The Sugar-Free Plan
I am day 13 of a no sugar resolution. Except for that cupcake I ate yesterday, it has been going pretty well.
Cupcake? How does that count as no sugar?
It doesn't count as no sugar. It was definitely sugar. But when I started this plan, I reminded myself that the only way I could undertake this rather lofty goal was if I remembered that I would mess up, make mistakes and have problems with it AND I had to be okay with messing up. Then I had to have a plan for getting back on track.
I have tried countless plans, ideas and resolutions when it comes to my health. And I have screwed up on many, many, many of them. I have failed so many times that I have not attempted several ideas just because I was sure I would mess up. All of that failing has led me to look seriously at habits and behaviors and try to figure out how to change mine and I have come to two conclusions:
- I have to do and try anyway, even if I mess up and make mistakes.
- I have to see failures as important insight and information about how to improve and where the gaps are in my plan.
These guiding principles help me deal with my tendency to think way, way, way too much about how to build the perfect plan, execute it perfectly and deal with any eventuality. I can get stuck in the planning phase. I ruminate. I brood. I ponder. This is both my blessing and my curse. So, to keep from getting stuck in planning, I have to remind myself that it is in the doing that you refine your plan.
So, I am doing. Doing brings with it mess, adaptation and flexibility while still being committed to your plan. I was feeling really, really good on day 10 and day 11. "I got this!" was what I kept thinking. "I can't believe it is this easy." But I kept reminding myself that while it was great it was easy now, it would definitely get harder later on.
A reality of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is that for four to fourteen days out of each month you are irritable, fatigued, overwhelmed, fatigued, unable to focus, fatigued, depressed, anxious and did I mention fatigued? For me, fatigue is the overwhelming characteristic. I struggle to focus, I struggle with my mood, I struggle with motivation but mostly I fight through a near-constant fatigue. Those are days where survival is an accomplishment. I feel like I should get an Academy Award if I shower and dress on those days. I feel like a Nobel Peace Prize would be a nice gold star for surviving a week of feeling like this. And near the end, right before it gets better, I always feel like I will never, never come out of this black hole that is my existence and I cannot imagine ever feeling human again. That is when I have to remind myself it is almost, almost over. Hold on. Hold on and you will wake up one morning in a couple of days and your brain will be back and you will be back. Those are the days I am wildly grateful for every good thing in my life because I can appreciate it all--again.
That is my motivation for staying off sugar, starches and refined carbs. One of the most important recommendations I have received about my insulin-driven PCOS is to stay off sugar and refined carbs for at least six months to normalize my cycle (Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods, Lara Briden, N.D, 2015). I want to feel normal all the time and feeling so terrible repeatedly has given me a huge desire to do whatever I can to feel better.
That's my plan for doing this.