Hey guys! I owe you a no sugar challenge recap. But how about a post no sugar challenge recap as well?
I haven’t talked much about the no sugar challenge since the beginning. Usually, this means it kind of trickled out of my mind and I failed. But THIS time, I actually finished. For this challenge, I defined “sugar” as “sweets or desserts.” I enjoyed it, but I didn’t realize the impacts it had until POST no sugar challenge.
As many of my longer time readers may have picked up, sugar is an issue near and dear to my heart. So much so that I want to spend my life studying it. I’ve always been sensitive to sugar. I’ve done a lot of research into its metabolism. I’ve done quite a few no sugar challenges in the past. But this, in a way, may be the last.
So, let’s talk numbers. At the end of last week (the end of the challenge) I was feeling leaner. I initially thought it was because of my weight lifting schedule-it was a more intense week than the week before. However, I was annoyed because the number on the scale didn’t really change. That’s kind of the story of my summer. I posted a while ago about the weight I gained recently. I gained that weight through a bout of horrible eating habits. Over the summer, I exercised a lot, including training for a half and starting Crossfit, and really cleaned up my diet. I expected the weight to just fall off-I was eating so badly for a little while that I figured any improvement would have that effect. However, over the course of the summer, I lost maybe 2 pounds. How was that possible?
The mirror, however, told a different story. I definitely looked slimmer. The difference was the muscle I build through all the lifting and exercise. Showing once again that WHAT is more important that HOW MANY.
Flash forward to almost a week post-challenge. I ate my first sweet. And I. Felt. Awful. It’s really easy to forget how something really makes you feel. But that’s not all. (Keep in mind, I’m super sensitive to sugar, so these reactions won’t happen for a lot of people.) This week, I’ve continued in indulging in sugar. Nothing too crazy, but desserts regularly.
I feel like a different person. I feel like my body fat has gone up (but still little change on the scale, mind you). I’m on edge. I don’t feel in control. I feel sick. One cookie is enough to give me a stomachache-and make me crave more. Now let’s talk about what I’ve been eating this week.
Carbs. Lots of carbs. All carbs. Very few vegetables.
But here’s the real zinger. I confess-I count calories. Why? Quite frankly, because I suck at intuitive eating. And I like data. Cold, hard facts. Am I accurate counting calories? Probably not. But that’s fine with me. I’m consistent, and that’s all that matters. I know how many my body needs in my counting system. So it works for me.
Back to the point-numbers don’t lie; I’ve eaten a similar amount of calories last week as this week. But those calories were oh so different. Fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein versus carbscarbscarbs and sugar. And my body is reacting to the two things very differently. Once again, WHAT I’m eating matter more than HOW MANY calories I’m eating.
What’s the point of all this? I know it’s been said before, but once again, A NUMBER ISN’T EVERYTHING. Sure, calorie counts and numbers on a scale can give you a rough check in, but it’s stupid to focus on them. There’s SO MUCH MORE to the equation than numbers.
Think of this-
Both equations include fours, but the result is very different; there is another factor, the operator. If you eat exactly 2000 calories a day (the government recommendation) and are exactly the perfect BMI, are you healthy? What if those 2000 calories are just doughnuts and cheetos? What if you have very little muscle and excess body fat? Is that the same as a person who eats 2000 calories of local, organic produce, lean protein, and low sugar, lifts weights, and is the same weight?
Health is so, so much more than a number. And EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.
Keep that in mind when I say this-I could see myself living a no sugar life, long term, more than just a challenge. I’ve said it before, I’m super sensitive to sugar. One cookie is enough to send me off the wall-jitters and mood swings. If that cookie works well in your lifestyle-GO FOR IT! We are not the same people! Sugar can definitely be part of a healthy lifestyle-and it is for most people. But I don’t know that it is for me.
It’s not about body composition-it’s about health. Physical and mental. When I eat sweets, I lose control. It messes with my hormones-I’m super emotional and I crave sweetssweetssweets. I can envision a very low-sugar lifestyle. I’ve never regretted not eating a sweet. I feel better when I don’t eat them. I think it would be sustainable FOR ME.
As bloggers, we expose ourselves to all kinds of comparisons. I sometimes read a blog thinking-if this person can eat sugar and feel great, I should be able to too! But in reality, we can’t possibly make that comparison. We share a passion, not a body. We have different lives, different metabolisms, different circumstances. Just because one thing doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean you all should stop eating it. Or because the blog world is obsessed with some food, it doesn’t mean I should jump on the bandwagon if I or my body don’t like it.
Hopefully you’ll think about what I said. Going forward, I’m hoping for sugar to play a minimal role in my life. (Don’t make big decisions under the influence of alcohol-how about under the influence of a sugar high?) I want it to be a non-factor. Hopefully, I can hit you guys with some lower sugar recipes in the future as well-don’t think I’m going to miss out completely on all the fall treats!