Thursday
Feb162017

FAQ: What exactly does quitting sugar mean?  

There are some different interpretations of quitting sugar. When I quit sugar myself, I had to get clear what this meant.  Was I going to be paleo, keto, avoid refined sugar only, cut all carbs, cut all fruit? Could I have honey, maple syrup or stevia? Was I going to make ANY exceptions? Here's my thinking on these questions ...   

Paleo diet - this is a great eating plan. However, I follow a mostly-vegetarian diet, and I have found that I do best eating some grains. Therefore, paleo diet is not for me at this time. 

Ketogentic diet - a ketogenic diet is a low-carb high-fat diet. It's good for significant weight loss, I've heard of it being used for treatment of epilepsy and other medical conditions. Given my goals, it's too extreme for me. 

Cutting all carbs and fruit - I didn't go this route either. I use the "magic" container system that is used with many Beachbody fitness programs. In this plan, I have 2 portions of carbs and 2 portions of fruits a day. So basically - a reasonable amount. I'm not drinking fruit juice or eating dried fruit, which are sugar bombs. I'm not having a mountain of brown rice and sweet potatoes for dinner. I eat lots of veggies and track my protein to make sure I have enough. 

Note: in the first 2 or 3 weeks when I was quitting sugar, I let myself have as much fruit as I wanted. It was summer, and watermelon and apriocts helped me get over the hump with cravings!  

Honey, maple syrup, stevia - I decided that honey and maple syrup are off limits, and that organic stevia would be my only allowed sweetener. As the months went by and my cravings went way down, I allowed a teaspoon here or there of honey and maple syrup. Now that I'm out of the "cookie monster" phase of my life, I don't feel I have to be as rigid.  

Would I make any exceptions? I put a lot of thought into this at the beginning. I realized that quitting sugar FOR-EVER filled me with dread. It just didn't sound joyful or realistic. Yet, I knew that if I made exceptions for "special" occasions it would be a very slippery slope. I needed a good boundary. That's when I came up with the idea to quit sugar from Monday to Friday. Genius! It was really the perfect solution for me. 

The way this played out: the first few weeks, I would white-knuckle my way through till Friday, then eat a bunch of sugar on the weekends. Then, I started to feel side effects from my weekend treats. I would get headaches and feel puffy. My interest in the weekend treats naturally decreased. Now I'm still open to a weekend treat, but it's just not such a big deal for me. I'd rather feel good. 

In summary: 

The plan that I recommend to people is no refined white sugar. Carbs from veggies and grains are allowed. Fruit is allowed. No fruit juice or dried fruits. Organic stevia is the only allowed sweetener. And strict no sugar from Monday-Friday. 

If any part of this doesn't work for you, then you can certainly modify. But it's good to make your plan from the outset, answer these tough questions so you are clear about your boundaries, and then go kick sugar's butt!  

Wednesday
Feb152017

What's sugar costing you? 

Cinnamon bun - are you worth it? 

Imagine … you’re at a holiday celebration and it’s time for dessert. There’s a whole spread of goodies: cookies, cake, pie. The old you would have sampled one of each, negotiating with yourself about how many desserts you’re “allowed” to try, going back for extra nibbles, nervously joking with relatives about how your diet starts tomorrow. But this time is different. You are different. When dessert is served, you fill a dish with berries and continue talking to Aunt Betty, who is eating pecan pie and telling you how great you look. All afternoon you’ve been getting compliments, about your dress, your skin, your weight loss. You don’t give the dessert spread a second thought – you’re totally neutral, unbothered.
 
Or imagine this … you step into a coffee shop with a friend and pass the pastry display, without giving it a second glance. You order your drink and continue chatting with your friend, not comparing the calorie counts of all the muffins or drooling over the lemon frosting on a slice of cake and agonizing about whether you should splurge. It's simply not taking up mind-space for you.  
 
Ask yourself honestly:

What is sugar costing you?

I know that eating sugar is built into your daily habits, and that cutting it out may feel impossible. I know it’s giving you some immediate relief and release of the happy chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.

But at what cost? When I got serious about quitting sugar, here’s what my list of “cons” looked like:
 
- makes my skin break out
- puts me in a horrible mood
- makes me tired
- makes me feel like a hypocrite as a health coach
- if I eat a little, I want a lot more
- messes up my concentration, makes brain fuzzy
- not setting a good example for my kids 

Once I learned how sugar was “working” on my brain – giving an instant surge of serotonin and dopamine, I researched how ELSE I could boost my happy chemicals. It turns out, there are plenty of other ways, all of which I'm excited to share with you in the #QuittingSugarStrong challenge. 

You don’t have to be a victim. You don’t have to feel guilty every day. You DO have to be realistic that quitting sugar requires a plan, but it IS possible.

The #QuittingSugarStrong 21-Day challenge starts on March 6th. When you sign up, you'll have immediate access to the challenge group and can kick off with a "preseason" to get you ready. 

The decision is yours. Make your own pros/ cons list. Get clear about what sugar is costing you. It IS possible to go an entire day without cravings, out-of-control eating and regret. It IS possible to claim the freedom, energy, ease at maintaining your ideal weight, mental clarity, clear skin you deserve. I want that for you! Ask yourself: do you want it? 

--> Join our community group here

Monday
Feb132017

But quitting sugar sounds scary! 

It's scary to think about life without sugar. I've been there! Will your friends think that you're a stick-in-the-mud? Will you be sitting in the corner with your salad at holiday parties, feeling sad and alone? Will you really not eat cake at office birthday celebrations? 

These are the "real-life" concerns we all have when we think about quitting sugar. Trust me - I've been there! Here's what my friend Cortney had to say: 

“I was terrified to reduce my sugar intake because I have quite a sweet tooth and was sure I was addicted..." 

We've been eating sugar for a long time, everyone else is doing it, and the food industry has drummed a message into our heads that "sugar is in everything" implying that it's impossible to quit. In the past when I tried to quit, I gathered meal plans, but didn't address these emotional and social aspects of quitting sugar. It's no wonder I failed every time! When I started to dig deep, I realized that I was afraid that quitting sugar would be a socially isolating choice. 

Here's what I can promise. In the #QuittingSugarStrong challenge we will address your fears, and the social and emotional impact of quitting sugar. To make a lasting change, you'll need to be fully convinced that your life will be better without sugar in it. That's why making a pros and cons list can be so helpful! Once you do this, my friends, you can finally break free.  

Here's what Cortney went on to share with me: 


"...After giving up sweets for a week, I had no withdrawal, but it helped me lose another couple of pounds of the pregnancy weight, so that was a plus!” 

I've found that the hardest choices I've made in life have also been the most rewarding. That's why I truly think of quitting sugar as a "hero's journey." In a hero's journey, there's a call for adventure, then the hero "crosses the threshold" and leaves the Ordinary World. The hero is tested, but also meets allies, and ultimately wins the treasure and returns home transformed. Are you ready to embark on this journey? 

The #QuittingSugarStrong 21-Day challenge starts on March 6th. When you sign up, you'll have immediate access to the challenge group and can kick off with a "preseason" to get you ready. 

--> Join our community group here

Tuesday
Jan312017

When quitting sugar, protein for breakfast is your friend!  

When quitting sugar, protein for breakfast is your friend!  

I've done a lot of trial and error through my years as a health coach. And this fall, when my family moved to India we lived at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai for the first two months and ate at the breakfast buffet every morning. So I got to experiment a LOT with the best way to fuel up in the mornings.  

I've always loved breakfast. As a kid it was cereal and milk. In college, it was bagels or muffins. Then as a health coach/ health nut it was smoothies. However something always seemed off, and I would get hungry by mid-morning, even if I was making really nutrient-dense filling smoothies with protein powder, avocado, berries. 

Then a health coach friend who had a very similar story to mine (eating pretty darn healthy and exercising but 15 pounds overweight), gave me a hot tip. She told me to eat eggs for breakfast. She specifically said to have the eggs FIRST before eating anything else. That was her ticket to unlocking weight loss. I started having the masala scrambled eggs at the breakfast buffett and - voila! I was no longer hungry by mid-morning, and I started to lose weight. 

Ideally, I would make scrambled eggs with spinach (or other veggies) and you could even have some Applegate Farms sausage for an extra protein boost. At the Hyatt breakfast buffet, I would also have some fruit and sometimes I would have some oats or nuts as well. But I would always have the eggs first. 


I have since recommended this to my challengers who are finding their weight loss to be slow and stubborn, with great results!  And to take the idea a bit further, I actually try to start EVERY meal with protein first. Protein helps to stabilize our blood sugar levels and is great for satiety. The feeling of just going about my day without constantly thinking about food is really wonderful. 

One challenger said this: 

"I have to tell you, I feel great! I feel like I hit that 'switch' that stops the cravings. I am sure you know what I mean. I seriously believe it's due to eggs in the morning with a shake in the afternoon. I've been consistent for a two weeks + and now feel like I might see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as fat loss goes. I might be able to see slight changes... All of that is secondary to how great I feel. So I want to thank you! I can't believe this slight change made such a big difference." 

Since I'm a big believer in my Shakeology, so much so that my parents just brought 6 bags of it to India for me, I now just have it later in the day, often in the late afternoon before the "dinner/ bath/ bedtime/ read 4000 stories" rush with my kids.  

What are you having for breakfast these days?  

Tuesday
Jan242017

Quitting sugar through badassity 

Hi moms, 

One thing I've noticed on my sugar-quitting journey is that a little badassity goes a long way. There's a whole mental game that goes along with quitting sugar (as well as the emotional, physiological, hormonal stuff).  

The mental attitude that has helped me and my challengers the most: 

1. Treat sugar like a punk that needs to be put in it's place! Tell sugar there's a new sheriff in town. I know your tricks, sugar. And I'm going to out-smart you this time. 

Remember my name, sugar. 


2. Don't be afraid to be different. The whole world is eating sugar, and we're not. This can be uncomfortable if you're used to fitting in and going with the flow. People might ask you questions, tease you, pester you to have some, call you a party pooper. You have to be unflappable, willing to march to your own drummer. 


It's pretty brave and awesome to drop-kick sugar. OWN IT!