Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nine Days.

In nine days, I will have completed my sugar free year.

I'm so sorry for giving up on the blog halfway through! I ran out of time and things to talk about (mostly things to talk about), but for those who are interested, my giving up on the blog does not mean I gave up on my sugar free year.

Throughout the part of the year that I didn't document, I had a handful of sugar snafus (in which I ate sugar without realizing it). I also purposely ate sugar at my cousin Frankie's wedding in October -- less than a forkful of frosting from his wedding cake. I know what you're thinking: "HYPOCRITE!" Maybe. But you'd've done it, too, had your cousin's wedding cake been made by the Cake Boss!

One other time, I split an entire can of sour cream and onion Pringles with my best friend, though I knew full well that the sour cream and onion coating contained maltodextrin (aka sugar).

And twice -- though I by no means condone artificial sweeteners -- I had dessert that was sweetened with sugar substitutes (banana pudding once, and banana cake another time. What a coincidence!).

But, over all, I consider my sugar free year a success.

I learned that life is, in fact, possible without dessert. I KNEW IT. And then, I proved it. At the start, I got a little flack about it: "Why do that to yourself? Why voluntarily suffer?" Believe it or not, foregoing traditional dessert (all but thrice, really) wasn't all that bad. While it was occasionally mildly difficult to watch other people eat dessert that I know I'd enjoy, it was by no means torture. And most of the time, I barely noticed let alone felt bothered by it.

Additionally, while I have no proof of it, I also think my memory improved in conjuction with my quitting sugar.

As for the future, I don't think I'll host a sugar party on New Year's Day or anything like that. While it'll be nice to feel free to eat a piece of cake, I really have no desire to eat a piece of cake. I will likely continue to be mostly sugar free even after my sugar free year ends.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Steps: Part 2.

Since 8:30 this morning, I have taken a mere 2,579 steps. That's 1.03 miles Which is nothing in comparison to the 10,000 steps that promote better health and fat loss.

Today was a typical Tuesday: work all day, school at night and lots and lots of sitting.

Holy wow I lead a sedentary life. That is about to change.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Steps: Part 1.

As planned, I spent today -- a day off -- tracking my steps with a pedometer.

Today was a typical Monday. School work at the computer, laundry, ironing, food prep, chiropractor, a short walk to the mailbox, another short walk to a neighbor's. Not including exercise, I took 4,235 steps.

I was a little alarmed when I realized that between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.-ish, I'd only taken a little over 900 steps. But in the latter half of my day (when I did more of what on the aforementioned list required walking), I made up for my usually sedentary Monday morning.

Clearly, on a day off, I'm nowhere near the desired 10,000 steps per day. Tomorrow, we'll see what it's like when I'm at work all day followed by at school at night. I'd hate to say it, but I don't think I'll be taking more steps tomorrow than I took today.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

10,000 steps.

It hit me today that I'm nearly 7 months into my sugar free* year.

If I had learned ten ago that dessert isn't a necessity in my life, I'd probably be 40 pounds lighter. Speaking of which, since quitting sugar, I don't think I've lost any inches of fat and I certainly haven't lost any weight.

It concerns me. But not because I can't figure out why. I'm concerned because I know perfectly well why I'm in no better shape now than I was when I always ate sugar (i.e. I exercise inconsistently, if I'm still awake after eleven at night there's usually food involved, I just plain eat too much, etc.) and yet, I don't do a thing about it.

Until now. And exercise is first on that list.

As some of you know, one of my summer classes is on eating disorders and obesity. In a recent session, the professor mentioned that if you're taking less than 10,000 steps per day, you're probably not promoting weight loss. And according to this web site, she's right.

Ten thousand steps is approximately equal to 5 miles, the site says, and people who do that each day burn an extra 2000 to 3500 calories per day, which promotes results of all kinds (including weight loss and a longer lifespan!).

And I so bet I don't walk anywhere near that far. (I'm a pro-writer, so I sit at a desk all day! I'm a student, which means more desks. I also live far from almost everywhere I go, and as a result, I spend about 8-12 hours a week behind the wheel of a car.)

So tonight, I bought a pedometer. For my first few days as its owner, I'll live life like I have been. Monday, I'll find out how many steps I take on an average day off. Tuesday, I'll learn how far I walk when I'm at work all day and at school in the evening. And on Wednesday, we'll see what it's like on the days when after a day's work, I just head home. If I exercise at all, I won't wear the pedometer (otherwise, my results will be skewed).

Here's hopin' I'm not too far from 10,000 steps per day (but it's probably safe to say that's wishful thinking!).

*In case anybody needs to be caught up: from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010, I'm not eating anything if it has added sugar, with the exception of bread.** The purpose? To stick it to the man (the one who says I need things like donuts and ho-ho's in my life) and to find out what might change in my body and mind when I'm not consuming an excess in sugar.

**Kinda bet weight loss would be a result if I'd also eliminated bread that has added sugar!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Working out!

You can't be lazy and lose inches of fat.

Two years ago this summer, I set my alarm for 4:45 in the morning so I could make it to Spring Hill Adventure Boot Camp for Women.

Upon waking up when it rang, I finally realized I'm not sane. I mean, who, pray tell, gets up before 5 -- before 6, even -- five days a week for a month to work out with a trainer? Let me tell you: I did.

And it changed my life.

For the first time since high school, I saw results from working out. In four weeks, I lost several inches in several places. I saw, for once, that like much of life, I couldn't get where I wanted to be if I tried to do it alone. We're designed, after all, to be our brothers' (and sisters'!) keepers.

I'll be honest with you -- though it's been more than four months since I've eliminated added sugar from my diet, it wasn't until recently I noticed any change in my size or shape. That's because I wasn't getting adequate exercise. Any good trainer -- like Frank Pastorelli in Florida or Dustin Maher in Wisconsin -- would tell you the best results will come when how you eat and how you work out are both top notch.

Four reasons to hire a trainer


"If you hire a good trainer, they definitely know things you don't know," said personal trainer Dustin Maher.
Those things, he said, can make or break your workout. Among them? Ways to work out without getting injured. Ways to safely work out after a pre-existing injury. What to eat in order to best reach your fat loss goal (and when to eat it!). How to keep the fat off once you've lost it.
"Personalized programs and nutritional plans for your needs, goals and body type," said personal trainer Frank Pastorelli. He also said a good trainer makes sure the trainee doesn't hit a fitness plateau. Often times, when you work out alone, "you'll get results in the beginning. But they'll come to a permanent halt." A trainer, he said, can see those plateaus coming and change the workout routine before they happen.


Pastorelli can always tell when a trainee has reached his or her limit. But in the following, he's a firm believer: "You would have quit 20 seconds ago if you didn't have me, or whoever, there to get the most out of you."
A trainer, Maher said, doesn't just keep you accountable during the workouts. His or her presence also keeps you accountable on the days in between them.
"Chances are, someone who's really unhealthy (or) overweight doesn't have a good support network around them," he said. A trainer can be that network -- or, at least, get it started.

You can probably afford it.

"Some people truly can't afford it," Maher said. But "I tell people there's no money in the world to trade for health."
One of his trainees, Becky Runo, agrees.
"So many people will pay $4 a day on a calorie, sugar-laden mocha and not give it a second thought," she said. "But when it comes to paying for even one personal training session, they can't afford it."
Pastorelli sees the same pattern.
"Just brew your own (coffee) and hire a trainer," he said. "I hate the excuses." Some people say they can't afford it, he said, but "they'll go spend $50 on a meal at Outback."
The issue, the trainers said, is usually less about money and more about priorities.


Runo, 38, has been working out with Maher for more than 15 months. Before she started training, she weighed 174 pounds but changed her diet. When she reached 154 pounds, she met Maher. Three months later, she weighed 124.
"My body has really transformed in more (ways) than the scale alone conveys," she said. "I have much more tone and definition."
And the results, she said, wouldn't be as good without a trainer.
"I never push myself as hard as Dustin pushes me," she said. "Even on the days when I'm working out on my own, I know he is going to ask me about what I did. So, in a sense, he is still there, encouraging me."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm back!

As of Tuesday night, I am academically free!

Until summer classes, that is. But maybe once they start, the workload won't be as heavy as mine during the spring semester and I won't neglect the blog. Just in case, I'll try to step it up with updates in the time between now and then.

You'll be glad to know that since my last sugar snafu, my eating has been without mishap. I am still sugarless! Speaking of which, I've got a quick story:

The other morning, while I got ready for work, I stood near my mom's mug of coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker. I don't taste it. I don't make it. Nor do I pay attention when others do. So, I had to ask her.

"Do you put sugar in your coffee?"

She said yes.

And I knew it. Wanna know how?

Because I could smell it. I wonder if that's a sign of my sensitivity to sugar now that my body's not used to it!

I could be wrong, of course, but I really don't remember ever getting a whif of coffee and knowing the difference between it with and without sugar. Interesting, no?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Forgive me.

Not just for failing to update since mid-March, but for sitting here at my desk munching some Snyder's of Hanover pretzels that have dextrose (a.k.a. sugar) in them.

Clearly starving, my foggy brain convinced me that I'd gotten the pretzels before and all was well in my sugar free year. But upon donating $.50 to the vending machine, I realized I was wrong.

But today, hunger outweighed wrongness.

And I won't let this happen again.