Why I Have to Go on a 90 Day Sugar Free Diet

JUMP TO DAY 7

JUMP TO DAY 11

JUMP TO DAY 14

Why did I start my sugar free diet on the 26th and not the 1st of January?  Because I felt physically bad enough after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from all the cookies and cakes that it made it easy for me to start.  A sugar hangover is enough to motivate most sugar-a-holics to start fresh.

Fruit is OK but all other sugars are a no-no.  Even those pesky little hidden sugars like in tomato sauces.  I can have a total of 15-20 grams of sugar per day at most and this is probably going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done mostly because sugar is my CRACK.

LOL…..

But seriously….this is not for my outward appearance but rather for the health of my insides.

Take a look at my hormone results below.

Cortiso Test ResultsCortisol Test Results

Can you see where my cortisol levels are? 

They are bottomed out. 

Burned out.

Barely functioning.

I am in Stage 3 Adrenal Stress (or commonly known as Fatigue) and the effects of this is wreaking havoc on my other hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.)

Adrenal Stress is a real thing and although our adrenal glands do not really get "fatigued" what happens is the constant stressors that are placed on them throw off their natural balance and become impaired and unable to  respond appropriately to normal every day stressors.  Then the inability for my adrenals to function normally eventually have a negative effect on all my other hormones  - including my metabolism.

As some of you may know, I decided to go back to school for nutrition and to get trained in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition which uses functional laboratory testing to identify hormone imbalances at a sub-clinical level - hence the discovery of the dysfunction of my adrenal glands through running labs on myself for our clinicals.

You can read more about that here.

But why a sugar free diet for 90 days?

Well, sugar is a major stressor on the body and when you have limited reserves of cortisol and the adrenal glands have been stressed beyond belief (due to hemolytic anemia, a difficult divorce, working too much, stressing out too much, etc.) - part of the protocol is to let them rest and recover so they can heal.

I mean, C'MON!!!!…… I take care of myself!!!

I am aware of what I need to do to not make this situation worse.

  • I eat fairly well and even though sugar is my Achilles Heel I can still keep it in check (for the most part - but sometimes it definitely spins out of control).
  • I know not to OVER EXERCISE.  
  • I don't do extreme amounts of cardio (that's bad for your adrenals).
  • I know to get in bed by 10pm and get a full 7 - 8 hours of sleep.
  • I don't drink alcohol at all.
  • I never smoked.
  • Nor did I do drugs.

I don't do NEAR HALF THE STUFF that people do to themselves…….and my adrenal glands are struggling.

And not heeding the warning of these tests can lead to a host of other problems down the road if this situation is not addressed because the health of our adrenals helps protect us against infection and disease.

What is most interesting is the host of little "symptoms" I have been having the past few years which even resulted in a bone marrow biopsy - searching for the underlying cause of my symptoms.

  • My blood pressure is constantly low - sometimes as much as 80-40. 
  • Tremendous and often uncontrollable sugar cravings.
  • Weight gain around the thighs.
  • Inability to stay awake in the evenings - I swear it feels like sleep torcher if I am kept awake.
  • Inability to deal with my emotions - it has been becoming increasingly difficult to manage my emotions.
  • Increased hormonal instability and PMS.
  • Difficulty losing weight as easily as before.

I have seen some clients recover from Adrenal Stress and have seen the mental, emotional and physical changes that took place.  It has taken them time…..sometimes up to about a year of consistent lifestyle changes to bring them to the road of health.

Now I am starting this journey of paying attention to ALL ASPECTS of my health and no longer being half-hearted about it or taking it for granted. A sugar free diet is only ONE change I need to make.

"DRESS" FOR SUCCESS 
Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplementation

Diet - For the most part I have my diet under control - just needed to really commit to kicking the sugar habit.

Rest - I am doing my best to make sure I am in bed by 10PM since the sleep from 10PM-12AM is out most restorative sleep.

Exercise - that's in a good place too.

Stress Reduction - HA!! HA HAAAAA!!! There are too many stressors to count but I will work on the ones I have control over.  I can control my sugar intake which reduces the blood sugar spikes which takes care of one stressor on my body.  I can control my sleep.  I cannot control my hemolytic anemia and have to do my best to help it out a bit.  I can control my attitude and my emotions (sometimes I succeed.....sometimes not but I am a work in progress). 

Supplementation - I have started taking more than just a multi-vitamin.  I have never been a big supplement user but after being tested and understanding what my body is lacking I have added progesterone, DHEA, pregnenalone, licorice root and some adaptogenic herbs.  

** It is not wise to take supplements unless you know your body needs it.  For example, if you take DHEA but your estrogen is already on the high side of normal it can make any estrogen dominant situations worse.  Same is true for progesterone, licorice root, etc.  So DO NOT BLINDLY TAKE SUPPLEMENTS.

A 90 day Sugar Free Diet is no joke……but I am committed simply because I want to see what the difference is in how I feel.  I won't know until I commit to it 100%.

Today is Day 3 of my Sugar Free Diet.  I have done Sugar Free Diets before for a month but never 3 months. 

So far so good.  I am the type that if I don't have it……I can go without it.  But if I have ONE BITE…..just ONE…..I fail.  I am seriously like an alcoholic with the sugar!!

Last night I made my husband some homemade ice cream since I bought him an ice cream maker for Christmas.  Of course my motive for buying him an ice cream maker is to control the amount of sugar in his ice cream (somewhat a self serving motive).   I also want to try making ice cream with Stevia to see how it comes out (so I can have some too!!!)  I did make his with the Truvia blend….and he liked it!! Next batch - 100% Stevia.

Today we also went to the movies to see "The Hobbit" (not as good of a movie as I had hoped - especially since I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan)….but I did not have ONE PIECE OF candy……but…..I did eat the whole bag of popcorn (it was a small with no butter…..but nonetheless I didn't have to eat it ALL).

Considering I normally have Reese's Pieces…..this wasn't so bad. 

I just know that I cannot have one taste of refined sugar….not one lick. 

It's now 9PM and I did eyeball the Jolly Rancher candy canes on the tree…..but averted my gaze and decided to write the last part of this post for today to remind myself how important this is to me!!!

Stay posted!!!!

DAY 7 - SUGAR FREE!!

Do you remember what Krpytonite was like for Superman which induced his weaknesses? 

Or if you saw Lord of the Ring's you may remember the scenes when Smeogol would get so drawn to the ring - and it brought out his alter ego?

The other day my daughter had a sleepover and I was cleaning up her room afterwards and there was a bag of Reese's Pieces on her nightstand.  I was holding it in my hand and I had the same moments of weakness and temptation that both Smeogol and Superman experienced.  Holding that bag was like holding Kryponite!!!

But I was able to hold steady and to be honest the only reason I am able to hold steady is because I am holding myself accountable to my online accountability group.  I told them I was going sugar free for 90 days and because of that one layer of accountability I am able to stay committed.

For some reason if I say it out loud to others - I must hold my word to them.  If I say I am going to do it.....then I HAVE to do it.  But if I said it just to myself......most likely I would bail. 

Hence the power of an accountability group or partner.

So far I feel good.....I haven't missed it but I know that 1 bite of refined/processed is too much and 100 bites won't be enough!

I made the decision to start on Dec. 26th - because I was ready and because I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions because we give more power to the start date than to our willingness to change.  Then a resolution becomes a Monday or after the holidays or after a trip or my birthday.  The date has more power than our mindset - and it doesn't last.  We can always justify a new start date.

And resolutions require WILLPOWER and what we really need is SKILLPOWER.  A set of tools.....accountability......a program.....and faith.

But good luck if you did make a resolution - but at the very least choose someone to hold you accountable because we can easily justify our actions and find a new reason to START AGAIN.


Day 11 - Sugar FREE!!

When I was a kid, my childhood friend and I would walk to the local candy store and buy about 3-4 different types of candy.  My favorites were Skittles, Twizzlers, Sprees, Runts, Fun Dip, Sour Patch Kids....to name a few.  I wasn't much into chocolate (that came as my sugar buds matured) but I LOVED the sugary and sour candies.  My friend would buy the same amount of candy - but the only difference was that my candy would be gone THE SAME DAY and hers would last at least a week.

At 10 years old I didn't see this as a problem but clearly there were issues even back then.  I was a skinny-minny as a kid so ...... who cares!!! But little did I know I would develop that monkey on my back that would haunt me in years to come.

Today is Day 11 and I had a major success these past few days.

My husband and daughter and I were playing Monopoly Friday night and they both sat there with their bowl of ice cream and I honestly was OK.  I didn't even want a bite.

I did have a few bites of Lily's Stevia Sweetened Chocolate.  It doesn't send that signal off in my head that sends me down the path to binging.

Also went to the movies (saw UNBROKEN) and we went to Whole Foods beforehand and I bought a tasty raw protein bar with granola and coconut.  Unbroken was so darn stressful I lost my appetite (that's the ONLY thing that kills my appetite - tremendous stress).

Some of the ladies in my online support group can't imagine swearing off a food for 90 days or even 30 days.  I have tried over and again to be reasonable with sugar - and I can't do it.  I do not eat sweets within reason and it sends me towards compulsive eating behaviors.  My metabolism was able to handle it when I was 10 years old - but that's not the case at 41 years old.

There are people who can ration out certain foods or just have some on a Sunday or they can actually have just 1 serving.  I can't do that and I have come to accept it and "live within my means".  Just like I can't afford a month vacation to Europe - I am not going to pretend I can and do something dumb like charge it on my card and "pay it off later".

Here's to another week on a sugar free diet!!!

Day 14 - NO SUGAR!!!!! 

Let me tell you how GOOD IT FEELS to get that sugar monkey off my back.  Listen....I am not one of those trainers/health and wellness people that always do it perfectly.  I've got my crutches and issues too!!!   

But I can tell you this.....since having kicked the sugar habit and been taking supplements for my hormonal imbalances and cortisol depletion I can now:

  • Stay awake past 9PM  (I was a bear before.....my husband can attest....I was far from pleasant)
  • My lateral hamstring was irritated for months and now the inflammation is gone.  Sugar increases any inflammation present in our bodies.
  • My testosterone levels are increasing - YES....SUGAR HAS AN EFFECT ON TESTOSTERONE so men better listen up!!!!
  • Bloating and digestion issues are subsiding.

Not to mention.....my grocery food bill has gone down because I REFUSE to buy excess crap anymore.  

One.....because if it's in the house I will eat it.

Two.....because it's really not good for any of us.

Now I am not going to be some crazy "sugar dictator" (at least I don't think I am).  I do think it's OK to have a treat now and again and I am OK with my daughter having treats.....but within reason!!!!

Lastly, when you get control of the sugar thing it makes it A LOT easier to stick to a reasonable intake of food because that sugar monkey makes you think you are hungry when you really are not.

I have a few clients who have joined me on this 90 day journey and if you haven't seen this before and after - she has been sugar free for a year now.  LEAN AND SERENE!!!!

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References:

1. Nippoldt T. Mayo Clinic office visit. Adrenal fatigue. An interview with Todd Nippoldt, M.D. Mayo Clin Womens Healthsource. 2010 Mar;14(3):6.

2. Husebye ES, Allolio B, Arlt W, Badenhoop K, Bensing S, Betterle C, Falorni A, Gan EH, Hulting AL, Kasperlik-Zaluska A, Kämpe O, Løvås K, Meyer G, Pearce SH. Consensus statement on the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with primary adrenal insufficiency. J Intern Med. 2014;275(2):104-115. doi: 10.1111/joim.12162.

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