One popular way of getting up motivational steam for losing weight, or a cleanse, or an exercise regime is to plan a Whole 30, meaning start on March 1st and go for 30 days, for example. As we have plenty of Irish blood, March seems a particularly auspicious month to go thirty days without any sugar-starch-artificial sweeteners*.
My spouse and I have decided to do a March Whole 30 to get some spring cleaning, so for us that will mean sticking to our low carbohydrate plan without interruption the next thirty days, we are starting a little ahead, but it takes a couple of days to get the system rolling. I like having the calendar posted there above my kitchen desk area and crossing off each day in bright orange or similar, which shows me our progress. As we are in our middle years, the days go so fast that the thirty days will be over soon.
Getting sugar, simple starches, and artificial sweeteners our of the system is going to be a repeat process; very few people are 100% free of them. So, when we fall off the wagon for a day, week, or more, the best thing is to have a plan to get back on the path, and the Whole 30-60-90, however long you want or need, is a great mental device to improve our physical health.
Yours in a Whole 30 for March,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
*For this blog starch means both starch from any grains, as well as from potatoes or other starchy vegetables, and all artificial sweeteners with the exception of small amounts of the natural herb sweetener stevia.
I love synchronicity! I was checking in at MarksDailyApple.com, and found a blogpost from earlier this month (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/akrasia-or-why-you-act-against-your-own-better-judgment/#comment-806307) on “akrasia” a term which essentially means why we act against our own best interest. This of course is directly related to the subject of my recent post on habit, and the new information coming out this month in Charles Duhigg’s book on “The Power of Habit.”
One of the best things about this age in which we live is that the information stream is increasingly broader and deeper. We are learning so much, primarily it seems from people’s own experiences (the great engines of science turn slowly), about why we do the things we do: the influences from corporations, government, our habits learned very early in life, friends, family, etc. The more I read–and I read a lot!–the more convinced I become that nothing we do that’s related to elemental things, like food, safety, relationships, is simple. Complexity, meaning the astonishingly complex nature of how our bodies work, how life works in community, and so on, is probably why our brains need to habituate, to find short cuts for daily activities. Think how exhausting it can be to learn something new, like a language, or just about anything that puts us back at true beginner status. Not until some things become habit, do they feel easier.
I’m finding this new understanding of habit very encouraging, for it will help me to avoid the pitfalls that come with thinking “just this once” about a behavior that can quickly cause one to revert to old habits.
Yours celebrating synchronicity,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
A person I read on another blog suggested to another reader that if she was struggling with cravings to test her blood glucose/sugar (BG) at that point, and chart what was happening. Her suggestion was based on the fact that many people can be hypoglycemic and unaware of it unless they do regular testing.
A blood glucose meter can be purchased at any drugstore or online very reasonably, and I found that it has been very helpful to me the last few years to make sure I don’t get diabetic. Increased BG is the first sign that a person is heading into dangerous diabetic territory.
This home testing is how I found I had reactive hyploglycemia, and many people, probably all of those who struggle with cravings, are experiencing the rapid rise, then equally rapid fall of blood glucose; that’s really the definition of a craving. If blood sugar stays pretty level, then you won’t get cravings.
For some good information on how to test both fasting blood glucose and determine what your norms are, go to http://www.bloodsugar101.com/.
The first rule of getting control of sugar-starch-artificial sweeteners is to know what triggers are causing the problems, and regular BG testing is the best and easiest way to find out.
Yours in learning,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
I came across the following about how to move towards creating new habits to replace our old, unhealthy habits. I’m always willing to try something new or different if it will help me get to my goals.
In his research on Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Malz established that it takes approximately 21 days of consistent application to change a habit. This time-frame allows for our brains to create new memory traces and for the information to become etched in your brain. With focus, determination, and approximately 3 weeks you can start turning your good intentions into life-long actions.
Irrespective of your habits, the following tips can help you to maximize your investment in yourself:
Determine your goals before inviting feedback from others. Being clear of our personal direction minimizes the pressure of committing to another person’s vision of your life.
Start slowly. Some of our habits have been nurtured over a lifetime and expecting everything to change overnight can be an exercise in futility.
Use visual cues. Start with a list of the benefits or desired outcomes you envision when you successfully establish the habit. Post this list somewhere visible as a reminder of your commitment to yourself.
Free your space. Rid your home, office and other areas of any poor-habit supporting items. For example, remove cigarettes and ashtrays if you are trying to stop smoking or remove junk food from your cupboards if the goal is to eat healthier. Minimizing temptation bolsters the energy we need to avoid automatically returning to old habits.
Call in the pros. Trying to successfully incorporate healthy habits in our lives sometimes requires the support of a professional. This could mean inviting feedback from a professional organizer to help with organization challenges, working with an advisor to establish sustainable financial habits or joining a team of like-minded individuals.
Celebrate the “small wins” and the “big steps”. Recognizing progress at different stages helps us to acknowledge and enjoy the process of change while remaining on task to accomplish our habit goals.
Yours in working towards a better self,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
When avoiding foods that cause us problems we sometimes don’t eat enough or often enough. I used to get into trouble with this all the time. I would be so busy all day long that I wouldn’t stop to eat, but when I did get around to eating, I ate way too much, and my resistance to sugary/starchy junk was very low.
New studies have shown that resistance is indeed much lower and our ability to exercise control or will power or avoid the sugars is lessened. (For more on will power or self control see: http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_home.cfm?volumeID=25&editionID=210&ArticleID=1997)
I’m now trying to make a point of eating a little something, like a half ounce of cheese or some nut butter on a piece of fiber dense cracker-bread, and the like, to keep my hunger in check while I try to limit my caloric intake, since I’m still working to lose some weight.
Every little bit of new information is helpful, so I keep reading in the hope of learning all I can to insure my health for now and the future.
Yours on the journey of wellness,
Nan aka Sugarbaby