Let me tell you, the amount of reflection I've done on this topic is mighty. You see, I no longer want to focus on the scale. Instead I want to focus on my lifestyle and how I can make better choices to feel better in my own skin. I firmly believe that when we feel good, we do good. When I'm working out and eating right it's usually a product of being in a positive state of mind. I'm feeling good, I'm motivated, and I'm moving! When I have a slump and I'm feeling down, I may take a break from working out, I may pile more portions on my plate to feed my feelings and that's when it takes a lot more to get me back to where I started and in the zone again.
I want to feel good and I'm taking a number of steps to do this. First and foremost is my health. I am embarrassed to say that I forgot the last time I made an appointment with my doctor for a wellness visit. So when I sat down to make new year's goals that was the first item on my list. I had been feeling kind of "yucky" on the the inside and I wanted to get medical advice for my symptoms.
Last year I felt like I was on an emotional roller-coaster. Ladies, please tell me I'm not alone here!! ;) I would have these bouts of time where I didn't recognize who I was. Feeling lethargic, irrational, even ragey at times. It wasn't pretty and I finally got to a place where I threw up my arms and said ENOUGH!!! I need to be in control here and I want feel like myself again!
So that was it! I would go sugar-free for a whole month and see if I felt any different. On February 1st I gave up all refined sugars and foods with added sugar. I became very label conscious and was surprised when I started to see how many things I typically ate contained added sugar. I said "no thanks" to cake at birthday parties, donuts at work and candy from the community bowl. I said goodbye to bottled salad dressings, peanut butter (that one was hard), almost all bread and flavored yogurt, among other things.
I upped my fruit intake and would grab a cutie or apple when I had an afternoon sugar craving. I have to admit that I was never a big dessert person to begin with, so after dinner and in the evenings seemed to not be as hard for me. But at the office where I would mindlessly pass by the candy bowl and grab a mini snickers multiple times a day, that was where the challenge was. The other challenge I had was the mood connection I apparently have with sugar. There were a couple of days I wasn't feeling particularly chipper and my stress levels were high. These were the moments that I felt a need to have a peanut butter cup for no other reason than to shove it in my face parts to make myself "feel" better. I had to kind of settle in with my feelings and figure out where they were coming from and how I could find a healthy way to address them. Not. Easy. But I did it! I made it through the whole month SUGAR FREE!
I'm so glad I challenged myself to do this! Because I was more label conscious I found myself eating better in general. I did not shed a bunch of weight but started to notice I didn't feel bloated very often and my pants were fitting a bit looser. I also noticed I had a more mild temperament during the challenge. Of course life stress would still get the better of me at times, but overall, day-to-day I was feeling really good!
The most surprising thing about this challenge... the support I received from others! I can't tell you how much it has meant to me that people were in my corner, cheering me on while I did this. People would write thoughtful comments on my FB posts and I even had someone send me a link to the Dr. Oz show where they shared the benefits of kicking sugar. My co-workers have been awesome and I've even inspired them to make changes of their own to better their health.
This sugar cleanse was the first step to making positive changes. I'm going to remain sugar free to the best of my abilities. I will bring back peanut butter (hallelujah) and may let myself have a treat every once in a while but honestly, I'm nervous to "feed the beast." I've done so well I wonder if once I have even a little I'll be inviting the flood gates to reopen. We'll see!
I'm doing this, guys! I'm capable of doing hard things and I will make it to the finish line. I'm so excited to have this be the year I actually achieve my goals and not just hope and wish for them. I know this is an investment in time as much as effort. I need to be patient and kind to myself along the way but push harder than I ever have and never give up! The journey has begun! #commitdontquit