Pouuur some sugar on me

For the love of all that is splenda, give me SUGAR.

My roommate and I decided to go on a two week, no sugar diet/experiment. We were both just kind of curious to see if we could do it, and if so what it would feel like. Would we be overcome with a new found energy? Would we shed 20 pounds? Would magic fairies raise our metabolism to a point of life-long fat burning power? Could we possibly kick that chocolate craving we have after just about every meal that only increases about one week every SINGLE month? We set out to find out.

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The first few days were painful. Rice Krispie treats, donuts, and chocolate cake were all offered to us within the first 24 hours. Worse is that we both work with a bunch of jokesters who find it highly entertaining to taunt us with Oreos instead of providing carrots. After those first few days however, it wasn’t so bad. We had already decided at the beginning to only cut out added or processed sugar. So fruits, milk, Simply Orange, and whole wheat grains were up for grabs. So we really did have a ton of options, it was just a matter of studying nutrition labels and consulting with Google.

I bought sugar free bread, cinnamon instead of brown sugar for my oatmeal, natural/no sugar added pasta sauce, natural peanut butter and jelly, whole wheat pasta, and a bunch of other over priced healthy things. Everything taste pretty much the same. The first week I was supposed to be carb loading for my half marathon that weekend. For me that meant eat pretty much what I usually eat, but I just wouldn’t have to feel as bad  about the copious amounts of pasta I so enjoy. Lunch was also quite difficult. You couldn’t have deli meat, so you either had to make chicken the night before, eat a very plain tuna sandwich or PB&J. I also found, however, that cutting out sugar alternatives, like Splenda, was imperative. Splenda makes you crave sugar. It’s like an endless cycle of fattening. You have the Splenda alternative to satisfy your craving for sugar in a no-cal way, but then a few hours later you’re drooling over some fudge with no idea what happened. To that effect, not eating sugar made me crave sugar less. This was a much healthier and happier endless cycle that I would much rather be a part of.

Going out to eat was a total pain in the tush, however. EVERYTHING is terrible for you. It took me 17 minutes to find something at Panera that wouldn’t break my new diet. I managed to avoid going out to dinner, and for the best. No one likes being that person at the table listing off all the things they don’t want on their plate. “Yes I’ll have the cheese burger. But with no bun, ketchup, mustard, and french fries. Oh and is your cheese all natural?” At holiday parties you had to turn down offers for dessert, and try your best not to offend. Especially when you’d be forced to explain why you are turning down a perfectly good piece of birthday cake and suffer through a 20-questions interview on “why the hell are you doing this?”

All in all. I highly recommend the experiment. I felt great. I think this is largely thanks to a lack of guilt. When you get to bed that night you feel good about every food decision you made ( except when we were offered chips and queso, both naturally sugar free. We went to TOWN on those ). That’s not easy feeling to come by as a girl. The downside of it all was the Monday-post experiment. Donuts, Rice Krispie treat and a Sprinkles cupcakes for dinner? Don’t mind if I do. As a result of two days of complete binge sugar eating, I’ve taken the experiment up again, but a little more laid back. I want to cut desserts out from my daily diet and save the calories for special occasions where I won’t feel guilty about having a slice of delicious, specially made, birthday cake. I think it is often easier to cut things out completely, than it is to eat in moderation. It stops that “oh I’ll just have one. Okay and maybe another. And I mean I worked out this morning so…” This next experiment will also be playing perfectly into my new post-half marathon work out routine that incorporates weights, hot yoga and less running. Let’s just hope this doesn’t fade faster than last year’s “Do 50 sit ups everyday” resolution. I like to think of this as less of a resolution, and more of a lifestyle change. If I’m going to Find Tiffanys in 2013, I want to do it looking and feeling great.

Images (sugar)

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An apology to my knees

I apologize to you, knees. After the years of tennis drills, pivoting and sprints I put you through, it just never ended. Your joints are growing weaker, but I pressed on. Icing you, heating you, bothering you. You creak and ache to be heard, I would silence you with two easy pills from the grocery store. I hope you’ll forgive me as our runs shorten and become less frequent. But till then, thank you for your hard work.

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I have finally physically recovered from my half marathon on Sunday’s Dallas Marathon (formerly, White Rock Lake Marathon). Really this just means that I shouldn’t continue taking the elevator to my third floor apartment because I’m afraid my knees will give out. Excuses have expired, and it’s also time to start working out again.

My mother ran several marathons in her day and my brother just kind of winged the New York marathon without much preparation. So in the scheme of things, a half isn’t much. But I don’t care. It felt amazing.

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If you are thinking about training, that’s awesome. It is so unbelievably rewarding. Crossing that finish line means more than anyone who has never run one before can imagine.

I used Marathonrookie.com to get me on track. One of the first steps the site suggests is determining why it is you want to do a half marathon. When I first asked myself, I honestly didn’t know why. I just knew I wanted to just do it. After completing it, however, it all seems so obvious. I signed up for the race while I was job hunting. Searching for a job is a complete beast. You don’t have any control on what happens. You can work hard, stand out, try to excel but at the end of the day, it’s out of your hands. Running a half marathon was completely in my hands. I could either train hard or not. I could either finish, or not. I could just do it, or not. It was something I had complete dictation in my life (well. Me and my shins, knees and hips).

What I loved most was overcoming those runs that seem impossible. The ones you dread to start, hate the first couple miles, and then all of a sudden you’re listening to a great indie song and the rest of the world and your legs melt away. We refer to this as The Zone. Each time you overcome the runs getting closer to the race, it makes you stronger. Everytime you set out to run, you’re running longer than you ever have before. You know that if you get through those shit runs, the next run could be an amazing one that feels like free therapy.

The things I definitely recommend are finding good equipment, determine your trails, and to assess if you want a running buddy.

For me, the tank tops, running leggings, shoes, arm band, and water bottle belt were among the best purchases I made this year. Each aided me to succeed. Most people say that it doesn’t matter what you wear when you run. Well, screw that. I am pretty sure that when I knew I looked like a serious runner, I felt like a serious runner. 13.1 miles? Bring it. The gear also helped me physically (water) and helped me focus on running and less on my shorts riding up.

As far as trails go, I loved running around White Rock Lake. It was such a good excuse to go to a beautiful part of Dallas. I’d always drive around a bit afterwards and find an excuse to stop at a coffee shop or a quick lunch. For my weekday runs I actually just used Google Maps to determine my path and distance. Minimum crosswalks and less cars are what you should look for. Personally, I chose not to have a running buddy and never regretted the decision. I was doing this for me, and not so much for a good time. I did meet a group of ladies on the DART on my way to the race that were all running together and were so excited, it was adorable. So if you’re looking for a more social aspect, there are several in the Dallas area to join.

All that to say. I ran. I finished. And I feel fantastic. Cheers.

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