A Year End Challenge

I spent a good chunk of this morning purchasing tickets for the upcoming holiday season, even as we are roasting here in S. California with unpleasantly-high coastal temps currently of 90 - 100 degrees. Seems so odd to be buying tickets for concerts and plays featuring songs about winter like I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas and Frosty the Snowman when we are drowning in summer-like weather here!

Speaking of which, where did this year go???

Actually, as a result of tracking my year in A Sentence A Day starting this past March, I can see exactly how and where this year has gone by, but I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around next week being the start of November.

The biggest change this year seems to have brought to date is the realization that the boundless energy I've enjoyed pretty much my entire life is no longer something I can simply take for granted. I now need to both nurture and protect it, particular having recently moved from peri to post-menopause. Daytime naps, even little power naps, are no longer oddities, but rather fairly re-occurring events. Physical labor and highly focused activities are now best done in the morning hours, when my energy is consistently high. Reading and internet activities are now best done in the afternoons as a result. Mid-afternoon snacks are plotted carefully to ensure they are energy-boosting, meaning primarily soy, nuts and dried fruit.

Recognizing the increased connection between my diet and subsequent energy levels, I've decided to embark on a little experiment; that being to avoid refined sugar as much as I possibly can for the remainder of the year, starting today. It hasn't escaped my attention that I will predictably experience an energy-crash about 15-20 minutes after ingesting refined sugar, nor have I failed to notice the increasingly well-publicized articles about sugar's negative impact on overall health.

For a long time I've said that while I much enjoy sugar, it just doesn't enjoy me back. I've read that being addicted to sugar is not unlike being addicted to drugs with regard to how the brain lights up in response. That's rather daunting, I will say, so it will be interesting to monitor how I proceed over the next few days and weeks.

With family and friends set to visit pretty much non-stop in both November and December, I have no intentions of inflicting my experiment over onto them, so I'll stick with making desserts and cookies that I know I'll be able to resist, plus ensure we have plenty of fruit on hand to go along with. I think the key to success will be planning ahead, and visualizing what I'll be doing as my loved ones are happily munching away on their sweet treats. The key after all is to feel good about this change, not deprived!

Here are the areas of my life I'm interested in monitoring for improvement:

  • Energy level through the day
  • Quality of my sleep
  • Weight
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Cravings for sugar

I'll be back as the rest of the year goes along to provide updates and personal reflections. In the meantime, here is a link to a rather humorous article detailing how one sugar-abstaining Brit felt her life changed both during and after:  The Hell of Giving Up Sugar.


  1. What a challenge! What are you going to substitute besides soy, nuts and dried fruit? Sugar is added to almost every prepared food including things like catsup, breads, yogurt, etc. so I am wondering if you are going that far in limiting it or focusing at least initially on afternoon snacks.

    1. I pretty much cleared sugar from my breakfasts and lunches some time ago, so it's really just the time period from mid-afternoon onward I need to tackle, hence why I mentioned the soy, fruit and nuts specifically.

      My current go to breakfast is unsweetened almond milk (0 grams sugar), unsweetened Greek yogurt (1.5 per 1/4 cp), acai powder (0), banana, and strawberries.

      My current go-to lunch is vegetable soup with an apple, or a protein and veggie loaded sandwich (3 g). That puts me at under 5 grams come snacktime, which I think is 'good enough.'

      Mid afternoon snack currently is 10 almonds and a piece of fruit.

      Our dinners are heavy on veggies, some protein, virtually never any starches. My downfall is sauces like BBQ and catsup, which I'll now avoid, and desserts after dinner, which I'll likewise avoid. I've stocked up on fruit herbal teas instead.

      The goal is massive progress, not necessarily perfection, meaning I'm not trying to reduce every single solitary gram of sugar from my diet. I am trying to reduce the obvious offenders, however. I can say that after a very successful Day One (yesterday), I slept like a log, and have had a very productive morning, so so far so good.

  2. Oh man I don't know if I could give up sugar, but it's a really good goal to have. I definitely try to keep it at a minimum, but ice cream...enough said. So glad that I got to get to know you better through Sentence a Day!

    1. Sarah, so not trying to change the world here, just myself! I do not have a healthy relationship with sugar, so I am better off just stepping away from it altogether. Hoping it brings positive changes once the first few days are completed. :-)

  3. I could not give up sugar-although I aim for only 150 carbs a day. I come from the carb is a carb school of thought and admittedly would rather my personal carbs be my coke than potatoes or whole grain bagels. All i would say is if you feel the need to break down, please eat the real stuff and not the fake stuff. But then I am generally of the real food is better than fake food, whether is sugars, fats or anything else.

    1. No argument here - enjoy life as you feel appropriate. In my case, life is infinitely better when I avoid refined sugar. YMMV as they say!

  4. Oh, and as a woman who has seriously started the weight training thing, I almost think that has increased my energy more than anything else-after the first week or so that is, lol. That and a good thyroid check.

    1. Sweat is a good thing, no matter how it is obtained!


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