Low Sugar Lowdown: Reader Questions

Low Sugar Lowdown: Reader Questions

This post is just to answer some specific questions I’ve gotten from readers.  So here we go!

How did you identify the biggest culprits and decide where to start first?
After watching FedUp and talking to friends who were experiencing big changes, I just knew I wanted a piece of that.  So I first asked around.  Talked to people who were achieving results and quizzed them about what the heck they were doing!  Then I began to research the new information I was hearing.  What does sugar actually do to our bodies?  Am I suffering from any of the symptoms of excess sugar or an unhealthy diet?  What foods need to be eliminated?  I weighed the pros and cons of the different diet programs out there.  I made a physical pro/con list.  I was very motivated for change, so that helped push me through and want to continue learning more. I made a conscious effort to start reading labels and see what foods were working for our family and what foods were not.  It all sort of just came together once I made the mental decision that I was ready.

What does your diet/food intake look like on a typical day?
For my age and height, I try to eat around 1400-1600 calories per day.  You should find your target calories on any BMI/BMR calculator (app or website).  But for me personally, my food intake includes a protein shake for breakfast, a healthy 150 calorie snack, a good 600 calorie lunch, a second 150 calorie snack, and a light dinner.  If I’ve had a particularly hard workout that day, I will add extra calories, either to my shake or a little protein boost in the afternoon.  And sometimes in the evenings if I get a snack attack, I try to eat something light like air popped popcorn.

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?
hard boiled eggs
hummus with veggies or triscuits
raw almonds
no-nitrate deli meat (with a slice of wheat bread or wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla)
grilled chicken tenders, plain
tuna from a can with some lemon/olive oil for seasoning
cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil
natural peanut butter with apples
shredded chicken or turkey drizzled with balsamic vinegar
black beans (whole or refried) on a wheat tortilla with just a touch of hot sauce
quinoa seasoned any variety of ways.
salad made with spinach leaves/cucumbers/tomatoes, etc topped with olive oil and lemon
organic popcorn
avocado with chicken or on wheat toast

If you are not sensitive to dairy, I also highly recommend greek yogurt, cottage cheese and string cheese.

I can’t live without creamer.  Did you give up coffee?
I did give up coffee for 90 days.  Although on my program, they recommend only giving it up for 30.  I was feeling more energetic, so I didn’t really need it anymore.  However.  I love coffee.  And I love the romantic notion behind coffee.  It just helps me slow down the morning after my workout and take some time to sit and enjoy something.  So I started drinking it again recently and it’s one of the highlights of my day!  As for creamer – once you give up sugar, those creamers taste way too sweet.  So I opt for a little bit of unsweetened almond milk and stevia.  It’s a great replacement option.

 How has your diet changed?
NO DIET COKE.  I never thought I’d be able to give that up.  And much much much less fast food.  Another big change is probably my serving sizes.  Eating many times a day helps me stick to smaller meals throughout the day.

How do you deal with boredom nibbling?
Not very well!  I’m the kind of person who needs to stay busy!  But, that being said, it happens to the best of us.  All I can do is keep healthier snacks around in case I get the munchies.  And then forgive myself if I overdo it.

Do you keep unhealthy foods in the house for your husband or Stevie?
I try not to.  We are kind of healthy eaters as long as there’s no temptation.  If it’s there, we will probably eat it.  So I really do try to keep bad stuff out of the house or hidden away where we tend to forget about it.  Stevie’s diet has changed quite a bit too.  His new “nuggets and fries” are just grilled chicken and baked potatoes.  His new “fruit snacks” are actual fruit.  Since he just loves to eat, he adjusted pretty easily.

Did you just cut down on obvious sugars, or hidden sugars as well?
I’m not as strict about hidden sugars as I am obvious ones.  But I do try to be aware. So yes, I stay away from cookies, cakes, sodas, candy, etc.  But I know hidden sugars can be everywhere.  I am still kind of lazy, so with something like spaghetti sauce, where I don’t plan on making my own, I will read labels and get the one with the least sugar.  We eat natural peanut butter that has 3 grams of sugar.  I’m ok with that. If you’re working on keeping it to a minimum, you don’t have to be absolutely perfect. Just keep in mind that women should not be getting more than 25g of sugar per day while men should be getting around 37g.  Kids shouldn’t top 12g.  If you stick to those parameters, I think you will see big changes.

Did you cut down on grains?
Not really, we just try to stick to whole grains – our bread, pasta, tortillas, and rice are all brown now.

Do you still drink alcoholic beverages?
Yes I do.  I don’t have many ways to relieve tension and having a drink once in awhile is nice for me.   Low sugar options are the best bet, but overall, I just try not to overdo it.  I don’t drink daily.  I don’t even drink weekly.  But then some weeks I will have several drinks.  It’s for special occasions, and not a way of life.  And I will tell you now that I weigh less and drink less often, I certainly don’t need as much alcohol to get me feelin’ good! #cheapdate

What kind of workouts/exercises you’re doing?
You can certainly lose weight without working out.  I personally didn’t see weight loss from exercise, but I do look and feel so much better when I’m toned.  On a perfect week, my husband and I run twice and work out with a trainer twice for 30 minutes.  We do mostly isometric workouts and a little bit of weight lifting.  I always told our trainer “I don’t want muscles!” but the tone and definition I see is very motivating. There is nothing like feeling strong.

Hope this info helps!  If anyone has more questions, I’ll be happy to offer whatever info I can.

DISCLAIMER:  all these articles are written based solely on my personal experiences.  I am not endorsing any diet plan or sponsored by anyone.  If you couldn’t tell, I’m also NOT a professional nutritionist, athlete, or trainer, so I can only tell you what worked for me.  But you can’t like turn around and sue me if it doesn’t work for you.  Do your research.  K thanks.

  1. If I’m in a chocolate factory and they’re selling sugar-free chocolate? I’m buying. I don’t care what it’s made with. Haha. But I try to only use Stevia for myself. And I’ve seen sodas made with Stevia at Sprouts too! Would I be surprised if in 10 years, we find out it will kill us all? No. But until then, it’s the lesser of the evils I feel like!

  2. I’ve also been trying to slowly change my diet away from the sugar-laden snacks and heavy meals of my adolescence, and it’s actually pretty easy. I’ve gotten to the point now that if I have more than 25 grams of sugar at a time, which is very rare, I feel really sick. It’s like my body is questioning my judgement and it’s actually really cool to feel that my body no longer wants that much sugar at once.

    I was wondering how you feel about fake sugar- you mentioned stevia in your coffee, but do you ever opt for sugar-free drinks or candy? I’ve seen some differing research about it and I’m never sure if I’m better off with the real stuff or the fake stuff!


  3. I love this series! Your results are so inspiring! My questions are:

    1. How does your new diet make you feel, in terms of energy/stress levels/overall wellbeing?
    2. Have you noticed any changes in Stevie from this new way of eating?
    3. What goes into your morning protein shake?

    Thank you so much! I’m hoping this will finally give me the push to clean up my diet! 🙂

    1. 1. i wish it gave me more energy. but i know there are little improvements for sure. like when i’m off track for a few days, I definitely feel the “old Jaana” coming back and i don’t like it!
      2. Stevie is doing great with his healthier eating. Staying away from the sugar helps him sleep better and improves his behavior overall. It’s not a miracle fix, but definitely helps!
      3. I use a premade shake from Isagenix, so the only time I add anything is if I need more calories from a workout or something – then I will add a banana or berries.

      Thanks for reading!!

  4. So awesome Jaana! My husband and I watched FedUp last night and I felt like it confirmed everything I’ve come to realize in the last few years. Even though I made the “I’ve never looked back decision” (on eating whole foods, etc.) shortly after my first son was born — and saw all of the awesome positive effects of making that decison — I’ve hit my first real slump in over two years. I think emotions can lead people to turn to food, and then that gets you in that cyclic battle…

    Also, I love the piece you said about “and then I forgive myself if I overdo it.” Yes! I LOVE this attitude. A reminder that even though you can make that initial decision, you really have to continue making that decision every day to reap the real benefits. And that guilt has no place in controlling your eating habits 😉 SO glad your are sharing your experiences. They truly are inspirational to us all! 🙂

    1. I’m emotional eater too – 100%. I eat comfort foods when I’m happy, sad, stressed. There always a reason! So being able to change that (for the most part) feels good. But we are human and have to enjoy life too 🙂

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