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Examining My Goals: Wow How Time Flies

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Did you ever get one of those phone calls that made you smile the moment you recognize the caller ID? An old friend/client called me Thursday afternoon and after the traditional exchange of pleasantries he said ďI called to thank you for helping me learn about how to set good goals.Ē He went on to say how he had completed college, after being away from school for over twenty years. I knew he was in school but we hadnít talked in a while and I wondered how all that was going for him. Now I had an answer, LOL. After we finished talking my mind did an inventory on my own goals and how my perception of them has changed since joining Spark.

A year and a half ago I wanted to lose weight, a hundred pounds to be exact. Between me and you I didnít think I could do it. Iíd lost weight before and put it back on. I wonít bore you. You know the story. Most of us live it on a daily basis. Just substitute my name with yours. We all have ďbeen there and done that.Ē Well Iíve lost sixty eight of the hundred pounds and Iíve done that before also. Hereís whatís changed: Iím not fixated on the number, I fixated on being healthy and on changing how I live. Most recently Iíve learned the lesson that this planet is not mine. Iím a guest here. There are all sorts of things been here longer than me and will be here long after I leave and that I really need to respect the planet. I know by becoming healthy in body mind and spirit that Iíll reach my goal weight. Oh it may take a while but honestly, where am I going? There is a much larger picture here than ďjust John,Ē and as I embrace that I get closer to being whole.

I started my exercise program by believing a lot of sweat and accumulating cardio minutes would make me leaner and meaner. Today, after some injuries and some really good advice from a lot of people I am participating in an exercise process that is consistent and healthy. I had to stop running for a while because Iíd done some damage to my legs and feet. Yesterday I ran two miles for the first time in over two months. My dreams of 10Kís and half marathons are pretty much evaporated. Right now Iím going to be satisfied with 5Kís. I may never run more than a 5K and thatís OK. I have discovered spinning and I love it and now that I can move around better my trainer and I are going to start working on my core.

Iíve lost a lot of good friends here. Iíve lost people who got stuck, just like me, and gave up. I miss them. They became ashamed and embarrassed and they quietly went away. They remain a source of motivation for me because I will not give up. I may get stuck and this may take a while to complete and I will have set backs but Iím not quitting!

My goals have changed and in many, many ways thatís how it should be. Currently I am in the middle of Day 5 of no diet soda. Iíve learned that this is very similar to quitting smoking. There are two times a day I crave a diet soda --- early morning and between four and five in the afternoon. I have learned too, that there is a really beautiful peace developing inside of me. Itís a calm quiet feeling.

Iím not going to be one of those people who smiles for the camera and says ďthis is a breeze.Ē It isnít, LOL. I am breaking out all over my body with small pimples. They are not painful or anything but they are part of the aspartame withdrawal. (Itís nice when you and your doctor go to the same church and you walk out of Mass this morning and you start asking her questions!) I live with panic anxiety disorder and I have had a few monumental anxiety attacks in the past few days including one around 1:00 AM. All part of the process.

Iím doing well drinking water flavored with lemon or lime and un sweet tea. Mostly Iím proud of me that Iím doing this. Whatever goals you are working on, you should be proud of too. You are a god example to me.

Thank you for your love and support

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHERINEL66 5/19/2011 12:52PM

    Hey buddy! So, maybe we can NOT run a marathon together, LOL! I gotta tell you that I've pulled way back on the running. My own injuries, and then about 2 weeks ago one of my dogs (my babies!!) keeled over on the side of the trail from a "heat related stress event" formerly known as heat stroke. It was only 80 and humid and we were about 4+ miles into a 5 mile mostly super fast walk with run intervals. Whew, scared me. And my feet hurt.

Anyway -- it's not problem. I am the most addicted spinning addict EVER. I love it very much and it works around my various maladies/old injuries, and hasn't, to date, created new ones other than a sore butt occasionally (stay off the saddle!). I add some other cardio to that here and there, plus lots of serious butt-kicking core, plus ST -- and it's all good! I'm still shaping up and losing inches, while maintaining my weight (maybe a few pounds lower).

Yippee! It's totally about the lifestyle, totally about the journey.

Aspertame withdawl sounds WICKED. Yep, I'd say it's right up there with quitting smoking (so glad I did!).

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LYNMEINDERS 5/18/2011 6:51PM

    WooHoo...go john....that is awesome....
I have heard that the sweetnet causes problems when stopping can do it and set a great example to others....

Right there cheering you on....

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SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:19PM

    wow, I had no idea about aspartame withdrawal, it really sounds like your body is trying to get the stuff out of your body any way it can. I've heard about dangers of diet soda but never heard anybody talk about the withdrawal. You are doing a service and leading by example, as usual.

I will not give up, either.

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ALLYCAT424 5/16/2011 8:18PM

    John, your blog always touches me but this one especially did. I needed that inspiration today! I've been having a rough time of losing weight and I really want to just go away quietly because that would be the easy thing to do. Your blog has re-inspired me to not give up, to keep pushing on, despite the fact that the process seems slow and never ending sometimes. This is just what I needed to hear. Thanks!!

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GIRANIMAL 5/16/2011 7:56PM

    I'm very proud of you! I knew aspartame was bad, but I didn't anticipate that kind of withdrawal for you. I'm really sorry, for that and the panic attacks. But think about what that means about just HOW bad it is - yikes! I am so glad you are cleaning up your body to match your brilliant mind. emoticon

I like what you said about no longer being fixated on the numbers - I finally get it. I have broken a YEARLONG plateau with all these new food restrictions of mine, but I am barely even excited about it. Don't get me wrong -- I'll take it, gladly! I just more so want this to be the next step toward my feeling better. If not, I gave it my all. And you're right, for that I will be proud! (I can't say "am proud" yet - right now it's still too darn hard!) emoticon

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CINDYC53 5/16/2011 1:49PM

    "I have learned too, that there is a really beautiful peace developing inside of me. Itís a calm quiet feeling."

LOVE THAT!! I'm on my Day 3 of liberation from sugar, and I have that same feeling. It's letting go - when we quit struggling - that allows that to happen.

Proud of you, John!!

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GEEMAWEST 5/16/2011 1:37PM

    I'm proud of you too, John!

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ZURDTA- 5/16/2011 8:43AM

    It is hard journey to be sure... but so worth it.

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NASFKAB 5/16/2011 6:18AM

  you are such an inspiration. THANKS

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JULIA1154 5/15/2011 10:40PM

  Once again, John, thank you for a thoughtful, compassionate and compelling blog.

I'm sure you will conquer the diet soda craving and will feel (and be) stronger for it. That strength will inform your future efforts to create a healthy body. Hang in there, believing that you will come out on top.

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ELYMWX 5/15/2011 10:40PM

    Anything worth anything takes work. Great blog, John.

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    Congrats!!! As a former Coca Cola addict, I heartily recommend Pellegrino sparkling water when you need something fizzy. I specifically like that brand because it's one of the ones that has calcium, which guys need for strong bones too! emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 5/15/2011 4:38PM

    Awesome!!!! you can do this!!! such inpiration to me!!!!!I am proud of you too!

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CIVIAV 5/15/2011 4:31PM

    I am proud of both you and me John! And of course all Sparkers who are sticking it out placing one foot in front of the other whether they move quickly or slowly!

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HDHAWK 5/15/2011 3:39PM

    You will do this John, I have faith in you! Spark is the difference this time around. Yes, I was almost at goal and yes, I've gained nearly all of it back. I've struggled for the past two years with consistency, but the difference this time is I'm not giving up. I may be treading water, but I haven't quit. I'll reach my goals and so will you. It's just taking longer than I want and I take complete responsibility for that.

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MIZZSB 5/15/2011 3:37PM

    Love your blog AGAIN!

Thank you for you support and motivation...

Never thought you could get pimples of withdrawal from Aspartaam hummm..

I am not there yet to give up on diet soda. Maybe i will go there or not as long i am healthy and exercising.

I agree on the exercising part, i used to do a lot of cardio and so intens that i couldnt do anything else the rest of the day and my ST was high as well..
tuesday i go to the gym again after 3 weeks and will start slow, cardio on low intensity but longer and ST more reps and lower weights. heard that that is better for the fatburning.

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    Great blog - you are proof that it can be done - we just have to believe in ourselves and get out there and work towards our fitness/health goals! Thanks! emoticon

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KENDRACARROLL 5/15/2011 2:01PM

    Great post.

There is life without running. Never in my life have a run more than 2 miles, and I doubt that I ever will. Not my cup of tea. Hiking, yes, for hours. Strength training, walking, biking, spinning, cardio kickboxing, water aerobics, yes, yes, and yes. :) There are so many ways to keep your body moving. I figure, if I get injured doing a sport that is supposed to be fun and beneficial for me, then it's not the right kind.

Great job, discontinuing diet soda. My money is on you here!

Over the years I have 'lost' many SparkFriends as well and it always makes me sad. I'm not saying there is no life without SP and millions of people have lost weight without SP. I am convinced however, that without a proper support network there is a huge chance that weight loss won't last. What do they say, only 5% of all people that lost weight will be able to keep it off in the long run? Here I do credit my SparkNetwork for my success.

Wishing you well.

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WALKNLOVE 5/15/2011 1:41PM

    I do believe in this journey, God is trying to get us to listen to him as he guides us. Glad you are listening!

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PURPLE180 5/15/2011 12:54PM

    Awesome post. emoticon

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KAREBARE506 5/15/2011 12:39PM

    Great post! You're awesome!!

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WINTERRAIN 5/15/2011 12:34PM

    What an emoticon feeling the "inner calm" is, I have never been able to put to words what you have in that small sentence. I love this blog and want to thank you for sharing, it really did help me!

Your awesome emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 5/15/2011 12:13PM

    Hmm - I already have adult acne, I don't need aspartame withdrawal problems! Yikes!

Over the past few weeks, I have been flirting with giving up, but the stubborn Norwegian in me won't give up Today, I am back to being serious about this whole journey. Serious in a good way because the exercise I do is FUN!

Thanks for sharing!

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SOLONGSUE 5/15/2011 12:06PM

    Stumbles and falls are part of this journey. Learning to trust yourself and knowing that you CAN get back up is probably the hardest piece of this process to learn. You have learned these lessons and that is what makes "this time" different.

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LADYHAWKE12 5/15/2011 11:50AM

  You will get there John! I believe in your inherent strength. emoticon

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Becoming Sugar Free: Day Three

Friday, May 13, 2011

Iíll have to admit I was a bit over whelmed by all the advice I received on becoming sugar free. My first inclination was to try to rationalize my way out of making the commitment by telling myself ďthis is way too much to do.Ē Since I know how I think I realized that this fit of drama would be followed by a moment of lucidity. I was right.

Iíve decided to break this down into increments I can deal with. There is no way I can do all of it cold turkey, so I devised a plan. I had my last diet soda Tuesday evening. Thatís where I am going to begin. Itís been two days, seven hours, twenty minutes and a handful of seconds but whoís counting, right? I quit smoking six years ago and I did it cold turkey. I took a calendar and for every day I didnít smoke I put a huge X through the date. When I was really tempted I asked myself, ďDo you really want to have to start over?Ē After a month it got easier. I decided to employ the same strategy with diet soda. I have proudly place two bi ďXísĒ on a calendar. Itís my motivation.

Physically I feel pretty good but I am having some emotional withdrawal symptoms similar to tobacco withdrawal. I know in a week or so they will dissipate. Pray for Joan. She told me this morning she is ďREALLY looking forward to spending part of next week with her three sisters.Ē I have noticed that I am bit more regular when I use the restroom which is always a plus.

I have replaced the cookies, cakes and pies with fresh fruit for right now. Once I get the diet soda habit controlled I will tackle the next step. I am eating fresh red grapes, fresh pineapple, and fresh apples. I am drinking water and unsweetened ice tea. I tried herbal tea, which tastes great ---- However I am spending enough time in the bathroom as it is.

Thatís where Iím at right now. Itís interesting to correlate the diet soda and cigarettes because I find myself wanting a diet soda at certain times just like I wanted a cigarette. In a way, Iím glad that I had that experience because I know if I focus and balance for a few minutes the urge goes away. Homeostasis is never easy, but well worth the price.

Iíll keep you posted.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 5/20/2011 10:34AM

    I drink green unsweetened tea all day long but I was never a diet-coke lover, anyway tea helps me avoiding other types of drinks/food emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/20/2011 10:34:50 AM

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SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:08PM

    I am really impressed with your plan and am waiting to read about your experiences with this.

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CINDYC53 5/15/2011 8:12PM

    p.s. Science is showing now that diet soda actually activates our sugar cravings (the experience of some other sparkers not withstanding). Just had to share that!

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CINDYC53 5/15/2011 8:10PM

    emoticon emoticon

Yay, John!! How about a piece of sugar-free gum at those "special times?"


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SPARKLISE 5/15/2011 3:52PM

    I gave up coffee and diet-pepsi in january so i can relate,but i assure you,it does get easier.I used to drink a lot of it in the car so i replaced it with water in my coffee cup and that helped a lot. I think i missed the taste but also the habit of drinking something so i do great with water-i bring it everywhere.Hope this help. emoticon emoticon

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MARLIZG 5/15/2011 1:52PM

    low sugar pie crust filled with sugar-free pudding made with skim milk (i put sliced berries on bottom & cut the milk by 1/2 cup--u can have your pie & eat it too! emoticon

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LIZABETT 5/15/2011 9:10AM

    emoticon I'm proud of you, John. Especially for ridding your body of unhealthy nicotine--and good on the aspertame also. Anything we can do to live healthier AND longer is emoticon

emoticon emoticon

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AJDOVER1 5/14/2011 7:21PM

    I like your strategy of having a replacement for your sugars. It sounds like you're doing great. You're a hero!

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MIZZSB 5/14/2011 4:41PM

    you can do this John!

I tried it as well but i got sweet binges when i stopped drinking diet soda.
So i drink about 2-3 glasses of diet soda a day and that helps me from binging.

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/14/2011 7:04AM


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LYNMEINDERS 5/14/2011 6:00AM

    WooHoo...go John....
You can so do this.....
Cheering you on

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CARTOONB 5/13/2011 11:25PM

    Diet soda is a hard habit to break...and then to cut sugar too?!? Joan is a brave woman! LOL! I wish you both luck!

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LORSI2000 5/13/2011 10:44PM


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DAD2GETFIT 5/13/2011 7:51PM


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JPRICE217 5/13/2011 7:37PM

    emoticonone day at a time

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C4CHRISTINE 5/13/2011 5:45PM

    best of luck! I went cold turkey in February and never looked back. It was the best choice for me!
Here's to more Xs

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SKATVEN 5/13/2011 3:03PM

    actually you maybe having aspertame withdraw which affects some people more than others. My brother was advised by his chiropracter that he may see some health benefits from not ingesting aspertame as he had some patients who saw major benefits from quitting it. There are lots of studies available. So I have given it a try too.. I have the hardest time when I want a bubbly beverage. I don't think I'd go sugar free... but aspertame free not too bad.

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GIRANIMAL 5/13/2011 2:29PM

    I didn't even think about it being similar to quitting smoking, withdrawal and all, but you're right! (I quit smoking 5 years ago - yay us!) emoticon

I have a few secret weapons I've rediscovered lately to make fruit seem more like a "real" dessert: frozen grapes (they're like sorbet!) and this little beauty from Coach Stepf:
You can do it, John! X the heck out of that calendar!


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MARYMO22 5/13/2011 1:17PM

    here's to day 3 etc....... :-)

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CMBELISLE 5/13/2011 1:10PM

    Congrats on the no soda thing!

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HDHAWK 5/13/2011 12:55PM

    Doing this gradually is a good way to go. I was almost off diet coke a couple years ago. I have one per day now, sometimes 2. I don't drink coffee so that's my caffeine fix. Good luck!

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LADYLAUGHS247 5/13/2011 11:47AM

  Great job! Breaking into little steps is the only way I can make big changes. Good luck in the days to come. I look forward to hearing your progress!

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DIASTER 5/13/2011 10:33AM

  Always a new challenge to concur. You can do it and in about 2 weeks you will feel better. A lot of joint pain will disappear.

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JANC7223 5/13/2011 10:31AM

    Congrats on making this decision. Just take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time and before you know it you will have conquered this. emoticon

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GANASSI 5/13/2011 10:13AM

    Good luck with quitting the diet soda. Aspartame is truly addictive to some of us. I used to drink a 2L bottle a day, and would have drunk a second if I had opened it. It was tough at first, but it does get easier.

And as you admit, it is a habit - you simply have to replace it with another one!

These days (some years on) I still have the occasional coke zero (I used to be a diet coke fiend, but prefer the taste of coke zero), but it really is something that I only buy very occasionally. And I only get the single can now.

One day at a time!

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BLUEROSE73 5/13/2011 10:02AM

  Good for you. And good for recognizing how big a project it is and breaking it down. I know you can do this. I beleive in you.

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KIKOOMAGOO 5/13/2011 9:50AM

    Just amazing! I really admire how you can take a seemingly overwhelming goal and put it together like a puzzle with 5000 pieces. One piece (or day) at a time.
I gave up diet soda several years ago after I had severe migraine headaches from the caffeine addiction. I couldn't go 4 hours without a diet Dr. Pepper or the headaches would debilitate me. I think it took 6-10 days of no caffeine and a ton of support from my husband to get through it. I still drink coffee, but just one mug a day.
You can do it! 2 calendar x's down - the sky's the limit!

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PRINCESSNURSE 5/13/2011 9:19AM

    One day at a time, right? YOU CAN DO IT!

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HAPPYSOUL91 5/13/2011 9:15AM

    Simple, not easy!

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MARTELLA3 5/13/2011 9:11AM

    John-I feel as if you are a trail blazer for me. I know I would benefit from being more vigilant about added sugars. Your courage to take the bull by the horns has been a great motivator.
Thanks for keeping me updated.

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MRSPINCKNEY 5/13/2011 8:59AM

    emoticon It gets easier! Take it one day at a time! emoticon

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SNOOPYLUV85 5/13/2011 8:51AM

    You can do it!!!

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CIVIAV 5/13/2011 8:51AM

    You are an awesome example of what can be done. Inspired me to cut out deserts except on special occasions (max 2X per week).

Re the soda. I gave up diet coke upon receiving my cancer diagnosis. Every so often, say once per quarter I have one. But while I was quitting, I would make myself a club soda and bitters or plain soda or soda and lemon. I found what I missed was the bubbles!

Keep on keeping on!

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SSPLAWN 5/13/2011 8:47AM

    Wow. Good luck. That's a hard goal to stick to and I wish you the best!

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SWEETNEENI 5/13/2011 8:47AM

    Good job John! emoticon

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Thank You So Much For The Advice.......

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I want to thank those of you who took the time to share their thoughts, ideas and most importantly their experiences on removing sugar from their diet. I really appreciate all the insights, and the resources. I have already started reading and crafting a plan.

To be honest with you the hardest part is going to be the Coke Zero. I started counting in my head how many I have per day and when I drink them and I was amazed in a scary sort of way. I didnt know I drank THAT MUCH diet soda. Whats worse is that I always buy one right when I finish a work out. I havent always drank diet soda. I used to drink plain old unsweet tea and I got lazy because the diet soda was readily availible and I didnt have to do anything more that twist a cap.

I can do this but I'm no different than anyone else. Change sucks and its scary. I know, though, that I have many people who care and who will support me.

Thank you guys for the love and all the input

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:06PM

    You will be SO amazed at what happens to your body when you let go of soda and replace it with water. Amazed!

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CINDYC53 5/15/2011 8:08PM


I used to be addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. I couldn't imagine living without it. But, I read a lot about the chemicals in diet soda, and I stopped drinking it a few years ago. Now I find that only water REALLY refreshes me, but I do drink coffee and an occasional iced tea (I make sun tea in the summer, with flavored herbal teas - no sweetener). I don't like carbonated drinks at all any more - I really prefer WATER! (I do like it with lemon sometimes.)

I am also on a journey to get off sugar, and I've been blogging about it the past couple days. I was really obsessing about chocolate and other sweet treats, and I didn't like the amount of space SUGAR was taking up in my brain. So, my partner and I agreed to make some permanent changes, for our health & feeling of well being. So far, so good - this is Day 2. I'm not saying I can NEVER have it again, JUST NOT TODAY! (So much easier!)

You are doing great!!!

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NASFKAB 5/13/2011 7:23AM

  You will do it John one day at a time. & by putting one foot in front of the other*

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LYNMEINDERS 5/12/2011 7:53PM

    You can do this day at a time....

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HLPRATT 5/12/2011 10:18AM

    Funny my weakness is diet coke-I don't like coke zero. I try to limit it to one per day but I'm not always successful.

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MARYMO22 5/12/2011 5:27AM

    Interesting ho hear - I started gaining weight when I switched to diet cola (and fad diets) thinking I was being "good"

Since starting my Sprak journey I can't bear the taste of fizzy pop. diet or otherwise. I only really drink decaff coffee, or water through the day (although I add a splenda tab to my coffee, as I've found this reduces my sugar cravings)

I always have a glass of skimmed milk post workout though - and also LOVE coconut water, so refreshing.

I tend to have one or two pieces of 70% cocoa, chocolate if I really want something sweet - or my indulgance is icecream - but I buy the good stuff and only have a little.....

Good luck - rooting for you!

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SPARKENISTA 5/11/2011 10:05PM

    Haven't heard from you for a while so I decided to visit. I use a lot of Splenda, as well. I have run across "experts" lately that have told me that research indicates that it slows down or stops weight loss. I find that hard to believe.

Calories in calories out...ya know? In any case, good luck in your quest to remove sugar from your life. The soda addiction will pass, too.


BR> emoticon

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TRI_BABE 5/11/2011 9:52PM

    Just remember - YOU CAN DO IT!! YOU CAN DO IT!! Once you start drinking the healthier things again I think you will find the cravings for the other stuff go away. YOU CAN DO IT!! emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 5/11/2011 6:05PM

    Share what you learn on this sugar reduction part of your journey. My BF is diabetic with a huge sweet tooth, so I am interested.

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CANNIE50 5/11/2011 4:29PM

    One thought I had when i read that you drink CokeZero after workouts is wondering if you are taking any protein in during the magical half-hour after you work out, when your body needs a balance of protein and carbs to build muscle? I often use MuscleMilk light but there are other options. Low sugar choc milk, or plain milk with a half of a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread, or a banana sliced into greek yogurt, are all really good post workout treats to refuel your body. Your body is working so hard - it deserves a proper refueling! emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/11/2011 3:41PM

    You can do this, John; make up that unsweetened tea and take it with you for post workout if that is what you enjoy. You might try coconut water post workout, too, as it has a lot of good stuff (electrolytes and potassium in particular). I just started drinking that to boost my potassium intake, and I really like it--it tastes good, fills me up, and has 60 calories in 12 oz. You have made it through a lot of other changes; I know you can handle this one!

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LUVMYK9S 5/11/2011 3:35PM

    John, you can do it! Just take it one day at a time. If you find the Coke Zero habit hard to break, just start off by replacing one soda with water each day and then build upon that. If it is the caffeine that you are hooked on, then slowly wean yourself off the caffeine.

I found that when I quit smoking (many years ago) that I could no longer tolerate caffeine (it makes me too jittery) so I either go with decaf coffee or just water.

I have a hard time controlling added sugar myself but I do try to limit sweets and don't even use ketchup because of the sugar in it!


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ISHIIGIRL 5/11/2011 2:17PM

    I agree with eveyone who said go slowly. do not be afraid of going slowly, only be afraid of standing still~Chinese Proverb. You can do it John.We are here to help you!

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MIZZSB 5/11/2011 1:45PM

    i DID NOT quit diet coke, when i quit i got huge binge atacks.
Since i drink about 3 glasses a day its all good and i dont have real binges anymore...

I wouldnt go cold turkey but thats just me..

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JACKIEP143 5/11/2011 1:22PM

    John there is a very good UNSWEETENED tea called "the Republic of Tea". I buy it in ginger peach or raspberry. It's decaf. black tea. I mix it in with my water to give it a different taste. Maybe you can try it. I got it at the farmer's market where I live but they also sell it on the internet.

Maybe this will help and it tastes good even without sugar. That's how I drink it! GO JOHN! emoticon

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GOLFCHICK2-0 5/11/2011 1:10PM

    I quit diet soda last year. It was the best thing I ever did!! It may be good idea to wean yourself off slowly instead of going cold turkey, drink 1/3rd less for a week, then drop another 1/3rd.
What I found surprising after giving up diet soda was that I can no longer stand the taste of any of the chemical sweeteners. No Light yogurts, no sugar-free anything... If I want sweet, it's either fruit or real sugar (used sparingly). I have less food reactions and stomach aches, less headaches.
Best of health to you!!

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LORSI2000 5/11/2011 1:06PM


Since Coke Zero has caffeine (doesn't it?) I highly recommend slowly weaning yourself off of it.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 5/11/2011 12:05PM

    I have to be upfront here John, kicking the diet soda, when I stopped sugar/sugar substitutes was the hardest. It can be done and if you have to try, try again please do. Be creative in this process ... it will be fun, frustrating and exciting all at the same time. Also, be kind to yourself if you slip. That was a big lesson I learned. In the end, I believe you'll be amazed at how you feel after you give up the soda and the sugars.

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LADYLAUGHS247 5/11/2011 12:01PM

  Good luck with this John!

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LADYHAWKE12 5/11/2011 11:38AM

  You can do it John! And it's almost time to make sun tea too! My husband keeps a jug of Lipton Cold Brew in the fridge at all times and swears by it. emoticon

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SHELLEY81 5/11/2011 11:17AM

    I used to be a diet coke junkie and now rarely drink it. I very much enjoy seltzer water. It's the bubbles and a bit of flavor I crave after drinking so much water every day. It's tough at first but you can totally do this!

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GIRANIMAL 5/11/2011 10:59AM

    Ohhhhh, please do your best. I didn't know about the Coke Zero! Another dear friend of mine also drinks far too much of that stuff, and I beg him to give it up as well. That fake sugar is terrible for you, and you deserve the best!

You can do it, John! What about something like seltzer water instead? If memory serves from when I used to drink it, it's way cleaner (but check your labels to be sure) and the carbonation is soda-like! I do not recall about the calories though, because that was back when I was oblivious to such things. emoticon

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PRINCESSNURSE 5/11/2011 10:50AM

    I hear you about the diet soda. I had a SERIOUS diet soda addiction. I gave it up about 2 months ago. I stick to water with LOTS of fresh lemon or fruit flavored herbal teas. I did have a diet coke on a whim about 2 weeks ago and it tasty gross--very chemical.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 5/11/2011 10:41AM

    Do your neighbors know you drink unsweet tea? If so, haven't they formed a committee to run you out of the south? LOL Unfortunately, I grew up on sweet tea so to try and drink it w/o some kind of sweetner makes it taste like dish water. Ick!

I did a challenge where I went off of sugar for a month. I felt really good and lost weight. It was hard tho. The next month I reintroduced limited amounts of sweets back in and the next month I was right back where I started. I seem to be an all or nothing girl on this topic.

Keep us posted on how it goes. I'm cheering for you!


Comment edited on: 5/11/2011 10:41:39 AM

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GRAMLORI 5/11/2011 10:39AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
You can do this, John, we're all cheering for you!!

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/11/2011 10:32AM

    emoticon we believe in you!

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TURBOADDICT444 5/11/2011 10:08AM

  Hey John, I am with you on that one. I would switch between coffee and diet coke and also didn't realize how much I was drinking. This is my second week of cutting back on coffee and totally cutting out all diet soda. I found that I really enjoy water and flavored water so much more that I don't even miss it. Water also quenches my thirst alot more than soda so I am sure you can do this, it's not as hard as you think. Good Luck!

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BLUEROSE73 5/11/2011 10:05AM

  We believe in you John. You can do this.

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I Need A Bit of Advice on Sugar

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I would like to remove processed sugar from my diet and I'm not quite sure how to go about doing it. I have read some things that speak in a scientific sort of language I have a hard time grasping. Does anyone have a resource or experience that has a simple approach to removing sugar from my diet? I'm not sure if I should go cold turkey, cut back, reduce it or how to approach it. Is if simply a matter of only eating fruit and removing cookies cakes and pies?

This is a problem in my life and a barrier to continuing my health journey.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:04PM

    Cold turkey. You'll notice a lack of energy for a few days maybe but then you'll be amazed. You will have to not eat processed foods, too, though, because they all have some kind of sugar in them. And you may have to not even eat fruit for a little while and then slowly add them back into your diet. Good luck if you try this.

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JPRICE217 5/15/2011 6:55AM

    I have the same problem once I start I can not stop. I just try to stay away from it. You have gotten some good advice. emoticon

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EDWINA172 5/11/2011 2:16PM

    I have a sweet tooth also. I don't use sugar at all. I use Splenda. What I noticed when I started my lifestyle change was that anything with sugar or HFCS made me hungry within 1/2 hour of eating it. I want to be satisfied when I eat something. I don't want to spend my daily calories on something that is going to lead to me wanting more.
I bake with Splenda. I find ice cream made with Splenda. Be careful with the whole "organic" label. Just because something is organic does not mean it is sugar/calorie free.
I would start weeding sugar out slowly and see how you feel. You can do this. You will feel awesome. Good luck!

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    Eat clean. Get rid of processed food and your problem is solved. Eat fresh meat, fresh veggies, fresh fruit, nuts, healthy fats, etc.

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YOGATIME 5/11/2011 9:45AM

    Oh I struggle with the sugar demon too! Have you read the Eat Clean books by Tosca Reno? They have really helped me. When I fall off the wagon and allow soda or candy back in moderation--I just crave more so I try to find other "treats" that satisfy that emotional feeling of needing a treat. Good luck!

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DDOORN 5/11/2011 9:12AM

    As you can see from other responses there is a whole range of options for reducing sugar. I don't think it's so black and white. Perhaps think of it as a dial and that you are looking to "turn the dial down" your sugar intake by reading labels, etc. Generally, as Michael Pollan suggests in his common sense "Food Rules" it helps to avoid eating foods that you buy in boxes, have more than 5 ingredients or ingredients whose names you cannot pronounce. This will steer you away from sugar and its cousins.


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HLPRATT 5/11/2011 8:11AM

    I've thought about doing this same thing. I know processed foods and sugars are just empty calories. I do think there's a cyclic nature that the more you eat the more you crave. Artificial sweeteners are an option, but apparently they can feed that craving. My motto has been moderation. I think it might be hard to just go cold turkey unless those foods are just a small part of your diet anyway. Good luck to you- let us know how it goes. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 5/11/2011 7:58AM

    Because of certain allergies, I have had to cut out the sugar. READ ALL FOOD/BEVERAGE LABELS. Don't just look for sugar, but look for all of "sugar names". You won't believe what has some form of sugar. I also have to avoid yeast - and let me tell you that finding it on labels is worse than sugar. Educate yourself. The doctor gave me a list of foods to completely avoid for the first 2 weeks. Now I add some of them but not all at once and not often. Cantaloupe is a definite no for me (and I love cantaloupe).

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MARCYNA 5/11/2011 3:06AM

    I use honey in my morning cup of coffee, then I use no sweeteners at all during the day. The less sugar I have, the least I miss it. This is not scientific at all, but works for me: I did it gradually, giving up all sweet food very slowly. I was a sugar addict and I still have to be careful emoticon

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KENDRACARROLL 5/10/2011 11:32PM

    This might be a bit off topic; check out

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CARTOONB 5/10/2011 10:57PM

    I like sugar...and caffeine...and some alcohol...and processed foods. I'm not a good person to give you advice. At least, not good advice. Sounds like you're getting some good info.

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SHERLYN-WILL 5/10/2011 7:27PM

    I have a blog on 9-17-10 about what I am doing (2 blogs that day actually)

It shows the eating plan... from the book WHY CAN"T I STOP EATING.

This plan has been a Godsend because I didn't know how to stop eating processed sugar before either.

I sleep better, feel AMAZING, Feel HEALTHY, and MANY more benefits to name!
I have written several blogs after this date about my progress.

Check them out... I am here if you need me!

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JAMJOJAM 5/10/2011 3:09PM

    There are many opinions, but this is what works for me. I have omitted most sugar from my diet and replaced it with Splenda. (I avoid Equal/aspartane) Splenda is my life saver , I use it in anything that used to have sugar. It is in my morning coffee, my hot oatmeal, yogurt and fruit smoothies. I made sugar free cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for the holidays using Splenda. I have lost 65 pounds since May 24, 2010 and I use a lot of Splenda, love it. By the way, I used to eat lots of candy, pie, cake, ice cream; that is how I got fat; now my favorite dessert is fruit and Mountain High plain whole milk 3.25% fat yogurt with Splenda and vanilla or yogurt/fruit/soy milk smoothies. I have noticed that low or non fat foods usually have more sugar, I avoid non fat foods and I am a carnivore, I eat lots of meat. Yes, by all means cut the sugar; you will feel so much better. emoticon

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WORKINGSTIFF 5/10/2011 2:47PM

    I don't know much about eliminating sugar per se, but I think trying to eliminate processed foods is a good way to eat.

People are so right-you have to look at labels because there is sugar in so many food items (even catsup!). And it might be labeled as sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, etc. etc.

I agree about the artificial sweetners; for me, they make me crave more sweets...

Anytime you can consult with a dietitian or expert could be helpful.

Way to go on this new route in your journey!

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KIKOOMAGOO 5/10/2011 2:30PM

    This was the reason I came back to SP in the first place. Too much sugar! And I was feeling sooo sick. I haven't given it up completely- still use it in my coffee because well, coffee is the last thing I will give up. I try to not eat things with artificial sweeteners mostly because I can't stand the way they taste. OMG I ate a regular white bread dinner roll that I baked from scratch and it tasted so sweet after not having whit bread for 2 months.
I will eat yogurt- plain Greek and add my own fruit or a but if honey from the local farmers market.
When chocolate cravings hit I have a square of 85% dark choc bar. Sometimes I melt it on some walnuts or add it to plain oatmeal.
Good luck! My headaches have all but displeased since breaking away from sugar. (now to tackle the salt!)

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HEALTHY4ME 5/10/2011 2:20PM

    A Super spark team led by a nurse that helps with sugar issues... she may be able to start you off.

Sent you an invitation to check it out.

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/10/2011 1:30PM

............ dont get mad at me, but how about cutting the artificial sugar first?

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GIRANIMAL 5/10/2011 1:26PM

    Hello, bro!

I am struggling with this too. Here's what I've been told and have been experimenting with:

* Empty your sugar bowl and replace it with stevia.
* Check labels, on everything. Including healthy foods like oatmeal and yogurt. To me, anything over 7-10 grams is high. For oatmeal, for example, I buy plain (certified gluten-free makes that choice a lot easier now) and use a little agave. It's still processed but it's lower GI.
* Even watch your fruit -- too much of a good thing is still too much. Try making sure your fruit hovers around two servings a day.

BUT, if you start to feel like your workouts are wiping you out, you may be going too low and can bump the fruit back up a bit. (This is where I am at, anyway.)

I also believe chemical sugar substitutes (aspartame, saccharine, even Splenda, which is also known as sucralose) are worse for you and have a stronger affect on your sugar cravings.

I'll let you know if I remember anything else. :) Good luck!

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HDHAWK 5/10/2011 12:47PM

    I cut back almost cold turkey and eat sugar free jello when I am having cravings. You'll get advice that the dye, etc. is bad for you, but it works for me. It takes a few days of cravings and then you don't miss it. Some days I can still have a taste of something, but I'm currently at the stage where a bite sends me for more, so I can't have it. It will get better.

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ISHIIGIRL 5/10/2011 12:45PM

    I think you have a lot of good advice here. The best thing I can add is if you start reading labels to stay under 10g of sugar per serving. Stay away from sugar free because that is just as bad and doesn't help with the cravings. Aspertame and artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar. I would definately get some truvia or stevia. It is a good substitute if you have to have some kind of sweetener. Going cold turkey is really hard. You will start to notice after a few weeks the hidden sugars in your food. I have really been enjoying my raw carrots. They have become insanely sweet since I have cut most refined sugars from my diet. Getting the sugars out of your system will also help reduce belly fat. A good book to check out is The Bellyfat Cure. It is all about the hidden sugars in foods and especially foods you get when eating out. Good Luck with this John! Know that we are all here to support you!

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LORSI2000 5/10/2011 12:35PM

    Way to go, John!
Eliminating sugar from your diet is a significant part of your weight loss journey as well as improve other sugar related health problems. (if any)
I agree 100% with Cindy regarding the foods to eliminate from your diet. You will, once again, be reading labels! The ONLY thing I suggest (and this is because I eat 70-80% organic) is to stay clear of the Splenda. Chose a natural sweetener (if needed) like Purevia or Truvia which are derived from the Stevia plant. (Let me know if you would like to learn more about organic/raw foods.)
Lastly, I know you are a "flexetarian"; choosing high quality animal meat (when you can) will really help balance your blood sugar to beat sugar cravings.


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JECKIE 5/10/2011 12:31PM

    There are as many opinions out there are there are people. I will tell you what worked for me was to do the first 2 weeks of South Beach. It was good to have something solid to help bust through that addiction craving period, and then it just became second nature to me.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 5/10/2011 12:19PM

    In the beginning, I stopped adding sugar and sugar substitutes. It was rough first week. When I had sugar attacks I ate dried fruits in small amounts. Then I attacked hidden sugars. If you want to go that deep into removing sugars from your diet take a look at the labels - you'll be amazed. I found sugar substitutes were the most difficult to get off of and did the most damage to my body.

I wish you well on your journey.

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EDWARDSC393 5/10/2011 12:08PM

    I removed candy first, then all the obvious sugars, then all the white flour stuff that turns into sugar, no juice, its loaded with it. I,m so used to it now, that I don,t really miss it. My downfall is having some wine with dinner. I don,t even use white pasta, there is a Barilla pasta that has 17 grams of protein, omegas, and fiber, and it doesn,t taste funny. I use to be a real candy freak, not anymore! Of course no soda, not even diet soda, water or unsweetened herb tea. Your taste buds will eventually get used to it. Glad to be your friend! Cherie

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FREECLOUD 5/10/2011 12:07PM

    Hi there John. Removing sugar can be a daunting process because, as you probably already know, sugars are so well hidden in foods we eat. Here's my strategy, which has worked pretty well!

Switch from white pasta/bread to whole grain. Whole grain means 100% whole grain/wheat. The label should not say "enriched" anything.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague. Here's an article that also explains the other names it's labeled under.


If you enjoy yogurts, check the label - most of them have a ton of sugar added. A few that have less sugar are the Fage brand and Blue Bunny.

Make sure your fruits are in their original form - nothing from a can and check the label for added sugars.

Consider giving up condiments like ketchup, barbeque sauce, etc. Again, check out that label.

Here's another article I like with information on what to look out for -

For me it took about two weeks to come off sugar. I still use it in my coffee in the morning because I just can't give that up. You might want to consider using other sweeteners - agave and honey are good. I haven't used Stevia because its expensive, but I understand that it's plant based and not "artificial". Good luck - looking forward to hearing how you do and what others have to say.

Comment edited on: 5/10/2011 12:08:19 PM

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CINDYC53 5/10/2011 12:03PM

    What I try to do first is remove the white foods - obvious things with sugar, like the sweets you mentioned, and white rice, white breads, etc. that turn to sugar after you eat them. Stick to whole grains - and fresh fruit for something sweet. I still struggle with Splenda. I like some in my coffee, but I know my body reacts to it as if it were real sugar, so I'm working on that. And I think "sugar-free" candy & other desserts are the wrong way to go. Stay natural, with a little fruit.
There was a great article in the NYTimes recently: "Is Sugar Toxic?"
And yes, I think if you CAN go cold turkey - have some yummy spring fruit when you crave sugar - that's the best way to go.
Good luck, John!

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LISA01605 5/10/2011 12:00PM

    I don't have any specific resources but I think eliminating obvious junk food is a good start. Things like cookies, pies, ice cream, candy. I have recently improved my eating dramatically and greatly reduced all my sugar from those sources. I think sugar in fruit is ok but that is just my opinion. I have noticed a great improvement in my mood and energy level but I can't say reducing sugar was the cause because I changed a lot of things. I also reduced my calories overall from 3000+ a day to 1200-1800 a day and I got back to exercising consistently and really pushing myself with exercise goals. The biggest thing I have noticed is greater mental clarity but it might be a cumulative result of all the changes. Good luck!

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Accepting The Challenge

Monday, May 09, 2011

The last couple of weeks have not been my best. With my basement flooding three times and finding out that flood insurance is only good if you have to commute to and from your house by boat, my moods took a marked turn south. Things just seemed to get worse and worse. When I am stressed it has a tendency to settle in my lower back which makes me walk as if I was thirty years older than I really am. Itís not only painful but itís downright nerve wracking. It hasnít done much for my disposition either.

On my walk this morning I told myself feeling like this, all stressed and uptight, was getting really old. Thatís when it dawned on me that it all begins and ends in my mind. As long as I look at the world through soot colored glasses than I am going to attract all sorts of negative people and experiences to me. Itís like expanding the adage of ďYou are who you hang around with,Ē to ďYou are what you think you are.Ē It begins and ends in my mind. I asked myself to take a good look at me and see what I saw. (Say that ten times really fast!) What do I want to see? I ticked off a litany of things that most of the time I file under the category of ďhopes and dreams.Ē I saw things that would be nice.

ďIf ya canít see it John, how can ya feel it?Ē I said to myself. Really good point. I saw where I was at in many aspects of my life and I realized it I was exactly how I saw myself. Itís sort of like, ďWell what did you expect?Ē As I walked I started taking pieces of who I am and projecting what I wanted them to look like. Pretty soon I began to feel lighter, more peaceful and while that nagging pain in back didnít go away but it subsided. I saw a ray of hope.

As I bounced along, it struck me there was more. Once I had the image in my mind and felt how powerful it was I had to become it. Not when I reach my goal weight, run a 10K or cycle a century. I had to become that vision right now, oversized belly, sore back and all. I had to realize as the adage says, ďThe reason for all challenges is so that you can finally learn that none are larger than you.Ē I have to learn that when I believe I am healthy and whole I will be. When I believe my life is full of joy and blessings and amazingly wonderful people, it will be.

A long time ago an English teacher of mine often said ďIf itís going to be, itís up to me.Ē

When I see it I can believe it and when I believe it I can become it. Everything I do has to be in the present tense. Just ask any very happy person. I am not suggesting we hire the cast of a Broadway musical and go dancing down the streets of life under some false illusion. Life throws us curve balls. How we deal with them is determined by what we think, feel and believe.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 8:56PM

    Well, you would think flood insurance would have covered that damage, some part of your homeowner's insurance anyway.

Sometimes it scares me that I don't have any big challenges in my life right now. Wow, maybe it's because I'm being given the time and resources to face me, the challenge of facing my demons. Everything I've gone through in this life has brought me to this point. How I faced things as a child, or didn't face them, how I've held on to things that should have been let go of, all things that cannot be changed, but I can change how I look at them, at me.

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LYNMEINDERS 5/11/2011 6:47AM

    Amen & Amen to this....

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MIRACLELOVE77 5/10/2011 1:18PM

    GREAT blog :)

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HLPRATT 5/10/2011 9:18AM

    I am constantly amazed by the power of our attitudes. It can make all the difference in the world.

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NASFKAB 5/10/2011 9:10AM

  Great thinking we can do anything being positive. Way to go John

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CARTOONB 5/9/2011 11:18PM

    Are you sure we can't hire a broadway musical? I hear Wicked is pretty good....and apt! LOL!

Seriously, you are right, as usual. I agree with John.

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MKPRINCESS007 5/9/2011 10:29PM

    You know I have been there, John. With my chin scraping the ground I was. But, I just made up my mind to get up the next day, look it in the eye, and give it another go. I made it back out into the light again, and so will you.

Thinking of you, my friend..............

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MIZZSB 5/9/2011 2:53PM

Its not been easy the last couple of weeks but we are here for you!!!! emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 5/9/2011 12:05PM

    Flooding is a major curve ball and you deserved to have at least a small pity party, especially when insurance doesn't help. Now it's time to dust off and move forward. Looks like you're doing just that! PS Hope the back feels better!

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GEEMAWEST 5/9/2011 11:55AM

    I totally agree with you, John!

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JANC7223 5/9/2011 11:29AM

    Attitude is everything!

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SNOOPYLUV85 5/9/2011 11:27AM

    Once again, you are so right! Thank you for always sharing your thoughts with all of us!

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EDWINA172 5/9/2011 9:47AM

    Goodness! We are such mental creatures, aren't we? Hope your week goes well. Lets turn that frown upside down:)

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BLACKROSE_222 5/9/2011 9:30AM

    Thank you so much for sharing, John. You are absolutely 100% right.

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UNLIKELY 5/9/2011 8:49AM

  How do I attract not drinking alcohol anymore? It is wrecking my life.

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    That is the principle of "The Secret" and the Law of Attraction... Like attracts like... Good for you for changing your thoughts ... which WILL result in changing your life! (Wayne Dyer book I love :)

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