Lifetime battle

I’ve struggled with weight my whole life, not my whole adult life, my whole life, as far as I can remember.

I look back at elementary school pictures and am immediately flooded with memories of insecurity. I had great friends and the most unbelievably supportive and encouraging parents but kids will be kids and I was still teased and tormented about my weight.

Circa 1995

Circa 1995

Growing up we ate well — we were vegetarians and didn’t do any fast food. We were fairly active. And yet I was still a chubby girl.

The trend continued in middle and high school and into adulthood. I can think of only one time when I felt “thin,” which to many people’s standards would still be heavy. When I was in Bangladesh for the Peace Corps I got very sick, so sick that I was “medically separated” from service and eventually had to have a pacemaker implanted at the age of 25. During that time of being ill, I quickly lost close to 75 pounds. Obviously it wasn’t a planned or healthy weight loss.

Just before I left for Bangladesh at a going away party in 2003.

Just before I left for Bangladesh at a going away party in 2003.

This was while I was still in Bangladesh, not quite at MY thinnest, but much more thin than I had been just few months before.

This was while I was still in Bangladesh, not quite at MY thinnest, but much more thin than I had been just few months before.

Since then, I’ve gained some, not all of that back, and am obviously above a “healthy” weight.

I’m not one of those who has tried every diet/supplement/plan on the market. I know better, no offense to those who have. I get that the way to lose weight is to eat healthy (consuming less calories and ensuring those calories come from healthy, nutrient-packed foods) and to exercise. And I would swear I’ve done a pretty good job at both of those things and haven’t seen the scale budge.

So I’m trying a “fad.” I’ve heard about and done quit a bit of research about sugar fasting. A friend was talking about doing a 21 day sugar detox, and I decided I would join her. I figured it is not going to hurt me (it’s isn’t like I’m denying my body of valuable minerals or vitamins by staying away from sugar, and it is only for 21 days) and if I do it now I could not only get support from my friend but lend her encouragement as well.

The detox includes all naturally occurring and added sugar. It is amazing to see what all sugar is added to — it is the second ingredient in turkey bacon, many salad dressings and was even a component in a 16-bean soup seasoning packet. Seriously, why is there sugar in these things? The sneaky sugar things are everywhere but there’s also the obviously things — ice cream, that Reece’s cup that is lurking somewhere in the bottom of my purse, grapes or candy corn. All dairy and grains are out too — even healthy things like rice or couscous. Quinoa is the only grain that is permitted, although legumes are OK as well as one unripe banana or green apple a day. And no fake sugar.

I’ve been eating a lot of salad, grilled chicken and fish. I found one salad dressing — a very tart Italian — that fits into the requirements and bought a bottle for home and for work.

And as far as activity, I’ve stepped it up. I’ve been doing an hour of Zumba two times a week (trust me, that burns the calories) since January. But I’m adding in a couple miles of walking two days a week and making sure at least one of our family activities has a built in exercise element (like our zoo trip Saturday).

run2

And I’m more insistent on ensuring these things happen. Even when it isn’t easy. For example, Thursday my day started at 5:30 a.m. when I left the house (before Miles woke up.) I went to the public radio station for three hours to help with the fund drive and then went into work, where I stayed until 5:15 p.m. Instead of going home so I could see Miles (which I really wanted to do) I went to Zumba and then met my hubby at The Centre at 7 p.m. for the musical “The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” I didn’t see Miles until I picked him up at the sitter at 11 p.m.

The goal of this sugar detox isn’t to lose weight. I know, I know, why am I talking about it then, right? (I certainly would be OK with that outcome.) It is supposed to help balance your body’s blood sugar naturally allowing it to better handle the sugars you throw its way. And it is supposed to curb those sweet cravings that used to send my doting hubby to the freezer many nights a week to get me a couple scoops of ice cream.

This way of eating is far from a long-term, livable thing. It is kind of killing me. And trust me, if you decided to go down a similar path, expect some for real withdrawal symptoms. I just read a story about how Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. I totally believe it. Just writing “Oreos” is making my heart beat a little faster with desire. And I don’t even really like Oreos.

So when I end the fast (I’m only a week in, so I have two more weeks in front of me) I don’t plan on fishing that damned Reece’s cup out of my purse. I’m hopeful that I can slowly add back sugars and carbs but replace the bad ones with better solutions — no white rice or pasta but whole grain and brown; instead of using sugar to bake with I’ll try using agave nectar or raw honey.

For the record, I started this Oct. 14. Since Oct. 8 I’ve lost seven pounds.

I hope I can keep up the weight loss and upped activity level while still enjoying my family.

As busy moms and dads how do you make fitness a part of your life? What tips can you share with me and other readers?

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