Two terrifying words: sugar free

  • “I ran 63 miles. I deserve this Lenny & Larry’s cookie…..for breakfast.”
  • “I lifted three times!” *downing a package of gummies*
  • “This oatmeal isn’t sweet without being drenched in Walden Farms syrup.”

Those have all been normal thoughts for the past 1.5 months.

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Oh you know, just a pre-lunch snack. Who doesn’t need a cookie the size of their head?

During training I’m constantly hungry. When I don’t eat immediately I get hangry, leading to packaged “foods.” I’m not a meal prepper, also leading to packaged food-like things. (Yes, I say “foods” and food-like things, because it’s not really food….)

I’ve been experiencing intense cravings for anything sugary sweet. I completely indulged my sweet tooth. No matter what I eat, the craving is never satisfied.

Coincidentally, I’ve been having weird stomach issues I don’t normally have – bloating, upset stomach, reflux, and general bad GI issues.

Last weekend, I road-tripped with a close friend. She has health issues and struggled with a bad stomach and the same symptoms. She removed all processed sugar from her diet eight months ago, going as far as limiting naturally-occurring sugar. After three weeks, her stomach/GI issues vanished.

Say what?!

I’m no stranger to healthy eating, but I never connected my newfound stomach/GI issues directly to sugar!

I’ve read a lot of scientific studies that say moderate sugar consumption isn’t bad, especially if you’re an athlete. Naturally, I took this to the extreme and used it to justify boatloads of it, anytime I wanted.

Since I’m not training for a few months, now is the perfect time to try a sugar-free experimental diet. I’m not going to cut natural sugars, like fruit, but I will limit my loves bananas and dates, at least until my sweet cravings are manageable.

Since chemical sweeteners might affect us the same way as traditional sugars, I am going to temporarily cut those, too. I’m also going to abstain from Stevia for a bit. It’s natural, but I need to completely reset my palate. I want to completely kick these sugar cravings.

I tried a week without refined sugar, and it went great. After the week was over, unfortunately, I resumed my sugary, nutrient-devoid diet.

When I have the sugar under control, I’d like to experiment with removing foods that spike blood sugar, including grains, just to see what happens. That sounds terrifying right now, so one step at a time.

I’m excited to see how I feel once I remove the sugars. Today is day three and maybe it’s mental, but I already feel like I’m craving less sugar.

I’ll report my results and share some coping strategies when I’m a little further in. Cheers to better health!

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