Project 31 (Part 1)

If you don't know what Project 31 is, click here.

Day 0 (3/6)
I can't call this Day 1 yet because it's 8:45 at night and I'm not starting officially until tomorrow.  But I wanted a place to document what benefits I hope to see from this experience:
  1. I an a person of extremes.  I'm a perfectionist who is either really good at something, or a failure.  At least in my mind.  The reality is, of course, that I'm just like everyone else - moderately good at some things, poor at others, and really good at maybe one or two things.  However, this attitude carries over into my eating.  I'm hoping that by taking sugar out of the equation it'll allow me to just eat like a normal person with a relatively healthy lifestyle.
  2. I would like to learn new ways of coping in the middle of a stressful situation.
  3. I would like to see some weight loss (of course).
  4. I would like to get rid of my afternoon slump / energy fallout.
Day 1 (3/7)
Today was surprisingly easy.  In fact, the only times I really missed my sweets was while I was preparing dinner and then after the kids went to bed.  I took some down time instead of folding laundry, and really wanted some sweet thing to snack on.  Instead I made a big pot of Celestial Seasonings Apple Cranberry herbal tea  (unsweetened, of course).  I have a friend that insists that when I want sweet things it's my way of pampering myself - I think last night proved that.  Two things I noticed by cutting out sweets:
     1. I drink more water.
     2. I eat more fruit.

Day 2 (3/8)
There's nothing really earth-shattering going on today.  I'm finding that in many ways I am much freer having made the decision not to have desserts.  I had to run to the grocery store late this afternoon to get something I needed for dinner, and I found that I didn't agonize or obsess the whole time I was in the store about what I was or wasn't going to buy that I could eat on the way home.  It's sad when I realize that in many ways that has been my life.  Now you know why I feel compelled to get rid of desserts for a while, right?  And since I'm not eating sweets, I have less of a desire to keep eating when I'm already full.  I went out with friends tonight and sent back an appetizer that I hadn't finished.  It was amazing.  I just didn't want it any more.  Is this what other people feel like all the time? 

Days 3 and 4 (3/9 - 3/10)
Let's be honest - my life is too crazy for me to be able to make a daily update.  However, I will try to do the best I can... Day 3 was my hardest day so far.  I was having an emotional morning, our speech therapist was running late, and I had a LOT to do in the next 36 hours.  I found myself roaming my kitchen and constantly looking in my cabinets for something to grab.  Fortunately, I have already banned cereal bars from my diet this month, or I would have eaten a couple Friday morning while I was stressing out.  The that opened bag of chocolate chips in the freezer...  But, I stayed strong.  And do you know what?  It went away.  That's right - the cravings went away.  Pretty soon my life distracted me and I was able to do all that I needed to without the stress eating.

Although.  I observed an interesting phenomenon this afternoon.  I was completely drained of energy by 2pm.  Granted, it was totally understandable given what I've been juggling in the last two days, but I had NO reserve left.  Perhaps now that I'm not stimulating myself with the extra sweets I can actually hear my body tell me that it's time to slow down.  And so I did.  I think it's a good thing.  So good, in fact, that I'm giving serious considering to keeping this lifestyle for a while.  We shall see.

Days 5 and 6 (3/11 - 3/12)
I had forgotten what an integral part desserts play in my family time.  Sunday night we like to do a family activity and have some sort of treat.  I got through last night, but it was hard.  Monday nights we have Family Home Evening, which includes someone being in charge of a treat.  Tonight I skipped it, but I also felt kind of left out.  Not because I wanted to have some of the Girl Scout cookies (I'm over those this year), but because I felt like I couldn't participate with my family.  I felt left out.  And actually, Ben wanted me to make some chocolate chip cookies, but that was out.  I wasn't sure if it would be too much for me tonight to make cookies and not have a single teeny tiny taste.  And I didn't want to risk it.  But what about those weeks when it IS a cool family treat?  I guess for the rest of my 31 days I will still skip it, but one of those nights I am in charge of the treat myself.  Do I pick some sort of fruit salad?  Or something savory?  Hey, now that's an idea.  I could do like a dip of some sort.

The other thing I'm noticing is how hard I'm coming down on my kids when they ask for treats - especially Olivia.  I think she gets it worse because she tends to argue more than the others (ahh... the joys of adolescence...) but I think I need to not be so negative when they ask for them.  Although after Christmas we've said no treats except on Monday and Friday, I really haven't been sticking to that for the past month or so.  I can't blame them for trying.  And I don't want this to be a negative experience for them when it's been an overall good one for me.

Day 11 (3/17)
It has been about a week and a half since I started this project.  I have 20 more days to go. Surprisingly, this no-dessert thing has gotten harder this past week.  I thought the first few days would be the hardest, but I guess not!  Maybe it's because the first half of the week was chaotic with my preparations to leave town, and the second half of the week I was actually traveling.  Still am, in fact.  I still have my tendancy to snack while traveling, but I have snacked a lot less.  Not at all while I was actually doing the driving, and just a little on the airplane.  A lot more today while I was a passenger in the car with a snack bag.  Maybe that's the difference.  When we drove to Gwen's house Thursday night I had all the food in the back of the van.  It wasn't worth it to stop.  Not with a van full of kids.  But when it's easy access... well, you get the idea.  However, I've been snacking on more fruit and crackers.  I have allowed granola bars while I'm traveling, and I have had a couple of those as well.  Overall, I'm still feeling good about my choices.  I haven't gotten on the scale since I left town, but week one saw about a 4-lb weight loss without even trying.  Although I'm sure more effort will be needed for further weight loss, it was a motivating beginning!