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In one word. HARD. There is no way around the truth. I like sweet things. I'm not obsessed with them. And still, on the first day when I had a bowl of oatmeal with fruit that appealed to me and was allowed from the list, I almost gagged on my first bite. Why? Because though I love forest fruits, I ignored that red currant was in the mix. For those of you not familiar with red currant, one little berry is enough to make your mouth pucker into a fish pose. Red currants are incredibly sour. I almost gave up on the 14-day challenge I signed up for right then and there. My husband laughed at me as I struggled to put one bite after another into my mouth. I would have given up had I not committed to the challenge in two ways: 1. I had to pay a nominal fee to join. 2. I wanted to help people with their health. By golly, I wasn't going to give up on the first day because of red currants. I needed credibility if I was going to help people.
Healthy on the Surface
I'm into health and fitness. I watch what I eat. And I'm not obsessed with counting calories or weighing myself on a scale. My hyper dog walks me every day. She makes sure I get a good workout.
I Enjoy Food.
Thoughts of chicken cooked in garlic butter can make me close my eyes in anticipation. When I'm hungry, and it's mealtime, such thoughts are all the rage for me. I enjoy the taste of food, the ingredients that went into making something, and figuring out how to make it myself.
Bright Line Eating
A month ago, I came across the works of Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson. She has a book called Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin & Free, which I bought and read. But the whole reason I started on this journey was because I heard her talk about the psychology of eating. The talks were excellent, and I ended up buying her book.
Moderation, Does it Work?.
I'm a middle of the road kind of person. And when I'd read articles that would say that sugar is bad for you and you must give it up, I'd roll my eyes. Because in my heart of hearts, I've always believed in moderation, and though I do enjoy eating sweet things, I don't go overboard.
Extra Weight Crept On Inch by Inch.
Something changed. Over the last ten years, I've gained 10 pounds. Maybe it's because I hit menopause or the daily medication I take for ulcerative colitis. Ten years ago, my BMI was 24, and 7 days ago, before I gave up refined sugar, my BMI was 26.6. Moderation wasn't working anymore. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight. True, I don't need to lose a lot of weight, just 10 pounds, but I am overweight. I didn't feel overweight; however, if I take a close look at myself, I have extra fat around my belly. That's ok with me.
Warning Sign: High LDL Cholesterol
But what's not ok with me is the fact that my LDL cholesterol is high. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, and I have heart disease in my family. So I want to do something about it. And coming across the Bright Line Eating book pushed me to take a step.
2 Facts that Shook me Up
Dr. Thompson talked about two things that shook me up 1. People are becoming leptin resistant, and leptin is the hormone responsible for telling us whether we are full or not. That means we don't get a signal to tell us we're full. 2. The reason is insulin. Insulin is blocking leptin. Insulin allows our body to use blood sugar at the cellular level. But nowadays, we are bombarded with huge amounts of sugar that spike our insulin levels. Eventually, all the cakes, cookies, donuts, glazed ham, and even the DIET coke all end up overloading the body, and insulin levels soar up. And this excess insulin is blocking leptin resulting in you and me not being able to stop eating.
14-Day Challenge to Not Eat Sugar
Dr. Thompson advocates to stop eating sugar. She has a 14-day challenge to follow her Bright Line Program. And I took her up on it. The science she uses in her book is convincing. I want to help people get healthier. I need to start with me.
For seven days, I have followed four bright lines, no sugar, no flour, 3 meals, measured portions. Sounds restrictive, doesn't' it?
Freedom in Boundaries
But the boundaries have given me freedom, even when I'm hungry between meals. Boundaries help me because I made a decision not to eat in between meals and wrote down the day before what I would eat. There is liberation in having decided beforehand that I would only eat at mealtime and that I would only eat what I wrote down.
A Diet With Lots of Vegetables, Fruit and Healthy Proteins.
Regarding sugar, I'm allowed to eat fresh fruit, even bananas. One benefit from this was that before this challenge, I only liked almost green bananas. I never ate a brown-speckled banana. I didn't like the powdery texture. But now I am so thankful for the exquisite sweetness of a ripe banana. Refined sugar and flour are what's wrong. And when you think about all the processing that goes on to make them, I'm convinced. I can only cheer on a diet that allows you to eat loads of vegetables and fruits and healthy proteins.
Consequence of Being Slack.
Truth be told for the last 10 years, I was not keeping a boundary I had grown up with: no snacking. I would get so hungry, and because of my kid's crazy schedules, sometimes there would be a big stretch between mealtimes. Normally I'd go for fruit, I'd never binge, but I'd also go for nuts, a cookie here, a cookie there. I had no way of knowing how much, I'd still be hungry for the meal. But those were added calories in my body that made me gain some weight mainly because of my age; my metabolism was slower.
First Week of Challenge
This is just my first week of the challenge, but the major thing I notice is that I have more energy. The other thing is I don't feel bloated like I often did before. And the hunger between meals goes away quite quickly. It's funny how, before this challenge, the slightest pang of hunger would make me think I have to eat now. I admit sometimes it was because I'd get nausea, but I haven't felt any nausea at all. (By the way, I did consult my doctor.)
You Can Go Without Refined Sugar.
Going without refined sugar is doable, and I highly recommend you try it. I feel all light and fresh inside. I do get cross if someone tries to take something from my plate at mealtime, though. My husband thought something on my plate looked better than what he got, so he attempted to grab a bite. Not a good move on his part! I growled.
Do Something Brave
Watch this video of Dr. Thompson and let the facts grab a hold of you. Then let it all sink in by reading her book, Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free. You can check it out at Amazon. If you decide to buy the book, you can be sure it's money well spent.
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