Sugar-Free, Part 3: The Conclusion

Well folks, it’s here! The final few days of our 1 month goal of sugar-free eating!  It was real hard in the beginning, got a bit easier, then harder again, and then it just started feeling completely fairly normal.  People have been asking me about the results.  I have lost 7 lbs total.  To be fair, I’m not sure how much of that is from going sugar-free since I have also kicked up my workouts a few notches and have been going to the gym 5 days a week (and have actually gotten to the point where I love working out again).  I’m sure it’s some combination of the two.  A friend of mine suggested that I take a before and after picture to encourage me at the end of all of this.   I’m glad I did because I can see a difference (especially in my face)! Can you?


Jordan and I have had several people tell us that we have “inspired” them to start going sugar free too.  That always makes me laugh because I’m not really sure what inspired them since I pretty much complain about it all the time.  It’s not like I’ve been one of those people who is all passionate about the health benefits and is super convinced that this is the type of lifestyle to be lived and says things like, “I feel so great! I have so much energy, it’s awesome!”  No, instead I say things like, “Dur, I want a brownie right now but instead I’ll eat a dumb cucumber.” Or, “I hate this stupid diet.  I might as well eat paper with milk poured over it for breakfast because that’s what mine tastes like anyway.”  And then people are all like, “Woooooow.  That is so inspirational! I’m going to do it too!”  If I’m that inspirational when I complain, imagine what I could do in this world when I say positive things…

Anyway, I’ve lost weight, made converts across Chapel Hill, and am considering a career as a complaining motivational speaker.  The big question remains: Now that the 1 month experiment is ending, will we continue to eat sugar free?  Here is a conversation that Jordan and I had about it yesterday:

Me: I will definitely be glad when this is over in a few days!
Jordan: Yea, but I think we should maintain some variation of it, like we’ve talked about.  I think the key is to set some ground rules.  We’ve talked about going back to our cereals for breakfast but since that is 1/3 of our meals, maybe we should do something like eat less of them and mix them with plain cherios and maybe 1 day a week we can just eat the cereal we want; lunch and dinners are sugar free but we can choose one of those meals per week to cheat on, and…
Me: Whoa whoa whoa.  Back up.  I don’t want any “rules.” That’s what I’ve been looking forward to the most about completing our 1 month goal: No more set “rules”!  I think we should say that we are going to significantly cut back on sugar, we know what to look for now.  We know how to eat healthy and we know what’s bad for us.  If friends have us over and there is dessert, we have the freedom to eat it.  If I want a glass of white wine, I’ll drink it.  If we meet someone at say, Chipotle, you better bet your left big toe I’m going to order a burrito bowl!  Why don’t we just kind of play it by ear?  That sounds way better.
Jordan:  Well I think it would be helpful to have some sort of structure.

Can you tell which of us in this marriage is the “rule follower” and which one of us is the rebel? ;).  It always adds a fun dynamic to our marriage.

Anyway, the final conclusion is this: We are going to be sugar free cheaters.  At this point, we’ve made so much progress that it really feels like it would be a shame to quit while we’re ahead.  At the same time, continually depriving ourselves of the things we love most is bound to end in injury or insanity.  And major binging at some point.  So we decided that we will still continue to do our grocery shopping pretty much the same as we have been, eliminating sugar.   But we can cheat.  For breakfast.  For white wine on weekends.  For dessert with friends when they have us over.  When eating out.    These things don’t happen every day, so it is a good way to keep our sugar intake in moderation.  Except for breakfast, that does happen everyday.  But I’ll tell you what’s not going to happen  everyday: Trader Joes O’s for breakfast.  Remember the comment I made earlier about eating paper with milk poured over it? Yea that.  (Don’t worry, I still love you Trader Joes! xoxo)

Another reason we want to continue some form of it is that when we have cheated, we have felt terrible.  T.e.r.r.i.b.l.e.  that is how people continue on a diet like this; as much as you think you want to “go back,” your body actually loves you for eating clean and rejects the bad stuff once you eat it again.  So that is definitely the key motivator to us to keep on keepin on.  And besides, I have learned to make delicious dinners still.  I also have enjoyed eating tuna, spinach salads for lunch with a smoothie.  So continuing with those things won’t be too hard.

One thing that hasn’t been so great about this diet though is that we have consumed a considerable amount of artificial sweeteners, which I’m not so sure is good for us either.  Yea it doesn’t contain calories and make us gain weight, but it kind of freaks me out that there just isn’t enough research available to know whether or not we’re like, you know, destroying our bodies with splenda or something.  (And if splenda destroys our bodies, well… I’m as good as gone).  So, I think a next step for us will be to start (gasp!) eliminating artificial sweeteners too.  Does anyone have any suggestions for how to do that?  How do you sweeten your coffee?  And I LOOOVE diet sodas, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to get over that one real quick :/.

I’ll end by giving you a couple of recipes from dinners this past week that we really enjoyed, in case you’re one of those people who has been so inspired by our misery ;-):

Shrimp Feta Pasta (recipe from my awesome friend Taylor):
12 0z jar of roasted red peppers
one bunch of scallions, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.5 lbs of shrimp, peeled & De-veined
2 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
8 oz feta cheese
angel hair pasta (I used whole grain rice pasta)

Drain the peppers and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Combine onions, peppers, garlic, and shrimp.  Add 2 tbsp oil, 1.5 tsp pepper, and 1/5 tsp salt.  mix together.  Place in baking dish and top with feta.  Make sure the feta is on top.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake until the shrimp are cooked through and the feta begins to brown (about 20 minutes).  Serve over pasta.

Mango Chicken Quesadillas: recipe here.  I made these with whole grain tortillas and ditched the tomato sauce (I just seasoned the chicken with garlic salt, pepper, and a little bit of red pepper).

And just to make your mouth water, here is a picture of the Savory Southwestern Salad I gave you the recipe for last week (we ate it twice in 1 week.  I’m all about variety,  I don’t eat the same dinner that frequently.  So you know it’s got to be good!) :

Sugar-free, it’s been real and it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun.


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