January has come and gone (can you even believe it?!), so I thought I’d check in and share with you how the first month of my resolution for 2024 went. My New Year’s resolution for 2024 was to go a whole year without eating sugar, with the exception of six free days, which would be my birthday in June, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, plus three additional days of my choosing.
The more I thought about it (and after reading some your comments), I realized that those six free days may not be a good idea. I still haven’t ruled them out completely. I’m definitely the type of person who does much better if I completely abstain rather than trying the whole “everything in moderation” thing, but I’m also the type of person who struggles if I don’t give myself a tiny bit of wiggle room. That doesn’t mean I’ll take advantage of that wiggle room
Anyway, the good news is that I made it the whole month of January with no sugar, and I didn’t even struggle a single bit! And y’all, every Wednesday night when we host our church group, people bring brownies, cookies, etc. And I wasn’t even tempted in the least.
I chalk that up to the fact that I’ve really been concentrating on eating a high protein diet. I have a dear friend in the Houston area who is very into fitness and nutrition. She’s been teaching fitness classes for about two decades (maybe longer), and currently teaches classes like the Les Mills Bodypump and Bodycombat classes. She’s been stressing to me how important it is to get enough protein in my diet, and when I figured how much I had been eating, I was WAY under what I needed. As in, I wasn’t even getting half of what I needed. No wonder I was always craving junk!
She’s also been encouraging me to focus more on weight lifting instead of cardio. Not that cardio isn’t important, but she has encouraged me to make the weight lifting a priority. If I have an hour to exercise, I’ll start with weights and then do cardio. But if I only have 20 minutes, I prioritize weights. So that has been fun! I’ve gotten so much use out of our home gym in this past month! I love having this dedicated space. It’s so convenient. (If you haven’t seen our home gym, you can click here to see more pictures.)
But back to diet. As soon as I made protein a priority, all of those cravings for sweets went away completely. In addition to the high protein and no sugar, I’ve basically been trying to maintain a generally low carb diet. I’m not doing keto, specifically, in that I’m not counting macros (except for protein), but after doing keto for so long, I generally know what I can and can’t eat, or rather, what I should and shouldn’t eat.
When I shared my New Year’s resolution, I had some people ask if I was talking about only sugary desserts, or if I was talking about anything that turns to sugar in the body (like pasta and other processed carbs), or any food that may have “hidden sugar” in it. My New Year’s resolution was specifically about eliminating sugary treats since those have always been my downfall. But again, as one who has done keto off and on for years, I’m pretty good staying away from the other things as well.
My routine has been to eat strict low carb/high protein on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday — the days I generally stay home and don’t have regularly scheduled plans. Matt eats a strict carnivore diet, and his food is delivered by Butcherbox every month, so I don’t even have to shop for him. And when I shop for myself, I stick to the outer walls of the grocery store — fresh produce, meat, and a few dairy products, like cheese, heavy whipping cream (for my coffee), and butter. That’s pretty much all I buy for myself. I almost never eat boxed or canned food, so I’m not constantly reading labels to see if there are any of those hidden sugars.
My two more lenient days of the week are Sunday, when I go out out to eat with my family at a steak house that has yummy bread. I try to make sure my meal is low carb, but I do allow myself to eat some of the bread. And then on Wednesday, I have lunch with my mom and brother at various restaurants. I try to choose my meal wisely, but I’m not religiously counting macros. And if we go to Rosa’s Cafe, I’m always going to get fajitas, and I’ll eat one or two of the tortillas, but I’ll swap out the rice and beans for extra lettuce and tomatoes. And then we have a meal with our Wednesday evening group, and I’ll eat that meal (whatever it is) minus the desserts.
Desserts have always been my downfall. If I could live on a diet of cookies, cake, ice cream, and candy bars, I would be as happy as a dog in a mud puddle. So those were the things that needed to go. So what results have I seen in the first month?
I’ve lost 11.7 pounds since January 1st. I’ve dropped a size in pants (which I attribute not only to diet, but also to all of those kettlebell swings I’ve been doing every day!), and I feel more resolve than I have in a very long time. Eating all of that protein and focusing on weight lifting is also resulting in an increase in strength, which has become very obvious to me when I do my kettlebell swings. When I first started, I struggled to do just a few swings with 20 pounds. But I kept on, and my strength and endurance increased. About the middle of the month, I increased my swings to 25 pounds, and that is feeling too easy for me now. I think I’m about ready to increase to 30 pounds soon. If you don’t know what a kettlebell swing is, you can learn about it here.
So it’s been a fun journey so far! And I’ve been so encouraged that I’m not continually struggling with cravings for sugary treats. It’s amazing to me that I went from constantly thinking about sugar and desserts, to now, not giving it any thought except on Wednesday nights. And even then, my only thought is amazement at how easy it is to say no. That’s the magic of protein! I’m convinced of it!
I’m excited to see how I do in another month. I’ll check in at the end of February and let y’all know how it’s going.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.