OH, the gigantic sugar debate. It’s one of the most controversial topics in the nutrition and fitness world. A close second to supplementation. Or Crossfit. For the love of everything, don’t mention sugar and your Crossfit workout at the same time. Don’t. Do. It. Ever.
My nutrition licensing company puts us “Pros” in a group with the new students studying for their license 2x a year. The questions they ask us are interesting. Stupid maybe. Insightful sometimes. But if the sugar debate is ever brought up, hold on. It’s like watching the finale of Games of Thrones with the actors fully dressed while they throw 100 tons of sugary snacks at you. You look this way and laugh and then the other way quickly. You brace yourself for being attacked at some point while snacking on something for shear comfort. It’s the best. And Heaven forbid one of them challenges one of us. It might be the highlight of my year. Before you get defensive for the “new, poor kids”, they end up smarter and among the world’s most elite coaches.
After all that. I do have mixed reviews personally. I have studied tons of “diet” plans, the effects of sugar, the need for it, the need to not have it, all the above. Soooo, about eight months ago my stomach decided to change yet again. If you don’t know, my stomach is the stupidest thing ever. It loves Mangoes. It hates Mangoes. It wants food. It refuses food at all costs. It changes constantly and that’s because of my disease. I decided to start doing some further research. I knew things were off again and I needed to find the culprit. I eventually narrowed it to SUGAR. Yes, I eat healthy and am very deliberate with what goes in my mouth. However, sugar had a big part of my diet. Mainly in drinks and sauces. I rarely eat cakes and cookies, etc.
Five months ago, I was on a trip to a tropical island. No, sweet tea to be found. No, juices. Well well. Guess today is the day. I dropped sugar cold turkey. I attempted coffee, which by the way is disgusting. I tried vodka, that helped a little. Water it is then. Five days in and I was rocking it like I never thought I could. I mean, I did eat 2 brownie sundaes from a local restaurant and I regret nothing.
However, the test was to be when I made it home. My kids were sending texts like, “Are you sure you want to come home? Dad is taking care of us good.” The thing about me is that I have INCREDIBLE willpower and I will do whatever the Hell I want just to prove a point to myself. So, almost six months later and I am still rocking it. I have dreamed of McDonald’s sweet tea a few times and stood in the cabinet ready to lick the sugar jar, but stop judging - I’m rocking it.
I’m writing this to tell you what happened after all that. The “crash” wasn’t bad at all. I promise! I’m not just saying that to try and entice you over to the land of natural, awesomeness. It wasn’t bad.
MY TOP effects from cutting sugar
I instantly cured my insomnia.
Now that’s a weird one for me, because I never drank or ate sugar past 3 pm. So, I assumed that it wasn’t bothering my sleep patterns. I usually go to bed after 1:00 am and I was asleep by 11:00 pm most nights after cutting my sweet best friend loose.
My stomach stopped bloating and hurting constantly.
I’m not joking, I could eat 2 bites and within minutes, look 6 months pregnant. My friends think it’s funny, but it is pure misery. I could eat one thing, even a bite and be in terrible pain for days. Plus I could never really track what was causing the issues. Again, my stomach is phenomenal at changing and disguising itself.
Apparently I am more alert.
My assistant commented that I have been on top of my game lately. I am putting out content and crap right and left. AKA, I am making her do more. Maybe I can keep the momentum. Maybe she can too. Maybe my assistant now needs an assistant.
I don’t have the dreaded crash.
Working in a gym is unique for sure but if you see a bunch of trainers walking on the treadmill or having a planking contest, first off they are bored and second, they are crashing hard and trying to stay with it. In other words, we are pulling for some endorphins to kick in somewhere. We are a crazy breed and will do anything to not crash. Even a planking contest. I have had zero crashes. Zero. I’ve hollered a few times but let’s not call that a crash.
I have lost 8 pounds and toned up.
It’s not a secret in my field that sugar goes straight to the mid-section and sits there no matter what. Okay, not always but the majority of the time. I know some trainers that eat pounds of candy everyday and have -5% body fat but they are the exception. A typical person with a normal diet full of sugar and processed foods will generally carry extra weight around the middle. It’s the worst possible place to carry extra weight yet it’s hard to break that habit. See my habit blog post HERE.
Anyway, I have lost 8 pounds already. In full disclosure, I did start a new program at the same time. Which actually was designed to get me working out twice as LESS than I was. All while correcting some major issues and allowing my body to adjust to more recovery. Yes, I have my own trainer. He’s awesome. Like next level awesome. Not my level of awesome, because I am awesome but in the sky awesome. I never really doubted him, but I did for a split second think, “Good luck pal.” Again, 1 week in and I’m toning up and my ass was sleeping. Take out the sugar the next week and I was well on my way to the next level. You get the point. By the way, if you want to follow him - which you should, he is at @fitnessjonestraining.
WELL..I’m not really sure. Jk. I know what’s next. For me, I methodically took ALL sugar out and then slowly began adding it back to see where my sweet spot was. (<—- That’s the best sentence I have ever written. I’ve clearly had WAY too much pre-workout with NO SUGAR.) Seriously, I began adding back natural sugar to see how much would bother my stomach and so on. I have managed to find a fairly good place. Now, like I said above - my stomach is possessed. I’m constantly trying to find things that help it. I could write a full book about it.
I do suggest that you find what works for you and stay in that area no matter what. Don’t let extra sugar creep back in. Keep it down and you won’t miss it! I do believe that a zero sugar diet is almost impossible. It can be done and I’ve seen it and coached clients through it but it is wildly hard. Especially if you love fruit. Or life in general. Like when my daughter makes chocolate chip cookies from scratch using mainly organic ingredients. My sweet, loving motherly ass is eating a cookie. And I’m going to like it and not worry about the sugar! Balance people. Side note - I bet the tyrannical Crossfit people wouldn’t eat their child’s cookie. Sorry Crossfit friends. I still love you.
I will leave you with an example. I do enjoy organic Kombucha. (Steer clear from the ones with tons of ingredients and crap. Trust me.) The one I am currently addicted to is pictured below. It has organic cane sugar with 4g per 8 ounces. I drink about half a bottle a day, so I get a measly 4g’s of sugar per serving. BUT it is FULL of other ingredients that benefit me tons. Like, live probiotics, ginseng and black tea. Just 1 of those store bought frosted sugar cookies that I will come out of nowhere and slap directly out of your hand has 22 grams of sugar. PER COOKIE. So, my 4 grams is nothing.
You get the point. I am here to help as well. I do this all day everyday and I will not shame you if you eat 10 frosted cookies. I will slap them out of your hand if I see you though. Reach out if you are needing some help with sugar or anything else with your nutrition. Or fitness. I’m your girl!