Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sugar Free--Day 8

I LOVE sugar. Chocolate is number one, but I'll take cookies, biscotti, honey-flavored name it, if it's sweet, I'll probably like it.

But I know a sugar habit isn't good for my body or my running (except at certain very specific times). Because habits are hard to break, I joined Amanda's Sugar Free Challenge. I wasn't sure I could do it. I've tried this kind of cold turkey approach before, only to fall off the wagon and go back to my old ways many many times.

This time, it's actually working. We're on Day 8 (it's officially ten days long, and started on June 1, though I may attempt to make it for the 21 days that are supposed to be the adequate period needed to change a habit).

What's been the difference for me?

Getting sick last month with a horrible stomach bug, which kept me from wanting sugar or anything else rich for several days ahead of the Challenge, certainly gave me a leg up. The first few days of June soared by with nary an itch for a Hershey kiss. The last few days have been a bit harder. I definitely have a time of the month when the sugar monster roars louder (and yeah, TMI, but that time is now).

Nonetheless, barring a few sugar-free popsicles, one Diet Mountain Dew and some wine on Sunday night (yeah, artificial sweeteners and alcohol are also off-limits), I've been a very good girl. A big part of this has been the idea that I'm not alone. Reading Amanda's own posts about her effort, as well as the comments on those posts, has really buoyed my spirits, made me feel like less of a freak. Wow! There really are other runners, healthy spirits, smart people who know they don't need that Reeses Peanut Butter Cup from the office trough...but who (just like me!) somehow--quite often--can't help themselves. Over-indulging in sweets doesn't make us bad athletes or bad people.

Living in Boulder (of course) helps. I'm not big on promoting products in this blog, but working across the street from a posh organic market really helps with healthy eating. Here are a few things that I've been eating almost daily because they are sugar free and easily available here in the People's Republic.

Justin's Nut Butter (the classic varieties are sugar-free):

Nut butters are NOT low-cal, but they have a natural sweetness, so a little bit of this goodness can take the edge off a sweet craving.

Fruit, Fruit, Fruit!

I've been eating bananas, apples and especially raspberries like, well, candy!

Lara Bars (all the sweetness comes from fruit):

The "jocalat" ones are my favorites. They won't compete with Snickers any time soon, but the chocolate flavor is REAL.

Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal (my friend Josie at work called this "the Bible cereal"):

Not all of their cereals are sugar-free, but Golden Flax and some others are.

V8 Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice (not everything has to come from an organic grocery store):

I checked the label! No sugar! And a good way to get a veggie hit. I'm not as good about veggies as I am fruit.

Plain Greek Yogurt:

I like it plain, but also mixed with fruit, Ezekiel 4:9 and cinnamon.
In addition to these things, I have been eating lots of salads for lunch (using balsamic vinegar and olive oil as my dressing--sorry, I don't do naked salads and I'll never be a raw girl). A good tip has been that eating savory when you're craving sweet can kill the sweet craving, and that seems to work for me too.

I think I can keep it going for another eleven days (and beyond?). It seems to fit in with marathon training. Perhaps this will help me get to my racing weight of 120.

What do you think?! Are you doing the Challenge (or do you eat sugar-free naturally)? What are you eating that has helped?


  1. Great post, Terzah! I, too, struggle with cutting out the sugar. I'm not a huge sweets girl, but I find that little things creep into my diet that contain my Tigger's Bounce (latte w/honey), a bite of a Reese's cup, and of course the nightly glass of wine or beer.

    I'm going to check out Amanda's sugar free challenge and see if I can make it happen!

    BTW, I love, love, love Justin's Almond Butter...fantastic stuff! The Lara bars are also amazing; my fav being the Lemon Bar. And, both are CO products!

  2. Great job! And great ideas! I need to do this ... I eat waaaaaaaay too much sugar. A little roll around the mid section!

  3. Good for you! I am impressed by all of you who are doing this. I'm pretty in control with sugar actually, but I know I'd find hidden sources if I worked at it!

  4. I had a V8 kick for a while too. I have never tried to be "sugar free" but I get into these cycles where I'm eating a large sugary snack in the afternoon and then I know I have to cut that out. Salads are still my mainstay for lunches, Amy's soups work well, and 2-3 really tasty snacks to look forward to, like I was on an almond and dried cherry kick snack for a while, that's pretty good.

  5. You are my hero. I'm on day 3 of no sugar and caved for a small glass of wine tonight. It was FAN-tastic! Almost like my taste buds had re-booted. Also - Too funny, I started on a basalmic kick myself, but I am skipping the oil - I get plenty on my sauteed veg. I hear you on time o the month - choc chip cookies with a little extra salt are my vice. Keep up the awesome work! I am so impressed. One of our other twin mommies said - "have you seen Terzah? She's so lean!" That's right, you're a lean, mean, running machine!

  6. ps - Larabar: cherry pie....mmmmmm.
    Ditto the nut butter!

  7. very good post!! i am going to link it up in today's post

  8. you should try rice wine vinegar on your salads!

  9. I am having a very tough time with the challenge. I didn't realize how much sugar is in everything! Plus having two kids and a sweet tooth husband has not helped. I think I have had three real sugar free days. But it has made me more conscious of all the sugar in my diet.

  10. giving up sugar is so hard and you're doing great! I too had the 'luxury' of the flu to help me gain a stronghold over it--haha!
    I've slipped back to some sugar but it's SO much less than I was eating before.
    Just had one of my Justins packets w/a banana...heaven on earth I tell you! : )

  11. Hi Terzah! I'm also aiming to BQ this year, and Christine M. turned me on to your blog. Reading your posts really helps get my own head in gear in terms of training strategy. Especially these comments on sugar. Thanks, and more thanks! ...and good luck with your training. Sierra