Fat Fridays: Week 10 If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Here we are in week 10. I’ve had my first real setback this week. I haven’t exercised in two days, I came off of 9 days without sugar and blew it with pancakes and syrup yesterday and then donuts this morning. I’m finding that my setbacks are really tied to my bouts of depression. I hit a real low this week and I find that trying to keep myself moving and keep doing the right thing is really difficult when I’m feeling so low I don’t want to move.

Frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of this depression. A while back I went through about two years of deep depression. Now it’s every month I just have a couple days when it’s hard to cope. The problem is that while I’m in the midst of it, I feel like it’s all my fault. I am a horrible person. I’m a failure. I’m lazy. And then slowly the fog lifts and I get back to normal and I realize that I had been fighting off depression like it was a giant cloud that had settled around my body. This seems to be a cyclic thing. Some new, bizarre form of PMS? I don’t know. I think I’m going to start keeping a simple diary and see if I can track a pattern of which days I feel depressed, see if if there is any rhyme or reason to it.

I am at the point where I’m ready to start researching diets that lift depression. Right now if someone told me that eating a Keto diet (my personal version of hell) would take away my depression, I would be like, OK, sign me up.

So, here I am. I’ve been doing really well these past 10 weeks. Exercising, being more thoughtful about what I eat, trying to significantly reduce sugar. And then I fall off the wagon. This is where the real challenge lies. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to shrug my shoulders and think, Well, I’ve never been able to do anything long-term, might as well just give up and have a nice binge. Or am I going to accept the fact that this is how life works. It’s impossible to be “good” all the time. You mess up. Acknowledge it and then get back to work. Start exercising again. Cut back on the sugar again. Try to be mindful of what and why you are eating again.

I need to give myself this pep talk. You are not perfect Esther. No one expects you to be perfect all the time. One mistake does not make you a failure. You can do this. Have grace for yourself.  Don’t give up. Try again.

So, this is the plan for this week. Research diet and depression. Stop beating myself up for falling off the wagon. Climb back up onto the wagon. Keep going. And remember to be kind to myself.

Here’s to Trying Again.

Fat Fridays: Week 9 Diary of a Sugar Detox

Last week I wrote that I was going to fast sugar for a week. But not until I had finished eating my Valentine’s chocolate. Well, Sunday night I had one more chocolate left. I toyed around with the idea of hanging on to that last chocolate for an indefinite amount of time so I wouldn’t have to start my fast, but finally decided to stop dragging my feet. Besides, I had developed a tooth ache and sugar wasn’t sounding very good anyway. I gave my last chocolate to my husband and decided to start Monday morning. My end goal is to break the sugar addiction so that sugar becomes an occasional treat instead of a daily necessity. I ended up keeping an informal diary…

Day 1: First day without sugar. I don’t think this is going to be a problem. My teeth are hurting so badly that I don’t want to eat anything except lukewarm soup. Maybe some soft bread. I reached for a grape in the fridge and then thought about biting into the cold fruit and how my teeth wouldn’t like that and I immediately returned the grape to the fridge.

Day 2: I’m proud of my breakfast. A bowl of chicken vegetable soup, some toast and an orange. Breakfast is always the hardest time of day for me to avoid sugar. How do I live without cereal, or oatmeal with brown sugar, or pastries, or sweetened yogurts, or muffins? I’m starting to feel a headache coming on which always happens to me when I cut sugar out of my diet. I’m going to exercise and drink tea and lots of water and hope it doesn’t get too bad. I keep finding myself thinking, maybe I’ll have a granola bar..wait no sugar.. Maybe I’ll make some caramel popcorn for the kids…wait no sugar…Maybe I’ll put some strawberry jam on my toast..wait no sugar.. I think it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.

Day 3: Today has been my grumpy day. I woke up with a mild headache and felt a bit queasy. Either I was coming down with something or my body was struggling to adjust to the lack of sugar in my system. All day I gravitated towards sugary food only to have to remind myself, NO SUGAR! This evening I had to go to Walmart. It was 9:30 at night and I was tired. I pulled into the parking lot and I thought, hmm, I should get a nice donut. Wait. No sugar. Then I wondered why I wanted a donut..and that would be because I’m tired. I needed a boost to get me through this last push of grocery shopping and getting home and putting groceries away before I could finally collapse into bed. I’ve never been big on caffeine, but instead I think I use sugar to give me that jolt of energy I need. I tried to think of what I could buy that would do the same thing, but didn’t have sugar. I saw a bag of fresh, crisp, green grapes and that looked good so I put them in the cart. Then I was walking past the cookie aisle and I saw the sugar-free cookie section. Yes! Cookies! Without sugar! Perfect! Of course, I had an inner voice lecturing me about chemicals and additives and fake stuff that wasn’t going to be any better for my body, but who cares, cookies sounded good. I finally got out to the car, put the groceries in the back of the van and pulled out both the sugar-free cookies and the grapes and brought them to the front of the van with me. I decided to experiment. I ate a grape, savored it for a minute. Then I pulled out a cookie, tried to savor it. It was a bit gross. Just a bit. It was definitely sweet, but did not deliver that oomph that real sugar does. It was actually pretty unexciting. I put the cookies away and continued to munch on the grapes. Maybe this counts as a small victory.

Day 4: For some reason, this has been the hardest day so far. Isn’t this supposed to be getting easier? I woke up with a headache (about the only time I get headaches is when I make major changes to my diet). I’ve felt tired and listless and just want to stay in bed. I’m feeling disappointed because it seems like I should be getting more energy. I’ve been exercising from 30 minutes to an hour every day for several weeks now and I still feel sore and achy at night. I was hoping that getting off sugar would give me more energy, but apparently I’m not at that stage yet. Right now my body seems to be in shock and can barely drag through the day. Three nights in a row now I have laid in bed exhausted and wide awake, my dear friend Insomnia paying a visit. It kind of makes you pause and think, what on earth have I been doing to myself? What is this drug that I’ve been drowning myself in? And yes, you might think, well maybe this has nothing to do with sugar, maybe you’re just fighting a virus. I might be tempted to think that, except that this has happened every single time I have taken sugar out of my diet ( I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve done that, and yet I still always go back to eating sugar). I’m thinking I’m going to have to extend this fast for another week just so I can get it fully out of my system and start reaping some of the benefits.

 

Well, three more days to go before I’m officially done with the fast. It’s funny, I always flippantly think, Oh, I’ll just stop eating sugar, or white bread, or junk food. I forget how hard it is to change your course, your path, the normal way you do things. I’m glad I’m doing this whole healthy thing slowly. I don’t think I can handle more than one change at a time. Hopefully by next week I’ll be sugar free and boasting about how much energy I have. We’ll see. See y’all next week.