Friday, March 4, 2011

my so called sugar free life

I'm back!

"Where have you been dear Catherine? We have missed you so!" Is this what you are all screaming at your computers right now? Thought so.

I have been away. A spur of the moment trip to a land not so far away to ponder, in person, some potential new prospects in our lives. The prospects look good and I am super excited about them. That is all I am going to say on that matter right now.

Today I want to discuss sugar. Or the lack thereof.

As many of you know, in an effort relating to my 'healthy mind, healthy body' initiative of 2011, I gave up sugar for the month of February. I thought it would be hellish and futile. I also thought I would be confessing some sugary sins to my blog along the way.


It was glorious. And I was victorious! Here is the low down:

The first five days were rough. I was not sleeping at all and I was jonesing for the sugar.

Then. All of a sudden. Out of the blue. I got hit by the 'feeling wicked' semi. I hopped on and rode it all the way to February 28. (Notice how I picked the shortest month of the year to experiment with this. Coincidence, I swear!) However, I did get pms at the end of the month and I weirdly turned into a sugar sniffing blood hound. I could smell it. Everywhere. It taunted me but I held strong. Moving on......

I noticed four distinct differences in my life this month and, I do declare!, my not sharing them would be an unforgivable sin.

1. my funny heart beat is not so funny anymore. I can't hear it beating most of the time and I can't feel it beating most of the time either. I know that sounds weird. Maybe it's not weird. Can you feel and hear your own heart beat? Anyway, this is remarkable to me. Sometimes I felt like the crocodile who swallowed the clock in Peter Pan.

2. my head is clear. I can think. I can concentrate. I can focus. At first I thought it was because of #4 (to come yet) that this was to be attributed but then I ate some sugar on March 1st and was convinced, beyond a doubt, that sugar makes you stupid.

3. I breathe so much easier. I have very mild asthma and for the most part it doesn't bother me, or so I thought. I can't believe how easy I breathe now. I never would have imagined.

4. I sleep. I sleep people. I can sleep now. Whatdoyouthinkaboutthat??

Let me tell you about the sleep. As a parent, like most parents, my sleep went to crap when the first baby was born. After four babies I was just used to being tired. Then as time went by things got better and I slept fine.

Then I went to Europe in 2007 and I have not been right ever since. I don't know what those crazy Euros did to me but insomnia and I took up residence together and I haven't been able to convince it to move out. And not for a lack of trying either! Sometimes I had good nights but mostly they were bad. If I was stressed or pms-ing then they were really bad.

2010 was the year of stress and misery and I stopped sleeping. I felt like the walking dead a good portion of the time. I have been taking Melatonin for years, since the Europe debacle. Sometimes it helped but mostly it didn't. Acupuncture, which I swear by, did nothing for my sleeplessness. I figured I would grow old and die a sleepy woman. I made an appointment with my doctor to try some perscription sleeping pills. I was resigned to the fact that I was to become 'one of those women'.

So.... after the first couple days of my so called sugar free life, I was so desperate for sleep I took the advice of a friend and went to Costco to get some Super Sleep, while I waited the week to get into my doctor.

The first night they worked great. I slept. But woke tired. Second night, no difference in sleep. Third night. Not a wink. I did not sleep a wink that night. I gave up the Super Sleep and renamed it Super NO Sleep.

By this time I was sugar free for over a week. Screw sleep, I'll just lie here awake waiting for my doctor to drug me into oblivion with pharmaceuticals.

That night I slept. 8 straight hours. Whaaat?????

The next night it happened again. And the next and the next and the next and before I knew it I was going on three weeks of 7 or 8 or EVEN MORE hours of uninterrupted, glorious, brilliant, magnificent sleep.

What in heaven's name is going on around here? Unaided sleep. Well I never......

I cancelled my appointment with the good doctor.

But then, I went to visit my parents and I never sleep well there so, in my supreme wisdom, I brought the Super No Sleep with me in the hopes that it would miraculously work. The first night I took it and was UP ALL NIGHT! Sometimes my supreme wisdom lacks in supreme-ness-ism.

(I'm allowed to make up words on my own blog, right?)

As I lay awake pondering the misery of my own existence I wondered what the heck the ingredients were in Super Sleep so I checked them. The first two ingredients are Dextrose and Sucrose. What on earth?

Stupid Super Sleep. Never again. So from then on I trusted that I would sleep and I did. Like a log.

Okay, that was all #4. I talk too much. You'd think I was on sugar or something!

Now, on March 1st, I celebrated my month long sugar fast by ingesting my fair share of sugar. And your fair share as well. Brilliant, right? No, not so much. I felt like garbage. My heart raced my head spun and I was wheezy. I have stopped the sugar, again.

Now that's brilliant!

My sugar free life will continue on till the end of March. There, I have said it out loud. (Writing it on my blog is the same as saying it out loud. I do believe I read that somewhere).

But because it's now March, I must announce this months theme in regards to my 2011 initiative. I haven't started it yet because it's complex and I couldn't start it at my mom's house. Well I could have, but I didn't. Logistics and all......

I'll announce it Sunday night as Monday is day one! Who's excited??


  1. Well done. ANd that is VERY exciting about the sleep thing.

  2. Awesome! Did you cut out all products with sugar in them? I know this would include chocolate, cake, etc. But what about bread, crackers, granola bars and other random items that for some reason have sugar in them.

    What about honey or sugar substitutes (agave syrup, stevia, splenda, etc.)?

    I have been waiting your report because I am going to copy you and give up sugar for Lent. I always give up sugary junk for Lent but I'm going to expand to all products that contain sugar (glucose, fructose, etc.).

    I am looking forward to getting on that semi. :)

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

  3. Because I only planned on giving it up for a month I didn't really bother with sugar substitutes. Plus, I wanted to rid myself of the sugar craving not replace a refined sugar craving with a sugar substitute. My daughter and I did try a couple of different things with Splenda though (the Skor dessert) and some red velvet cupcakes. They were all right. Not awesome.

    I did give up everything with sugar or any form of sugar in it, like I said, I only planned on it being a month. No granola bars, no protein bars, no fruit with added sugar. Nothing with sugar in the first 4 or 5 ingredients. I did have some bread. No crackers. I read a lot of labels.

    Now that I plan on it being for some time I will try out the natural products like agave nectar. We have been baking with honey and it seems to be a big hit around here. I'll post things as I try them to give you ideas of whether or not they work and taste good.

    Don't ask my brother about the Splenda Skor dessert. He'll tell you it's gross. He's a liar...... sort of.

  4. You did great on your goal! I enjoy the sweet treats and I like the substitutes but my hubby really doesn't and my kids sometimes don't care for the taste. I've been eating like this for long enough now that it tastes good to me. Good luck!

  5. Way to go. I will say, my month without sugar was likely my most productive. I was also less angry and irritable. It also cured my need, but lazy lack to obtain, of glasses. Yes, my eye sight improved and I was less...squinty. I actually regret breaking it as it seemed I went into an overabundance of sweets like I'd never tasted them before.

    But I ask - did you go off diet soda too?

  6. How about if I post from this account. Then you'll know who I am!

  7. I'm super impressed with the no sugar. I think I told you before that I'm a sugar fiend. But I also sleep like crap (with the help of 2 sleep sucking children) BUT even when they're sleeping well, I'm not. I'm putting your positive sleep review as a side effect of quitting sugar into the back of my mind and will revisit it...and hopefully make a positive change.

  8. I really couldn't live without sugar. I am sure I would feel better in a lot of ways but I am a candy-o-holic. I don't drink pop or really eat chips or other kinds of store bought snacks except CANDY. And I bake a lot.... so I try and make myself feel better by saying at least I made it so it's not processed sugars?! :)

  9. I think it's great that you are feeling better. I know I'd feel better if I could give up sugar. The longest I've ever made it is three weeks, but I think I'm really ready to go for it again. I sleep just fine, but sugar makes me feel like crap. And I don't know if the sugar makes me stupid or not, but I definitely am in such a state that I probably shouldn't be taking my chances. So, here I go again. Goal: four weeks (or more) without the sugar drug. Starting right now.