My desk job might be killing me

I love my job.

I hate my desk.

Did you know your desk might be killing you? I am pretty sure my desk is killing me.

I dropped by my friend Jordan’s house last weekend to pick up the jewelry I ordered at her party. We had barista-made mochas and a fun talk about work and weight gain.

We were talking about Halloween costumes in preparation for her upcoming Halloween party. I told her I’m going to be Lady Rambo so I can wear sweat pants because most of my other pants don’t fit right, and she said: “Desk job.”

I agreed with her.

She’s been in the working world longer than I have, and she understood why I hate my desk.

Sitting at a desk all day is awful, and my desire to exercise usually occurs midday. We’ve already discussed why I can’t get sweaty in the middle of the day, but I have to do something to satisfy my need to move in the middle of the day.

I found six stretches that every desk worker should do throughout the day to loosen stiff muscles and prevent excess strain on the neck, shoulders and back. Every stretch highlighted in the guide is a move we do in my Power Yoga class.

Speaking of Power Yoga…

I am often absent to my Power Yoga class. When I show up for a day, I’m sure everyone is like: “Whoa! She’s still alive.”

I attended last Saturday, and I felt like a BEAST. Maybe it was because we had a substitute instructor, and he went a little easier on us than Jill usually does. No matter! I destroyed that yoga class!

Yoga does, however, highlight glaringly all of my “trouble spots.” Reverse Warrior… Side Angle Pose… Any and all twists… My waistline addition is very obvious (to me, no one else is paying attention) when I try to do those moves.

Obvious and uncomfortable.

I’m used to moving parts of my body to get into a yoga pose. Usually around my chest area, but I cannot move my core to make a yoga pose work.

It’s my core.

It doesn’t go places.

I’m working on my waistline now. Working hard to get it whittled away back to a healthy circumference, one that works with yoga poses I used to love.

Wish me luck!

 

I do not drink Diet Coke anymore, and here’s why

When I was in high school, I became addicted to Diet Coke. I hated all other soda, even Sprite and 7-Up when I was sick.

I just wanted Diet Coke.

I drank in excess of two Diet Coke’s almost every day, which is just… a lot. It was ridiculous.

When my husband and I got engaged, I significantly reduced the amount of Diet Coke I drank (and increased the amount of coffee). When we were married, I barely drank any soda (but I drank a lot more coffee).

But that didn’t mean I still wasn’t addicted to Diet Coke. I WANTED IT. I didn’t order soda when my husband and I went out to dinner because he didn’t, and I knew he wasn’t a fan of soda.

Good role model, that one.

I’m thankful for his influence. I do not often drink soda, and when I do, it’s usually one of those “all-natural” regular Sierra Mists or Sprites.

I have stopped drinking diet soda.

Go me!

You might ask yourself: “What about all those calories and all that sugar in regular soda?”

I’m not terribly concerned about calories and sugar in regular soda because I don’t drink it too often.

And I have discovered some pretty interesting stuff about diet soda, and by interesting I mean disturbing.

Kidney problems, weight gain caused by a loss in metabolic rate, cell damage and rotten teeth are just a few of the reasons I don’t want to drink Diet Coke anymore.

With my normal abdominal issues (lactose intolerance and wonky hormones), I don’t need to add kidney function decline to the mix. My teeth are not awesome genetically, and past soda habits have not helped.

Plus, I am trying to lose weight.

Regular soda causes weight gain because of the amount of sugar. Diet soda causes weight gain because of aspartame, a fake sugar. In a study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center, individuals who drank more than two diet sodas a day saw a 500 percent increase in their waist. The aspartame raises glucose levels, and the liver converts excess glucose into body fat.

I’m less OK with that than I am with normal sugar.

Have you given up diet soda?

Fitness hiatus: Graduate school takes over my world

On February 17, when I was worried about what bra I should wear while working out, I received my comprehensive exam questions.

In order to obtain my Master’s of Communication from Wichita State University, I must take and pass comprehensive exams, a four-hour essay during which I will answer six of the 20 questions I received to practice.

Since February 17, I have not attended Muscle Pump or Power Yoga at the YMCA. I have not gone running in my neighborhood, even though the weather has been perfect for it. I have not done much of anything for my fitness, except for the occasional spring walk with my dog.

In addition, I have not done much of anything for my body internally. Excessive indulgence and stress eating are terms to describe my consumption habits. Too much chocolate. Too much fried food. Too much fast food. (Luckily, I enjoy Subway enough to soften the blow of my take-out habits.)

I may have lost 10 pounds last year, but I am not on track to lose another 10 pounds. In fact, I’m not on track to lose the five pounds I have gained since February 17.

Five pounds.

I’m not joking.

My clothing is not too tight yet, and perhaps that’s why I haven’t noticed the five-pound weight gain. (I have avoided the scale.) Perhaps I haven’t noticed it because the muscle I used to have has been replaced by squishy fat.

I am actually not too bothered by how much I weigh right now. I’m not overweight. But I feel unhealthy.

Feeling a way is a better indicator for health than looking a way, and I don’t feel well.

Graduate school and comprehensive exams have been my life. Every night. Every week. I have studied and studied and read and read, and I am prepared.

Hope for health comes in the form of a deadline.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 31, I will take my comprehensive exams and end the torrential cycle of sitting on my butt and stuffing my face full of French fries and Ramen noodles.

After Saturday, I will pass my comprehensive exams. After Saturday, I will be free from my laptop, my notes and my books. After Saturday, I will be on track to losing the weight I gained, replacing it with muscle and training for a few 5K’s I want to race.

I am prepared, but I am nervous to take my exams. I am nervous I will choke or fail or fall apart, but I am also excited. I am excited to be done with them, to be free of them, to go back to the gym again, to cook and eat well again.

Lisa Johnson Fitness described how to get back to the gym in Getting Back on Track: How to Return After a Fitness Hiatus:

  • Acknowledge that you slacked off. Pretty sure I just did that.
  • Don’t try to make up for lost time. Thank goodness! I do not have to double my efforts to fall back into fitness.
  • You didn’t lose as much ground as you think. According to Lisa, I should feel healthier and better able to work out by my third or fourth effort. (I didn’t take that long of a break.)
  • Set a fitness goal. My goal is to go to Muscle Pump and Power Yoga twice a week and cook and eat real food again. (No more couch. No more Ramen.)
  • Bribe yourself. I plan on bribing myself with a professional massage. My back will appreciate it.

Wish me luck! (For my exams and my fitness freedom.) See you Sunday friends!

…and a happy new year!

On December 31, 2011, at 11:59 p.m exactly., I kissed my husband and wished him a happy new year.

Tomorrow (or tonight), I will do the exact same thing, but wish him happy anniversary!

Six years together today… two years married on Monday…

I am one lucky lady!

In the past, New Year’s Eve was another night of work. I always had to work because I was a server or bartender. I do not actually remember the last time I celebrated the New Year without also serving someone shots…

I was mixing a Long Island Ice Tea. Sorry about the photo quality. Bar lights do make things look different.

For 2011, I did not have to serve any shots, carry any food, take any order! No! For 2011, I spent New Year’s Eve with my husband eating tacos, going for ice cream and debating whether or not we should find the DUI checkpoints in Wichita and continuously drive through them to wish the officers happy new year and laugh because we didn’t drink a drop.

Well, we did have some hot cocoa, which we made with our NEW TEAPOT.

And we didn’t do that… Although it sounded like LOADS of fun.

Do I feel like an old fuddy-duddy? Yes… of course I do! But we didn’t have any parties planned, and I decided early on in the day that I wanted to spend the night with my Husband for once.

(Last year, I spend New Year’s shivering my butt off because the power went out.)

All in all I had a lovely New Year’s Eve. Today, I am having a lovely New Year’s Day (doing laundry – it is Sunday, after all). Tomorrow, I will have a lovely anniversary – if we can only figure out what we’re going to do!

And, now, 2011 in review!

Husband and I celebrated our first anniversary!

I turned 23 (and my mother got older*).

I started and stopped Insanity, although I am still quite crazy.

I lost 10 pounds. (I am fluctuating unhappily between 130 and 133 every other day or so.)

I made friends.

I did a bit of volunteer work.

I finished another semester of grad school… some how…

I started my career. A big girl job :)

What’s in store for next year?

I know for sure that Husband and I will celebrate another year married. I know for sure that I will turn 24 (sorry mom). I know for sure that I will take a long walk across a well-decorated stage decked out in a pretty black cap and gown with a few great people.

I know for sure 2012 will be just as good or better than 2011 with the same problems and the same blessings.

And then everything’s going to end in December ;)

How was your New Year’s Eve/Day celebration?

Did you make any resolutions? I completely forgot to do that! Coming soon!

What did that * mean? Well, my mother asked me not to turn 23 this summer. I looked at her and said, “Mom. I already turned 23. I’ll be 24 next year.” She sighed.

It was hilarious.

My Running Program

I quit. I know I said I wouldn’t. But I quit Insanity. I hate it!

The program works if you do; and I worked hard and saw results, but I cannot continue to torture myself with a program I do not love.

I will never learn to love fitness if I keep doing things that make me hate fitness.

It is all so clear to me now. So I quit.

Liz Plosser of Women’s Health Magazine put together an article (and strategic running plan) to shape up and shed pounds in minimal mileage, and I want to try it. (I knew I was going to get excited about running!)

Run Less, Lose More Fat
Liz Plosser

According to the article, most people operate under the assumption that the more they run, the more weight they will lose.

Well, that makes sense, but unfortunately our bodies are so efficient at working that the longer we run, the easier it becomes so we burn less calories.

Ah, the human body! So efficient! So amazing! So utterly in the way of me losing weight! :(

Initial weight loss occurs – in my case, this is usually water weight – and then progress stops because the body is too good at what it does: moving.

With Women’s Health Magazine’s strategic running program, a runner will have to run three to five days a week, but rarely for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Um… sweeeeeeet! Here we go!

Sneak in Speed
Interval training (Insanity) introduces short bursts of intense aerobic exercise, or speed, into your everyday regular routine or pace.

According to the article, when you run at a comfortable pace, your cruise control, your body gets energy from the oxygen you inhale instead of using up your stores.

The body and I are going to have some words.

However, when you speed up, your body must work harder to make the muscles contract and expand, which does use up your stores and burns more calories.

A magical calorie-burning bullet, the article said. And, according to the experts, mixing short, medium and long intervals will keep your body guessing.

…meaning it can’t keep up! Ha! Take that body!

Devote one day a week to one of these speed drills:

  • Quickies: For 15 seconds, run at a hard but sustainable effort and then jog or walk to recover for 60 seconds. Repeat six times.
    Beginner: Build up to 10 intervals over eight weeks.
    Seasoned Runner: Build up to 12 intervals over eight weeks.
  • Long Repeats (Beginner): Run a quarter mile on flat or rolling terrain at a hard but sustainable effort and recover by jogging or walking for two minutes. Repeat four times. Build up to eight intervals over eight weeks.
    Seasoned Runner: Run one half miles and follow the same directions.

Head for the Hills
Ugh. Incline.

For each degree of incline, count on at least 10 percent more calories burned. (Source) Moving forward and up at the same time makes your body work harder.

Again. Ugh. Incline. (Internal Mantra: I want a perky butt. I want a perky butt. I want a perky butt.)

Do one hill workout a week:

  • Find a gentle hill or set your treadmill to a 5 percent incline.
  • Run up the hill at a hard but sustainable effort for 10 seconds.
  • Jog or walk back to where you started, or reset the incline to zero, until you completely catch your breath (45-60 seconds).
  • Beginner: Repeat four to eight times.
  • Seasoned Runner: Repeat six to 10 times.

… I want to be a seasoned runner. Sounds spicy!

Strengthen Your Stride
Strength training makes you stronger from head to toe so you can run harder, and it is absolutely necessary if you want to lose weight. (Source)

Strength training also keeps you free of injuries. Lower-body exercises are important, especially for women, to avoid hip pain. Didn’t I just say something about my wonky hip joint?

Lifting before you run increases fat burning while you run. After about 20 minutes of strength training, you’ve used up all your stores so running will burn fat. (Source)

So I’ll do some lunges, squats and pushups before heading out on a run. Good idea!

Do three sets of 12-15 reps twice a week; rest for 30 seconds between sets. You will need five- to 10-pound dumbbells and a resistance band. (I’m going to need to hunt for those resistance bands… No clue where I put them!)

  • Unilateral Lift: Grad a dumbbell in each hand, stand on one leg and lift the other leg slightly. With your raised foot stationary, lean forward with your arms straight and extended toward the floor as you bend at the hips. Return to start without lowering your raised foot.

    Similar to Warrior III? I think so.

  • Lateral Band Walk: Place a resistance band around your ankles. Stand with feet hip-width apart, and then step to the side with one foot. Walk 15 steps in one direction and 15 steps back. That’s one set. Repeat three times.

    Ashley R./T. did this little number in track and made me do it once. Inner thighs were a burnin’! Come to think of it… Everything was on fire.

  • Marching Hip Raise: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Lift one knee to your chest, trying not to drop your hips. Lower, then lift your other knee to you chest. That’s one rep. Do it 12-15 times.

    Think of Bridge Pose in yoga, and then add a knee lift.

  • Leg Raise: Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms up. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are perpendicular to the floor. Slowly bring them back to the starting position, keeping your lower back against the floor.

    We used to do this in soccer… except in soccer, another girl would catch your legs, and then hurl them to the ground in hopes of making you touch it. We were NOT allowed to hit that floor.

Go Long (in Moderation)
No more than one long run a week? Heck, yes!

A long run means 30 minutes or more. I used to do that three times a week! What was wrong with me?!

So what’s the new plan?
(Why get fancy with a program when I can do this by myself?)

Adding it up…

1 speed drill day + 1 hill workout + 2 strength training days + 1 long run = 5 days a week. Add yoga on Saturdays, and I’m back at the gym using my membership! :)

Shae’s Test Schedule

Monday – Quickies

Tuesday – Strength Training

Wednesday – Hills

Thursday – Strength Training

Friday – Long Run

Saturday – Power Yoga (I’ve missed it so!)

Sunday – Rest

What time of day? Kansas has pushed 100 degree heat and more than that in heat index for the ENTIRE MONTH OF JULY. It’s not dying down anytime sooner either.

It’s too hot to run outside in the afternoon, or even in the evening, which leaves mornings. Early mornings.

Ugh. Mornings it is.

It is quite exciting to try something new that I haven’t learned to hate yet!

Who knows? I love running when I was in middle and high school. I wasn’t “active,” but I was mobile, at least. Maybe running is my in love workout?

Maybe maybe.

When should I start?

Tomorrow. :) (Although, maybe I should do some sort of detox first…)

Know a good fitness app for the iPhone? I’m looking for something the WHM but that will also allow me to track. I do not like MyNetDiary.

If it wasn’t for shorts, I would go running

I perused Run Street’s Slacker’s Guide Series briefly.

Briefly because I did not want to get too excited about running, which always happens, but never quite works out for me.

Of course, after reading just a few blog posts, I felt inspired to lace up my cross-trainers and hit the pavement.

(It helped that she looks amazing! I totally want runner muscles.)

After reading, I remembered an article I’d read on Women’s Health: Six Reasons to Start Running.

This is what I do. I find encouraging blogs and supporting articles that make me want to work out, and then try it (or never try it), decide it’s awful and quit!

Ugh. Fail.

Six Reasons to Start Running
Reason #1: I found this funny… “It’s so easy. True, some high-tech gear will make your run more fun, but really, all you need is a good pair of shoes and a supportive sports bra.” (Source)

When someone finds a supportive sports bra – for someone like me, not someone like the women in the Insanity workouts – let me know. My sports bra is ripping apart my skin and bruising me.

Reason #2: So easy… “Yet so hard. No other exercise matches running for its ability to soak that sports bra.”  (Source)

Running blasts the most calories, and, when you’re counting calories, it’s nice to subtract once in a while. Like I needed more encouragement.

Reason #3: Running works out your heart.

But why more so than other workouts?

When you’re legs hit their stride, they squeeze blood toward the heart, which forces it to pump the blood back. The faster you run, the harder your heart works and the stronger it gets. (Source)

Check out this nifty little explanation of stride.
Apparently, it’s an entire move or something.

When my track-star-workout-buddy gets back from her honeymoon… Ashley R. is now Ashley T…. we are going to the track and “striding.” She likes to run; she’ll know what it is.

Reason #4: Running is good for your joints.

When you weigh less (by running for weight loss), you are at a less risk for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. (Source)

Now, I have an inkling to disagree. When I was very young, I loved running and riding my bike and simply being mobile. (Cars ruined everything for me.) Several times I read or heard from people I knew that running would be bad for me.

It was. Because of running in my “growing years,” I developed a nasty little pop in my left hip. While it usually doesn’t hurt, a particularly big one can pinch a few nerves and send irritating little tingles up and down my leg.

I could be crazy, of course, that is very likely. However, the pop is there, and it’s annoying. If running now will prevent it from getting worse… well, then, I would just have to be proved wrong.

Reason #5: Less stress! Hallelujah!

Have you ever seen What Women Want, with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt? They wanted to sign NIKE to their advertising agency. Do you remember the commercial they “created?” A woman doesn’t need to dress up for the road. A woman doesn’t have to impress the road.

Just her and the road, and she can work out all her problems on the pavement. I think avid workout enthusiasts will say the same. (Source)

Reason #6: Running can prevent disease.

Regular exercise reduces the risk of many kinds of cancer, including colon, breast, endometrial and lung cancers. Becoming a regular runner may help you cancer-proof your life. (Source)

In addition, running can battle heart disease, stroke and diabetes, lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol and boost immunity. AND it can prevent vision loss. (I need to vision loss prevention; I’m going blind over here!)

With all those disease-prevention benefits, it stands to reason that if you’re a runner, you’ll live longer.

I want to live longer.

If I didn’t have to wear shorts… I’d be a runner. Perhaps I need to invest in some of those “capri” pants.

Second Insanity Fit Test 2 today. I do not expect to do well. :(

Last week, I was very stressed, so much so that I didn’t want to eat, which is weird because I always want to eat.

Well, when I let go of the stress and resolved some issues, I stuffed my face I was so happy.

Last week, from Monday to Friday, I lost four and a half pounds. Not good. On Sunday, I weighed myself again and had gained it all back.

Plus one.

My WEIGHT DROP! blog now needs to be changed from four pounds to three pounds. Boo.

I supposed I’ve been slacking in my workouts, and then trying to make up for the slack with extreme cleaning of my house. (I moved the microwave f0lks.)

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned sweat session, though. And I’m about to hit it.

Wish me luck!

Favorite sports bra: NONE! I hate them all. (P.S. If you’ve got suggestions for big-chested ladies, I’m all ears.)

Favorite running shorts: I haven’t found the perfect pair yet, but I like Danskin products.

What do you like most about running?
I’ll tell you when I try again!

Sodium and Sugar: Out tastebuds love them

The government distributed new guidelines for living a healthful life in order to battle obesity and weight-related diseases.

One of their suggestions is to reduce salt intake, which isn’t a surprise for diet and fitness experts who believe that getting rid of hidden sodium will lead to better health and faster weight loss.

The Lowdown on Sodium

Just discontinuing salting your food is not cutting sodium out of your diet. Salt you never see is in every processed, prepackaged food item in the grocery store and in many food items eaten at restaurants and bars. You don’t notice it, and often cannot even taste it. Boo. :(

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, adults are supposed to eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily (about one teaspoon); but they are eating more than 3,400 milligrams, which is a far jump from the reduced intake of 1,500mg for “persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.”

Why is it affecting the health of more than 73 million Americans who have high blood pressure?

Sodium restricts blood flow to the heart, not only causing high blood pressure, but also leading to heart attack and stroke. And, according to the CDC, “every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event.” Bad news.

Even if your blood pressure isn’t hypertension high, it may be higher than it should because of hidden sodium in your diet. –Linda Van Horn, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine

What  has society already done to counteract sodium-lover’s bad habits?

The New York City health commissioner began an initiative to pressure the food industry and restaurant chains to use less sodium (after already banning trans fats). The United Kingdom have printed salt content on food packaging since 2004, using color-coded labels to warn people about sodium levels.

Until the whole of America catches up with the health of America, we need to take precautions against sodium buildup in our diet.

Shaking the Old Habit

How do we escape?

Rethink how you cook and take the time to check food labels. I’m guilty of salting water when boiling and putting extra salt on foods that seems bland. And when I check food labels, sodium usually isn’t on my top priority list (under calories and fat grams, as well as how much fiber and how many vitamins and minerals are in the food item).

Instead of adding soy sauce and salad dressing, try these simple techniques to remake your (sodium-reduced) diet…

  1. Choose frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned: A can of sweet peas has close to 400 milligrams of sodium, but fresh and some brands of frozen peas have little or none at all. I guess I’m doing a good job here! I buy frozen, if not fresh. If you do choose canned (Husband ONLY likes canned green beans), then rinse the contents before cooking and choose cans labeled “low sodium.”
  2. Think outside the box: Prepackaged rice and pasta mixes swim in sodium. Think Ramen Noodles. Instead of dumping in a spice packets, try any of these: herbs and spices, wine, balsamic vinegar and real (not cooking) sherry.
  3. Only salt the surface: Cook your meal salt-free, and then lightly sprinkle salt where you can easily taste it –on top of your cooked food.
  4. Watch condiments: Ketchup and mustard have WAY more sodium per serving than you think. Keep an eye on those labels. (This includes ALL condiments.)
  5. Eat foods high in potassium: While sodium can raise blood pressure, potassium can lower it. The average American woman needs 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily, so pull out some bananas!

Healthy Results

Cutting way back on processed foods plus spending a few days a week at the gym can seriously reduce your blood pressure. After weaning themselves off sodium, many women found themselves losing weight (because foods without sodium generally have less calories and fat grams). Avoid heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure AND lose weight?

Heck yes!

What else do the U.S. Dietary Guidelines say? A lot, actually, and it’s really more of the same.

  • Eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages (I drink almond milk), vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean, and seafood.
  • Eat less of foods with added sugars, solid fats, including saturated and trans fats, refined grains and sodium.
  • Eat more fish and dairy products, in general.
  • Eat less well-marbled meat, poultry skin, bacon (NO!), sausage, butter and whole milk products and foods made with vegetable oils that have been partially hydrogenated, such as cookies, doughnuts, pastries and crackers.
  • Eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

According to nutrition advisor Alyse Levine, to promote weight loss, calories consumption needs to be decreased, which is one of the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Levine promotes the healthy eating habits recommended by the government, as well as tools available on Livestrong.com, such as MyPlate.

Read the whole interview with Levine here.

Well, I have addressed salt lovers. Now, I believe it is time to address those addicted to sugar. Debra Pivko wrote for Beachbody: Sugar Addiction Detox (101).

According to the article, weight gain isn’t the only consequence of having a donut…

Over-consumption of processed sugar can contribute to a number of conditions: tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances, overgrowth of candida yeast, chronic fatigue, severe PMS symptoms, anxiety and even wrinkles.

In contrast, if you cut sugar out of your diet, you can shed excess weight, increase your energy, improve your concentration, improve your moods and possibly steer clear of diabetes.

But why do we crave sugar?

Sugar increases the levels of serotonin –a mood-elevating hormone –in our brain. When our body and brain begin to depend on the increased levels of serotonin, we become sugar addicts, relying on it for our well-being. When serotonin dips, we reach for cookies, candies, chocolate and more. Sugar also increases the levels of endorphins in our body (much more readily than exercise). Endorphins –the brain’s natural narcotics –make us feel good, and we get used to that feeling, even needing it during times of stress.

All of that sounds pretty okay, right? WRONG!

Sugar gives your mood a spike to happiness, but that spike doesn’t last very long. You will crash, which leaves your body craving more sugar. Why? Sugar takes away more energy than it gives. Think empty calories. What does it do to us? It makes us anxious, moody and exhausted.

So what are those other ways sugar can affect us negatively?

  1. Suppresses the immune system
  2. Increases risk of blood clots and stroke
  3. Contributes to hyperactivity, depression and difficulty concentrating
  4. Can lead to hypoglycemia, kidney damage, elevated levels of harmful cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and tooth decay
  5. Helps speed the aging process (wrinkles and gray hair)
  6. AND MORE!

That is exhausting!

 The first step in breaking sugar addiction is making the decision to stop eating it completely for at least a few days to get it out of your system.

Sound hard?

It is. Sugar inspires cravings the more you give in to them. The only way to break the cycle is to stop feeding the beast, and then your craving should subside substantially. You are going to be upset! Prepare thyself.

Ask yourself why you are eating sugar before you put it in your mouth. Habit? Special occasion? If you keep a food journal, write down the sugar you eat and why you ate it.

Americans eat the equivalent of about 31 teaspoons of added sugar every day (500 calories). Our bodies are not designed to handle that much sugar! The American Heart Association recommends that sugar be limited to 6-7 percent of your total calories, but that doesn’t include naturally occurring sugars in fruits and dairy products.

So what do you do?

Simply cut out foods with sugar, white flour and high fructose corn syrup (I know – anything delicious). Also, remember to check sauces and dressings… hidden sugar!

Eliminate it by removing ALL of these ingredients…

  • Agave nectar/syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate (apple, grape, or pear)
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucrose

Whole lot of everything… That is also exhausting! But it’s what’s best for you.

Here are a few more tricks for your taste buds.

Use spices and herbs to trick your taste buds into thinking you’re eating something sweet. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and other sugar-free flavors kick up many bland dishes and drinks.

Eat a healthy breakfast, too. What you eat for breakfast will actually influence your food choices for the next 12 to 15 hours, and influence your energy levels, moods and overall sense of well-being. We know that eating a healthy, balance breakfast can help us in the weight department, but it can also provide you energy through the day, stabilize blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings! Go oatmeal!

Eat throughout the day. I am doing much better at this than I used to. None of my day-time meal/snack servings are bigger than the size of my fist and usually do NOT consist of anything fried and unhealthy. Dinner is usually a larger portion, but it’s also my final portion! And I usually stop eating before I’m full. Eating through the day helps me, and many others, avoid impulse eating (like binging at the snack machine during my night classes).

Finally, find alternatives for when you have a craving. Fruit is always satisfying, and an apple will fill you up.

Check it. Diet Food for Sweets Addicts

The article also agrees that America’s love of sugar is an addiction –even more than that –researchers found that chocolate addicts exhibited cravings, behaviors and psychopathology similar to drug addicts.

Whatever will we do? Lots of suggestions!

  • Frozen Yogurt (low-fat or fat-free)
  • Sugar-Free Gelatin (I love Jell-O!)
  • Vanilla Wafers (Be careful with these… I can eat an entire box if I’m not paying attention.)
  • Fruit
  • Imitation Whipped Cream (made from skim-milk

Ladies, just because we’re made of sugar and spice and everything nice, we cannot fall victim to cookies. We must stay strong against chocolate chips… Shoot. Now I want some cookies! Wish me luck? I’ve already had some this week.