How I Quit Sugar, and Lost 17 Pounds in 7 Weeks
Well, that’s a headline for ya, ain’t it?
And, my dear, long-lost FitMommas, it is in fact the truth. I took quite a hiatus from blogging, and dove head first into a medically-necessary health endeavor a mere month and a half ago. It will take me multiple posts to bring everyone up to speed, and while I should have posted as I went along, I needed the mental break from blogging regularly so that I could wrap my head around my sugar-free journey.
So first let me remind you about the dermatologist appointment I had back in October. Remember this post? I was so frustrated with my doctor for refusing to acknowledge that any of my skin issues (that I’ve had for 10+ years) could be treated through diet. That visit was the straw that broke the camels back. In 10+ years, I’ve had four doctors tell me that I have a yeast problem, and then write me a steroid prescription to treat it. I’d had it.
I spent December researching my butt off. I became New BFFs with the owner of our local health foods store, Nutrition Stop. (No Whole Foods in these parts.) I read books from the library, I soaked up information from no less than 10 different websites. Turns out my Yeast problem is contributing to about a million and one different issues I have going on – my skin issues, my digestive issues, my joint and hip pain, brain fog, fatigue, irritability. And here I thought I was just going crazy. And Sugar was at the root of it all. I slowly altered my diet through the month, and geared up for the Big Push.
On Tuesday, January 2 (exactly seven weeks ago today!), I began an Anti-Candida aka a Yeast-Free Diet. What that means is:
- I cut out Sugar. Completely. In All Forms you can conceive of. (OK, I can have Stevia, but let’s be honest. It takes like poo.)
- As fruit is naturally high in sugar, that means No Fruit. Yeah. I know.
- I cut out all gluten. Only limited grains, like Quinoa, Buckwheat, Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats, and (my guilty pleasure) all natural corn chips.
- No Dairy, as it’s also naturally higher in sugar.
- And I guess it goes without saying, no condiments, no pre-packaged food, no funky stuff, no words I can’t pronounce.
- Oh, and No Alcohol or Caffeine.
Are you still with me? Have I gone off the deep end? Is it possible I am crazy?
Well, I’m still alive, I can tell you that. And many of my symptoms have improved so much, I can only wonder why I didn’t do this sooner. This is similar to an anti-inflammatory diet, so my arthritis and bursitis symptoms are completely gone. Zilch. Nada! (This is also a similar diet that is recommended for those on the Autistic Spectrum, as well as a myriad of other health issues.)
And did I mention the 17 pound weight loss? I had to hit Goodwill today and buy myself a new wardrobe, because nothing I own fits me anymore. I’m also working out three days a week – hard – so that’s helping as well. I can’t say how awesome I feel to be lighter, I feel like I can float. But…
I would never, ever, ever tell someone to go on this diet to lose weight. Because this has been the single hardest thing I’ve ever done. (Over the long haul, that is. Birthing babies sunny-side up with no drugs is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.) I did not enter into this lightly, and it has been a physical and an emotional struggle. There isn’t a lot support from family and friends, I would best describe it as tolerance. If you’re used to finding comfort in a bowl of ice cream, or a side of rich mashed potatoes or in a margarita with friends, you’re out of luck.
There’s no turning to food for comfort, unless you find chicken with a side of broccoli comforting. (Because I eat a freakish amount of chicken and broccoli right now.) I’ve broken down in tears many times. And had to sit next to my husband as he eats my favorite bowl of ice cream. As my book club downs beers and carb-laden foods. As my MOPS group eats pastries for breakfast. This part is actually getting easier, as my tastebuds are changing and the health benefits reveal themselves more. But it’s not for the faint of heart. Or the easily swayed.
When I began, I knew that there would be a point when I could gradually add foods back in. The elimination of entire food groups is not forever. I’m killing the yeast overgrowth in my body, and once I have it under control, I can reintroduce my favorite foods…and see how I feel. Some things I may never eat again. Some things should be just fine. Unfortunately, I’ve had some relapses – usually because I’ve eaten something I didn’t prepare myself and there was hidden sugar – and I realize that this journey is not going to be a quick month or two endeavor. In all honestly, I’m looking at a good six months total (could be longer, but I remain confident.)
In the meantime, I have a ton more to post about this journey. I will post about having an overgrowth of yeast and why sugar my very well be the Devil’s spawn. I’ll post some of my favorite meals and snacks – contrary to popular belief, there is culinary life after sugar! It’s just different. I’ll write about some of the emotional struggles that I’ve had and continue to have. And since I apparently have a ways yet to go on this journey, you’ll be along for the ride as I reintroduce foods and experience the inevitable set backs.
As with anything I write, I welcome any questions, about anything at all. This has been hard, but if I help anyone out with any ongoing issues, then it’s been worth it. Just today, while at Goodwill, I ran into my husband’s cousin’s wife. She noted how I looked, and I mentioned the weight loss, the cutting out sugar, the very basic reasons why. As I went to the dressing room, another woman came up to me and said she’d over heard our conversation. In a matter of 10 minutes, I’d met someone who, it seems, may be struggling with the very issues that I’ve been struggling with. I gave her my information and I hope she follows up with me. There’s so much comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in the world.