J’s blog: Wrestling with the sugar dragon

Sugar….da nana na na…oh, honey, honey dana nana na na…you know the song by the Archies? Sugar has been on my mind and on my lips the past couple of months. Yes, the sugar dragon of my soul has been awakened and roams the candy aisles of stores looking for its next fix. This has been detrimental to my health, my mind and my waistline. I’ve been wearing what I call my “fat pants” to work every day: different top, same pants, hoping that no one has noticed.

It’s my own fault. I got cocky. I thought I had this beat. Hey, I’ve been losing weight, and getting stronger – a piece of Lindt creamy chocolate’s not going to hurt…. What? How is the whole wrapper empty? I fancy some Hagen Daazs Coffee Icecream. A couple of scoops ain’t gonna derail me. What? How is that pint carton empty already? Twizzlers! I haven’t had Twizzlers in ages. One Twizzler does not ruin my health. Huh? Where did my Twizzlers all go? And we know that answer to those questions don’t we? All that sugar has gone into my body.

Sugar is so addictive, isn’t it? We laugh about it – “Yeah, my name’s Jeannette, and I’m a chocoholic”. But seriously, sugar addiction is easy to fall into and hard to get out of. Have you ever watched the documentary “Fed Up”? It’s a pretty eye opening film about sugar and how so much of it is in our food. Obesity is on the rise and yet, sugar, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup is in most everything. You give a lab rat sugar and cocaine, the rats will choose the sugar over the cocaine. It’s that addicting. Is it any wonder so many of us struggle with health and weight loss? I hold my hand up. I cannot eat sugar in moderation. After doing about four Whole 30s now and feeling great after each one, I am still a slave to sugar. I can go without it and not miss it, but then something happens. And I’m a goner. I kid myself that I have food freedom. That I can eat a creme egg, and enjoy it and not want any more. But that’s a pile of poo. Sugar is one of my demons. I know, I know, this is sounding all so dramatic, but for me it really is a complete struggle. I know the answers. Before reaching for that candy, stop. Think. What is compelling me to reach for it? Am I stressed out? Yes. Will sugar help in the long run? No, but gimme, gimme! And so the cycle continues…until I suddenly dig my heels in and give myself a good talking to.

This past month, I decided that I was going to give up bread and sugar because I wanted to be nice to my work pants. The first week actually went ok. The second week was almost just as good but then Panera Bread happened. I had salad and soup. The girl asked me if I wanted bread or an apple as my side. I said I didn’t want a side. They gave me a side. A huge chunk of their crusty baguette. I threw it away. No I didn’t…I ate the flippin’ thing. All of it. I practically attacked it like a starving dog pouncing on a juicy steak. Our office had donuts given to us by a travel firm. I stayed away from the donut table. No I didn’t…I made a beeline to that table waaaaay at the back of the office and fished out a donut with day-glo pink frosting and little flower things sprinkled all over it.

The stupid thing is, I know what I’m doing, and how it’s going to affect me, but my eyes get as glazed as the donut I’m eating and then afterward, I feel like crap. What can I say? I’m a work in progress. But I dwell on my muffin top, and the fact that my clothes don’t fit and wish I was two sizes smaller. It’s my health that suffers too. Sleepless nights, afternoon sugar crashes, mood swings, lethargy and irritability and a general sense of feeling not quite right. They are the main things I should remember when my sugar dragon rears its ugly, scaly head, not just the calorie thing.

The silly thing is, I love fresh, healthy food – the taste of lime juice, a crisp salad with goat cheese, a small medium-rare steak with grilled asparagus, fresh berries, olives, avocados. Why am I seduced by sugar so easily? It’s not like it even satisfies. Well, that’s where I am at the moment, working hard to stay on track, telling myself, I only have one body to live in and I need to treat it well if it’s going to be able to do what I want it to do.

The GOOD news is that I am feeling the benefits of working on my shoulders more consistently. A lot more rolling and shoulder warm ups have meant that Military presses the other night didn’t have me waking up the next day having problems with my right arm and shoulder. Nancy has commented that my shoulders have become a lot less rounded and more open. I’ve noticed the difference in the way my blouses and t-shirts look. Deadlifts are still on the agenda, working my way up the ladder to more reps of heavier weights. After kettlebells, sandbags and deadlifts in the past week, I came home on Saturday to do some yard work. Hauling out the long pruning shears from the garage, I proceeded to prune seven Rose of Sharon trees in our back yard to within an inch of their lives. Some of the branches were as thick as my wrists (and I have thick wrists), but I felt so bad-ass when my neighbour offered to lend me a saw but with some grit, breathing properly and some Wonder Woman strength, I just lopped those branches off with those big ol’ pruning secateurs. My pecs were certainly feeling it the next day though and my Rose of Sharon trees are looking very ….naked.

Thursday nights at The Kettlebell Fitness Center from 6-7pm continue to be fun as we work through a mix of kettlebell and sandbag disciplines at “Bags and Bells with Bev”. My favorite sandbag movement at the moment is the snatch, and the clean and press has really been helping with my shoulders when strict military presses with the bell have proved more difficult for me. We’ve had a couple of new people join us these evenings, with friendly insults being traded, Bev’s 90s hip-hop station being  blasted out and a lot of sweat flying around. Come down and join in. You’ll love it! (Perhaps not the flying sweat bit, but the rest is awesome!)

Just want to finish off with a recipe I’ve done before, but it’s so easy and amazingly tasty, that you will make it many times. Smoky Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs from Practical Paleo. Basically sprinkle the chicken with a smoky spice rub (which is in the recipe), wrap them in a couple of bacon rashers and chuck them in the oven for around 40 minutes. That’s as simple as it gets. To go with it, I made quick salsa. Chopped up a couple of roma tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, garlic and a few slices bottled jalapenos. Added some lime juice and chopped parsley. Delicious, zingy and extremely easy – combined with the smoky chicken, it was sublime.

Well I’m off to NOT eat sugar. I’ve found that I like cracking pepitas (pumpkin seeds) open with m’teeth. Possibly not very ladylike, but hey, whatever works, right AND a ¼ cup gives you 9g of protein. Not a sugar molecule in sight!

Until next time, stay strong and stay OFF the sugar!

J x


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