Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January's over, and...

...I made it a whole month without eating any sugar. Well, sort of.

On January 2, I wrote:

But then I thought of this piece I read in the Times on Friday, "A Month Without Sugar," by David Leonhardt. "I'm thinking of giving up sugar for the month of January," I told him. "Whoa!" he said. "That would be really hard!" "Yeah, and I'm also going to start reading food labels more closely to see how much sugar is in the food I eat."

Was I able to avoid sugar completely, as Mr. Leonhardt suggested in his column? No. That would be darned near impossible. He's right: there's sugar in almost everything! I knew this already, of course, but reading food labels really made it clear. What do I eat in a typical day?

First breakfast (I get up early):
toast with peanut butter
coffee with two percent milk

Second breakfast:
cereal with berries and skim milk

Typical lunch:
sandwich and a can of soup

Late afternoon snack:
roasted almonds
non-alcoholic beer

Typical dinner:
Salmon, chicken or hamburger with fresh vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts
yogurt for dessert

Of those, there's sugar in everything except the beer and my dinner. Yep, even the milk (11 grams per serving!) and the almonds.

But I was able to avoid any sweet drinks (I think I only drank water, non-alcoholic beer, coffee and unsweetened ice tea), ice cream, cake, cookies, pie and anything else my mom would have called "sweet stuff." And I've learned to read food labels. I now buy bread (and spaghetti sauce!) with only one gram of sugar per serving. And I'm choosier about the soup I eat.

Was it hard? Not really. How do I feel? The same. Did I lose any weight? Nope; I just happened to go to the doctor recently and tipped the scales at 182, exactly the same as a few years ago. Am I glad I did it? I suppose; I guess if nothing else I proved to myself that I could do it, although I did have to psych myself up before I went somewhere I knew would have "forbidden fruit," like a birthday party.

But it was only one month. What if I did this for a whole year? Or for the rest of my life? I don't think that's realistic; you see, I like sweet stuff. I can't imagine never having another chocolate malt! But it's February 1; what if I keep this up until my son gets married on April 8? I have to have a piece of his wedding cake, don't I?

I'll keep you posted.

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