Moderation’s Key for this Sugar Mama

Any old schmuck could resolve to hit the gym more often; I knew I needed to raise the stakes, and choose something that would prevent me from letting my resolution fall to the wayside come Valentine’s Day. So, in January, I penned a $60 check to Active.com and registered to run a half marathon.

Fast forward three months, and between school, work and friends, running has completely disappeared from my schedule. With only two weeks before the race, I knew I could never get those three months back, so I Googled how to “get healthy” fast.

One of the first things that came up was a no-sugar diet. Lent was coming up, and it was the perfect chance to create my own challenge — a no-sugar diet meant saying ‘no’ to obvious indulgences like candy and cake, but it also meant ‘no’ to everyday necessities like orange juice and coffee.

Eliminating sugar, also means eliminating most of the other junk typically found in sweet foods — a healthy lifestyle choice, at least in theory. In practice, all I wanted was a frosty glass of OJ. after my nine-mile run/walk at 11 p.m.

Day One: Usually, I wake up at 10:30 a.m. (for my 11 a.m. class), throw on whatever looks clean, and nom a cereal bar on the way to the bus stop. But as I opened my Fiber One bar, I realized that there were eight grams of sugar in the thing.

Disappointed, I trashed it and fumed all the way to the bus stop. I spent the better part of lecture willing my stomach not to grumble in my silent class of 30.

So, though it would be nice to say that it only got easier after the first day, truth is I only lasted 36 hours.

Micro-managing sugar out of my diet was just as difficult as adapting a vegan lifestyle for a week. Sugars — while some better than others — are in almost everything we eat, and cutting them cold turkey was no piece of cake. (Pun intended.)

On the bright side, the brief change also made me more aware of just how much sugar we — or maybe just I — eat every day. I decided that instead of playing the role of self-appointed sugar Nazi, I’d just make more of a conscious effort to notice how much sugar is actually in my diet.

Over the next few weeks, I suppressed the urge to eat Ben and Jerry’s while watching “the Biggest Loser” and even said ‘no thanks’ to Peeps. On the other hand, free Sprinkles cupcakes (via their morning Twitter updates), were one temptation I couldn’t help but yield to. And you know, a cupcake here and there didn’t kill me and didn’t make me cringe (anymore than usual) on the scale.

It’s not about cutting all of something out of your diet. The smartest move it just to be more aware of what we eat. Being conscious of just how much sugar I ate — without ever bothering to stop and think about it — was more than enough “moderation” for this sugar mama.

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