Sunday, August 16, 2015

Thoughts on the no added sugar challenge: Mission Complete

1st day of 7th Grade.  

I wish I could show boys dressed in freshly starched khaki pants with button-down shirts.  They picked their outfits and showed pride in their choices.  If that makes for a successful morning, then I'm happy too.

First day of 5th grade.  I have a second middle schooler!

First day of 3rd grade!  I couldn't figure out how to rotate this picture and didn't want to leave his photo out!

First day of first grade!

Brothers united on their first day.

I just finished eating a chocolate chip cookie.  The no added sugar two-week challenge is completed, and so I've gone back to indulging in a few favorites.  Cookies are tops on my list.  But, my diet has changed.  My palate is different.  My eating style has transformed.

The biggest change is that I can now legitimately refer to myself as a former Diet Coke addict.  I am 21 days clean of Diet Cokes!  Woo hoo!  A 25-year habit has been kicked for three weeks.  I certainly never expected to be Diet Coke-free in my lifetime.  It took me awhile to really love water.  But now, a glass of water with lemon slices is a treat.  Are pigs flying?  Has Hell officially frozen over? 

Another change is in my physique.  I am officially four pounds skinner.  I didn't measure my waist, but my pants and shorts are no longer snug.  I can bend over without fear that a strained button will fly off under the pressure of covering fabric over flab.

As mentioned earlier, I've reintroduced sugar.  But, I'm trying to mostly make smart food choices, sticking with less processed and sugary items.  I've noticed my taste buds are satisfied with those foods, and heavy fat- and sugar-laden items make me feel uncomfortable.

I absolutely hated the diet at first.  Now, I'm grateful I was pushed out of my comfort zone and have made positive changes because of the nudge.

Here are my takeaways:

1.  The best way to break a habit is to start with a short time frame.

Ok.  This might just work for me.  But, if someone had said to stop drinking Diet Cokes, I would have said, "I can't."  The thought of breaking that deeply engrained habit was daunting.  But, when asked to break a habit for 14 days, I felt like it was manageable. Then, in the course of those two weeks, I realized I could break the habit and didn't really need those drinks anyway.

2.  Tastebuds can change.

This one has been good for me to think about with my boys.  I've realized that if you just change what you eat, you'll start to crave and desire other foods.  So, for my sons, I've just stopped buying sugary items.  At first, I felt a bit bad.  Perhaps it was because they insisted I was "starving them."  But, like me, they became accustomed to natural apple sauce cups and less-sugary cereal options.

3.  Everything in moderation.

Food is one of the best parts of life.  It adds to celebrations and makes some of the most wonderful memories.  I don't want to eliminate those experiences.  I will eat the birthday cake with my kids.  I will join the buffet at the weddings.  But, I'll try to make most of my food choices healthy ones.

4.  Healthy does feel better.

Healthy foods make me feel fuller. I eat less, and feel more energized.  I can fit in clothes better which makes me stand a little taller (and leaner).  I feel a sense of pride for sticking with something and making positive choices.

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