I love food, and I love cooking, but one thing I often forget is I can’t eat like normal people. I had hepatitis (the light form) as a child, and I damaged my pancreas and gallbladder as an adult with my stupid diet choices, so now we have what we have. If I want to have a slice of pizza, I need to prepare for that with weeks of light eating. My favourite drink, coffee, is a special treat that I can indulge in no more than several times a week, and only if I stick to my strict eating plan for a while, so that I am stable. I can’t grab breakfast on the go, because most options are a no go. Work lunches, so conveniently catered to us at our company and generally healthily prepared, are also an indulgence and an exception.
With my mood slipping pre-holidays and my brother visiting (yay, dining out), I’ve slipped out of my wellness routine considerably over the last couple of weeks. Since Sunday I’ve been largely back on track, save for one beer and some ice-cream.
… OK, and Nutella.
I’m currently in the process of switching to a new schedule, so I’ve been keeping things simple, exercise and diet-wise. Food-wise, it’s been lots of fresh fruit and steamed veg, some complex carbs and as much lean protein as I can get my hands on. For exercising, I’ve been sticking to my 20 minutes a day, every day – though I admit that sometimes I substitute the 20 minutes of regular exercise with an intense 7-minute HIIT session.
Some tips if you’ve fallen off the bandwagon with your wellness routine:
Don’t beat yourself up. Never helped anybody. No shame, no blame: accept and move on.
If you’ve been out of your exercise regimen for a while, don’t go at it full-speed. Start at a slightly lower level than you’ve been at when you stopped.
Don’t avoid the scale. It’s just a number and it helps you keep track.
Diet-wise, there are two methods: the ease-in and the cold turkey. Personally, I prefer the latter. The best way for me to get back to healthy eating is with a detox day or with a short but restrictive diet. If you’re more of a first type, then start slow – eliminate the worst (cookies for breakfast, sodas…), and slowly replace everything with clean foods.
Plans for July:
figure out a healthy filling breakfast recipe for work days;
Disclaimer: The title of the post is a bit clickbaity. I eat sugar. Yes, the big bad white stuff. I love my tea sweet (nope, no builders in the family), and I prefer at least a little bit of sugar in my coffee. An occasional sweet or a biscuit do make their way to my stomach. But these days I eat about 1/5 the amount I used to. I’d wager it’s even less.
Quitting sugar is hard. Sugar is addictive, and the cravings are very hard to beat. However, the benefits are numerous. Here are some I have felt on my own.
1. Your sense of smell intensifies. I am much better at detecting odours and distinguishing differences between scents these days. I can also smell a coffee shop from five blocks away.
2. … as well as your sense of taste. Again, the nuances. I pay attention to the differences in tastes I never paid attention to before.
3. You feel less fatigued. Your body adjusts to storing and processing energy more efficiently.
4. You get less cravings. Including cravings of sugary things, cravings of tobacco, cravings of caffeine (… OK, well maybe not that one), cravings of salty and crunchy snacks, cravings of pretty much anything.
5. Your energy levels become pretty uniform. No more sugar highs, no more sugar crashes.
6. You sleep better. See above.
7. Consequently, you wake up easier. Waking up after having had a banana and a piece of dark chocolate in the evening is way easier than waking up after having had a slice o cake with a huge mug of hot cocoa.
8. You lose weight. Sugar is empty calories. You’d be amazed at how much weight you lose even if the only change you make is cut out cookies, sweet sodas, and a slice of cake here and there.
9. Your skin clears up. There’s much less congestion, redness, and pimples. Sugar aids inflammation, and your skin responds to it with – yep – inflaming.
10. Your breath is fresher. Because your teeth and your stomach are cleaner.
11. You get less headaches. Sugar is one of the well-known migraine triggers.
12. Your digestion, absorption, and immune system get better. Sugar messes up the natural bacterial balance, which in turn messes up digestion, which in turn messes up absorption, which in turn… Yeah. Sugar is also highly acidic.
13. You spend less money. I used to spend at least $30 a month on sugary snacks and on sugar itself. I still buy both, but these days I spend around $5 on them.
Have you quit sugar? Has it made you feel better?
(I am not a medical professional. This post is based on personal experience. Please consult a health care professional before making any dietary changes.)
I try, and mostly succeed at, not writing about things that I either know little about, or know a lot about, but never practise. Practise what you preach is one of the greatest guidelines to life.
That’s the main reason I haven’t been writing any fitness and wellness posts on this blog. For the longest while I’ve been the greatest theorist on the subject. Ask me a question – I would more than likely know the answer. But when it came to putting it all to practice and having results to prove the theories, I failed.
Right now I’m still at a starting point with my fitness routine. My brother and my sporty friend laugh at me and troll me here and there, but it’s all good, since it only works as additional motivation. I’ve come a long way, but I’ve a longer way to go. What’s important, though, is that these days I’m enjoying the process.
It’s still daunting. I still want quick and permanent results with minimum effort. I still get angry with myself when I can’t do a proper push-up or run more than one block at a time. I still consider chocolate chip cookies the greatest work-out reward known to man.
But I’m seeing progress, and I’m enjoying it these days.
And enjoyment of something leads to a psychological shift and better choices.
Like not rewarding yourself with chocolate chip cookies or not trying to outrun myself if I feel that my ankle is getting all weird.