I struggled with a title for this blog post. I was going to use “A Mid-Winter’s Lament” but didn’t think that was too catchy. Indeed it IS mid-winter and Spring really is just around the corner. This cold weather stuff is cramping my (running) style. I don’t mind running in the cold but when you factor in slick surfaces, it becomes a little dicey. I took a hard fall one night & luckily only came away with a scraped elbow. I was more upset that it damaged my jacket! But this isn’t about ice, or falling, or running for that matter, though everything I do affects my running.
As I endeavor to become better and better as a runner and in life in general, I have found it necessary to give some things up. Sugar is one of them. I tried a 10 day sugar free challenge between Christmas & Thanksgiving that lasted five days. I just wasn’t up for it with all of the holiday goodies hanging around. Plus I am a chocolate milk junkie and I was having severe withdrawals from my favorite running recovery drink. It was an epic fail. So when the chance came around again with group support on January 10, I jumped back on the wagon. Our group was called, “Sugar Beaters 2016” and we supported each other on Facebook with recipes, other tips, and downright encouragement. There is power in numbers. I was ready this time. My mind was in a better place.I think I was in the “pre-contemplation” stage the first time around. During the holidays, I contemplated it again and was ready to go full throttle. Full throttle I did indeed go. I learned to like my coffee with cream only-definitely an acquired taste. I gave up my chocolate milk. I read labels, and labels, and more labels. Almost EVERY pre-packaged anything has sugar in it. And sugar comes with many disguised names. This particular challenge allowed all of the natural sugar you could consume from whole fruits and dairy. No artificial sweeteners were allowed. I’m not a fan of those chemical laden things anyway. The greatest eye opener was from a fantastic documentary on Amazon Prime called “The Sugar Film.” Highly recommended educational viewing in an entertaining format. For the sake of conserving words, you’ll just have to check it out for yourself. But be warned-it may change your thinking!
The takeaway: It’s been said, everything in moderation. That may be true for some, but how do we define moderation? At the end of the ten days, I felt SO much better-less fatigued and less foggy, even on very little sleep. I never thought that I was that much of a sugar consumer in the first place. BUT when I learned that by dividing sugar grams in a product by 4 = teaspoons of sugar, I realized I was consuming much more that I needed. For instance- I would put two HEAPING flatware tablespoons of Nesquick in my milk. The serving size is two measuring tablespoons which is 10 grams of sugar. Do the math-10 divided by 4 = 2.2 teaspoons of sugar. Not too bad, but I was putting THREE heaping tablespoons of (organic, lol) sugar in my coffee every morning. One measuring tablespoon of sugar = 4 teaspoons of PURE sugar so I was getting >12 teaspoons of sugar in my HEAPING cup of joe in the morning-yikes! And that didn’t include the incidental sugar the rest of the day. Even the new National guidelines are now recommending no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar (or 10%) a day on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. Scary for me, but with knowledge comes choices.
As a nurse, I see the horrible effects of diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, high blood pressure. The trifecta is diabetes, high blood pressure, & high cholesterol which leads to kidney failure/dialysis, peripheral vascular disease, loss of lower extremities, & cardiovascular disease. It is a downward spiral. I have been accused of not being sensitive and hurting feelings by my posts. First of all, I can’t hurt ANYONE’S feelings. Others can choose to have their feelings hurt-that’s on them. That is NEVER my intent. My intent is awareness. I will never apologize for making people think and possibly improving their health. So get over yourselves you overly sensitive wussies!
Alas, I can only change myself. What have I changed you ask? I now only put 2 teaspoons of sugar (organic, lol) in my coffee. Eventually I will wean off of it altogether. I put ONE measuring tablespoon of Nesquick in my milk = to 1.1 tsps. of sugar. I continue to read labels. I purged my cupboards of products containing excess sugar and I eat all of the whole fruit I want (preferably organic, lol). I don’t feel deprived at all. At any given time I can eat what I choose to eat. But with the knowledge I now have, I make better choices. Hopefully that will make me a healthier, better runner. I will still have the occasional treat and probably overindulge in margaritas at some point and have to call my son to come & get me (that does not make me a bad person lol, though some would make it a finger pointing issue). But those times are rare and definitely not my norm.
Such is life. Knowledge is power. We live and we learn. We learn what and who is not good for us. As I stated in my last post, if it does not grow me or better me, I have no time for it. I am careful what I put in my mind as well as my body. I can find humor in most anything (just watch some homemade youtube videos from people who think they’re relationship/dating experts for a good laugh, lol)! Life is too short to be lived unhealthily in body, mind, and spirit. Surround yourself with good food, good people, and good vibes.
Until We Meet Again,
“Remember when…I held you tight (ice cream, truffles)…and you kissed me all through the night…after all that we’ve been through (sugar)…breaking up is hard to do!” -Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield