Melodie: Sugar -ba da ba ba ba ba – oh honey honey

I read something last year that has been sticking with me: there is a direct correlation between the amount of weight you want to permanently lose and the amount you will have to permanently change your life. I like this because it says that the changes have to be big, and they have to be permanent. The problem is that it is very hard to measure when applied to your actual life. It’s hard to know how exactly to proceed.

It’s tempting to look at others and see what has worked for them but I think that is probably the wrong approach. Everyone is different, and I need to look at what has worked for me in the past, and what has not worked for me.

Making vague promises that I am going to eat well does not work for me. That’s what I’ve been doing for months now and I’m not losing weight. The problem is that I eat well and then I slip up because of holidays, birthdays, traveling and other excuses. I put on a bit of weight and then when I do eat well, it gets used up on getting rid of that extra weight. I am just gaining and losing the same few pounds over again, which has no impact. (Actually it has a negative impact as it makes me frustrated.)

Making specific rules about what I am and am not going to eat, and when, and making a dedicated decision to follow them does work for me. When I have done this in the past, I have lost weight. The nice thing is it takes willpower out of the equation – I just know I can’t eat x thing, and so I don’t even start deliberating with myself. The problem is that I have always done it for a defined period of time – it’s easy to cut out a bunch of stuff when you know you can have it again at the end of the diet. So I’ve been wary about this approach because it doesn’t seem like a way to permanently lose.

Unless I decide to permanently lose the sugar. Many people can eat a fair amount of sugar without gaining weight but I, unfortunately, am not one of them.

I suspect sugar is about as addictive as cigarettes. Maybe people would scoff at this, but how many people have ever tried to quit eating it?

I have twice now. Both times my palate changed so that I was actually enjoying food more, not less. Everything tastes better when you haven’t had sugar in awhile. My energy was more stable, my mood was better, and I lost weight. And yet both times I still went back to eating sugar. Because 1) it’s addictive, and 2) I did not accept that a life mostly without sugar was possible or enjoyable. The more I reflect though, the more I look back on the two times when I stopped eating sugar and lost weight and you know what: I was happy. Losing weight (and being active) made me a lot happier than eating sugar does. I think that is what I need to cling to.

I could say to myself that I will rarely eat sugar, but I think for a while at least I need a blackout. The blackout helps because it is a solid rule that I can follow. The longer you cut it out for, the easier it gets. The more it becomes routine. This is what I need to do for myself. After the blackout I’m sure I will sometimes eat sugar again, but I suspect that I will never be able to eat much of it if I want to permanently (and significantly) lose.

Anyway all this to say I am in the first week off sugar. (Processed sugar – I still eat fruit and dairy products.) I gave up sugar Monday. So far I’m feeling really good about it. I’m not totally decided on how long my sugar blackout is going to last. For now I will just say: until further notice. In any case I’m feeling great and I’m already seeing a bit of movement on the scale, and that is very motivating to keep it up.

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