Friday, February 7, 2014

Triumphs and Challenges

Almost at the end of Week 1, the easing in week and I feel good.

Not really health wise yet. In actuality I feel pretty exhausted, lethargic and have big headaches. Although I must admit that was earlier in the week. This morning I have woken up feeling the best I have all week.

But I feel pretty good with my triumph over my mental state at the moment.

Let me explain. No there is too much, let me sum up (I love using geeky Princess Bride quotes wherever I can). So I have been cutting down on my sugar. I have not been perfect. However I am so much more mindful of what I am putting into my body.

Case in point/Triumph Number 1:
Forgot to buy a major ingredient on the shopping list for Wednesday's Meal

Now normally, this would have put me in a bit of a spin, and I would have got really frustrated.  I didn't have time to pop down to the shops as I had to go to choir. So I looked at the other meals, and decided that I would switch it round and make Friday's stuffed mushroom. Success!! And gosh were they yummy. They stay on my keep list. I was proud of myself for easily staying focussed and eating well.

Triumph Number 2:
As Thursday was a public holiday I spent the day out with my partner

This was challenging as it was the first time since being on the programme that I had been challenged by eating out. I looked at the menu carefully, and chose well, and although it wasn't perfect it was a good choice. What is actually harder though is choosing drinks. There is generally no sugar free options out (other than herbal teas or hot milk with cinnamon which I will have to try) so I just opt for water. I like water so that's ok. We also went into Akaroa (a little seaside village an hour an a half from Christchurch and I bought my partner an icecream. Weirdly though, I wasn't even craving one. I didn't even want one. My cravings have been far less severe which is strange but good.

Triumph Number 3:
Lack of cravings

I don't know if this is a triumph, but I just don't want sweet stuff. Now that I am looking at the sugar content of stuff, I just don't want chocolate (store bought that is) and because this week is the ease yourself in I have been allowed sweetners (which I have not gone crazy with but have used). I think I am going to find the next few weeks incredibly difficult but we'll get there.

Triumph Number 4:
Had friend to stay and ate stall food

I did not choose (nor felt like) anything fried or sweet. I ate a beautiful falaffel souvlaki (although truth be told this is probably what I would have chosen anyway, so isn't really a triumph). What was a triumph however was that I tried a true (no fruit as a base) vegetable juice for the first time and actually thought it tasted ok. Not amazing, as my taste buds for sweet haven't changed that quickly but I actually LIKED it. This is a triumph!

Triumph Number 5:
Going to a party with lots of snacky food on the table

I brought sugar free raspberry ripple, one of the I quit Sugar recipes, and OMG (yes I did just say that) it was amazing. I was quite anxious about bringing something that I had never made before, and was so different to everything else, but it was so delicious (especially once the raspberries starting melting). So good. Just so good. I had no desire to eat any of the crap food on the table, and my bringing sugar free stuff led to interesting conversations with people, and one in particular with this woman who also has PCOS and tries to monitor it with diet like I am trying to do.

Challenges Left this weekend:

2 BBQs, so 2 nights off the plan food. I will choose wisely I think. Looking forward to a quieter week busy wise next week, and although I am terrified of cutting all sweetners out, I know I can do this. I am already starting to feel better in my body. This is going to be great!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Marmageddon, Headaches and Jobs

So here we are. I have made it to the end of Day 3. So how do I feel?

Today I seem to have gained a headache that won't go away
I have felt incredibly lethargic.

But apart from those two things, I actually feel ok.

Having no job this week has allowed me to obsess a little over this programme. I want to get it right. I have been lurking quite a bit in the forums (which are awesome!) and making sure I am doing this correctly. I have had the time to settle into the programme in a settling in kind of week.

Next week things are going to change and I am a bit anxious (did I mention I am kinda anxious when I don't know what is going to happen next?). So Ifar I have had the time to make the meals properly. I have had the time to really focus on the programme. But as of the start of week 2 I have a job. Just part time, but a job none the less. My days will be extremely busy and it is going to be harder to have the motivation to cook the meals. I will, because I want to do this right but it is going to be different.

Week 2 also is the start of the cutting out sugar proper. This week we are still allowed sweetners. So I am imagining that the detox symptoms will be worse. Will it be better or worse that I am distracted by something else? I am going with better. I won't have the time to obsess, or to think about how I feel. I will just get on with it. I have to be way more organised and maybe prepare and cook whole meals in advance on the Sunday so they are all ready to go for the week.

So that is headaches and jobs talked about, but Marmageddon? Here in New Zealand, last year we ran out of Marmite. For an entire year. It was a national disaster. Marmite was sold on the black market (aka We didn't know if we would get through but with support we did. As of March 2013 I was able to spread the wonderful black goo back on my toast again. But then yesterday, a bomb hit. Apparently on the sugar free diet, Vegemite is ok but Marmite has way more sugar and not really suitable. I don't know how I will live! Actually. Truly. I love that stuff.

Jokes aside though I survived Marmageddon. I can survive this.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Let's start at the very beginning...again

Day 1 of "I quit sugar" programme. I will be following it and documenting how I feel etc. But let's backtrack. A little about myself. I'm 33, live in Christchurch, New Zealand and am a trained teacher although was in a fixed term position last year and haven't been able to find work this year yet. I live on my own, but have a wonderful partner who supports me in my getting healthy thing.

Health wise, I have been overweight for most of my life. I did lose 25 kgs ten years ago, but it was lost very fast in a non sustainable way so it's all come back on (and far more). I am an emotional eater. I have had severe bouts of depression and anxiety in my life but right now feel pretty good about the world (despite being unemployed). Wow this is a happy-go-lucky start to this blog entry. All this doom and gloom. But I thought that this gives a bit of context (warning more doom and gloom may occur)

I don't do a lot of exercise, but am planning as of straight after I write this, to get my walking shoes on and go for a walk. I intend to go every day. I found that if I was only exercising 3-4 days a week I could make excuses that this wasn't one of those days, but every day (at least for a little bit) means there are no excuses. When I lose some weight I intend to up the intensity of my exercise but I know my limits for now.

I have had chronic back pain for 20 years now. I realise that extra weight definitely does not help but I have also tried almost every alternative and conventional methods to improve with very limited success. I still have intense back pain. I wake up most mornings and it hurts. If I do too much exercise it starts aching quite badly. I have scoliosis and frequently get bouts of sciatica. I can manage the pain most of the time. I can go about my daily business but sometimes it is so intense that I have to stop. The frustrating part was years ago when I was put on the public waiting list at the hospital to be seen by a specialist. After a year and a half they determined that it wasn't bad enough so they took me off the list. Most of the time I manage. Do the day-to-day things and just deal with it. I understand my limitations and that running jars my spine, but I do what I can do.

 I wake up most days and I feel exhausted. Absolutely shattered. I don't sleep amazingly well and have pretty bad sleeping patterns. I would love to leap out of bed and feel invigorated. I have tried to lose weight before, but need support of a programme to get me kickstarted (and hopefully into healthy permanent habits).

I have random pains that come and go. I have been to doctors about it. They have tested me for things but nothing came up. The pain can be quite severe. Someone once suggested that I could have fibromyalgia. I consulted the great internet doctor and found that it was a reasonably plausible explanation. I also have PCOS and insulin resistance which is basically a pre-cursor to diabetes. Quitting sugar seems like a pretty good thing to do to ensure I feel healthier.

 Sugar is my demon. I am addicted to the stuff. I have tried to cut down but the cravings are intense. This will be an interesting experience. I know the cravings will be there. I will try to come on here and write or go for a walk or do something that distracts me in the first few weeks. For those of you who are not addicted to food, especially sugar, let me try and explain the feeling during an intense craving. I wish I was one of those people, for whom food was just something to refuel your body but for me it is more of a visceral feeling. If I experience a craving that food or sweetness for what I am craving takes over your body, your thoughts. It is like another person is trying to gain access into your brain. If they gain access (and invariably in the past they do), it is like your rational self is knocked unconscious and like a zombie you go and feed your craving. It isn't until afterwards once your rational self has come to, that the feelings of guilt, remorse, frustration and even self loathing set in. Next time I won't give in you say. Your friends can't quite understand how you can't just say no, but they have one of those non toxic relationships with food. The thing is that if I was addicted to drugs, I would just stay away from them, but when you are addicted to food you can't.

So here I am, pumped to do this sugar free diet, because I am convinced that getting rid of the sugar in things that you don't think about having sugar will not only give me energy but stop those cravings for good. Don't get me wrong though. I am not naiive of the symptoms of withdrawl and detox I will have to undergo first. I know I will feel cranky, feel even more tired and exhausted than I do currently, and have MASSIVE cravings. I am scared that this won't work. But what I have at the moment is the desire to feel good again. To get rid of the stuff that gives me massive stomach cramps, pain and headaches. My diet isn't ideal so I am looking forward to the idea of sorting that out and getting healthy again but this time in a sustainable way.

 This blog is a way of accountability, and to document feelings, emotions and symptoms, even if no one else reads it but me. Day 1 of 60 has started. I like the format of it, the structure. I like being told what to eat and when. At the end of it, I will be able to take what I have learnt, the recipes I liked and carry on. Right, out for that walk then.