthening: Alternate 30 banded pushups and 50 abmat sit ups. Daily: 4 front planks and 2 side planks

5.  Spiritual: I joined a New Testament challenge, reading one chapter per day to Easter.

6.  Hydration: at least 66 ounces of water per day

7.  Sleep: good sleep hygiene, in bed one hour before bed time, lights and sound dimmed - no Facebook, no Candy Crush, LOL!

8.  Kindness to those around me, especially my husband

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The rest of today:


I did some mobility on my back and hips, which helped a lot. Love my foam roller!



Grassfed beef and veggies (squash, mushrooms, kale) with a touch of Paleo mayo


Avocado/coconut milk/banana


Read the first couple of chapters of "Made to Crave," and it made so much sense to me, and really touched me where I live. I'm afraid to look there sometimes, so I'm entering that part of the journey with some trepidation, but also some hope. I guess the question it raises is this: am I REALLY ready to give up that sugar-dependence once and for all?? You'd think the answer would be a resounding yes, but it's like so many things...we know it's bad for us, but we cling to it anyway because it has such a huge role in our lives, and is so familiar and predictable.


I did forget to mention one other thing that I've given up over the last year. Like sugar, this is something I've returned to time and time again: Diet Mountain Dew. A few weeks ago, I was at a conference. My food was as it has been for the last few weeks - Paleo by day, sugar demon in charge by night. One morning, I was feeling very tired, and thought I would "treat" myself with easy caffeine. So I bought a Diet Mountain Dew.


Now in the past, though I know the artificial sweetener and BVO are very bad for me, the Diet Dew still has tasted delicious. Not this time! It was HORRIBLE, and I hadn't had a few swigs of it before I just felt dreadful. I doggedly kept at it until I'd finished about half of it, then gave up and threw the rest away. 


Check one more thing off my list. It does make it tough to get easy, ready caffeine when you won't drink soda and you don't like coffee. I may have to develop a taste for the latter.


In the meantime, though, I'm extremely grateful to say goodbye to the Diet Dew...


Until tomorrow...I feel good for nurturing that athlete inside and pulling away one piece of the covering that keeps her hidden. With God's help, I hope to keep peeling.

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Day 2. I have been sugar-free for about 47 hours now. Today was a little bit tougher than yesterday. Yesterday was right in line with the timeline: 'What's the big deal? This is AWESOME!" Today...I don't know if it's because I was sick yesterday, or because I took ibuprofen (which I never do), or whether I'm just having the classic sugar hangover, but it was a rough day. I was very, very tired.


Nevertheless, it all went well!



Beef and veggies, carrots and olives, with supplements



Chicken, zucchini fritters, salad (tomatoes, cucumber and black olives with lemon juice and olive oil - yummy!), and green apple


Today's workout really kicked my butt. Again, not sure if it was the sugar hangover or still being kind of sick, but it was rough.


Warmup: 300 singleunders and 800 meter run

Mobility - shoulder/back with lacrosse ball

PVC warmup

Max effort L-sit (my modification - ring tuck) - 20 seconds

Max effort handstand hold - 1 minute 10 seconds - pretty happy with that


WOD: 21-15-9 Thrusters and Overhead squats - 25# for me, which is a PR for me on OHS. 7:16. Really thought I was going to pass out or throw up, but I didn't. :)


Post-WOD, I did 50 Abmat situps, 4 front planks, and 2 side planks, plus my PT and chiro exercises


I am quite tired now.  :lol:


Post-workout: egg white



2 pieces bacon, 2 eggs, one tomato, and avocado/banana/coconut milk with cocoa powder


I'm off to have a bath, then watch AGT with my hubby. Hope you all are having a great day and someone will reply to this!


Today's Bible verse is from Amos 3:14-15, 24:


"Seek good, and not evil, that you may life; and so the LORD, the God of Hosts, will be with you, as you say. Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the courts. It may be that the LORD, the God of Hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. But let justice roll on like rivers, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

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Thanks, Physibeth! Is Tylenol as good for joints and other inflammation? That's why I took the ibuprofen, but you're right - it does upset my stomach.


Love your Proverb, BTW...


Honestly eating good food is good for the joints and inflammation...I've not needed to take pain reliever for those things in quite some time. I mostly take it the first day of my visit from Aunt Flo.  :ph34r: But yes I do believe it is still anti-inflammatory. I've also read that turmeric can be used for that purpose, but I've not explored it much myself. I've spent a lot of time working on the food and just recently started working more on the beauty products, cleaning products, natural medication stuff more.


Proverbs 3:5 = my life verse. Hard to live out sometimes but always worth it.

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Tylenol is not anti-inflammatory. It's a pain reliever, but that is all.


I've been where you are with the sugar. I did my Whole30 almost a year ago, I've been riding my own bike ever since with varying degrees of success. My latest failure had to do with some incredible work stress coupled with a foot fracture that kept me out of the gym.  I didn't go back to comfort foods, I went back to comfort coffee, namely Starbucks, in a big way. I probably tried every sugared beverage they had on their menu (with extra whip!), and I went multiple times a day. I was still eating well but pouring this toxic mixture into myself in a constant stream. The employees got to know me and would ring up my order before I even asked.  The cost was not a deterrent, this was worse than cigarettes.


I'm kicking it now. I'm kicking it because I want my old body back, the one I achieved while eating right and exercising righter.  I want to be able to sleep well, to have more energy and less stress.  Sugar makes me sick, literally.  Last winter, I fought off every cold/flu bug out there, but when I'm sugared up, it decks me. I can feel my immune system collapsing in a big way.


The off-roads with sugar aren't worth it to me any more. And so I've started saying no to sugar and dairy, and I can feel the detox symptoms, and last night my whole body was aching, and it gave me hope that on the other side of this, I will feel good again. I'm back to meat and vegetables and hot water and not much else.  A little bit of fruit.  I haven't even thought about nuts.  Today I walked through a grocery store and could feel my blinders on to ignore everything in the store that is off the radar because it's off the plan. 


So it's working and I can feel me coming through again, the one who doesn't need or want sugar in her life any more.  Been there, done that, got more than one t-shirt, and it's time to move on.


If you haven't read this blog post by Robb Wolf, I recommend it.  "What Kind of Hungry Are You?"  The Hunger by Association and Habit/Learned Hunger sound like they would ring true for you.  http://robbwolf.com/2013/08/14/kind-hungry-you/

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Sandra, you are singing my song...only my drug of choice is ice cream and various evil "gluten-free" treats. Like you, I want to unleash the athlete me that I have always had inside me but am not as familiar with as the sugar addict. I don't want to reject that little girl, I want to give her the opportunity to metamorph into that athlete.

I've had those same awful detox symptoms and every time I keep thinking that I don't want to go back to sugar because I don't want to go through that again...it took me forever to kick cigarettes, but once I did it (nearly 7 years ago) I knew I never wanted to go back there again. I've done it with bread, and cheese, and now diet soda, and I'm ready to do it with sugar.

And shopping! Don't get me started! It amazes me that literally 99% of the "food" in the store just plain...isn't...FOOD.

I know we can do this...thank you so much for replying. These forums, ese conversations, are a big part of how I made it through my first successful Whole30. Oh, yes, I know what works for me. :)

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If I'm honest, a big part of why I go back to the sugary coffee is because of the association as a comfort of the past during a stressful time in my life. It's familiar, like an old friend. I can relax with it.


I think the reason why I may be able to kick it now is because I have another memory -- the memory of what it feels like to be healthy and fit. So that more recent memory is now a comfort, too, and I didn't get there drinking my favorite latte. I want the new old me and not the old old me back, and in that strange sort of way, my thermos of hot water is my comfort drink to get there. I'm running with that thought process for now. :)

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Day 3! I've now been...almost exactly 72 hours without sugar. 


Still feeling pretty dreadful. Unsure if it is true illness, ibuprofen, or sugar hangover. Just hoping to feel better tomorrow.


I did, however, have a huge VICTORY today!


M1 was my usual - beef and veggies, carrots and olives


The water went off at our hospital around 11:30 or so...the city had a water main break. Hmmm. Interesting. I was in meetings until after noon. I knew I couldn't make it to Crossfit tonight - missed the 11:30 WOD and I go to the chiropractor on Wednesday nights and don't go to the WOD after (like to let everything settle a little). So I planned to run at lunchtime. I did my back and core exercises in my office, then I had to go to a nearby gas station to use the facilities, LOL. Then it took me a few minutes to figure out my Runtastic, get my phone into its new sleeve, blah, blah. Plus my pace was way off! All things combined, by the time I got done with my run and changed my clothes, I didn't have time to have lunch before my next meeting.


Normally, this would be my prime excuse to throw up my hands and say, "I'll have a sweets and ice cream night and start fresh again tomorrow." But I didn't. I had planned my dinner and I was looking forward to it. I just kept saying to myself that my craving wasn't for sweets, I was just plain hungry.


I went to the chiropractor. I ran a couple of other errands. I at least was able to eat some chicken breast and green apple slices while I was driving home. When I got home, I had:


Salmon cakes (thank God I had some of those in the freezer!)

Zucchini fritters

Avocado/coconut milk/banana/cocoa powder


I'm so happy that I got home without ice cream or other sweets. A night like tonight - with no lunch AND no husband (he's with his son tonight) - normally would send me into a tailspin. But I made it!


Today's inspiration scripture - this gives me chills, it's so perfect:


Psalm 71:3-5


"Be to me a rock of refuge to which I may always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For you are my hope, Lord GOD, my confidence from my youth." 


The unrighteous and cruel man being the ice cream man, LOL! Hallelujah for God's grace!

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Good for you for fighting off that urge for sugar.  I think I'm past a major hump of the first few days because I'm not craving sugar now and have no withdrawal symptoms. I shopped at a grocery yesterday and bought only vegetables, oil for making mayo, and some salsa.  I expect the sugar dragon to come roaring back by about day 12-14, but I'm happy to be where I am right now.


I've been taming the coffee dragon by tapering it instead of quitting cold turkey.  Usually, cold turkey is the way for me, but I need to be gentle with this because I had such a strong rebellion that turned into a long-term binge and I don't want to associate coffee withdrawal with pain.  I still go to Starbucks, but instead of the large flavored lattes, I'm ordering medium black coffees. And I'm OK with that so far.  Yesterday, I came home and mixed up some of the coffee with coconut milk and a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder.  Not my favorite, but it got me through.  I may do that again today. 


My food is good, but that was never much of a problem. Sticking with my mantra of "Meat, vegetables, hot water, and not much else". Dried fruit and nuts are not my friend.  I may have a peach today, but peaches haven't been triggering anything for me. I've been getting back to the gym after some time away to heal a broken foot. My gym has a cafeteria with healthy options, and while expensive, I'm allowing myself to eat there after workouts because it keeps me from getting to the point that I have to reach for a bar of something. Bars are too SWYPO for me. I'm trying to lose a few pounds, and while I haven't lost anything yet (my scale is at the gym and I allow myself to weigh there), my tummy puff is disappearing and I can feel core strength coming back. So it's all good again.


Keep on keepin' on. :)

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Great job Linda! Could you not eat during your meeting? That post workout food is so important. I feel very fortunate that I didn't have much of a sugar dragon coming into this having cut way back on sugar more than a year ago. I'm doing just fine in post-W30 land. I have a post-W30 log if you want to come visit me there. :)


Xandra, I find I enjoy a black Americano better than a black drip at Starbucks. I find it less bitter. I've also been experimenting with cold brew as it has less caffeine and is less bitter. The better quality the coffee the more I like it black. I put some coconut butter in mine this morning though and it was lovely.

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I. Can't. Believe. It. Happened. Again.


My own fault, I agree, I admit, I know. 


Meetings at 8:00, 9:30, 10:30, noon, and 1:00. By the time 2:00 came around, I felt so lousy I couldn't even seem to stir myself to make my lunch. The temptation to indulge was again tremendous, but I made it through. Headache, tummy - what a mess! 


Meal 1 was my usual - beef and veggies, olives and carrots with tea. Yummy.


Meal 2 is what got lost. Again, my own fault. My 10:30 meeting ran late and my noon meeting was off campus, plus I had to gather some testing manuals to take with me. Another of those "one thing led to another" days. 


I got myself through the afternoon by planning my dinner. And though I hate, hate, hate doing it, I elected to skip Crossfit so I could come home, have a good dinner, and go to bed early. Part of me really really wanted to just make hot dogs or bacon and eggs, but that's comfort food for me, plus I've had enough bacon and sort of "snacky" meats this week. So I had:


Salmon, zucchini fritters - both topped with paleo mayo and pickle relish

Frozen banana/coconut milk/cocoa powder

And some ginger tea for my poor tummy


I'm not sure if it's still the ibuprofen from Monday, or if it's the new supplements. Or a combination. I hate feeling so yucky. I've decided to put the new supplements aside and return to my originals - fish oil from Stronger, Faster, Healthier, digestive enzymes, and Lurong Living Essential. I get some fermentation from Bubbie's pickle relish, my Natural Calm at night, and everything else comes from my food. I have a history of stomach issues with supplements, so that's my hypothesis.


I'm off to bed early tonight. I want to hit Crossfit tomorrow and Saturday to make my four workouts a week, and my husband and I are leaving for Indiana Saturday to see my dad. Lots to do!


Today's verse: John 16:23-24


"In that day you will ask me no questions. Most certainly I tell you, whatever you may ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full." 


Lord, please heal whatever is ailing me!


Have a great night everyone!

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So I'm confused, did you eat at 2pm or did you wait longer at that point? I personally would have eaten at 2pm and then again later. Timing doesn't have to be perfect just make sure you are getting enough food. And I've scrounged up plenty of compliant meals. A less than perfect compliant meal is better than no meal at all.

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Another of those "one thing led to another" days. 


If you have a lot of these, then pack a small portable lunch.  Just a container of leftover dinner with an ice pak would be fine. Throw in a Lara bar and you can eat lunch anywhere, even during breaks in a conference room.

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I'm doing great with the coffees.  I ordered a 3-shot caffe Americano today and mixed it up with coconut milk.  And no, I don't feel like the coconut milk is a sub for regular dairy or sugar, it's something different and I'm growing to like it.


I did have half a peach before breakfast, but that isn't triggering anything either. So I'm good on the sugar front today.

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Xandra - this is what's so stupid: I had a lunch with me! Just little chance and desire to heat and eat it. Never again.

Today is Day 5 sugar free!

I ditched the new supplements and went back to my old friends. I feel much better, though still kind of nauseated, so took one final day off Crossfit.

Off to EAT LUNCH, LOL!!!

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