I gave up sugar a week and a half ago and have lost four pounds.  I swore I wouldn’t tell you about my weight loss so early in the game, because I always lose weight at the beginning of something, and then it comes right back.  I’m also not seeing it.  Right now I’m still having to do things like decide how much of me gets to fit into my bras and panties, and what to do with the bits that don’t; doing laundry every three days because "I feel like wearing something baggy" and not very many of my clothes are, and having to choose the most walkable shoes for just about any outfit because my poor overloaded feet hurt.

But I’ve had three weigh-ins, twice a week, and all (apart from the ridiculous 2 plus pounds at the first one) have shown consistent, half-a-pound-ish losses with no rebound. 

My food, diet and exercise life is rich with irony and that is finally working in my favor.  See, my name is Joy and I’m a compulsive overeater ("Hi, Joy!") and when I eat sugar, I eat incredible amounts of calories without noticing.  But I love sugar more than anything or anyone, and sadly I am not kidding, so I wouldn’t give it up for anything.  This means that the rest of my diet and exercise has continually been ratcheted up to compensate for my sugar habit.  For example, about a month ago I read an article in Oprah’s "O" magazine about interval training, which I have heard of and done, and realized that my long-and-longer workouts at a comfortable heart rate – always in my "fat burn" zone, which is b.s. in my case – were not doing a thing.  Well, that’s not true: they are great for my heart, lungs, blood pressure and mood, but not burning off any fat and let’s face it: NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.  If you’re, uh, me, that is.

Of course they probably would have been enough to maintain or maybe even lose a little bit for someone genuinely consuming the proper amount of calories to lose weight.  But for someone who is faithful for a few days and then runs off for the weekend with a bottle of Hershey’s syrup, it was not enough. 

Don’t think I don’t drink that stuff straight from the bottle: I do.

So I started doing interval training, challenging the "longer is better" exercise paradigm I have lived for so long, and I am feeling considerable perkiness from them.  In fact, I cannot do them late in the day or I won’t sleep.  Got a book out of the library and read up on how to schedule interval workouts in a week’s time, etc., and am now doing that schedule which is (I think) burning fat off more effectively.  I’m also eating out of the packages 5-6 days a week, which means small portions, oh, so small, and so many more vegetables and fruits than I would ever eat voluntarily. 

This is why I’ve been in such a state of moral outrage that I wasn’t losing: I was doing everything right and then ruining it. Sugar is an outrageously effective calorie delivery system, makes me get hazy and vague about how much I have eaten, and then makes me eat more all over again.

So take away the sugar, and what’s left is absolute virtue, which is now paying off.  I am soooo excited.  I’m also thinking that this is a fantastic time to get pregnant (God, are you listening?) because a sugar-free pregnancy and breast-feeding time would be fantastic for me and the baby.  I am a sugar freak, was 250 pounds for many years, have yo-yo’ed my weight in between, and it has only been the extreme grace and lovingkindess of God standing between me and diabetes already.  Actually, there is a gene for diabetes, and perhaps I don’t have it, because I sure as hell could have gotten the disease by now.  Anyway, God’s grace could run out during my pregnancy, gene or no gene, and I am a candidate for gestational diabetes for sure, which of course can lead to all kinds of problems, so a sugar-free pregnancy can only help with that. 

I’ve also read that what Mom eats affects the taste of her breast milk, and if the breast milk is less sweet, the kids have a better shot at accepting vegetables.  I’m a terrible vegetable-eater and have to bring all the adult self-control I have, which is not a lot, to eat them.  My kids deserve a better shot.   Of course I am hoping that I’ll really be able to breastfeed – I am hearing that it’s not automatic and just doesn’t work out for some moms.  Naturally I think I have far exceeded my quota of things "just not working out" but I have often been wrong on that one.  Cautiously optimistic (but secretly feeling entitled) as usual.

In the meantime I don’t have to live with the black cloud, which was the constant guilt and worry and endless chatter in my head: when I would get to eat sugar again, should I shouldn’t I, how much, what other (probably nutritious) food could I cut out to make room for it, why can’t I have it why can’t I? It’s not fair, I want it I need it I can’t have it, on and on.  It’s a wonder I got anything done, and many times I didn’t.

Sure, I become a sobbing old mess for no reason sometimes, I become a viciously angry thwarted selfish baby at other times, and there are some social events I may just have to skip rather than face the sugar temptation.  I’m trying to convince my husband that Halloween is a great time to visit Peru, and Christmas without sugar is inconceivable.  And there’s Lupron, nobody loses weight on Lupron, right?

Screw that.  I’m just trying to get through today.

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