Ditching sugar for Lent has been a serious, game-changing beauty boost and I want to keep at it

Look at the cute kitty in the corner!
Peep the cute kitty! His belly is much fatter than mine!

As Father Kevin, one of my all-time fave priests, likes to say: “Good morning, my good people.”

And it isĀ indeed a good morning, my good people.

Well, maybe not for you, because you’re staring at this selfie.

But definitely for me, because I’m feeling so jazzed about avoiding sugar like the plague for the last five weeks that I’m bravely showing the world my spongy belly.

SIDEBAR: Is there one damn thing to be done about stretchmarks that are hanging around 10 years after the fact? I had one tot-lette, not 90! And it’s not like I gained a thousand pounds during my pregnancy, either. My beloved OB/GYN was a total scale Nazi, and watched my numbers like a hawk. He’s a scolder, that one. J’adore.

Okay, back to the topic at hand: Sugar Avoidance.

I blogged a mini Q+A with Brooke “Sugar Detox” Alpert recently, right as Hubby and I were embarking on a Lent dessert embargo.

To jog your memory, Momover Lady had verrrrrry stupidly widened the dessert embargo to include ALL sugary treats.

Why? Because it seemed like complete BS, I posited, to eat donuts at breakfast, or ice cream at 3 pm, and – just because they aren’t technically “dessert” – think that we were still keeping to our Lent pledge.

And guess what? Although I came dangerously, perilously close to scarfing down a handful of Girl Scout cookies last night, I haven’t cheated once since Ash Wednesday, which was on 10 February.

Not once. Not a single time. Nada. Rien.

I don’t know why I had such a close call last night with those short-bready Trefoils, but it definitely spooked me.

Actually, let me backtrack: I do know why I almost slipped up. And it’s a cautionary tale not just for me, but for every struggling Sugar Avoider.

I was watching Indian Wells, but the doubles matches were on, not singles, so my attention started to wander. Plus, the Wee Lass and I had had an extremely un-yummy dinner of grocery store sushi (note to self: no more grocery store sushi), most of which I tossed in the trash, so I was genuinely a little hungry.

It’s a simple equation:

Boredom + Mild Hunger + Girl Scout Cookies = Trouble.

I’m convinced the only reason I was able to pull myself back from the Trefoil brink – and have a little unsweetened Greek yogurt with a banana and pineapple chunks instead – was the fact that my taste buds have been re-calibrated over this past month.

I’m now so sensitive to added sugar and high fructose corn syrup that I even taste it in the bread we use here at the house for toast and sandwiches. (Second note to self: time to find another brand of bread.)

Yes, yes, I know: Bananas and pineapple chunks have sugar, too. As Brooke points out, it’s important not to “over-fruit.”

Still, I think you’d have to agree that bananas and pineapple chunks have a lot more to offer, nutritionally, and fiber-wise, than a handful of cookies.

If I’d eaten the cookies, I would have felt really, really bad about it. Lent isn’t over for another five or six days, so I’m not out of the woods yet.

But here are the benefits I’ve gained from abstaining, even for this short time:

1. My belly is noticeably flatter. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, but the chronic puffiness has abated.

2. My concentration and focus have greatly improved.

3. My cravings for sugar diminish by the day. This is crucial. Sugar is addictive; if you can “kick,” you can keep going with less effort and psychological stress.

I’m on a roll with this whole thing, and have been re-reading a great book I’ve recommended to you before: I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program & Cookbook by Sarah Wilson.

Not only is it jam-packed with info and recipes, Sarah’s bestseller is also a visual treat; in my darker moments I can be found salivating over images of “Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa,” and “Zucchini Cheesecake,” and “Raspberry Ripple.”

You can tell she’s a foodie on a genuine journey. And I’m gonna join her.

Bon weekend, my lovelies.

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