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Refined Sugar and Me Week 45: Handling the Holidays

Welcome to week 45 of our ongoing (yet intermittent) series about refined sugar & me in 2017. Since last we checked in with our intrepid heroine (yup, that’s me!), I’ve been prescribed medication with the unfortunate side effect of increased appetite and weight gain. So… in the 9 weeks since we last talked refined sugar and me, I’d first lost another pound… but then gained about six pounds back fairly quickly before I realized what was going on there and got back on track.

Since then I’ve lost four of those again for a net gain of just one pound since we last talked… putting me right back at 17 pounds down total since the beginning of the year. Dizzy yet? I am. But this is a good reminder that you never really know what’s going on with people or what challenges they are facing, right?

And, if any of you have tips for staying on track with healthier eating while on medication that makes you more inclined to overeat, I’d love to hear them. 🙂

Handling the Holidays

So that’s the semi-bad news, but here’s the good! Typically Halloween heralds the beginning of the long holiday slide, right? It starts with sneaking just one tiny candy bar out of your kid’s bag or that bowl for the trick-or-treaters, devolves into a pile of little empty wrappers, and segues right into that Thanksgiving pie, the seasonal ALDI sea salt caramels, and holiday cookie exchanges and parties. OK, maybe the specific sea salt caramels thing is just me, but they really are quite dangerous. You have been warned.

This year I allowed myself to try one Reese’s peanut butter cup after walking around trick-or-treating in the insane cold for two hours, just to see if they’re as badly good as I remembered. They kind of are — but, strangely, after being off desserts for a good part of the year (I think the last straight up dessert or candy I had was back in February?), eating just the one left me with no impulse to eat more. That’s pretty awesome. I never would have thought I’d lose my taste for dessert, but: Here we are!

And yes, we do still have quite a bit of Halloween candy in the house. Mr. 10 has been having a piece occasionally as “dessert” after dinner, but he always asks. At this rate I think it may last him until next year, which I’m fine with.

How do you handle the holidays?

Do you choose the occasional place or time to indulge? Do you fill up on healthier options before heading out to a holiday party? Do you resign yourself to just falling off the wagon until the New Year? Think about having a limited allowance of indulgences, and about where it’s most worth it to you to spend those — whether that be on your mom’s famous apple pie, your coworker’s yearly Christmas cookies, or those seasonal sea salt caramels.

Handling the Impulse Buys

Me, I’m actually doing worse trying to stay away from things like these Poke Bowls at ALDI than from the more obvious temptations such as cookies and candies — so it’s probably a good thing they are a limited time buy! These suckers are so good, but have 13g of added sugar (in the sauce). There’s a reason sweet + spicy is a thing, right? This is one example of where I’m now allowing added refined sugar as a sometimes food — when mixed into sweet + savory dishes like these Poke bowls, or in something like the Korean style ground beef & spinach rice bowls I made this past weekend.

I’ve gone back and forth on this, but have finally settled on the realization that I like to cook and experiment with different cuisines too much to cut myself off from the flavor options you get from combining sweet + savory or sweet + spicy — and that I’ll take these types of flavor combinations over a straight up sweet dessert any day. You might decide to “cheat” occasionally with really good chocolate or ice cream; here’s where I’m choosing to indulge occasionally instead.

One Reese’s peanut butter cup contains 11g sugar and 5g protein and leaves me quite hungry; one Poke bowl contains 13g sugar and 20g protein and is a satisfying lunch. Which would you choose? 😉 Real food meets real life: It’s not just a tagline!

So, that’s me this week…

This year is all about slowly figuring out my own pitfalls, and mine may or may not be the same as yours. How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?

Earlier installments in the Refined Sugar and Me series

Read the whole Refined Sugar and Me series in chronological order (or catch up on any posts you might have missed!).

Darlene Pennington

Sunday 2nd of February 2020

I would really like to talk with u li am addicted to sweets so so badly I have weight loss surgery year before last and I’m so so miserable I loss some weight but not wear I should be at all I’m addicted to sugar so so badly and what that sugar is hot tamale candy and the red hot little candy my body craves cinnamon I do not understand for the life of me why it does please help me I need something to stop these cravings !!!


Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Rachel, are you still doing no sugar? I've always been a sugar fiend. In January, work started supplying apples, oranges, nuts, granola bars, etc. and asked people not to bring in sweets. Since January, I have lost 13 lbs and lost my craving for sugar. I feel and look so much better! Just wondering how you are doing.


Sunday 3rd of June 2018

I am 90% of the time -- I'm down 27 lbs total now, and really need to do an update. Life keeps getting in the way. :) So glad it is working for you!


Saturday 9th of December 2017

I so need to cut out refined sugar. I love sweets and I love carbs as well. I have steadily gained weight in the last year since going through menopause and eating too much sugar and carbs. I am 5:5" and at 168 lbs. I feel miserable. I have been walking around the track and the treadmill a few times a week. I would like to lose at least 30 pounds and your series has given me the inspiration that I can do this!!!


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

I continue to intermittent fast and have kept off my weight. I cannot keep up with my workouts since everyday brings a different schedule. I generally reserve Saturday as my day to indulge in a treat. It has worked pretty good so far. I feel good, I am stronger due to working out regularly (need to get back on track) and I have been using My Fitness Pal to enter my food. I have not been good about this during November, so back to the good habits for December. I have promised myself I will NOT gain any weight in December and have a plan set. ;-) Good for you Rachel and your new lifestyle! Keep up the good work!


Friday 17th of November 2017

Rachel, you have to try the Ketogenic way of eating. I've been doing the way of eating since the end of August. The first week is a bit rough as your body is detoxing. But, then the ketones set in and you feel so much better. I actually FEEL better than before. Mr. Mashup dad is low carb so converting would not be hard for you. Your food staples are bacon, eggs, dark green veggies, coffee, coconut oil and a protein for dinner. It is simple, very satisfying (amazing how healthy fat is so satisfying) and you LOSE WEIGHT and REPAIR YOUR INSIDES from all the toxic carbage (yes, I know I spelled it is a combo-play on words). I belong to this support group on FB. Check them out. Just scoll through and see all the amazing transformations eating bacon, Kerrygold butter, and ribeye steaks. The 200K member froup is called: Ketogenic Success


Sunday 19th of November 2017

I've looked at the keto diet and am intrigued -- but actually did try Atkins years ago with MashupDad and cannot convey to you how terrible it made me feel :-/ . Maybe someday I'll give low carb another try, but that day is not today.

Did you see Jill Cataldo is doing keto now though?

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