April 14, 2011

30 Days Sugar-free

Okay, I lied. I said I was going to weigh in yesterday, and I didn't. I couldn't stand the thought of seeing a huge number on the scale (which usually leads me to binge in the first place), so I decided to give myself a week before I see the damage from the last few days.

I'm going to do a 30-day 'experiment'.

Let me give you some back story, and then I'll explain the experiment. When I first started losing weight, after a couple of months, I noticed that I was getting acne. Which was weird, because I was 27 years old. There was a little bit on my face, but it was mostly on the small of my back.

I went to the dermatologist, and he said, "OH, that's nothing! Don't worry about it--you can barely see it." I wasn't happy with that answer, because it was noticeable to ME and that's what matters. So he gave me some cream that he said to be careful with the amount I use, because if I use too much, it'll make my skin look like "raw hamburger".

Well needless to say, I was terrified to use it, so I didn't. After about 6 more months, it went away on its own. My skin was pretty clear after that... until I broke my jaw. After that, I started breaking out on my chin and along my jawline really badly, and I also broke out all over my chest and shoulders! I told my surgeon, and he said it could be a reaction to the many drugs I was taking or to the anesthesia. So here it is, five months later, and I still have it.

I started thinking about my diet, and what changes had been made during the times my skin was clear to the times it was not. And I realized that there were 2 things in my diet that could be causing this (or just a coincidence, we'll see):  sugar and dairy.

When I first started losing weight, I was counting WW points. I was trying to get in the recommended 2 servings of dairy every day, usually with milk. I also made sure to save some points every day for dessert--because I have a raging sweet tooth. Eventually, I started counting calories instead of points, and I basically cut way back on dairy (not consciously--I just used my calories in other ways that appealed to me). I also was eating less sugar, because I was really cleaning up my diet. My skin was pretty clear.  Here is a picture from September 2010, a month prior to breaking my jaw:

You can see my face and chest pretty well, and it looks normal. Then, after I broke my jaw, I (obviously) couldn't eat solid food. And I pretty much lived off of smoothies made with milk and homemade pudding (milk + sugar). The only protein I was getting was from milk. Then I started making shakes with whey protein (which comes from milk). And I also started bingeing on sugar again in late January/early February.

And now I have acne along my jaw and on my chest. I refuse to show you a picture without ANY make-up, but you can still see my jawline here...

Without make-up, it's a lot worse. And I cannot wear low cut shirts because of my chest. I have no idea if this actually IS related to the sugar and dairy in my diet, but I've been reading a lot online about it, and it sounds like it's a very real possibility.

Which is why I'm going to try going without sugar for 30 days, and have VERY limited dairy (no milk, a little cheese here and there, but that's all). I had Jerry take some "before" pics today without make-up (scary! lol) and I'll compare them after 30 days and see if there is a difference.  I'm not using any acne products on my face at all--I've tried that, and they just don't work.

I will still have natural sugars (i.e. fruit), but no refined sugars or corn syrup or anything like that. I'm such a sugar addict and I know this is going to be super hard, but I think mentally this will help me as well. I like to challenge myself once in a while and it gives me self-confidence when I achieve something like this.

I went through the cupboards yesterday and couldn't BELIEVE some of the products that contain sugar. Like bouillon cubes--really?! Mayonnaise. My coconut milk creamer for my coffee. Ramen noodles. Stuff that you wouldn't normally think to contain sugar. I went grocery shopping today to buy some staples.

Bread was really hard to find without sugar (or corn syrup)--but I bought some Ezekiel bread from the freezer section. New almond butter, because the Maranatha stuff I had contained added sugar. Chicken and beef bouillon without added sugar. I make homemade soups a LOT and I couldn't go without the bouillon! Cereal was really hard to find as well--I ended up with Shredded Wheat (plain, obviously, not frosted) and Grape Nuts.

Right now, I'm not going to count calories--it would be too stressful to worry about sugar AND calories. And without the sugar, my calories will naturally be much lower. When I'm gaining weight, I can easily eat 2-4,000 calories worth of sugar on TOP of my regular food (in the form of sweets, of course, not bouillon, lol).

I realize this is a long post, so I'll end it now. I'm only doing this for a little while to see if it has an effect on my skin. And also because I need a serious sugar detox right now!

OH, and before I go... I did my longest run to date today. 10 MILES! It was exciting to go that far and not die ;)


  1. Way to go on your 10 mile run!! That's awesome!! And I think you may be onto something with the sugar/dairy. I'll be following you to see how that goes! Good Luck

  2. You are such an inspiration to me, even when you're having a hard time. That might sound weird, but I definitely appreciate the fact that you don't hold anything back and make losing weight seem easy or effortless, or that you don't hide the hard spots from us. Because I think we need to see them. Or at least I do! I feel like I've been at the beginning of this journey for years, and now I'm ready to take the first step. Thank you for being such an honest person, and such an inspiration!

  3. I can totally relate on the sugar-detox and the not getting on the scale! I am much newer to the weightloss journey than you, but I truly haven't gotten on the scale since I started in January and have decided not to get on for 6 months because I get SO discouraged by the number on the scale! I also have a major sweet tooth, so I have limited myself to one dessert a month to try and detox and it really has gotten rid of my INSANE sugar cravings!

    Good luck :)

    Marla (Marlarella on spark)

  4. Congratulations on your decision to detox! I have done a sugar/dairy detox twice, and both times left me feeling great, but not at first. The first 4 days, and up to a week can be really hard as your body adjusts. I found I retained fluid, had headaches and even nausea. Press on through this knowing that once that first week has passed you will start feeling great. You will have tons more energy, and begin to drop any bloat that has been hanging around. I know you LOVE oatmeal since I've been reading your blogs, here is my sugar/dairy free fave:
    Cook the oats in water or unsweetened non dairy beverage of choice. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and frozen unsweetened blueberries. I usually add the frozen berries to the hot oatmeal, and it becomes perfect eating temperature.
    I hope you like it!
    Sorry to write such a long post, but I have been following you for a while, and have two more things I want to tell you...
    1) you have been and continue to be an incredible inspiration to me. Thanks for posting every honest step of your life changing journey.
    2) I definitely think you passed out from the decongestant in the Mucinex D. I passed out several years ago after taking Claritin D for 2 weeks straight. I was told at the hospital to avoid all medications with pseudoephedrine, epinephrine, etc.. I've found after my episode I'm even more sensitive to any of those heart racing meds. The big surprise...the pain reliever at the dentist has epinephrine in it! You may want to ask for the epinephrine free shot the next time you have the kind of dental work done where they give you a shot.
    Good luck with your detox and your last 10ish pounds!
    I am rooting for you!!!

  5. I'll tell you this:

    I RARELY eat sugar (a few pieces of dark chocolate every couple weeks, sugar in espresso once every couple months - no lie) though I do eat sugars in fruit and such. But my skin DEFINITELY clears up when I don't eat sugar. Noticeably. It is hard at first to give up sugar, but once you detox from it, you feel way better, and the cravings lessen. Now I don't even like non-dark chocolate - I prefer the 85% - everything else is too sweet! And it only takes me a couple weeks/month totally sugar free for my taste buds to start to change. Steamed broccoli tastes sweet to me due to the starches in it. Weird.

    And dairy is kind of evil (in my mind...lol). It really messed with my skin, gave me hives, made me itchy, gave me sebacious cystic-type acne. Painful and horrible! Removing dairy from my diet really helped.

    My boyfriend isn't that sensitive - but he gets HORRIBLE breakouts when he eats too much dairy. It isn't so bad if he sticks to some cheeses once in a while, cream in his coffee, yogurt, ice cream as a treat. But if he starts getting multiple sources of dairy, he immediately breaks out and then knows to cut back, and his skin clears right up.

    I've read a lot of studies linking skin issues to both dairy and sugar... so it'll be good to cut them out and see how you react! Then introduce them back and see what happens - when you give your body a break, you'll get an almost immediate reaction (or break out in the next two days) and then you'll know for certain!

    And it will probably help you lose weight, too... :)

  6. I will be following your journey, because I have started/will be starting a similar one of my own - the pediatrician thinks that our son is allergic to milk protein, and since I partial breastfeed him, I have to go off all dairy as well. I was also thinking about doing a trial for several weeks of no sugar or refined carbs (white rice, white flour, etc) - I think that sugar is what triggers my binging, and I also think it is making my body hold on to the fat around my middle, in addition to some weird rash/breakouts that I get that are most likely yeast related (which feeds on the sugar)

    It is insane how many packaged foods have dairy and sugar - you don't realize it until you try to cut it out - I was shocked that my go-to 12 grain bread had dairy - I guess I'll have to start making my own

    Congratulations on your 10 miles! Your video is so inspiring - I want to be a runner, and when I'm feeling discouraged or low, I like to watch it. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  7. You are a rockstar!! I just started or restarted Atkins and have successfully completed 3 days so far - woot woot!! So I'm totally with you on the Low Sugar and dairy! So we'll suffer together and hey if that means less acne (not that I get it often anyway) then GREAT! I find I get more in areas that I sweat (TMI lol) and that's kinda gross so I really try to wash up after every sweat session!

    So I have a question - have you used Compression Socks during any runs/races? What are your thoughts? I can't find any good ones for less than $48 and was wondering if it would be a good idea to get for my first Half that is in 16 days - I'd only have that long to practice in them, but I've heard some good things. So wanted some more opinions! Thanks! :)

  8. I just had a question!

    What role has your husband played in your weightloss? If he didn't want to lose weight or if he didn't need to when you started, do you think you still would have succeeded?

    For me, my will power is keeping things out of the house. My husband says "Well why can't you just not eat it?" I tell him it doesn't work that way and that if I buy it I will eat it, even if it's eventually. So I've learned not to buy certain things that I like to binge on, specifically cookies, sugared cereals, etc.

    Weight is not a problem for him, infact he could GAIN weight and actually be healthier (thank GOD he doesn't have a super sweet tooth or anything, the guy doesn't even like cookies! haha), but he wants to keep all sorts of high cal/fat savory foods in the house. I guess I just have to learn to have better will power to say no at home.


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