The scariest thought this Halloween, was knowing I was one week into my no sugar challenge For A Month!
And not even Halloween was going to throw me off the sugar free wagon. The St. George Marathon was about a month ago and I took my typical week off from running, allowing myself time to replenish my depleted glycogen stores with…Apple Jacks, Junior Mints, Candy Corn, Twizzlers, Starbursts (only the pink ones), basically anything I wanted. And that’s good, I think post marathon what the body craves, the body should get. But a week turned into two and was rapidly becoming a month, when last Sunday I saw that the awesomely inspiring Heather (aka triandrungirl) was inviting her Instagram followers to join in on her “No Sugar for a Month Challenge.” As I finished off the last of my Swedish Fish (true story), I promptly typed “I’m in!” This, we all know, makes that written statement a legal and binding contract, at least that’s the way I have to think of it to keep myself accountable.
Every day last week would be fine until two o’clock in the afternoon, that was when the challenge became challenging. So I spent a lot of time reading up on the best tips to end sugar cravings. The worst advice I read, was to take a shower!?! That seems totally realistic for working women and busy moms to just put our days on hold and when those sugar cravings kick in, relax in a nice, warm shower. At 2 pm. Then there were the scare tactics: sugar causes wrinkles, sugar rots your teeth, sugar causes diabetes, sugar makes you nervous, and sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Okay sugar is a little scary. Thankfully, between the kooky and the frightening, I also found some great tips for quitting sugar:
Join in on a Group Challenge-This can help motivate you to start and help you hold yourself accountable. The one I’m in even gives you one cheat day and they use fun hashtags like: #FunBusToHellNoSugarChallenge. These are my kind of girls.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable-Eat several small healthy meals (4-5) to help your body avoid dips in blood sugar. Don’t skip meals this will only create a starving situation in your body and your body will do or eat anything to try to bring your blood sugar level back to normal.
Purge the Sweets-My poor husband said the emptiness of our pantry makes him feel like we’re living in through the Depression, but I had to get rid of it all. I don’t have enough willpower to ignore the junk, those darn Apple Jacks are just too tempting.
Eat More Greens and Fruits-Although fruits are filled with natural sugars they also have vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help fill you up. Adding in more greens and nutrient dense food can increase energy levels and reduce your overall cravings for sugars and processed foods.
Go for a Walk, or a Run-Athletes cravings for sugary foods are reduced after exercising. Studies show they choose salty foods instead, so that will be the follow up challenge.
I have done ALL of the above. I’ve also found that chewing sugar-free gum, drinking lemon water sweetened with Stevia, eating a Medjool date, drinking a Kevita, painting my nails, and painting my daughter’s nails have kept me riding tall on the no sugar wagon.
While, I’m not a nutritionist, and I strongly dislike the word diet (I also strongly dislike the word hate, which is why I use strongly dislike), I like this challenge for helping me to focus on being more mindful of the food I put into my body. I’m doing this challenge to escape the sugar fueled roller coaster ride of fatigue, a suppressed immune system, and fuzzy thinking. I want to fuel my body well because I appreciate all the hard things I ask it to do and I want it to be able to keep doing those hard things. Clean eating and no sugar for a month is part of running our lives, one step at a time. Happy running friends!
Have you ever done a no sugar challenge?
What’s the hardest sugary treat for you to say “no” to?
What tip or trick do you use to avoid sugar?