Quitting Sugar http://quittingsugar.com Say No to Sugar and Yes to LIFE! Sat, 12 Jul 2014 18:42:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Top 2 Habits For Long-Term Diet Success http://quittingsugar.com/2014/07/12/top-2-habits-for-long-term-diet-success/ Sat, 12 Jul 2014 16:07:17 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=630 Your thoughts are like a running commentary in your life. These thoughts help you tell the story of who you are. They influence how you feel and the actions you take. Weak thoughts promote weak decisions and actions. While strong thoughts empower your choices and actions. Part of your long-term success in any way of eating (or any aspect of your life, really) depends on how you think.

If you don’t change your thinking about food and health, then the results you get won’t change either. This process of changing your mental perspective is part of what I call Intelligent Dieting. Becoming a healthier person doesn’t only mean changing your appearance by losing weight and exercising, it also means improving your mindset. That’s what I’d call an evolution inside a revolution.

Therefore, your long-term diet success is highly dependent upon changing the way you think about food. So how do you change your thinking? While there are many ways, I’ll share what I feel are the top two habits to adopt that will change your thinking and make you mentally stronger in all circumstances with your diet and in your life.

Top 2 Habits For Long-Term Diet Success | Quitting Sugar1) Learn From Experience

Okay, so you got weak and caved in and ate something you shouldn’t have. Don’t panic. Practice makes permanent. All of the time that you were successful and didn’t eat junk food adds up and makes you stronger over time as long as you learn from each experience.

Don’t try to learn when you’re right in the middle of a binge, but also don’t feel guilty. Own your choice and vow to learn from it when you’re feeling stronger. Yes, you ate something bad. Yes, it sucks. But changing your eating habits is an evolutionary process. You adopt better habits over time and with practice and determination, which only gets stronger as you refine your understanding of all the pieces of the health and diet picture.

For example, if you were tempted to eat a sweet treat, even though you said you weren’t going to, and yet you easily resisted and even felt strong, later, reflect on the situation and look carefully at everything surrounding that event to see if you can identify what made you feel stronger. Try to understand what the conditions were that supported your strength. Also examine events when you caved in to weakness and try to understand why you gave in and what circumstances led to feeling weak and disempowered.

Ask yourself…

  • Why was I able to resist temptation (or why couldn’t I resist)?
  • Why did I feel strong (or weak, or confused)?
  • What mood was I in when it happened?
  • What kind of day was I having?
  • Did the environment or the people involved make me feel empowered (or disempowered)?
  • Did something happen prior to the event that gave me a boost (or made me feel stressed, helpless, scared, weak, or otherwise emotionally vulnerable)?
  • Did I have a sense of clarity or purpose (or a sense of feeling confused or aimless) that may have contributed?
  • If I was pressed for time, but I still resisted (or I gave in), why did it work out that way?

I cannot emphasize the importance of this self-evaluative process. It is a key behavior that is developed by those who are successful in maintaining a specific diet or a healthy lifestyle long-term. This is a skill that enhances all aspects of life, not only diet and weight-loss efforts. It’s important!

Top 2 Habits For Long-Term Diet Success | Quitting Sugar2) Educate Yourself

You need to take responsibility for your understanding of this way of eating (or any aspect of life that you want to improve). If you’re always relying on what other people tell you, then you will most definitely get mixed messages from too many non-critical, unsupported, or heavily biased sources.

The danger of getting mixed messages is that you will be hesitant to follow even solid advice from experts who report facts based on legitimate clinical trials that show the proof of their claims.

Learn how to apply critical reasoning so that you can sort through weak or illogical statements and not be tricked into believing bad information simply because the messenger is popular, persuasive, enthusiastic, and likable.

Of course, always ask questions when you have them, but reading or listening to relevant books and consuming online material will give you confidence in the way you are eating because you will understand what’s going on in your body and why it matters.

If you learn something you don’t quite yet understand, don’t worry about it. Just file that information away in your head and trust that it will resurface when you’re ready to sort it all out. This will go a long way to prevent you feeling overwhelmed. Your goal should always be to keep it simple and do the best that you can. Don’t worry about the rest.

New information can be shocking and our first reaction can be strongly resistant to it. But stay open-minded to new possibilities. For instance, when you first heard that fat was actually healthy, weren’t you a bit scared to try eating low-carb? After all, eating all that fat was going to clog your arteries and give you a heart attack, right? But when you begin to understand how the body uses fat compared to using various processed sugars and fructose, your fear begins to disappear and is replaced with the confidence of knowing that you are eating far healthier than ever before by quitting sugar and eating more healthy fats.

When you begin to understand how your body processes all the foods you eat and how this helps or hurts you, you’ll find it far easier to resist sugar and keep it only as an occasional treat. You’ll appreciate the difference between healthy carbs versus junk carbs. Also, when you educate yourself, it’s easier to explain why it’s safe to eat the way you’re eating.

There are a million reasons why educating yourself is so important when it comes to low-carb eating or your overall health, in general. But mostly, it removes your own personal resistance to this way of eating. And makes you better able to make smart choices and to avoid making poor choices.

Book Recommendations

The following two books are both excellent books and I can’t recommend them highly-enough. They should be on every conscientious dieters’ book shelf. The following two book links are my affiliate links. You don’t have to use them. But please pick up these books, even if you would rather not use my links. They could save your life. At the least, they will help you feel well-informed and confident in your diet and health choices.

Top 2 Habits For Long-Term Diet Success | Quitting SugarWhy We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. I’ve read this book several times. It’s one of my go-to books for information about low-carb eating. It covers everything you would need to understand about why fat is healthy for you, and why simple carbs are the cause, or contribute to, just about every major health disturbance (most notably obesity, diabetes, and heart disease) that we face in alarming and ever-increasing numbers. The supporting evidence that Taubes cites in this book doesn’t rely on correlation and unfounded opinions, rather it is directly linked to solid science-based data from a multitude of mainstream studies which show that a diet low in carbohydrate is an extremely healthy way to eat. It’s hard to argue against proven scientific fact.

Top 2 Habits For Long-Term Diet Success | Quitting SugarThe Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will“. I love this book! It is literally paradigm-shifting. If you have high cholesterol and your doctor has you scared because it’s “too high”, and you’re taking a statin to lower it, then you’ve GOT to read this as soon as possible! Statins may be good at lowering cholesterol (not necessarily a good thing), but there are no studies to date that show they prevent heart disease or mitigate the risk of developing it. This is talked about at-length in the book. Statins are not necessary and are actually dangerous to both men and women. Get this book, read it, and then get off statins as quickly as possible.

I purchased a copy of both of the above books for my parents. And I’ve also given away several copies of “Why We Get Fat” to friends as well. Do yourself a favor, get them both.

Bottom line: If you are at risk of developing heart disease, you currently have heart disease, you are taking a statin, are at risk of having a heart attack or have already had one, you should read The Great Cholesterol Myth! Again, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Both of the above books have my highest enthusiasm. I am whole-heartedly an advocate for them both.

Just Remember…Nobody Is Perfect

Top 2 Habits For Long-Term Diet Success | Quitting SugarPlease don’t be too hard on yourself. Nobody is perfect. You will likely fall off the wagon many times until you have learned enough (using the two habits listed above) to maintain this way of eating without the constant struggle. I’m speaking from experience here.

My goal is to empower you; to give you the tools you need to take full responsibility for your food choices with confidence and joy. But just realize that change doesn’t happen over night. You build a bridge to better health brick-by-brick. And with each brick, you learn, you grow, you get stronger. This is an unspoken change that other’s will begin to see. People who resisted your lifestyle choice will know you are living your truth by what you demonstrate, not only by your words. And eventually, you will inspire others to build their bridge to better health and happiness.

So go easy on yourself. Be patient and know you are worth the struggle. You got this! Good health and good luck!


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Why You Fall Off The Low-Carb Diet Wagon http://quittingsugar.com/2014/05/09/why-you-fall-off-the-low-carb-diet-wagon/ http://quittingsugar.com/2014/05/09/why-you-fall-off-the-low-carb-diet-wagon/#comments Sat, 10 May 2014 00:41:08 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=603 In the various communities on the Internet that I visit from time to time, I often hear people ask, “What can I eat on this diet?” That always strikes me as an unusual question. Which is why my reply would be, “Whatever you choose to eat.”

People don’t realize how critical their intentions are no matter what diet plan they are following. Most people talk out of both sides of their mouths. That is, they say they want to eat low-carb, then they don’t. They say they want to lose weight, then they don’t. They say they want to exercise, then they don’t. (And FYI, I’m referring to the average person who doesn’t have any physical or mental-health challenges getting in the way.)

One thing I am convinced of is that your actions always reflect your true priorities. Talk is cheap, but actions tell the whole story because they are aligned with your truest intentions, whatever they really are.

If your weakness is drinking wine and your priority is drinking wine, you’ll drink wine. If you say you’re going to stop drinking wine, but your priority is drinking wine, you’ll drink wine.

If your weakness is eating bread and your unspoken intention is to continue eating bread, yet you say that you’re giving it up, you’ll eat bread.

If you say you’re going to stop eating doughnuts to follow a low-carb diet, but your inner thoughts are filled with regret and a sense of loss since you have to give up doughnuts against your will, you’ll eat the doughnuts…every…time.

Zero To Sixty in A Single Bite

Pick a food weakness. Maybe it’s pasta. Maybe it’s sweet creamer in your coffee. Maybe your weakness is potato chips, or cookies, or ice cream, or chocolate, or fruit, or cereal, maybe yogurt, or even convenience foods or comfort foods. No matter what your weakness is, your actions will reveal your true priorities no matter what you insist your intention is.

All it takes is an easy opportunity and an excuse, or rather a reason, and before you know it, you’ve slammed down 60 carbs or more in a single bite of the very food you said you were not going to eat.

So What’s Really Going On When You Fall Off The Wagon?

The only way you can ever fall off the diet wagon and eat something that’s outside of your diet plan is if you left the option open in the first place. Let’s face it, you’ll always have a “reason” that you “had no choice”, or a “reason” for giving in, etc., etc…. We are incredibly skilled at justifying our behaviors that go against our plans or intentions. But the reason never more complicated than simply that you chose to.

When you start a diet and are not subconsciously committed to sticking to it, your subconscious mind will immediately begin helping you notice opportunities to “cheat” on your diet. Not only that, but it will begin nudging your behavior to the point of creating or inventing a “reason” to cheat.

What Your Language Reveals

 

  • “Well, I’m starting my diet on Monday. Wish me luck. I hope I can stay strong.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I don’t know if this way of eating is actually healthy, but I’m going to give it a try.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I just started eating low carb. But I don’t know exactly what to eat.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I’m having trouble losing weight and I’ve been eating low-carb 4 weeks now, and with the exception of a few minor slip-ups, I’ve done great. But why can’t I lose weight?” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I don’t know if I can give up vanilla creamer in my coffee, but I’m going to see how long I can go.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I’m eating low-carb, now. But I refuse to give up my Sodas.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I’m going to try to get up early on Monday and go for a run.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I LOVE my morning porridge. I just can’t give that up. Otherwise, I’m eating low-carb.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “Yeah, we’re going to the restaurant, but I don’t know what I can have there.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “I’m still chewing gum, but I’m *trying* to keep my carbs under 20 grams.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “It was a rough day, so I couldn’t help it. I had some wine last night. But I’m still eating low-carb.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “Maybe just a bite.” Prediction: FAIL!
  • “Yes, I can eat that. I can eat whatever I want. But I CHOOSE not to have it.” Prediction: SUCCESS!
  • “Exercise sucks. I hate it. That’s why I’m not going to do it.” Prediction: SUCCESS!

Success Versus Failure

The people who have the greatest success on any diet plan are the people whose true priorities and actions are aligned. When you make a diet or health promise to yourself–and let’s face it, you’re the only person that you should make your diet promises to–you know, the very moment the words pass over your lips, if you mean it or don’t. You internally know the strength and sincerity of your conviction.

The moment you make your promise, failure or success is infused into your deeper feelings, thereby setting your true priorities. If you haven’t yet seen the consistency that you committed to, you haven’t yet committed absolutely!

You know when you’re leaving room for backing out of your promise. Deny it all you want. Make excuses as much as you need to so you don’t feel that this applies to you. But you know who you are.

“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”

I love that saying. And it is fiercely true when you start a new diet. If you are in any way confused about what to eat, you’ll fail. If you haven’t already come up with a plan about how you’ll handle being in unexpected social situations where food is a central theme, you’ll fail. If you’re not being honest with yourself, right from the very moment you say, “I’m starting my diet”, you’ll fail.

As I said, your actions reveal your true priorities. The reason people fall off the low-carb or ketogenic diet wagon is because their true priorities are not in alignment with their words, as revealed by their behavior, or the frequent or occasional “slip-ups” or “cheating”. But sticking to a low-carb lifestyle or learning how to never “cheat” on your diet again is definitely achievable. It’s possible to stay on track and experience success instead of failure. And these things can happen when they are aligned with your true priorities.

Take Corrective Action

So how can you fix this? First, stop lying about your choices. Stop making other people, conditions, or circumstances responsible for your food choices. Be honest with yourself. You will instantly increase your chances of success if you’re being completely and absolutely honest with yourself.

Next, make an honest assessment of where your resistance is. When you think about starting a low carb diet, think about the foods that are on the “Keep Your Dirty Little Hands Off This” list. These will basically be foods that are high in carbs. Can you live without them? If any foods come to mind that you are feeling sad about giving up, feel angry or nervous because you can’t eat them, make you question whether or not you actually want to start this way of eating, then you’ll know from where your trouble will come when you start eating low-carb.

Also, you’ll need to consider your regular social environments. I’m not talking only about the clubs you hang out at, I’m talking about home, work, ball fields, dance class and music lesson waiting areas, any place where you may find yourself socializing.

People sometimes put themselves in specific social environments on purpose, when they start a new diet, because the chances of “unexpectedly” finding themselves around people they enjoy and the foods they love (that are on the naughty list) might just cause them to (surprise-surprise!) eat something that they “shouldn’t have”, but “had no choice” because “that’s all they had” and “I was totally starving,” or “I had a headache from lack of food”, or “I was getting sick and needed to eat.”

Have a very clear plan before you get into these situations. Better still, don’t get into these situations, at least not until you know you can handle them. Nobody said this was going to be effortless.

Casual group with laptopAnd probably the most important key is education. The people who finally succeed do so because they become smart. They learn what to eat and what to avoid. They get involved in social communities such as my Quitting Sugar Facebook page or my 30-Day Keto Challenge group. Another fantastic group is Lynn Terry’s 90 Day Low Carb Challenge on Facebook. You’ll see me at all of these as an admin/moderator because I love to support people who want to be healthier through low-carb eating.

Plus, in these groups, you learn so much, find great recipes to try, helpful tips, and hear wonderful success stories that will inspire you to reach new heights. This is part of what I like to call, Intelligent Dieting. It’s an evolution, brought on by education, inspiration, and experience. You can be a success story, but you have to get through the rough spots first.

When you feel uncomfortable eating a high amount of fat, such as in bacon, or beef, and worry about cholesterol issues when you eat eggs, education is the only thing that will put your mind at ease. When you realize that mainstream health advice is wrong and has been for years, and you begin to socialize with people who are exceptionally healthy and have been eating low-carb for years, a shift will begin to happen deep inside you. And this is an amazing feeling.

A Fresh Start Begins Now

I know that deep down inside, you want greater health, to feel good at a proper weight, and to have energy and vitality. But you have to clear out the resistance and implant deep into your subconscious mind the loving and supportive thoughts that are the seeds of success. And you’ll also need a healthy dose of confidence to know that the way you are eating is healthy and safe. Education is the only way to do this, and it certainly helps you strengthen your resolve and align your intentions and actions. But you can definitely do this.

So don’t be so hard on yourself. Sure, you’ve got some work to do; some mental reprogramming. It’s going to take some time. But if you can begin by using even just one suggestion in this article, you will begin to feel more empowered and less resistant to eating a low-carb diet, and not fall of the wagon every other day. I believe in you.


Comments

  • May 12, 2014, Chris writes: The only thing I can say is that whenever you make a promise you are either thorough,straight and concise or you are nothing. there are no cut corners. there should be no compromises. either go full in or fail miserably. that's what I think. great post bro
  • May 12, 2014, igor Griffiths writes: Well hello and what a timely post, having spent the last 5 months doing low carb half hearted and spent the weekend saying farewell to carbs today is the day I get serious. So what made the change, after 5 months of tests for chest pains I have been given the all clear, due to a long family history of heart attacks the docs were taking no chances. Therefore the excuse "if the damage is done..." is no longer valid and from today I intend to keep myself all clear of heart issues by eating what is good for me and that is the deciding factor for me. igor
  • May 12, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Hey, Chris, good to see you here. I know what you mean. If there's even just a little wiggle room, people tend to wiggle out of the promise they made to themselves. Thanks for the comment. Cheers!
  • May 12, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Igor, I'm sort of in the same boat. Heart disease runs on my dad's side of the family. My dad and all of my uncles (my dad's brothers) had heart attacks and bypass surgery. I was heading in the same direction unless I changed my way of eating. After many years of failed attempts to lower my cholesterol and lose some weight, I finally found low-carb eating and that changed everything. Good health!
  • May 13, 2014, Anita aka SkeeterN writes: It has been over 10 years since I began this low carb way of life. Most of your points are very good but will say this one doesn't fit me. “I’m eating low-carb, now. But I refuse to give up my Sodas.” Prediction: FAIL! I still drink diet cola and until I am forced to give it up I will. I tried to give up diet cola and can say that was a FAIL! I also don't exercise. Never have. I have kept off my weight pretty much the entire 10 years within 10 or so pounds up or down. I love that all my clothes still fit in my closet.
  • May 14, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Anita, it's wonderful that you're going strong even after 10 years of eating low-carb. Super congrats to you! 🙂 Those quote apply to the vast majority of people. And it is referring to regular sodas, not diet sodas. I still drink diet sodas as well. But what has made the difference for you was your mindset. You got your head to a place where it was possible to stick to a low-carb way of eating. It's something that takes a long time for most people. So I think the list still works. But there will be exceptions to each one of the "predictions" I've listed. Also, I haven't been in a rush to get my exercise groove back. I'll eventually start doing some experiments with exercise, but mostly because I want to tone up. Thanks for coming by and for the comment. I appreciate it. 🙂 Good health!
  • May 26, 2014, Dee writes: Great article. I just completed Chris Kresser's Personal Paleo Code...basically an elimination diet. I eliminated all foods that could be inflammatory, like caffeine, beans/legumes, dairy, etc. I decided to do this reset because of weight gain over the 2013 holidays. I have a ferocious sweet tooth and an addictive personality (... ex-smoker). I had failed all previous attempts to eat desserts in a controlled manner... for me, there is no control, one bite leads to another... But I finally made it up in mind that sugar was toxic to me; I will always love sweet foods/treats, but instead of processed sugar-laden foods, I satisfy my sweet tooth with fruit. Because of the 30 day reset, I have loss 11 pounds in 1 month and feel great!... I don't ever want to go back.
  • July 22, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Dee, It's possible that you can reduce some of your out-of-control urges for sweets by getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Not getting enough sleep leads to trouble with your metabolism. I don't know what your sleep behavior is like, but it's just a thought. I'm glad to hear you've had so much success with Chris Kresser's Personal Paleo Code program. The hardest part of dealing with any behavior you want to change is changing the thinking that's associated with the behavior. Most smokers are unsuccessful at quitting smoking because they really don't want to. The love the feeling of the throat hit, the gentle rush after a puff, and the temporary stress relief they experience. Trying to change a behavior without changing your thinking first, is an exercise in futility. Thanks for sharing your experience, Dee. Stay strong and stay inspired! Cheers! [for anyone who is interested in the book: http://goo.gl/5UYFTD]
  • August 2, 2014, dawn writes: Just found your blog and love it! I have quit sugar 7 weeks ago and now doing low carb, feeling great and 30 lbs lighter. I can really relate to your article. thanks
  • August 28, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Glad you found my "home". 🙂 How's the quitting sugar going, Dawn?

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Quitting Sugar – Extreme Edition! http://quittingsugar.com/2014/04/16/quitting-sugar-extreme-edition/ http://quittingsugar.com/2014/04/16/quitting-sugar-extreme-edition/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:00:52 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=504 Though I haven’t been doing regular weekly updates here, I’m still all about the benefits of quitting sugar. In fact, in just about every way, I’ve gone further than ever before on my own journey. In fact, I’ve gone extreme! But I’ll explain that in a minute.

When I first gave up sugar, I stopped eating any food that had “sugar” listed as an ingredient, even though it may have contained no carbohydrate. My goal has always been to find what’s going to work best for me, for my body and health, while also enjoying the pleasures of life. But that’s a tough thing to sort out because many “authorities” in various dietary camps tell a different story about the “perfect diet”. Well, it may turn out that the so-called perfect diet is a fairy tale.

Since October of 2011, my own understanding has changed many times. I’ve gotten mixed messages from far too many different sources. Each source seems like an authority and makes so much sense. Just when I think I’ve found a perfect source, something overturns the apple cart and I’m back to my normal diet confusion. Have you been there? What’s “good for you” one day, is “bad for you” another day. What you thought was a healthy diet turns out to be the very diet that’s making people unhealthy. It’s hard to stick to any kind of healthy lifestyle when you’re constantly confused by the different experts telling opposite stories. Then add in everybody else dumping their two-cents on you.

Real People, Real Problems

The majority of diet and health writers are trying their honest best to guide you. But sometimes they get lost in their own message and forget that we are all human beings who have emotions, needs, desires and wants. It’s for these very reasons that it’s such a struggle to eat healthy and maintain an appropriate weight. It’s not because we don’t really want to. It’s just hard…really hard! And the process of becoming educated about health and dietary issues is sometimes a frustrating and agonizing one.

I understand how hard it is and I never lose sight of that. So my goal is always to give it to you straight and with the understanding that we are all common people with common struggles. Therefore, my take on eating healthy may not always steer you toward the best possible way of eating. That’s because my goal for you is to eat the best way that you can and the best way you know how. Sure, there might be healthier ways to eat, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready for that kind of commitment or that you even understand it enough to be ready to try it. And if you’re coming from the Standard American Diet (SAD), any improvement is better than no improvement at all. And that’s the message I want to put out there. Changing your health is an evolutionary process, a personal journey, not an overnight success story.

A Carb Vacation?

Quitting Sugar - Extreme EditionThis brings me to what I’ve been up to over the past few months. As I mentioned before, my wife and I went low-carb and no-added-sugars in October 2011. We maintained that through December 2013. However, we still have to manage a little carb creep every now and then. In case you don’t know what carb creep is, it’s when you start to make allowances for eating a few more carbs now and then, and over time, the allowances become a little too frequent until you start gaining weight, or even completely freak out and start to eat junk food again. Thankfully, my wife and I never got to the point where we unintentionally freaked out and started eating junk food again. We just had to reel ourselves in from time to time and put our carb counts in check. For the most part, we’ve stuck with this plan pretty strictly and it’s worked well for us.

Last December, however, my wife wanted to take a couple weeks off from our regular low-carb lifestyle and allow ourselves to have some sweet treats for the holidays. She wanted to do some baking and I agreed, since it was important to my wife. And what’s important to her is important to me. Overall, that break was pretty uneventful, other than it stretched into a month — not hard to do, but it was a conscious choice since the holiday season gets a little crazy and we felt like indulging a little. We figured we would hit the low-carb diet hard after the holidays were over.

Weight A Minute!

It was during this carb-fest break that we took that I began putting on some weight — no big surprise here. I expected and anticipated this happening. However, it turned out to be a good thing. I suddenly started to remember how lethargic my old way of eating made me. I remembered how I would wake up in the morning and feel bloated and swelled. My pants were getting uncomfortably tight and I was feeling pretty miserable.

I started thinking ahead of going back to our tried-and-true method of low-carb eating. The more I thought about it, the more I started thinking that this might be a good time to try a variation of low-carb eating that I’ve been curious about for a long time — the ketogenic, zero-carb (ZC), all-meat diet. So I started doing research.

There wasn’t much solid science available in the form of formal studies, at least that I was able to find, that supported a ketogenic diet. But there was plenty of correlative evidence that showed amazing benefits from following a ketogenic diet that made me at least feel like it would be safe, at least for a short time, and perhaps for much longer. Plus, I was in contact with people who had been eating a ketogenic, ZC diet for years and they reported that they were healthy and felt great, and that they had experienced no negative results from following a long-term ZC diet.

Going Zero Carb…A Love Story

Quitting Sugar - Extreme EditionSo I decided to give it a try as an experiment. I would try it for 30 days and see what my results were. So I announced my intention on my Quitting Sugar Facebook Page and set my start date for February 1st. That would give me  a couple weeks to figure out what I was going to eat. After I announced this experiment on the Facebook page, a couple members also said they were going to try it, one of these people was a friend of mine named Harmony. She suggested that I make a Facebook group for the few of us who were going to try eating ZC for a month. That way we could support each other and talk about our experience along the way. Thus, the 30-Day Keto Challenge group was born.

While I expected about several people to join the Keto Challenge group, I was surprised at how quickly our numbers exceeded my expectations. And the number of members keeps growing every day. It didn’t take long for us to reach 100 members. And I have to say that this is one of the best groups I’ve been a part of on Facebook. We’re like a little keto family. My friend, Harmony, who is an admin, and I do what we can to facilitate a good vibe in the group. And with such wonderful people joining up every day, that’s an easy task to do. But I was really surprised at how many people showed up to try out the keto challenge. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who are curious or interested in trying the ketogenic diet. So the question is, why are so many people interested in trying it? What’s so great about it? Well, I’ll tell ya….

Day one of my first 30-Day Keto Challenge was February 1st, 2014. My goal was simply to try eating only meat, drinking only water, and sometimes adding some whole butter to increase my fat intake if needed. I would try it for 30 days, then switch back to the typical low-carb diet my wife and I had been eating. I also decided to only weigh in at the start and end of the 30-day stretch. I wanted to lose the pounds I had put on over the holidays, but I didn’t want to obsess about my weight-loss.

Quitting Sugar - Extreme EditionOver the next several days, I had to deal with headaches. Since I typically don’t eat a lot of sugar or carbs, the headaches were likely due to also giving up caffeine. And when you’re used to drinking a few to several cups of coffee a day, it’s quite an adjustment to stop drinking it over night.

After getting past the yuck of the first week, I coasted through the second week and third week. But I was a little disappointed in how I was feeling by the end of the third week. I had always heard that it takes about three weeks to become keto-adapted, which means your body has made the switch from using carbs for fuel, to using fat as energy for your body. People talk about feeling amazing and having so much energy once the adaptation happens. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I didn’t think it would be very dramatic since I was already used to eating low-carb, but I though I’d feel something different, at least a little. But no…nothing.

Better Than Ever!

Finally, near the end of the 4th week, there was a glimmer of hope. I woke up one morning feeling very good right from the start. I felt particularly alert and solid. I went to work and noticed that I was easily able to maintain sharp focus without getting easily distracted or getting drowsy, even when doing something boring. I noticed a clear and distinct boost in my mood. I just feel more cheery. It seemed like everything took on a clearer quality. And I had solid, steady energy throughout the day. I wasn’t sure if this was from my diet alone, or because I got a little more sleep the night before.

Over the next few days, the sensations I was beginning to feel continued and got a little stronger and more noticeable every day. This was the first time I had ever experienced this much of a difference from eating removing carbs from my diet. After a few days of this, the growing sensations plateaued and a nice level and just stayed there. As you can guess, I was quite pleased about this. Quite pleased, indeed!

As for the sleep part of the equation, I definitely feel that getting more sleep had a big impact on me. And while I think getting enough sleep is essential to feeling a difference when keto-adaptation occurs, my guess was that getting enough sleep is what allowed me to feel the changes from following a ketogenic diet. This would explain why I didn’t feel it as dramatically when I first started eating low-carb, even though I was in a ketogenic state then. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely felt a difference when I first started eating low-carb. But the energy part never went where I expected it to go. I experienced an improvement back then, but compared to now, it was a dumbed-down version. Lack of sleep will pretty much dull your experience of everything.

All Meat & Easy Weight-Loss

Quitting Sugar - Extreme EditionIn that first month of eating an all-meat and water diet, I lost about 3 pounds per week, ending at a loss of 13.4 pounds. YES!!! So, after concluding my first month of zero-carb eating, I decided to have a carb weekend — a weekend where I would eat whatever I wanted. Why? Because I wanted to see what would happen. I wasn’t craving sweets or anything. But I’ve heard of people taking one day or weekend off per month and expanding their food pallets to include some of their favorite foods that they don’t have very often anymore.

So if I had a weekend carb party, would I gain my weight back? Would it cause me to start craving sweets again? Would I spiral out of control? I didn’t think any of these things would happen, but you never know unless you try. Plus, I’m in search of a diet lifestyle that is balanced and enjoyable while also allowing me to maintain a healthy body. Is it possible to eat carbs now and then without totally destroying your body,  gaining all your weight back or causing all your carb cravings to come back with a vengeance? I was willing to experiment with this and find out.

It turned out that for me, there seemed to be no adverse effect. Sure, I felt some guilt and maybe a little stomach upset, but the carb cravings didn’t come back. I didn’t start gaining weight. The biggest difference was my weight loss stalled for about 3 or 4 days after eating all those carbs. It knocked me out of ketosis and took a few days to get back in. I don’t know if there would be any long-term effects of having a weekend of carbs once a month, and I don’t know for sure if I’ll stick with this routine, but this is my plan for the present time.

What’s Cookin’ Now?

Since my first month of zero-carb eating went so well, after my carb weekend, I decided to continue eating zero-carb. But this time, I was going to change my own personal rules. I decided I would still eat zero-carb, but I would include all zero-carb foods, not just meat only. So I was now able to eat mayonnaise, cheese, eggs, pickle relish, zero-carb condiments. If it contained zero carbs, I allowed it. My second month, March, went extremely well. So well, in fact, that I decided to continue eating zero carb for another month. Which brings me to where I am today. I’m currently in my third month of zero-carb eating. So my third Keto Challenge. Between March and April, I had another carb-weekend, then got right back to zero-carb eating.

At this point, I’ve lost over 18 pounds, without hardly trying. On a zero-carb diet, I’m never hungry, unless I get lazy and choose to not eat for a while. I’m not constantly looking for snacks. And I tend to eat less at every meal. Not because I’m restricting my calories or just trying to eat less, but mainly because a little food satisfies my hunger for hours. I eat as much as I want and until I’m full, it just happens to not be a lot of food. I couldn’t be happier with this experiment and look forward to continuing it for a bit longer.

If you’re interested in trying a ketogeneic diet, there are different approaches, not just eating only meat. The best way to explore it is to join my Facebook group, the 30-Day Keto Challenge. There are plenty of resource materials to guide you and to help you get started with confidence. It’s a real family atmosphere over there. And the most important part about it, is that the help and support you receive there is geared toward what’s best for you, rather than some generic interpretation of what’s “best”. So come on by and check it out. We won’t bite. 😉

 


Comments

  • May 22, 2014, Casey writes: Interesting blog. I ran across this randomly searching topics on quitting sugar. My question is, how do you avoid vitamin deficiencies, such as vit. C deficiency on all-meat diet? Are you eating nose-to-tail and stomach contents? All the research I've ever done on this concludes you can't really safely pull this off long term without consuming all of the animal, so I'm curious what you do. Fascinating stuff here!
  • July 22, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Casey, Those are great questions and observations. I only did meat and water for a month, but I kept going with the zero carbs for another 3 months. So, in total, I ate zero-carb for 4 months before starting to add carbs back in. Most days, I'm getting around 10 grams of carbs or less, except on weekends when I eat more veggies. During my meat and water experiment, I was not consuming organ meat, etc. If I were to repeat this experiment, which will likely happen in the future, I'll do some planning and maybe get blood work done before and directly after to see a real-time snapshot of the results. Thanks for coming by. 🙂 Cheers!

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An Honest Look At How I’m Currently Eating http://quittingsugar.com/2013/11/02/an-honest-look-at-how-im-currently-eating/ Sat, 02 Nov 2013 17:34:02 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=499 In a recent thread on my Quitting Sugar Facebook Page, I was asked a question about how I’m eating and specifically, if I avoid grains. So I decided to post an overview of how I’m eating lately. I’ve love to read your version of how you’re eating as well. I like to observe how other people eat. It gives me ideas, and that’s always great because it keeps things interesting.

When I first quit sugar, I was so strict that if the nutrition panel on a product listed zero carbohydrates but sugar was listed among the ingredients, I wouldn’t buy it. However, I’m always learning more and my knowledge and beliefs are evolving.

While I believe there isn’t one way to eat that’s right for everyone, staying relatively low in carbs is always a good idea. So that’s still my primary focus. Quitting sugar is a good move on all levels and has had a big impact on my life. So I’m going to break down how I typically eat on a daily basis. I’m not going to get super detailed. I mainly want to share an overview. So here’s an honest look at how I’m currently eating.

General Stuff

I don’t exclusively avoid grains, but I mostly try to. I eat bread rarely so when I do, it’s sort of like a treat. I tend to avoid anything made from wheat, oats, etc. I avoid starches like rice and potatoes. I rarely eat any fruit. On most days I stay in the neighborhood of 25 grams of carbohydrate per day. Though I may hit 50 from time to time. Likewise, I may end my day with around 10 grams on some days. I don’t count my carb intake all that closely because my diet is largely a matter of routine so I don’t feel the need to count the same meals again and again.

Breakfast

How I'm Currently Eating - Quitting SugarI recently tried “Bulletproof coffee” for the first time and love it. I’m actually quite addicted to it (not literally, though, just very fond of it). So breakfast, for me lately, is a couple cups of Bulletproof coffee. I’m good for about 5 to 6 hours after having bulletproof coffee, with no hunger and plenty of energy to get things done. Bulletproof coffee doesn’t give me a huge spike in energy, but instead, I feel like I have a constant, even amount of energy for hours.

Also, at breakfast time, I take a dozen or so vitamin supplements. Just so you know, I’m not a vitamin expert and don’t have a ton of links to prove that the supplements I take are the best and have been clinically proven to be helpful. I take them for my own reasons and they help or they don’t. Someday, I’ll dig more deeply into this. For now, it is what it is and I feel better knowing that I’m taking them. So I may not be helpful if you ask questions about them. But if you have suggestions on what supplements are good on a low-carb diet, please leave them in the comments below. That would be awesome.

Lunch

During work days, I don’t usually get hungry until around 11 AM. So I typically snack on some walnuts or pecans around 10 AM. Lunch is usually some concoction of higher fat, lower carb foods and some smoked almonds. Here are a few examples:

  1. Pulled pork, cheese cubes, and smoked almonds.
  2. Tuna salad (my recipe – very high fat, very low carbs, very delicious), and smoked almonds.
  3. Thick pepperoni slices, cheddar cheese cubes, and almonds.
  4. Low-carb leftover dinner, smoked almonds and sometimes cheese cubes.


Dinner

Dinner can vary a bit more than breakfast or lunch. Usually, my wife and I prepare an Atkin’s or other low-carb recipes, or we create our own. We also get a lot of recipes from a Dana Carpender low-carb cookbook. On most days, the meals we cook are from low carb recipes. But if a special occasion comes up, we may eat out and have a treat-meal where we eat what we want without counting carbs. Even with that, I usually eat low-carb (with a good amount of fiber) but I might conclude with a dessert (not low-carb).

I’ve tested my blood sugar after having a low-carb meal followed by a dessert and the sugar from the dessert barely registers. When you have a lot of fiber and a good low-carb meal before eating a sugary dessert, it mitigates the effect of the sugar in your body and prevents blood sugar levels from shooting way up. I’ve lost weight on weeks where I’ve eaten out and have had a dessert. But typically I just stay at the same weight.

Snacks & Weekends

How I'm Currently Eating - Quitting SugarI like simple, quick, low-carb snacks. So when I’m feeling a little snacky, I go for smoked almonds, walnuts, or pecans. I love these because they’re easy enough to grab and go if I’m going to be out and about for a while. If I’m looking for a little crunch, I’ll grab some BBQ pork rinds. If I want something chewy, cheese cubes or pepperoni slices fit the bill, and sometimes together, or I’ll grab some bacon. The nice thing about bacon is that you get crunchy and chewy both in one snack. And we keep Atkin’s bars handy if I have a sweet tooth. These are probably my most common selections.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, I stay up late playing online games with friends. So I typically get up later on Saturday and Sunday and skip breakfast, opting instead for brunch. So on Saturday and Sunday, I’ll start off with Bulletproof coffee for brunch, then have dinner later on. And weekend dinners are typically the same as during the week days. However, if I overindulge on anything, it would be pizza every two or three weeks. But there are some crazy weeks where I might have it twice in one week. So it probably averages out to having pizza once a week or so. Also, I might have one Redd’s Apple Ale (alcoholic) on the weekend (usually when I’m gaming). But typically, my gaming time snacks are pork rinds or smoked almonds.

I’m definitely not as strict as when I first started out, but that is a choice based on my personal conclusions drawn from the education I’m constantly receiving regarding food, health, and happiness. How you eat is an evolutionary process. And I believe in having a balance between living life and enjoying yourself, and being healthy enough to do so. Also, I believe in eating the best that you know how based on your present understanding and being willing to change as you learn more. I call this Intelligent Dieting.

So that’s an overview of how I’m eating lately. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and suggestions and how you’re eating too. 🙂


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P90X – Interrupted http://quittingsugar.com/2013/07/16/p90x-interrupted/ Wed, 17 Jul 2013 02:06:47 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=466 No matter how good your intentions are, sometimes life throws you a curve ball. And all you can do is get back on track as soon as possible. Last October, my wife and I decided to start the P90X exercise program. After almost a year since quitting sugar, we decided to get our exercise groove on and P90X, the extreme fitness program, was our method of choice.

We started and successfully completed the first month of P90X and, as expected, it was tough! But more than that, it seemed to consume most of our evenings, which is when we chose to workout, since our days were spent working. If we weren’t working out for about an hour and a half each evening, then we were chopping, mixing, and preparing foods, and cooking dinner. But this is what we signed up for when we decided to follow the diet program that comes with P90X. There’s no pre-packaged foods or a jumbo list of approved foods from popular restaurants. Whatever you put into your mouth was primarily real food. That meant a lot of time would be spent preparing each meal.

I’m planning to write about the complications we encountered as a result of following the P90X diet plan very soon. So watch for that one.

Time to Get Moving

During the first 30 days of P90X, my wife and I were also involved in something else that was equally, if not more, important than P90X. And that was, selling our house. So when we started P90X, we were also trying to coordinate contractors and various people who we needed to work on our house so we could begin showing it.

To make a long story short,we began showing our home while on our break and one day shy of 3 weeks of being on the market, our home was under contract. So suddenly we were thrown into a frenzy of packing, because now we had to move to a new place.

Unpacking P90X

The problem with showing your house when you’re trying to sell it is that you might be asked to leave your house so the Realtor can show it to a potential buyer at any time. And that P90X - Interruptedmight mean being in the middle of an exercise session and having to stop abruptly and vanish for a while. We didn’t want that to happen so we decided we needed to take a week off after the first 30 days of doing P90X. Just long enough to finish up some final home improvements. But after the week was up, we still needed more time. So a week turned into two very busy weeks.

There’s another story behind all of this. And that story is about a married couple who decided to sell everything, buy an RV so they could live and travel full-time. That’s our story and is why we decided to sell our house. And so, as it turns out, we did sell our house to move into an apartment so we can take the next step in our plans. So what’s the status of P90X? Still packed in a box somewhere and still on hold. In fact, it’s not looking like we’ll be resuming our P90X adventure any time soon, since we live above other tenants. All the jumping around and dumbbell work that’s required in P90X might be too vigorous for an apartment setting. Plus, our living room isn’t as big as our basement was. So we don’t have as much room, either. However, we are planning to get our fitness groove on as soon as we determine what options we have and what we want to try. potential buyer at any time. And that might mean being in the middle of an exercise session and having to stop abruptly and vanish for a while. We didn’t want that to happen so we decided we needed to take a week off after the first 30 days of doing P90X. Just long enough to finish up some final home improvements. But after the week was up, we still needed more time. So a week turned into two very busy weeks.

We’ve been mighty busy with the move and all the things life has thrown our way. So now we’re just getting our feet settled and looking at our options. So, as the saying goes, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. (And it’s not over.)


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Why You Shouldn’t Quit Sugar http://quittingsugar.com/2012/10/16/why-you-shouldnt-quit-sugar/ http://quittingsugar.com/2012/10/16/why-you-shouldnt-quit-sugar/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2012 14:00:36 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=437 Have you considered quitting sugar but don’t know if you have the discipline to pull it off?

Are you thinking about cutting back on carbs but you don’t want to eliminate some of your favorite foods?

As with most things in life, quitting sugar isn’t one-size-fits-all. It might just be possible that you should consider other options rather than quitting sugar cold-turkey. But what other options do you have? Let’s explore this.

Food for Thought

I sometimes like to go against the “whole” grain. Especially when it seems like people aren’t thinking for themselves. A lot of people learn something new, hear it repeated ad nauseam, make assumptions, and then stop questioning things. Bad move. That’s where I come in. I like to speak plainly and honestly so you might make a more informed choice. It’s not that I have all the answers, but I do have a lot of questions, which leads to a great deal of critical reasoning, and that’s a good thing.

The truth is, some people shouldn’t give up sugar. Yes, yes, I know. In the nutritional-eating world, I’ve just committed a dozen sins. But somebody has to say what needs to be said. Simply-stated, quitting sugar is hard. That’s the bottom line. It takes mighty powerful conviction to pull it off. Those who can’t cut it crash hard, and sometimes end up binging and putting on more weight. If they have diet-related medical issues, they might worsen as a result of crashing after trying to quit sugar.

So I’m suggesting that you might be better off going with a low-fat diet, for example. Yes, I said low-fat diet. But give me a chance to explain before you throw me under the bus.

The Health Benefits of Eating Low-Fat?

First, if you’re not using healthy fats for fuel, such as in a low-carbohydrate diet, then you’re going to be using carbs to get your energy. Carbs, primarily in their processed, sugary form, are bad for your health in perhaps every conceivable way. Therefore, a low-fat diet, which is higher carbs and usually higher in processed sugars and high fructose corn syrup (which is like a poison to your body), must also be bad for your health. So wouldn’t that mean a low-fat diet should be avoided? Yes…and no.

I’ve heard it argued that one of the reasons that people lose weight and do “well” on a low-fat diet is because you normally cut calories by eating smaller meals, plus you avoid sweets. This is not the same as quitting sugar, but if it moves you closer to cutting out most or sometimes nearly all sugar, while also allowing you to eat some of the foods that you “can’t live without”, that seems like a good trade-off for some people.

What About Moderation?

Is it possible to quit sugar in moderation? Yes…and no. I’m all for eliminating sugar in stages. But that won’t work for everyone. Some will have to go cold-turkey and quit all forms of sugar all at once. Others might be able to handle stepping down, perhaps by eliminating sugar during breakfast for a while, then eventually doing the same for lunch, dinner, snacks, one step at a time.

Another way to step down might be to adopt a certain diet that allows what some would call, “slow carbs”. These are carbs that are absorbed by the body more slowly (think complex carbohydrates). Also due to the presence of fiber from various fresh vegetables. Fiber causes simple carbs to be metabolized slower. This minimizes a blood sugar spike caused from the carbs. While this diet might not be the best approach for someone who is at risk for diabetes, it would certainly be a step in the right direction. Aside from that, it could be a great way to begin a slow transition from a diet high in processed carbohydrates to a diet consisting of mostly whole from-the-earth foods. For more about this, you’re going to want to check into the Glycemic Index diet, also known as the G.I. Diet.

Quitting Sugar – Mentally

It’s obvious that I’m an advocate of reducing or eliminating processed sugars and high-fructose corn syrup from your diet. The less that has been done to your food before you put it into your mouth, the better it will be for your health on all levels. But the toughest part about quitting sugar is, by far, the mental aspect. Your body will adapt to a low-sugar diet much faster than your mind will, which is essentially why so many people struggle to quit sugar. This is why taking it slowly might be a better speed for you.

The Bottom-Line

Talking about eating a low-fat diet may unsettle some of you. But the bottom line is we each have to find what will work for us. It’s important that we each adopt a diet that we can live with. And even if it’s not the healthiest diet in the world, what matters is that you’ve found a way to improve the way you eat without feeling deprived. That will open the door to cutting even more sugar out of your diet. And taking a slow approach by not quitting sugar all at once will also give your mind time to catch up with your body. While there are many different ways to approach quitting sugar, the best way for you might be to not quit sugar all at once. And one incremental change is better than none at all.

 


Comments

  • October 28, 2012, Laura@Happy Sugar Habits writes: I very much agree with many of the things in this post. I do believe it's not a one fit all with sugar as individuals have different personalities that react to addiction or cravings in other ways. I actually have found allowing myself a higher fat diet is helping me cut back on my sugar where I was typically maintaining my weight on a low fat high sugar diet that started to get out of control (very powerful cravings!). Great post 🙂
  • October 28, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Laura, Right on! I'm glad there are more of us out there sharing this message. The real world isn't so black and white. We are a people who are so diverse and our needs and reactions to all things are so varied. I'm so glad when people comment on posts here. It give me and other readers a way of becoming more aware of other sites out there and other people who are aligned with my ideals. Together we can all make a difference. Thanks, Scott
  • December 10, 2012, Kate Harris writes: I quit sugar and stayed off sugar for two weeks while I reset my palette and then introduced sugar back into my diet. I know if I hadn't quit sugar, I wasn't able to really assess my diet and my food habits (which were terrible!). Quitting sugar gave me the breathing space I needed to evaluate my life. I was able to fill the hole in my bad lifestyle with good eating habits such as eating more fat and protein. I never really felt "full" unless I had gorged myself and then I felt sick! It is never easy and it is never black and white with people's diets. I had to find what worked for me and stick to it, otherwise I would be back at the fridge late at night eating chocolate in the dark!! never a good image to have of oneself!
  • December 14, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Kate, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. "It is never easy and it is never black and white with people’s diets. I had to find what worked for me and stick to it..." I couldn't agree more. It certainly isn't black and white where quitting sugar is concerned. There are many ways and many reasons to do it. But the main focus should be your health. Cutting back on sugar is always a good start. But how far you take it is up to each person to decide. I think it's great that you are taking an approach that focuses on your end result which is your health. Are you a healthier person today because of your eating choices? Everyone should ask themselves this question. Cheers, Scott

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Day 0 – Before Starting the P90X Extreme Fitness Program http://quittingsugar.com/2012/08/27/day-0-before-starting-the-p90x-extreme-fitness-program/ http://quittingsugar.com/2012/08/27/day-0-before-starting-the-p90x-extreme-fitness-program/#comments Tue, 28 Aug 2012 00:58:02 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=417 Quitting sugar was a turning point in my life. And as I continue to learn and explore about health and nutrition as well as conduct my own experiments, my perspective continually shifts. My goal is to understand nutrition and what works best for me. But nutrition is only one part of a healthy lifestyle, which is ultimately my goal. If you want to have a healthy body that will allow you to live a long and active life, you’ll eventually need to add exercise to the mix. That’s why I’ve decided to go extreme by starting the P90X program. Plus, this give me another opportunity to conduct another experiment.

In this video, I’ll show you my basement before we transformed it into our P90X gym. Also, I’ll talk about starting P90X and why I’m using the diet program that comes with P90X, which means taking in more carbs than I presently do. This is going to be an exciting journey. Stay tuned so you can watch my transformation. And check out some of my “Before” pictures below.

 

Day 0 Pictures


Comments

  • January 3, 2013, Kate Harris writes: Hi Scott! I hope you did well with your P90X goals! I have never done a 90 days of P90X but I ended up doing a hybrid of Insanity and P90X which was fantastic. You should try a hybrid if you want to add some harder cardio into the mix! I recommend it and there are plenty of hybrid plans online to help you get started.
  • January 3, 2013, Scott Milford writes: Kate, I did very well with the first 30 days of P90X. But my wife and I had to stop because we were in the process of selling our house and we desperately needed more time in order to show the house and take care of all the details involved in selling a home. We're still presently stalled, however, because our home is under contract and we will be closing the sale in a few weeks. So in addition, we're in the process of packing and moving. Not sure when we'll get back to it. But we're working to fulfill a big goal. We're downsizing into an apartment and in a couple years, we'll downsize into an RV where we will live and travel around the country full-time. 🙂 But I hope to get back to P90X as soon as we get settled again and I'll definitely be looking into doing some hybrid workouts later on. Thanks for coming by and connecting with me. Cheers!

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Fueling Your Exercise – The Carbs-Versus-Fat Experiment http://quittingsugar.com/2012/08/09/fueling-your-exercise-the-carbs-versus-fat-experiment/ http://quittingsugar.com/2012/08/09/fueling-your-exercise-the-carbs-versus-fat-experiment/#comments Thu, 09 Aug 2012 09:04:20 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=402 As we age, we tend to get bogged down with the things of life. We’re not as active as we were in our teens and twenties. The obligations and responsibilities of things like work, family, and owning a home distracts us from staying fit. Eating on-the-go, and trying to stay on top of things means we’re not always as careful with nutrition, and exercise gets put at the end of the To-Do list, and we never seem to reach the end.

Before I quit eating sugar, back in October 2011, I was feeling the effects of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. I was beginning to think that my body was wearing out because it’s suppose to as we age. Right? But I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. I still felt young in many ways and it didn’t make sense that I should be feeling so run-down, tired, and weak. What happened to the edge I had just a few years earlier? No! I refused to believe that my body was aging so rapidly. Something was wrong, and I was starting to feel desperate….no, determined to figure out how to reverse the feeling that I was falling apart.

Over the last several months, I have gone through a transition. First, I removed as much carbohydrate from my diet as I could. Because I eat meat and veggies as a big part of my diet, it was impossible to remove all carbohydrate, since even vegetables have some carbs. But at least the the form of carbs I was eating was primarily from naturals sources. However, anyone who follows this path will inevitably have to find the balance between nutrition and conveniences. Some people may want to allow some forms of carbs so that their domestic life with a spouse and kids doesn’t become an unbearable burden. There’s nothing wrong with that, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Do what’s best for you, not for those who are telling you that you’re doing it wrong!

As I continued my journey of drastically-reduced sugar intake, I continued to study and contemplate my lifestyle choice, and making little tweaks here and there. Once my weight hit a plateau and I felt good about where I was with my weight, I started experimenting. I began to allow more carbs in my diet to see what the results would be. Having a sugary dessert was the first thing I tried and I was amazed at how different it seemed to me compared to before quitting sugar. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t push me over the edge, not even close. Eating real sugar didn’t trigger an uncontrollable sugar response and cause me to binge and completely go off my low-carb lifestyle choice. I easily handled the treat and didn’t gain any weight, nor did I feel particularly bad after eating it. It was honestly, no big deal. And it was also something I didn’t feel compelled to repeat any time soon.

I began looking into things like the Mediterranean Diet and the diets based on the glycemic index. If the whole point is to mitigate the effects of sugar on my body, then it seems reasonable that I could expand my food choices a bit, like including fruit (without overdoing it), and as long as my blood glucose doesn’t get all wonky then eating more carbs should be okay. I’m still looking into this and have no conclusions to share yet.

All of this brings me to the dreaded E word, exercise. While it is clear that exercise doesn’t contribute to weight-loss nearly as much as everybody said it did (for more information about this, check into what Gary Taubes wrote about it in his book, Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It), it’s still very important for our overall level of fitness and health, both physically and mentally. But I was a little nervous about bringing exercise back into the mix since I was no longer relying on carbs to fuel my body for hard exercise. How would my body respond? Could I do intense exercise without collapsing? Would I feel like I’m weighted down with lead?

After several months of low-carb living, I feel healthier than I’ve felt in a long, long time, and I’ve dropped over 20 pounds of fat and kept it off…all without doing a single minute of exercise. But now I feel like it’s high time to find out if I can bring my body into the physical shape I’ve always dreamed of. Can I reshape my body into a lean, fit, and finely-tuned machine. Can I become super human?

Being Super-Human

That’s the question: can I become super human? And what is being super human anyway? Well, I’d say that since so many people are overweight or obese, and so few people maintain any regular exercise, and also since even those who are somewhat slim don’t necessarily look fit, being super human means being capable of doing what few people can do. And even if some people can do it, most people aren’t doing it.

So my definition of being super human is to become super fit. To have a tight, muscular, and powerful body that is obviously fit and youthful-looking. More than that, it means sticking to an exercise workout program that makes you face your weakest body parts and make them fiercely strong. It means exercising day after day even when you feel like giving up. It means hurting every time you take a step, and yet getting back in there and completing another day of exercise. Being super human means gaining the confidence that a lean, powerful, and sexy body brings. [insert echo] This…is…my…quest!

The “X” Factor

There’s still the question of fuel. Long before there were simple carbohydrates in the form of processed sugars, our ancestors ate nuts, plants, and meat, because that’s all that was available. There were no Twinkie factories, no In-N-Out Burgers. You couldn’t buy potato chips and sit in front of the TV all evening watching nature shows of lions attacking gazelles. But with carbs came an explosive form of energy. And when used a certain way, it powered up the exercise programs of many athletes. Thus, a whole sports drinks and supplement industry was born.

Since that time, fueling exercise has become a science. The top runners know precisely how many calories, often in the form of sport gels (basically sugar in gel form), they need and at what intervals they need to eat them in order to complete an Iron Man competition or a marathon. So to suggest to them that there is another way to fuel their bodies is pure heresy. Yet, there is a growing movement of people who are ketogenically adapted, which means they eat low-carb and have trained their bodies to use fat for fuel. And they are proving that you can be an athlete and not use carbs for fuel and still perform at the top.

Extreme Fitness

Recently, I picked up the Kindle version of “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance” by Stephen Phinney, and Jeff Volek. It’s a great deal, by the way. I picked up my copy for $5.99, and it was instantly downloaded. Soon, I will be starting the P90X extreme fitness program, so my goal is to begin researching how to fuel without carbs. And though I want to eventually see if I can get through this incredibly intense program (which lasts 90 days) while continuing to eat low-carb, I’m not going to attempt this the first go around.

P90X is called extreme fitness for a reason. And while I want to see if I can get through such a rigorous fitness program using only fat for fuel, I’m still studying about this and I’m not ready to try P90X while eating low-carb, yet I do want to go through the P90X program. I’ve heard from a few people who have done P90X while low-carbing, so I know it can be done. But first, I have a couple of experiments in mind that I want to use this opportunity to try. So here’s my plan…

First, I will go through this 90-day program following the diet plan that is laid out in the support material. Overall, the food selections look great for low-carbers. And the first phase of the diet part of the program is lower-carb anyway. The second phase is higher in carbs, and the final phase is a little higher still. Each phase relies less and less on fat, and give preference to carbs. However, from what I can see, much of these carbs are what is called “slow” carbs or complex carbohydrate sources. I can deal with that. But either way you slice it, there is more sugar than what I’m presently eating. And the thing is, I want to be able to compare the experience of trying P90X both with and without sugar. So in order to do this, I’m going to have to start eating more sugar. But I have to know. I’m too curious about how it will feel doing P90X both ways. So I’m going to try it both ways, assuming I can even get through it once, of course.

While I’m going through the program, I’ll be taking notes on how I feel, and how my energy level is compared to when I’m eating fewer-carbs. Also, I’ll probably monitor my blood glucose levels along the way as well. And any other experiments I think up while I’m going through the program. After I’ve completed it and feel that I’ve gained the maximum benefit from the program as designed, I plan to go through it again, only using fat for my fuel. Then I’ll compare the second round (low-carb) with the first round (higher in carbs) and see what I can learn from each method of fueling.

Summary

P90X is a bit pricey, so I definitely want to get my money’s worth out of it. And I think my health is worth it. So anyway, this is my plan. It’s the ultimate extreme fitness experiment; doing the same programs twice using different sources of fuel. This is going to be interesting, indeed! A side experiment will be to see if bringing more carbs into my diet will reawaken my sugar cravings. Risky? It might be, but I’m going to try it anyway. No matter what, I’ll be learning from direct experience, which I highly value. So it’s time to bring it!


Comments

  • June 14, 2013, johannah writes: This is great! where can I find the results and follow up post?
  • July 18, 2013, Scott Milford writes: Johannah, thanks. If you read my "P90X-Interrupted" post, you'll get an update.
  • March 28, 2014, Tina writes: I eat low carb and work out. Unfortunately, I sweat a lot. My biggest issue is potassium. I make sure to eat sunflower seeds and other low-carb sources of potassium. If it is hot out, I will have 2-3 ounces of orange juice to help. It prevents leg cramps.
  • April 17, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Tina, so do you find that you're able to manage or properly regulate your potassium levels with your current strategy? Also, as I understand it, orange juice is as high in sugar as a can of full-sugar soda. Not that you're getting a lot of orange juice, and you're probably burning those carbs off pretty quickly if you're working out pretty hard, but have you considered replacing orange juice with magnesium to help prevent leg cramps? Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Bread and Coke Smackdown! – A Blood Sugar Experiment http://quittingsugar.com/2012/07/11/bread-and-coke-smackdown-a-blood-sugar-experiment/ http://quittingsugar.com/2012/07/11/bread-and-coke-smackdown-a-blood-sugar-experiment/#comments Wed, 11 Jul 2012 08:36:15 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=348 I was shocked to learn just how damaging sugar and high-fructose corn sweetener is on the body. The book Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, by Gary Taubes, laid out all the scientific evidence and left a paper (or link) trail that anyone could follow if they want to verify the data for themselves. While the information is still a bit controversial, in spite of the validated research (which is open to individual interpretation), I applied my own critical reasoning and felt I could trust my own judgement. This is partly why I quit eating sugar. Anyone who joins the quitting sugar or low carbohydrate community will become familiar with the health consequences of over-consuming sugar. They also become familiar with the many experts who make certain claims about various foods and why they should be avoided. One such person is Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, who makes this claim:

“People are usually shocked when I tell them that whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose. Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar.”

I’ve come across this claim being referred to on many blogs, podcasts and word-of-mouth. It seems to be widely accepted as true. And [full-disclosure] I like Dr. William Davis and his message, therefore, I accepted his claim when I heard it, even though it seemed a little surprising. Of course, if everybody is saying it, then it must be true, right?

Wanted: Critical Reasoning

News Flash: Just because you believe something, that doesn’t make it true. Even though I like Dr. Davis, and even though I believe he backs up his claim with data that makes sense to me, I still found it bothersome to think that two slices of whole wheat bread are as bad as a 12-ounce can of Coke. So, because I’m curious by nature, I decided to test this claim for myself by having a wheat bread and Coke smackdown. Yeah, baby! There’s nothing like a little critical reasoning in the form of a self-administered experiment. This way, I will see the results for myself, and I’ll use my own body as the test vehicle.

Experiment Number One: Bread, A Love Story

Yes, we all love bread. Right? But I have to be honest and state that when I quit eating sugar, I also quit eating bread and wheat products because of its propensity to convert to sugar. But still, is bread the bad guy here? I quit eating it without really knowing how my body responds when I eat it. And, sure, I miss having bread. But I can handle not eating it. Still, in order to conduct my first experiment, I was going to have to eat two slices of it. But I wasn’t worried about it causing me to go on a sugar binge or start craving sweets until my teeth fell out. I knew I could take one for the team. So my plan was, I would wake up after fasting (during sleep) all night. Before eating, I would check my blood glucose to establish a baseline. Then I would eat two slices of wheat bread for breakfast and begin rechecking my blood sugar ever thirty minutes for the next two hours.

Experiment Number Two: Coke, Unplugged

Just as in the bread experiment, I would wake up and check my blood glucose before drinking the Coke. Next I would drink a 12-ounce can of full-sugar Coke, then begin testing my blood sugar every thirty minutes for the next two hours. My assumption was that even if the bread caused a spike in my blood sugar level, the full-sugar Coke would be worse because it’s basically carbonated sugar water. However, the numbers told a story that surprised me.

(Click for larger view)

Wheat Bread versus Coke – THE RESULTS

——————————————————————

SUMMARY: My blood glucose spiked higher on wheat, and the difference between my starting blood glucose level and the peak BG number was also higher after eating bread.

——————————————————————

MENU: 2 slices of wheat bread

Fasting Blood Glucose before Breakfast – 86
30 minutes later – 112
60 minutes – 152
90 minutes – 118
120 minutes – 125

OVERALL BG RISE66

___________________

MENU: 1 12-oz can of (full sugar) Coke

Fasting Blood Glucose before Breakfast – 97
30 minutes later – 134
60 minutes – 149
90 minutes – 139
120 minutes – 95

OVERALL BG RISE52

What Does It All Mean?

Okay…so what does this mean? First, my results appear to validate Dr. Davis’ claim. Though the actual numbers went higher for the bread (152), it’s important to note that my starting blood glucose level was also lower (86) before eating the bread compared to the level (97) before drinking the Coke. So the actual amount of the spike in my blood glucose (compared to my fasting BG number taken just before eating) was greater after eating the bread. What’s even more interesting is that at the two-hour mark, my blood sugar had returned to normal after drinking the Coke. But after eating the bread, my numbers were starting to climb again at the two-hour mark. Notice how evenly my blood sugar levels climbed and dropped after drinking the Coke. But with the bread, there was a sharp rise between the 30- and 60-minute mark, and a sharp decline between the 60- and 90-minute mark, then the numbers started to rise again at the 2-hour mark. This is crazy, right?

Critical Reasoning, Redux

But let’s take another look here. Bread is a starch, and being a complex carbohydrate, I thought this would mitigate the rise in my blood sugar levels and cause it to happen more slowly. This didn’t happen. It was a rough ride for the bread and a smooth ride for the Coke. So it almost looks like the bread is actually worse than the Coke. But is it? Who, in the real world, would only eat two slices of wheat bread for a meal? Typically, when you have two slices of bread, there’s also going to be some meat, cheese, and maybe a slice of tomato and lettuce in there as well, and perhaps a bit of mayo or mustard. Or you might eat a slice or two with a full meal. Wouldn’t this affect blood sugar levels too? Perhaps eating a sandwich or having bread with a meal isn’t as bad as eating only two slices of bread alone.

Also, consider how often people drink Coke or any sugary soda, for that matter, and how often they don’t eat food while they’re drinking it. Different story here. People sip on sodas during meals as well as in-between meals. Any amount sugar you consume is going to be worse or better depending on what you consume with it. A high-fiber meal that includes protein and vegetables and a can of full-sugar soda wouldn’t be as bad as consuming just the soda alone. It seems to me that the bread versus soda comparison isn’t really a fair one because it’s comparing  bread in a manner that’s not typical. Personally, I have nothing against Coke or sodas in general. When I drink a soda, it’s usually a Coke Zero. But the trouble isn’t the soda companies. There is a demand for their products. And until people become wiser to the dangers of refined sugar and stop buying sodas, Coke (and all soda companies) will, and should, continue to make a product that’s in demand. That’s just capitalism, plain and simple. And I also have nothing against capitalism.

Conclusion

This experiment was certainly an eye-opener. Now I know that the claims being promoted by Dr. William Davis (and others) is true, though it may not accurately reflect the eating habits of most individuals. Your results may vary, but in my opinion, you would be wise to avoid both full-sugar Coke and bread. The damaging affects of sugar (obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome to name a few), is reason enough to quit eating bread and drinking sugary sodas.

Da Capo?

However, this story isn’t over. I think I’m going to have to repeat this experiment with some slight variations. For example, I might eat a sandwich for breakfast and monitor my blood sugar levels and compare it with eating two slices of bread, alone, to see if the numbers improve. Also, what happens if I have a full-sugar Coke with a healthy meal? Would my numbers be any better? To be continued… 

 


Comments

  • July 11, 2012, Geoff Smith writes: First question is this Coke in the US or Coke in Europe. In the US it is sweetened with HFCS not sugar and the body treats it differently which might explain the fast return to normal BG levels. Whole wheat bread is usually not true whole wheat but processed white flour with the husks put back in. Whole grain bread MIGHT be different if it was not the mass produced type. 2nd since you mention who would eat just 2 pieces of bread..... Well actually in the morning many people have just that with coffee or tea. Ah yes butter on it LOL. Thanks for being the guinea pig here and taking the time to post your results. It is nice to see a simple concrete proof for what we say.
  • July 12, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Geoff, This is Coke, American-style. I don't remember how it was sweetened, but you might be right about why my BG levels reacted as they did with the Coke. As for the wheat, I hadn't thought about the fact that a lot of people might eat a couple slices of toast in the morning. But even still, as you pointed out, they may drink coffee with their toast, and I'd guess a great deal more people would also put something more than just butter on their toast, like jam, or peanut butter. However, there is definitely the possibility of only having the bread/toast. So that's an excellent point. Aside from that, Dr. William Davis doesn't differentiate between exactly what qualifies as "wheat bread" and I think he usually says, "soda". Coke was my soda of choice. My hope is that more people would take a test-for-themselves approach to various diet claims. While I take nothing away from the "experts", a critical-reasoning filter should always turned on and processing everything we read or hear about. Every "body" is different. Thanks for reading, Geoff, and thanks for taking the time to comment. Cheers, Scott
  • July 12, 2012, Lindsey B writes: I thought this was a great idea you did - I love how you took matters into your own hands and did the experiment to see for yourself what the answers were. For the "to be continued" part of your next experiement, I just wanted to share some advice with you. I am a diabetic, and have been for going on 27 years (I'm turning 28 this July) so when it comes to carb counting, sugars, and food in general I'm pretty knowledgable. I just want to advise you to make sure you research all food types you use in your next experiment i.e - proteins, sucrose, fructose, carbs, etc ...being a diabetic for pretty much all of my life I've learned that ...high sugar drinks def help with low blood sugar levels immediately, however they aren't good for long term. If I drink and can of sugar pop and that's it, chances are my blood sugar will go low again within a half hour to an hour, or even sooner. If I eat a piece of cheese with that pop I will more than likely beat the low blood sugar and maintain a steady level because of the protein. I can't really tell you why, but it's something I've learned over the years and I thought I would share. Good luck to your future experiments - I look forward to reading the results. Cheers.
  • July 16, 2012, Kenny F writes: Great experiment! i just started Davis' book this morning, actually. Geoff brings up an interesting point -- maybe you want to post the results of "Experiment C: Sugar-sweetened Coke" I, for one, would be curious to know if there's a blood sugar diff between Coke US with HFCS and Coke EU with sugar. Kenny
  • July 16, 2012, Kenny F writes: btw, it's Coda, not da capo. DC means 'back to the top' 😉
  • July 16, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Lindsey, Great observations! I was planning to do another experiment with Coke where I would eat something with the Coke and see what the difference is. I think cheese might be just the ticket. When you suggest using things like proteins, sucrose, fructose, carbs, etc. in my experiments, how would you suggest doing so? Can you give me an example or some ideas? I'm certainly interested. Thanks for being a part of this community. I really appreciate when people take the time to comment. So, thank you for that. Cheers!
  • July 16, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Kenny, Yes, I'm definitely interested in testing Coke sweetened in different ways. Although, since I'm in the US, I'm not sure how I'll get my hands on European Coke. But I'm going to look into it. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment. Good stuff. Scott
  • July 16, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Kenny, Having been a piano teacher for 10 years, I was already familiar with da capo. 🙂 And it was actually da capo that I meant to use. My intention was sort of like a "back to the drawing board" or "back to the start" referring to doing more experiments along the same line, which is why I concluded with "to be continued..." As you're aware, a coda is basically a conclusion but my tests are ongoing. 🙂 Cheers, Scott
  • September 19, 2012, Rayca writes: This is just flat-out bogus. Who eats just 2 slices of bread? I love these analogies from low-carbers. Once you introduce protein to the bread, nut butter, animal protein, you slow down the digestion and blood sugar spike considerably. Add some fat (butter low carbers?) and it coats the bread, stomach lining and yes, disgestion of the bread. That's why we eat in the traditional ways we do...bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly. It's moderation. Low carb all you like. I have nothing against it but incorrect info. bugs me. Oh, and BTW, you want your insulin to spike in the a.m. so glucose will shuttle to muscles and not turn to fat but that may be too sophisticated for this site.
  • September 21, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Rayca, Is sounds like you don't just automatically believe the health claims you hear being promoted in popular social and media circles. Good for you! I agree, most people don't just eat two slices of bread alone. However, I had lunch with a guy, recently, who ate a half a loaf of Italian bread. So, as crazy as it sounds, people actually DO eat the equivalent of two slices of bread (or more) without any other food to go with it. While I understand your comment about wanting "your insulin to spike in the a.m. so glucose will shuttle to muscles and not turn to fat", I don't quite see it that way. If you're eating a ketogenic diet, you're using fat as your fuel source and, as I understand it, using fat mitigates insulin spikes, which is a good thing. But I don't consider myself an expert. Please explain further if you feel I've misunderstood. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Cheers, Scott
  • January 27, 2013, David writes: Mexican coke is sold all over the southwest US, and it is sugar, not HFCS.
  • February 20, 2013, Scott Milford writes: David, yes, I've heard about that. I need to get my hands on a can of the sugar version so I can test it too. Have you tried both versions? If so, which one do you prefer?
  • May 8, 2013, Murphy writes: Interesting test. I actually did the same thing this morning.. Well, I'm in the process at least. My blood sugar before drinking a 32 ounce soda was 84. 45 minutes later, it was 138. I'll see what it's like again shortly.
  • May 8, 2013, Scott Milford writes: Very cool. So what were the results? I'm interested in hearing about them. 🙂
  • June 8, 2013, reverend sev writes: Good questions. My comment is more of a question. I am type two and would like to know how anyone can be so lucky as to only have a 50-60 sugar spike after eating 2 slices of bread? I had I slice of home bakery sourdough upon rising this morning, went back to bed for another three hours, and awoke later almost comatose with a sugar level over three hundred. I don't know if this sever of a reaction qualifies as an allergic reaction or what. My dietician has always said a single piece of wheat bread can be part of a responsible diabetic diet. I haven't read Wheat Belly yet but intend to. I am beginning to suspect that wheat isn't what it used to be and that for some of us is to be avoided like poison.
  • July 18, 2013, Scott Milford writes: Well, if you're already a type-two diabetic, it makes sense that your sugar spikes so high and stays high for so long. It might be possible to have a single slice of bread (of any kind) as a part of any diet and not have your sugar spike beyond normal levels. But I'm guessing that a meal that includes a slice of bread is going to have to also include a good mix of whole foods and plenty of natural fiber. That said, I've have read Wheat Belly, and while I didn't automatically jump on the wheat-bashing band wagon (I'm skeptical about some of the correlations in the book), I still avoid wheat, simply because the starches convert to sugar and spikes blood sugar levels, as the experiment demonstrated. So no matter what the genetic makeup is of today's modern wheat family, it's still higher in carbs and so it's best to avoid it, in my opinion. Thanks for writing. 🙂
  • February 14, 2014, Gilbert writes: On doing some reading on bread and the effect on blood sugar ,I had stumbled onto this: Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Turns out if you do eat bread dipping it in 26 % vinegar will lower the effect on your blood sugar...
  • April 17, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Gilbert, for some reason, your comment got put in the wrong place and I didn't see it. Sorry about that. I wasn't aware of the vinegar supplement response. Can you share a link to the source? I'd like to read all the details. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. While this may help with the blood-sugar response after eating bread, I'm guessing it doesn't help with the effects of gluten from eating wheat. But it's at least helping with part of the battle. Thanks for sharing.
  • May 21, 2014, Kyle Christensen writes: Scott, Do you know the approximate total carbohydrates in the two slices of bread v. The coke? Also have you tried repeating the experiment to see if you get the same results multiple times?
  • July 22, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Kyle, I might have that data somewhere, but I can't find it right now. I'll have to look the next time I'm at the grocery store. I haven't repeated the experiment, but that's a good idea. It's a good experiment, but it's not a scientific study. I still have questions. Like, if I exercised the night before, would the results be different? How would the results vary if done the morning after a full night of sleep versus not getting enough sleep? Would a healthy meal, the night before, effect the numbers? I think it's worth repeating this experiment. Have you ever tried it? Thanks for your comment and for stopping by. Cheers!
  • July 30, 2014, Chris writes: It actually doesn't surprise me one bit. Sugar is metabolized 80% by the Liver only whereas starches, bread included is a far better energy transport to all the body's organs. This is actually proof that sugar is bottlenecked in the liver promoting fatty liver disease.
  • August 28, 2014, Scott Milford writes: Chris, Righto. Sugar, particularly fructose, is not friendly to most people. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂
  • April 4, 2015, AnthonyNavarro.com – This Is My Story, This Is My Blog – The Ketogenic Diet 101 With Progress! writes: […] of “healthy” whole grain bread will impact your blood sugar nearly double that of a can of soda! The elimination of grains and processed foods is a common element in many of the modern diets now […]
  • July 4, 2016, A Discrepancy – Fran Silver Personal Training writes: […] “Oh, and to compound that stupidity you also think bread is fattening. With all these silly thoughts you keep having you should probably go and lie down before you hurt yourself.” The theory that bread is fattening probably stems from the fact that it spikes your blood sugar more aggressively than Coca Cola does (Really? Yes! Check out this experiment – CLICK). […]

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30-Day Challenge – Are You Ready To Get Healthy? http://quittingsugar.com/2012/06/24/30-day-challenge-are-you-ready-to-get-healthy/ http://quittingsugar.com/2012/06/24/30-day-challenge-are-you-ready-to-get-healthy/#comments Sun, 24 Jun 2012 23:11:49 +0000 http://quittingsugar.com/?p=360 What if bad fat isn’t so bad?” This is the title of an article I came across recently from MSNBC and the subtitle stated: “No one’s ever proved that saturated fat clogs arteries, causes heart disease“. That sounds like health blasphemy, right? But I am living proof that it’s not. Why? Because I quit eating sugar and greatly increased fat in my diet and the results are completely the opposite of what we’re told will happen if you eat a diet that’s high in fat, including saturated fats. After years of trying to eat a low-fat diet and struggling to lower my cholesterol, the results were that I was always hungry, which caused me to eat more food, my weight steadily climbed higher every year, and my cholesterol continued to rise, regardless of how healthy I tried to eat. The truth is, since adopting a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet (think Atkins Diet)–which is exactly the opposite of the “low-fat, healthy whole-grains” diet that most doctors, public health officials, and health-regulating government bodies promote–my weight dropped over 20 pounds and I have not struggled to keep it off. Also, I’m not always hungry, as I was on a low-fat diet. My cholesterol levels have improved dramatically. And finally, I feel great.

The Truth About Low-Fat Diets

One good thing about eating a low-fat diet is that you reduce your intake of sugar which helps with weight loss, but otherwise, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But how did the unhealthy low-fat diet ever get accepted as the healthiest diet on the planet? In short, in the 1950s, Ancel Keys, an American scientist and researcher, conducted what has become known as the Seven Countries Study where he compared fat consumption to the amount of heart disease in a given population throughout seven countries and found a stunning correlation. He found that the higher the fat consumption, the more deaths there were caused from heart disease and the greater the number of people struggling with high cholesterol and heart disease in each country. To make a long story short, this study was eventually a foundation for public health policy in the United States. The problem is, the study was flawed. Keys actually tracked fat consumption and heart disease in twenty-two countries but only found this correlation among seven of the twenty-two countries. When he reported his findings, only data from the seven countries was used, leaving the other fifteen countries out. But when all countries are compared, this correlation wasn’t found.

Sugars, Fats, and Bad Stuff

Our bodies need fuel in order to run properly. The two primary sources of fuel that our bodies use are carbohydrates (sugars), and fats. When you reduce fat in your diet, you have to compensate by adding more carbs–in other words, by adding sugar–otherwise you won’t have enough fuel to keep your body going. It doesn’t take a nutritionist to know that over-consuming  refined sugar comes with some nasty price tags: obesity and diabetes, for example. But it also causes or contributes to high cholesterol, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, malnutrition, reduced or damaged metabolic functioning, and has been linked to many forms of cancer, and more.

What To Do About It

If all of this is news to you, you’re probably a bit shocked by it. That’s okay. If you give it enough time, you’ll either kick the bucket from eating poorly, or you’ll live to see the day when more and more health professionals start going public with this information. Fat is not bad, and refined sugar (especially fructose) is like a poison. So what can you do about this? You don’t want to die early. And you definitely don’t want your kids to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle…and if they’re already headed in that direction, you can still save them. Starting with a little challenge for the whole family. I don’t expect you to radically change anything overnight because that would honestly be unsustainable, unless you’re well-prepared. The changes that stick are the ones that you make a little at a time so you can get used to them before making more changes. You need time to adapt to changes or new habits before introducing new ones. That’s what this challenge is all about. I’d like to raise your awareness about some health issues, and also challenge you to try making a few small changes for 30 days. Consider this a test drive of a new healthier mindset and lifestyle. The 30-Day Challenge For this challenge, you’re going to give up some sugar from your diet and you’re going to get a little regular exercise. I’m not asking you to quit sugar and start eating more fat. This is not going to be radical, but it will still be a challenge. This is a chance for you to try quitting sugar but just a little bit. Think of it as a trial run. Here’s an overview:

For 30 Days you will:

  • Quit eating bread
    • sliced bread
    • dinner-type rolls
    • biscuits
    • croissants
    • anything bread-like
    • When in doubt, leave it out!
  • Quit drinking sugary drinks
    • full-sugar sodas
    • fruit juices
    • energy/sport drinks
    • basically, any drinks that have more than a couple grams of calories from sugar/carbs
  • Exercise every day
    • Week one:  2 minutes per day
    • Week two:  4 minutes per day
    • Week three:  6 minutes per day
    • Week four:  8 minutes per day

Keep in mind that you’re only making these changes for 30 days. During this challenge, you can still eat however you normally eat, with the exception of bread and sugary drinks. If you want a double-chocolate-chip fudge brownie with chocolate syrup on top, knock yourself out. I want this to be challenging, not impossible….that comes later. For now, you’re just making a few small changes. And  to make sure there’s no confusion, I’ll cover some more details. Bread – The goal here is to reduce your intake of starchy foods. Starches convert to sugar in the body. Bread is a form of starch, but it’s not as obvious as a source of sugar. Every time you eat a couple slices of bread, your blood sugar levels spike as high as drinking a soda or eating a candy bar. But because people don’t think of bread as being “bad” for you (which it is), they eat way too much of it, and can even develop what Dr. William Davis calls a Wheat Belly. If you’re not sure if you can eat something because you don’t know if it counts as bread, don’t eat it if eating it will make you feel guilty. You’re not giving up all things made from wheat and flour, only bread and anything that resembles bread and rolls….the puffy, squishy stuff. Sugary Drinks – Anything with refined sugar and fructose (a.k.a. high-fructose corn syrup, corn sweeteners, among others) are very dangerous to your health. You can drink diet soft drinks or any sweet liquids that are very low or no calories because they’ll be sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Yes, artificial sweeteners may also be unhealthy, but that’s not the point of this challenge. I still use artificial sweeteners, though I may eventually give them up. But for this challenge, it will be tough enough to stop drinking your favorite, full-sugar soft drink, let alone giving up sugar, altogether. A lot of people don’t realize how bad fruit juices are. Because of this, they drink a tall glass of orange juice every day and give their kids gallons of juice boxes every week. Fruit juice drinks have all the fiber and good stuff removed, leaving mainly sugar and fruit flavors. Fiber helps to slow down absorption of the sugar that’s found in fruit. That’s why eating fruit is always a better choice than drinking it. So even fruit juices are off limits for 30 days. Exercise – You’ve probably wanted to start getting more exercise, but you’ve been too busy or had too many other excuses (or reasons). But how can you excuse-away only two minutes per day? By the second week, you’re already developing a routine, so only adding two more minutes won’t be a big deal. As for the kind of exercise, that’s not so important. Anything that gets you moving, like walking, jumping jacks, swimming laps, skipping rope, a casual or vigorous bike ride…anything will do. The exercise doesn’t have to be high-impact, which is why walking is so great. But you have to set aside two minute, apart from everything else, and exercise with the intention that you are doing your 30-day challenge. The fact that you walk a lot at work doesn’t count. If you are a treadmill tester for some safety advocacy group and you spend a lot of time walking on the job, you still have to work in your two minutes, separate from walking at work.

What Happens When It’s Over?

This is entirely up to you. This challenge will give you an easy way to get started in a new direction. So you may decide you want to keep your walking routine, since you’re already forming a habit. But perhaps giving up bread, long-term, isn’t for you, but you don’t mind switching to diet drinks and water. That’s excellent! The net result is that you’re now making healthier choices. Once you get used to those new habits, look for ways to adopt new ones and continue to make changes so that by the end of the next year, you’ll look back and be satisfied at the improvements you’ve made in your diet and getting more exercise. Also, you may want to read more about why we get fat, and what to do about it, or how wheat is bad for you. But please, no matter what you read, always keep an open mind and know that there’s two sides to every coin. Your responsibility is to learn to think for yourself and make up your own mind about everything. This is the best way to take your health (and your family’s health) into your own hands. In case you’re wondering, my wife and I will be doing a 30-day challenge starting on July 1st. But since we eat almost no sugar and wheat, our focus will be on intense exercise. So your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to spend 30 days getting healthier. And armed with the right data, and the power of your own conviction and desire to finally start eating better and exercising, you can do this!

Additional Resources:

  • If you would like to read more about this challenge, check out my other blog, Behavior and Motivation, and read: 30-Day Challenge: Get Healthy. The focus, there, is more on the behavior side of making positive changes.
  • Also, I recommend that you read, Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, by Gary Taubes
  • Also read, Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis.
  • For a quick and entertaining overview of the science and facts related to everything in this article, watch the movie, Fathead. It’s funny while being informative and a bit shocking. It’s a must-watch movie!
  • If you want some good exercises to do with easy-to-follow videos, check out Rocofit Health & Fitness and Ben Greenfield Fitness.
  • Click on my Facebook link to join the wonderful community of people who have quit sugar or are interested in quitting sugar and/or improving their health. It’s one of the best communities on the Internet.

It’s great to have the support of family and friends, so share this article and do the challenge together. If you try this 30-day challenge (not just in July, but at any time), please leave a comment and share your experience.


Comments

  • September 1, 2012, Japolina writes: I'm starting tomorrow. I'm trying to eliminate both refined sugar and white flour products cold turkey. I already exercise so that won't be a problem. Any suggestions to fight the cravings. I'm a sugar addict
  • September 2, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Japolina, It's so great that you're trying to eliminate sugar and flour. With enough motivation, quitting cold-turkey can work. But there are ways to get a little leverage. First, it's very important to know how you'll respond when you're cravings are challenging you. Figure out your plan BEFORE it happens so you know how to respond without thinking. Speaking of not thinking, when a craving hits, shout "No" to yourself in your head, then distract yourself....but you have to mean it! Another thing, read this blog post: and pick up this book. There is a section in the book that suggests supplements you can take that will reduce sugar cravings. I didn't go into this in my blog post, mainly because I have no experience with it. I didn't try it since I had already broken my addiction. But since I trust the rest of the book, based on my experiences, I would trust that section too. If you need any more tips or support, be sure to find me at my Quitting Sugar Facebook page. Look for the link in the sidebar. Best of luck! Scott
  • September 19, 2012, Cynthia King writes: On August 31st, I declared a hiatus from sugar and all things sweet, and started a blog about it. The past three weeks has been more of a preparation period since I began the whole thing without much planning (I actually had not rid my fridge or cabinets of sweets.) Instead, I started thinking and writing about sugar and food in general and diabetes. One thing that I am happy about is finding great blogs and websites like this one that have informed, challenged and encouraged me in this journey. It's the consistent exercise that I am hoping to finally incorporate into my lifestyle. I will begin a swim class next week to supplement daily lunchtime walks at work. I've pretty much gotten rid of sugar in my kitchen and pantry, so I can begin in earnest the thirty-day challenge. Thanks for your site.
  • September 21, 2012, Scott Milford writes: Cynthia, Thank you for your kind words. I'm pleased if this site has inspired you or helped in any way. Exercise was the one thing I needed to tackle as well. I put it off for months. But I finally got it going. My wife and I are almost 30 days into P90X. I think finding exercise that you enjoy doing is really the key. And as you mentioned, you're going to be starting a swim class soon, which sounds like a wonderful form of exercise. I wish I had a pool, I'd be using it for exercise every day. 🙂 Please keep me posted on your progress. Cheers, Scott
  • September 27, 2012, Cynthia King writes: So, I am finishing out the month of September with resolve and am beginning the month of October quitting sugar. I am further resolved to post everyday in October as part of the challenge. I look forward to feeling great and exercising more. Watch out for me! Cynthia

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