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Emails to my Therapist

Seductive Sugar

I haven't had a Coke since mid-morning yesterday — and I poured the last two-thirds of that one out in the bathroom sink.

Nor have I had a tall 20 ounces of McDonald's sweet tea.

Or settled down with a half-gallon of frozen yogurt. 

Having a little change of diet here, dropping some of my long-time daily bad habits.  I'm highly motivated and stirred to do so: First there was my beloved brother Franc having a mild stroke a couple of weeks ago.  Then there was my first truly bad report card from the annual physical bloodwork lab. Then there was the dreadfully persuasive article I read yesterday morning that told me how I'm going to pay if I continue to sin as I so enjoy doing.

Franc is doing well–I am grateful–after giving us a serious scare.

And I'm working on doing better myself, which I never aspired to do.  

All these 63 years, I thought I'd dodged a particular genetic combo bullet:  heart trouble, strokes, and diabetes.  I always thought if I did enough jumprope and kept my weight down, I'd always be able to eat pretty much what I wanted.  Not so.  The days of dodging seem to be over.

Enter: The Days of Water and Sardines and Kale.  (When I spoke with Franc this weekend, he said: "If there's one thing I hate, it's water and chicken and lettuce.")  I made long lists of the possible advantages of eating right: of digging into oily fish and dark-green vegs.  Telling myself to revel in the excitement of "newness of life."  Or greater potential length of life. 

It's working to some degree, I suppose.   I had tuna fish and slaw for lunch — and a modest amount of non-McD. sweet tea.  Very balanced. 

I'm telling myself this is a bold and radical move.  Not sure how long I can keep myself convinced; I had peanut butter out of the jar for dinner (pure peanuts, no sugar added) and the night is still young.

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  • April 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm Reply

    I gave up sweet tea a week ago, but I'm staying with the diet, caffeine free soda, I need a little sizzle. The next big step is giving up the M&M's, my best-worst friends. Good luck, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Sometimes change is really good.

    • April 4, 2012 at 7:00 am Reply

      You started with a tough one, Mary. A person who can give up sweet tea can do anything. I’m still allowing myself a modest daily glass.

  • April 3, 2012 at 12:45 am Reply

    Sugar brings us sweetness… but in modern society, we overindulge in it as we do everything else (even in our canned corn!).
    I have stopped drinking as much Coke as well and surprised by how much energy Green Tea gives me (without sugar). Makes me wonder what other habits I could change.
    I'm not into deprivation for the sake of a better profile — maybe because I'm an addict!

    • April 4, 2012 at 7:00 am Reply

      The winter I spent in Varanasi — a city famous for its sweets — I ate a small box of them every night. And what a glorious experience that was. I’m curious about your last sentence, Mohadoha; are you saying you might be addicted to sugar or to deprivation?

  • Lisa
    April 3, 2012 at 3:35 am Reply

    Oh dear.  I'm glad your brother is doing well, but sorry you had to have that scare.  It is a big lifestyle change–good for you!  Keep us posted . . .

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:57 am Reply

      I’ll sure keep you posted, Lisa. And thanks!

  • April 3, 2012 at 4:54 am Reply

    Peggy, soldier on – I went off sugar and most processed flours about 9 months ago. The previous year I did a similar 6-week "cleanse." Both times what I found is that the body craves sugar terribly for about 3 weeks and then at some point it does stop. If you stick to it, your taste buds will recalibrate and if you DO eat something sweet, it will taste so sweet you won't want it the way you used to.
    Matthew and I (and son) are mostly following Weston A. Price's guidelines for eating and all three of us feel terrific. We backslid a little over the Christmas season but are now back in gear. Living in Chatham County you are well-placed to eat both well and locally – so many wonderful farmers here. We even find locally-grown grains and milled flour when we want to use it.
    If interested, Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions is a wonderful resource.

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:56 am Reply

      Will check out Weston A. Price, Billie. I know that 3 week experience you’re talking about. Back in my twenties/thirties I had an eating disorder that I could only manage if I stayed away from sweets. Then at about 35, I felt I could handle a little fudge and went back to some sweets, which is where I’ve been ever since. So to cut back to almost none again, I have to fight the feeling that I’m regressing rather than progressing. I’d love to be able to do what is called “moderation,” but haven’t done well with that.

  • Tam
    April 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm Reply

    Good for you . . very impressive . . . glad Franc is doing well!!

  • April 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm Reply

    Way to go Peggy! Mom sent me to your blog…you may find to be a useful resource for helping you continue to monitor your intake and motivate you to keep going. An option if you want frozen yogurt treat that is relatively healthy (good ingredients including fiber and if you splurge only 150 cal a pint) is Artic Zero. I would recommend warming it in microwave first for like 15 sec. Make sure you are staying well hydrated and drinking enough water. While diet is important make sure you are also meeting the physical activity guidelines. Especially make sure you are doing resistance/strength training to help speed up your metabolism and help prevent osteoporosis. You may enjoy Mio in your water to help make your water more exciting and even ordering tea sample packs by different brands! Good luck! Proud of you!

    • April 6, 2012 at 8:57 am Reply

      Janna, thanks so much for all this great advice. And I see from your website that you’re a pro at this. It’s so nice to be advised of something to eat (outside of the carrots and kale option) rather than what not to eat. Again, thanks, and I wish you well with all that you’re doing.

  • April 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm Reply

    I drink sweet tea, but diet cokes,because I like the taste better. 

    • April 9, 2012 at 11:15 am Reply

      Good plan. Though I had a sip of Diet Coke this weekend — not sweet enough for me. I had a helpful session with a nutritionist this morning, though. Carolyn Falcon with Falcon and Lutz in Raleigh. Her emphasis was on eating more good stuff rather than severe cutbacks in bad stuff. That was a relief.

  • April 12, 2012 at 6:13 am Reply

    It's worth it.  You will start to feel better in ways you didn't realize felt poorly, and when you eat sugar again it will show its white devil self.

    • April 12, 2012 at 6:21 am Reply

      I look forward to this, Kelley. I hope it’s true even though I continue with a little sweet iced tea.

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