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Sweet September/Sugar Free 2x2

Back in July I had the fantastic idea to stop eating unnatural sugar for an entire month. 
I say fantastic. I mean idiotic. 
It all started when I told Jersey Mike - with massive excitement - that July was National Ice Cream Month. He asked how one would celebrate something like that. He thought it was pretty ridiculous that someone might eat ice cream everyday for a month. 

I, on the other hand, thought that was a glorious way to live. 
At that point I realized I might have a problem. 
So I vowed not to eat any unnatural sugar for the month of August. My only cheats would be alcohol, but I would refrain from my usual chocolate martinis and opt for less sugary drinks like...cherry vodka sours. (That's only sort of a joke.)
I started with a juice cleanse from my friends at The Real Juice to help rid my body of as much sugar as possible so that I wouldn't crave it so bad. The cleanse was easy. The aftermath was horrible.

Let me clue you in to my normal day. I wake up and have my daily breakfast smoothie and a hot chocolate. Hot chocolates are like my coffee. I have AT LEAST one per day. Then I'll munch on something sweet just before lunch, like a cookie or M&Ms. Then lunch. Then I have to have a dessert after lunch, such as another cookie, froyo or a cupcake. Next, three o'clock snack that's similar to the pre-lunch snack. At night after dinner I'll usually have ice cream or rice pudding for dessert. 
I know. It's disgusting. But that's a normal day. 
So you might imagine how difficult this was for me. I'm pretty sure my coworkers hate me. Everyday I whined about how I needed a hot chocolate and wanted a cookie after lunch and really needed a sugary snack around 3 p.m. 
I was immediately tired because there was no sugar to create the 'sugar high' I was used to during my 11 and 3 o'clock slumps. At night after dinner I immediately wanted to sleep because, well, there was no ice cream to stay awake for. 
Two weeks in I thought things would be getting easier for me. They were getting worse. The cravings were unbearable. People kept bringing snacks into the office that I couldn't eat. People even BOUGHT snacks for me because they knew how much I loved sugar. And I had to physically give them back. 
Yeah. Not easy. 
I was eating a ton of fruit to take in as much natural sugar as possible. Blueberries and bananas were my life savers, along with plums and nectarines.

Still, my days were harder to kick start without a hot chocolate, and my nights were miserable without ice cream. Sweet potato fries became my 'new dessert' and I had them as a meal more than once in August. Even with all of these sugar replacements, I felt exhausted. I actually felt dizzy. And with that I realized: I don't eat enough. 
People have always told me that my portions are so small and that I get full really quickly. This sugar break helped me realize it's because I take in so. many. snacks. throughout the day. Hot chocolate in the morning. Snack before lunch. Snack after lunch. I was taking in so much artificial sugar that of course I wasn't hungry when mealtime came around. 
So I started to eat more. A lot more. I was taking in a lot of bread and cheese, which I usually don't do. Cheese is my go-to when chocolate isn't available. So I ate a TON of cheese (not good). I couldn't get my hands on enough sweet potato fries. This, combined with the fact that I'm not going to yoga as much due to my back injury, resulted in me gaining a bit of weight. Like around six pounds of weight just last month!

All of this was okay, as long as I felt better/healthier. But, here's the kicker: I didn't. I didn't feel better at all. I just felt deprived, like I was really missing out on foods I enjoy. 
As August came to a close, I really wanted to cheat. PMS + stress at work and in life had me headed straight for the sugar. Someone brought an entire bag of M&Ms into the office kitchen and I could hear them calling my name. 
You'll be happy to know - and probably surprised. Shocked, even - that I made it to September without one set back. All the way through the month with no artificial sugar other than alcoholic beverages. I did it!!! Though I don't plan on cutting sugar out of my life completely (it's September 2nd and I've had two hot chocolates and a bag of M&Ms since yesterday) I do plan to cut back. There's no reason to have a hot chocolate everyday. Nor is it healthy to have ice cream every night and so many sugary snacks throughout each day. If I can pick one of these to do each day, that would be an improvement. If I can pick three to do each week that would be fantastic! And this time I truly mean 'fantastic'.

2x2
Things I learned in August:
1) It's possible to live without fake sugar. Honestly, you might live longer
2) I really really really really miss yoga

Things I'm looking forward to in September:
1) FOOTBALL!!!!!!!
2) It happens to be National Yoga Month. So, contrary to National Ice Cream Month, I think this is one I could celebrate daily without sacrificing my health. 
As long as I'm nice to my back. 

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