Bye, bye sugar cravings – Sugar-Free September Update

I’m 3 weeks into Sugar-Free September, so it’s time for an update. Since January, I’ve lost just about 19 pounds! (almost 20 lbs! crazy!) Almost 5 of those pounds have dropped off in just the last 3 weeks since I quit sugar with Sugar-Free September.

How has dropping sugar helped me drop the pounds?

Since I’ve been consistently logging my food on MyFitnessPal all year, I was excited to pull up the report that showed my sugar intake. I was sure that even though I hadn’t cut out natural sugars, cutting out those added sugars would have made a big impact. When I pulled up my report, I was actually a little bit disappointed!

I’ve been doing such a good job of avoiding added sugars. Not a single candy has passed these lips! But looking at this little graph, my sugar intake doesn’t really seem any different than the previous couple months when I wasn’t avoiding added sugars.sugar

When I looked a bit more closely, I did see some interesting things. My (added) sugar-free period is only 3 weeks long so far, so I don’t have a whole lot of data to go on, but it does seem to me like my sugar consumption is a little more steady. In the preceding weeks, it seems like every few days, my sugar consumption would spike up before dropping down again. I think that this is illustrating in a nice graphical form, my pattern of diligently sticking to my healthy diet before finally giving in to those sugar cravings before again re-committing to my diet.

Could avoiding added sugars be helping me avoid that sugar cravings cycle even if it hasn’t drastically reduced my overall sugar intake? Continue Reading

What about Stevia? – Sugar-Free September

For Sugar-Free September, I set out guidelines that prohibited all added sugars, including added natural sugars like dried fruit and fruit juice. I also chose to eliminate Stevia. Extracted from a plant, Stevia is a natural and zero calories sweetener that can be used in granular or liquid form, and can be substituted for refined sugar in just about everything. So why did I eliminate Stevia for Sugar-Free September?

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Current evidence tells us that Stevia looks pretty ideal when it comes to sweeteners. While older studies were a bit disconcerting, based on the most recent studies, Stevia doesn’t increase appetite or mess with insulin resistance, Stevia doesn’t damage DNA, and despite some concerns, Stevia doesn’t cause infertility (phew!). But it might be a bit of a problem for people with low blood pressure. Continue Reading

Kicking off Sugar-Free September 2015

If you haven’t checked your calendar yet, it’s September 1st today! That means it’s the first day of Sugar-Free September. It also means that we’re now 4 months away from my wedding. Crunch time! We still have so much to do. Ahhhh!

Last year, I was a lot more organized going into Sugar-Free September, and I cleared my cupboards and fridge of all the foods that didn’t follow the guidelines. Remember the shocking amount of groceries that I had that contained sugar?

Sugar-Free September

This year, I haven’t gotten around to doing that, and it almost got be caught up. I was quickly throwing together a salad to bring to work for lunch, and I tossed in a packet of Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Hey, wait a minute! Even in my sleepy state, it fortunately occurred to me that those salad dressings definitely contain sugar. That wouldn’t have been a good start to Sugar-Free September. I quickly mixed up my own sugar-free Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, a little Dijon mustard). Ta-da! Quick and easy and absolutely no sugar required!

balsamic-dressing

Making my own salad dressings is one of those things that I get into the habit of doing until I totally fall out of the habit again. Here’s to 30 days of making my own salad dressings!

Happy (Sugar-Free) September!

Don’t think you can give up sugar for 30 days? Read some of my tips for sticking to your diet (without really trying). Continue Reading

Sugar-free for 30 days!

It is completely blowing my mind that it’s already the end of August and September is just around the corner. Where has this summer gone?!

You might remember that last year, I went sugar-free for 30 days last September. It was a great experience because it caused me to pay close attention to how much sugar I was really eating every day in the form of sneaky hidden sugars. Since my last Sugar-Free September, I’ve kept up the habit of avoiding unnecessary added sugars in products like yogurt, pasta sauce and especially cereal.

I don’t think we’ve bought a single box of cereal with added sugar all year! Cereal is just one of the many products that contains added sugar, but it’s a great example of how a small decision to avoid added sugars can have a big impact on your overall sugar intake.

Before Sugar-Free September 2014, one of my favourite breakfast cereals was Quaker Oats Harvest Crunch Raisin Almond Granola Cereal. I knew it wasn’t the healthiest breakfast option ever, but I’d eat it pretty often.

Each serving contains 200 calories and 14 grams of sugar.

harvest-crunch-cereal-nutrition

I swapped out the Harvest Crunch for Post Shredded Wheat Cereal, which contains 170 calories and 0 grams of sugar!

I don’t eat cereal every day, but if I were to eat the sugary cereal 5 days per week, that’s 3,640 grams of sugar per year. At 4 calories per gram of sugar, that’s 14,560 calories per year, which can equal 4 pounds of fat on your body! That’s 4 pounds just in the sugar from breakfast cereal. Just the small change of opting for sugar-free cereal instead of the cereal with 14 grams of sugar can shave 2 pounds off your body.

shredded-wheat-nutrition

While avoiding added sugars is a challenge, doing it for 30 days is an eye-opening experience. Last year I managed to for sugar-free for 30 days and even hosted a Sugar-Free Thanksgiving dinner complete with a sugar-free pumpkin pie.

Now I’m going to do it again! If you want to go sugar-free for 30 days, too, join me for Sugar-Free September. Who’s in?

sugar-free-september

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL GUIDELINES:  Continue Reading