8 Weeks, No Sugar Challenge – Week 6

by Stephany on April 30, 2012

nosugar

This wasn’t a good week. In fact, there is little motivation to write about it and fill you all in on how I did because I did extremely poorly. It was probably my worst week yet and it pains me to say so.

Of course, it never crossed my mind that I was going to be attacked by a killer mosquito on Sunday night, end up with 11 bites on my legs and feet, and have allergic reactions to the majority of them. It caused me to have to skip all my workouts for the week, which sent me on a downward spiral of bad eating. I wouldn’t say I went absolutely crazy, but I definitely didn’t follow my eating plan and I definitely slipped back into bad habits.

I should also admit that I can be very hard on myself. I’m getting better at not beating myself up so much when I can’t do something or I make a silly mistake, but I am very tough on myself when I make poor eating decisions. And since I make poor eating decisions a lot, well, you can see I spend a good chunk of my time waging internal yelling matches at myself.

I’m not very nice to myself. I’m not going to write down some of the stuff I say to myself because, seriously, it would make you cringe. I would never, ever say those things to someone I love — yet it comes so naturally for me to do it to myself. Funny how that works.

The truth is, I tried to cut myself some slack. Sure, I goofed up this week. I let old bad habits define the new me. And I don’t like that. But I was also dealing with a lot. My allergic reactions to my bites took a lot out of me. I had to deal with the swelling, the tightness, the incessant itching, the pain, the fact that I couldn’t even walk in flip-flops without my bites hurting. It sounds funny to say that mosquito bites were what caused my downfall but it’s true. My body doesn’t react well to them and I had to spend the week trying to take care of me.

On the same note, I have a tendency to fall into the trap of eating for comfort when I’m sad or sick or upset or when something really good happens. I don’t want to use food as a reward – or a coping mechanism – anymore. My body was doing so much better before, when I was eating for fuel, not for comfort. When I was eating foods that were filling and healthy and good for my body, not foods that were mainly junk and sugar. And I most definitely do not want to go through another sugar detox week.

I want to find other things to comfort me when I’m sad or sick or upset. Other things to use as a reward when I get good news. A hot bubble bath at the end of a long day. A night spent lounging in bed, reading a trashy romance novel. Retail therapy. A pedicure. Renting a movie. An afternoon at the beach. Anything but food. In the end, making bad food choices to comfort myself has the opposite effect: I feel worse. Not only does it not take the pain away, it leaves me with a guilty conscience and an internal yelling match in my brain.

I can only use this week as a learning experience. I don’t want to be the girl who comforts herself with food anymore. I need to instill different coping routines when the going gets tough that allows me to take a step back and regroup – but not fall off my healthy eating habits. I know there are dozens of ways I can help myself when I’m feeling down, including slowing down and giving myself time off exercise (which I did this week). Sometimes, that’s what your body needs to repair itself and rejuvenate.

So that’s that. I’m not making excuses. I’m telling it like it is. I had a bad week. And I gained a few pounds because of it. But I have five days until I’m a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding. I have thirteen days until I leave on my cruise. That’s plenty of motivation to get back at it and refocus. I’m not going to lose the 16 lbs I wanted to lose through this journey, but if I can weigh less when I board the cruise ship than I did at the end of March, then that’s all I can ask of myself.

What are some non-food ways you comfort yourself after a bad day, or when you don’t feel well?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa of Lisa's Yarns April 30, 2012 at 7:29 am

I comfort myself by going to bed early and reading. Or going for a run to burn off some of the frustration from that day. I honestly don’t have many, if any, foods in my house that I would think of as comforting – I just don’t keep if around. If I did, I think I’d be more apt to cheat and eat more than I know I should. So I just remove the temptation, which is something I learned when I was in weight watchers.

Try not to be so hard on yourself. Remind yourself that you’d NEVER talk to a friend like that! I know that is easier said than done. I used to talk down to myself years ago, but have broken that habit and one thing I really learned in my 20s was how to be more kind to myself. So hopefully you will learn that lesson as well!

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Stephany May 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

See, I don’t even keep bad food in the house. It’s taken a long time to get to this point but I’m good at not buying soda or chocolate or any type of “junk” food stocked in my kitchen. But when I have a bad day? It is so easy to zip to the nearest drug store and stock up on soda and candy. I just need to break this habit because I do pretty good otherwise. Not keeping it in the house is KEY and I’ve got that part down. Now I just have to work on not buying it after a stressful day.

I’m trying to be kinder to myself. Trying to tell myself that I’ve made lots of improvements and I have to find the good in that. Still, I’m nowhere near the 16-lb mark I set for myself at the beginning of this challenge and that’s frustrating.

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Melissa April 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

I am 100% guilty of using food to comfort myself. I have the most awful rule that during exams, all bets of healthy eating are off. I’m SO STRESSED during midterms & finals, my mind can’t focus on more than just studying. So I eat badly, don’t work out, don’t read, nothing. Just trying to find the motivation to study more more more. But in terms of unhealthy eating, it’s BAD. I can surprise even myself at how much crappy food I can eat in one week.

But every day is a new day- in fact every meal is a new start. So I’m always trying to get back to a place where I am happy. I’ve noticed that since going vegetarian 2 months ago, even though I’m not anymore, I’m SO CONSCIOUS of how much meat I eat. If I have it for lunch, I won’t have it for dinner. Sometimes I slip up, but the point is that you’re forcing yourself to be more conscious of what you eat, and whether you know it or not, you’re making better decisions for it. You’re not going to be cured of unhealthy eating in 8 weeks just because your challenge says so. You’re doing SO MUCH BETTER and if nothing else, then at least remind yourself that you’re actually able to eat a sugar free diet and live off of it, if you wanted to. That’s such an awesome accomplishment, and you can pull that out any time.

I feel like the last bit of my comment stopped making sense because I got distracted, but anyway, I’m so proud of you and I totally understand how hard it can be to have such a huge lifestyle change. What always helps me when I feel like I’m failing at healthy eating is a nice little trip to the grocery store. Buying fresh produce and a few yummy, healthy things to eat always puts me in a great, motivated mood to keep going.

Also? You’re human. You’re bound to want to eat a bowl of ice cream when you’re sad. Give yourself a break once in a while to enjoy it! :)

<3

/end novel comment. Ha. :)

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Stephany May 2, 2012 at 11:14 am

I found myself nodding my head while reading your second paragraph. I think it’s true and I think if I sit down and recognize all the positive behaviors that have come out of this challenge, I would be amazed. Maybe I didn’t hit my goal of losing 16 lbs but I still stuck to the challenge as much as I could for the past 7 weeks. That’s amazing for me.

I have a lot to think about with how I want to approach my healthy lifestyle in the future, and I think this challenge was the kick start I need to get serious about making lifestyle changes, not simply changes “until I get skinny”.

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Linda April 30, 2012 at 10:57 am

Ah! You and Just A Titch wrote similar blog posts.

Sometime last year I went to a Girls Conference and a panel about empowering girls suggested that girls have a list of ‘”stress busters.” A toolbox of things we could go to self soothe. I wrote a list of mine here: http://linda.curious-notions.net/2011/11/31-stress-busters/

But on that list, baths, hot showers, warm drinks, watching favorite tv shows, cleaning, playing with pets.

P.S. when you deprive yourself of sugar cold turkey of course your body is going to be like, um WTF??? It’s normal. :)

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Stephany May 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Thanks for the link, Linda. I really need to find other ways to self-soothe when I’m upset or sad. Not that there’s anything wrong with indulging, but I think there has to be a better reason for it.

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Travel Spot April 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I go for a run when I am feeling down. It is REALLY, really hard to get out there sometimes and move, but once it’s over, I ALWAYS feel better. Without fail. Even if it’s just 10 minutes or whatever you’ve got, it works (for me)!

Also, like Lisa, I try not to keep foods around that are tempting. Yesterday I had one of those “I need something but I don’t know what it is so I am going to eat all kinds of things to try and figure it out” days. However, mostly my experiments resulted in pickles, various fruits and various bean dishes, which definitely were caloric, but still had healthy properties (instead of the muffin that has as many calories as all of those put together). So that way, even though I overindulged a bit, I still kept it (mostly) in check. I think for me, that’s the only way. If there is a bag of chips, when I am craving salt, instead of the pickle, I will have the chips. If there is a muffin, I will eat that instead of the fruit.

The other thing I try to do is to have a “real meal” when I am hungry instead of a snack. If I have a hunger urge, I will have a small portion of chicken and some chilli, which will fill me up better than just having a snack which will leave me hungry again in an hour.

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Stephany May 3, 2012 at 9:20 am

Honestly, I think exercise is the best bet when you’re down. It’s an instant mood lifter, even if it is SO hard to get out there and GO. Obviously, not an option when you’re sick but when you’ve had a bad day? I think it’s the #1 thing that helps.

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E April 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I definitely appreciate your honesty. Changing self-talk from negative to positive is one of the hardest and most important steps in a journey toward being healthier. It’s amazing how much those mental hangups hold you (and me!) back. Keep up the hard work and the honesty, as well as the ability to cut yourself a little slack. I know you can do this!!

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Stephany May 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thanks so much! It’s really hard to stop the negative self-talk but I think it’s the most important step — and a great gift you can give yourself. I need to work on being as nice and supportive to myself as I am with others. :)

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Cait April 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’m a total bad-mood eater as well. It’s so difficult to find any other comforts because nothing makes me feel better (and then worse!) like stuffing chocolate and chips in my face. Let me know if you find a non-food comfort – I need suggestions, haha.

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Stephany May 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

There’s just something so comforting and NORMAL about eating junk when you’re down. I wish I had a hankering for fruits and veggies when I’m sad, but that never seems to work out. ;)

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Nora May 1, 2012 at 10:40 am

I am definitely an emotional eater at times, so I understand this. Ways I comfort myself? Baking and cooking, usually for other people. Listening to really loud music. Other times I allow myself a night on the couch with really cheesy tv and a book and just do nothing. I find that sometimes I run myself too hard so it’s really refreshing to just sit and be, you know? Don’t beat yourself up too much at all, we all have those off weeks! Completely understandable. The fact that you are even sticking with it is pretty impressive if you ask me! xo

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Stephany May 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Thanks, Nora. I feel more like a failure than anything so it’s nice to hear those words. Sometimes, downtime is exactly what we need, especially when we feel stressed and crazed. Sometimes, endorphins are exactly what we need. But I really want to work on not treating my bad moods with food, because it always, always ends badly. I’m a work in progress, though, and I’ll get there. :)

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Pink Imp May 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Mostly what Lisa and Nora said. I never stock candies/ice cream or anything that is remotely comfort food and bad for health and such. On a really bad day, I usually crochet/knit and watch/re-watch TV shows and with a glass of wine and potato chips. I also go grocery shopping and try buying a new fruit or veggie or meat I’ve never tried before. I guess if I ate myself silly with the hope of feeling comforted eventually, I’d end up more depressed! Good luck with your efforts!

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Stephany May 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Thanks so much!

The thing about me is that I don’t keep candy or snacks or my biggest comfort foods in the house. I’ve made huge steps in that regard. But if I’ve had a bad day? It is *so easy* to simply hop on over to the grocery store after work and pick up some comfort food. I need to break myself of that habit, break myself of that WANT.

All your tips were helpful and I’ll keep them in mind!

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liz May 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

Hi Stephany! Thank you so much for your comment on my post about my blogging journey. Your Tweets were some of my inspiration. Blogging for yourself is such a better way to blog – otherwise, what’s the point! It’s not worth the stress and you already have a loyal following, why do you need more! If people aren’t reading your blog for your honest thoughts, why do it!

Glad we’re on the same page! People who are saying there aren’t genuine bloggers out there aren’t looking hard enough :)

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Stephany May 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I totally, completely agree! Some comments have been made recently that frustrate me, but also help me see who the bloggers are who are doing it out of a genuine love for it. I think we HAVE to get back to the basics of why we blog, otherwise we will never be satisfied.

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