Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm Not Your Sugar Mama Anymore

Hello! I am writing to you today from my new digs: my old self. :) A couple of weeks after giving my old routine the finger, I am back in business as a lean mean cardio machine. And I must say, there are some pretty nice things happening these days in the abdominal area as a result.

I'm running intervals. I'm doing laps. I'm doing the elliptical. I'm doing the bike. I'm popping in the weight room for another round of strength before heading upstairs to Pilates. I'm downloading Jillian Michaels on DirectTV. And now that the weather is nicer, I am strapping the kiddo in the bike seat and heading out around the neighborhood looking for hills.

I am finally back on cloud nine and all it took was a ninja kick to popular thought and a return to gut-check living. Isn't that always the way? I mean, I don't want to make a big deal about it, but I was kind of right in the first place. You know, in case you were keeping track. That's two points for little old me.

So I read an article a few weeks back about how for many runners, the endorphins can actually become addictive. Cardio slaves will find themselves craving their daily fix, becoming grumpy when they can't work out, and resorting to unflattering and compulsive measures to alleviate stress, like heckling other runners from their cars as they commute to work or demanding that everyone in their office do walking lunges whenever entering or exiting the elevator, both of which seem perfectly reasonable to me. For me, endorphins are a pure example of getting out what you put in. The more I exercise, the better I feel. The better I feel, the more I want to exercise. People ask me all the time where I get the energy to exercise as much as I do and the honest and true answer is that I get the energy by doing it.

But I think something else is going on these days. I think my sudden return to civilized society has more to do with what I have removed from my life than what workouts I have added. Today, in Pilates, during a roll-up, I started retracing my steps back to a not-so-distant past when I was so tired and bitter and grumpy I could barely stand myself. I tried to determine what was different in my life/work/nutrition between then and now, and it all came down to just having a lot more energy now than I did then. At first I chalked it up to eating more complex carbs. But then it hit me - it's what I'm not eating.

Processed sugar.

I am six weeks out from my fitness challenge, so I've been making a huge effort to clean up my nutrition. I know, I know, you're wondering what I could possibly have to clean up. And, since I already eat clean, there isn't much work to do besides watch the wine and keep an eye on portion sizes. But as of the middle of August, I am 100% sweets-free. No cookies, no brownies, no candy, no birthday cake, no chocolate-covered espresso beans (I blame my husband for those). For real. None. And I could not care much less.

Like most people, I have been plagued by a sugar addiction for a looooong time and have tried to give it up time and time again. But, it was not until I finally booted artificial sweetners to the curb that I found my sweet tooth starting to disappear. At the beginning of 2009 I ditched diet soda and other fake sweeteners, and now 10 months later am realizing I have not had a baked good in two months and never missed it. Previous entries of this blog even contain praise of my weekly chocolate that I used to feel like I needed to stay sane. Well, I am sane no more! Wait, that didn't come out right. You know what I meant.

Anyway, I stopped eating crap and now I have more energy than I know what to do with. Coincidence? Maybe. But I don't think so.

Regardless, I am soaking up all of this love from the cardio gods and so glad that I connected the dots today. I love how giving up sugar sneaked up on me and caught me by surprise. I never expected that, which makes it...all the sweeter. :)

Have a great week!

1 comment:

The Gracious Pantry said...

This is so true. Artificial sweeteners make you crave more sweets. It's a dirty little secret that many folks don't know. Plus, once you haven't had them in a while, then next time you do you can actually taste the chemicals in them. Yuck.

I've been sugar free now for a few weeks. It's been tough, but I know I'm healthier for it.

Now if I could only share your enthusiasm for working out....