breaking up is hard to do.

by Janetha on June 20, 2012

in goals

as some of you may know, i am participating in the fitmixer 12 week bootcamp. the bootcamp provides daily workouts and a meal plan with guidance from a registered dietician, but there is also so much more to it than that! robin, candice, and alicia have really put the bootcamp participants to the test when it comes to improving our mental health and how we feel about ourselves.

on the conference call last week, we all received a homework assignment.  bootcamp participants were asked to write a break up letter.  each individual got to select who the letter would be to and what they would write.  some examples were the scale, fat talk, diet soda, and lack of sleep. i wrote my letter to sugar.

typically, my relationship with sugar is a pretty good one. we see each other every day, but never too much where it’s overwhelming or abusive to my body. i said “typically”. so.. enter my birthday weekend—where i ate nine cupcakes, seven bowls of ice cream, peaches baked in sugar and butter, watermelon lime sorbet, chocolate cake with whipped cream, and tres leches cake. hmm.. yeah.. that was sugar overload. ever since then, my sweet tooth has been a ragey bitch! i have to have something sweet not just every day—but after every meal. fruit isn’t kicking the craving. even a stick of gum won’t suffice.  i have been eating lots of sugar-loaded treats throughout the entire day. it’s ridiculous and unnecessary and i need to get a hold on the situation.

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you may remember back in the day when i did a full on week of NO sugar added—cold turkey. we are talking NO sugar added to anything. and no honey, agave, syrup, cane juice, or anything of the like. no sugar added—period. (note—i said added—meaning sugars naturally occurring in fruit, dairy, or other items was fine.) it wasn’t an easy week! i did a lot of label reading and learned a lot about foods with sugar hiding in there. i was surprised to see that even something as small as mrs. dash seasoning contained sugar! what the?

anyway, after my week-long stint of no sugar added, my sweet tooth was tamed and i was able to kick the bad habit of eating sugar-laden EVERYTHING at all hours of the day. and now, once again, i realize i need to do something about this nagging sweet tooth. it’s become a problem. i know that if i reduce the amount of sugar i consume, i will no longer crave it so flipping bad. however, i am really not in a place where i want to be a total stickler and not eat anything with any type of added sugar.  that’s a lot of work that i’m not willing to do right now.  hey—at least i am owning it and being honest. i love dessert!!

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what i am going to do is kick items loaded with sugar to the curb. i am going to watch my sugar intake and keep it to 5 grams or less for anything i eat. i am going to avoid added sugar where i can and always pick the less sweet option so i don’t add fuel to the fire. i don’t need to be eating a breakfast loaded with 15 grams of added sugar. i just don’t! i have already started things off on the right foot this week by having a savory egg sandwich for breakfast each morning instead of a chocolate banana protein shake. choices as simple as that will lead to less of a longing for sugar, i know it.

on the other side of things, i do plan to treat myself to sugary sweets when it is meant to be just that—a treat. i am going on vacation this weekend and there are treats on the horizon. i’m no stick in the mud. i’ll be eating ice cream like a champ. but i will also eat my veggies, skip the sweet creamer in my coffee, and focus on making more nutritious choices.

that’s my sugar spill for today. i leave you with my break up letter that i wrote to sugar.

Dear Sugar,

Dang, why are you always so sweet to me? It’s like the only thing you can do is be super sweet and awesome when I am with you. We have the best time together, don’t we? When it’s you and me, I only have eyes for you!!  But then the next day I wake up, you’re not there, and I have a whole pile of regrets for cheating on my clean eats with you.  How do you manage to give me a worse hangover than actual booze does? You are tricky, sugar. Yes, you are sweet, but you are very, verrrry tricky!

Oh, and not only do you leave me feeling bad the next day, but you also destroy my dreams.  You make it impossible for me to reach my goals. And you are relentless! Once I start hanging out with you, I just can’t stop. You are like a bad habit I just can’t shake.

I think we need to break up. I know this is sudden, but it’s for the best. I have priorities and I can’t keep letting you get in the way of them. You’re really bringing me down, sucking my energy, giving me headaches, and making me look bad.

There, I said it. I hope you’re not taking this too personally.  I mean, after a little bit of space, I am sure we can go on a few dates again.  But not for awhile. I need some time away from you to sort things out.

Don’t worry, I promise to let you come to Costa Rica with me in a month. But until then… I think we need to see other people.

Love,

Janetha G.

Q~

if you were to write a break up letter, who would it be to?

if you are feeling real ambitious, leave a little break up letter below! i challenge you all to break up with something that is bringing you down in some way, shape, or form. there’s no need for that nonsense in our lives!

xo. janetha g.

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Dayna June 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Your break-up letter was very inspiring, Janetha! Thank you so much for sharing. I am going to write my own break-up letter and I may share it, if it’s not too lame. I also have an “relationship issue” with sugar, and your post helped me to remember that it’s a vicious cycle. It’s only good for the moment. If I can just cut back and let my taste buds fall in love with naturally sweet things like the delicious fruit that I love, I won’t miss processed sugar as much, and neither will my figure (which I have been relentlessly trying to get back before summer comes).
I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years now, and you are a constant inspiration to me! Thanks! :)

Krystina (Krystina Yogini) June 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I wish I could break up with dairy. Ever since I stopped being vegan (1 1/2-2 years ago) dairy has upset my stomach like woah. It’s really depressing, actually. Every time I eat Greek yogurt I’m bloated and uncomfortable for hours and if I eat too much cheese I feel sick. The problem is that I LOVE those things and the idea of giving them up makes me cry buckets.

I also wish I could break up with peanut butter. I eat too much of it and it, too, upsets my stomach.

WTF stomach?

Janessa June 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Try using digestive enzymes when you eat dairy. Works like a champ! I buy mine from iherb.com

Krystina (Krystina Yogini) June 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Thanks girl!

Brittany @ Delights and Delectables June 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Oh my… I need to write a breakup letter to granola and sunflower butter. Both are good in moderation… that is where I mess up… moderation!

Sara June 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

So true! I feel like sugar has me in a vise. I constantly crave sugar and my meals are not complete till I feed the sugar monster. It isn’t just a scoop of ice cream, it is a vat of ice cream. Good grief! My weight has gone up and while my workouts have increased, I think the increase in sugar is totally destroying any of my hard work. And that, consequently, has caused my self-esteem to plummet. The negative self talk and disordered thoughts about food and my body has multiplied recently. I think because I don’t think I’m worth it I’m not putting any effort toward feeding my body the healthy things it needs. SO–thank you so much for your post. My breakup letter is to sugar and to negative self talk. Bye Bye Bye! (with the N’Sync moves, of course)

Man, this will be hard. But my grandmother has told me if the cost to change is greater than the cost to stay the same most people will just stay the same. I’ve got to change—it might be hard and I might fight a mental battle often, but the cost is worth it to me.

(Wow–that was long. Sorry about that!)

Lauren June 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I often think that I don’t evaluate my sugar intake enough. It’s just something I don’t really think about because I’m not eating candy or sweets all day but I do eat a ton of added sugar in yogurts, fruit, and other “healthy” crap.
This is such a great idea!

BroccoliHut June 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm

During my senior year of college, I had had enough with my crazy granola habit (think like a box a week), so I decided to give up all added sugars. It was SOOO hard, but it did teach me to be more vigilant about reading labels for hidden sugars. That being said, I think you’re making a wise decision to just limit sugar without eliminating it entirely. Moderation is key!!

Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning June 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I really, really need to write my break-up letter. I meant to write it on the plane to or from Chicago, but that didn’t happen. I really think it will help! Mine is to “mindless eating” (or even over-eating, nibbling, unplanned snacking, etc) I am the epitome of someone that just eats “too much of a good thing.”
I actually don’t eat a lot of sugar- but I do sweeten things with Stevia. I don’t know if that actually makes your cravings stronger for real sugar or not. (Do you have any opinions on that??)
Girl, I relate to you so much and am so glad that you just GET IT (get where I’m coming from) because I feel like not a lot of people do. It’s easy to rock it in the gym and eat “healthy” but it’s those little bad habits that get us. Too. Much. Nibbling. (Especially at night)
Thanks for sharing all the details of your break-up letter! :) xoxo

Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats June 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Your break up letter verbalizes everything I am feeling at this very moment. I think breaking up with sugar would really help my ridiculous binges that happen at times. Like tonight, I was feeling super stressed after getting my shift cut for the third time this week and getting to sit at home on call until 7 AM for 2 dollars per hour. I went along to eat some Snackimals, 2 Luna bars, 2 snack packs of Bunny Grahams, a few (aka I didn’t count) pieces of PB toast with honey…WHY?!?!?! Why do I keep allowing this to happen? Now I have a stomach ache, tomorrow I will have a stomach ache from it, and I am getting further and further from my goals when it happens. Sounds like a lose, lose situation to me! We need to break up!

meg June 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I like your break up letter! I have been trying hard to break up with my raging sugar cravings too! Sometimes, peppermint tea after dinner helps with the need for something sweet. Good luck with your challenge for yourself, I know you can do it!

lindsay June 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Its sad because the FDA allows so much added sugar in our foods that we come addicted, for reals! SO glad you breaking up with sugar. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I know, crazy! But i honestly think kombucha helped me with that. Mid afternoon tea and handful of almonds or something. Helped a ton!

If i had to break up with something it would be .. hmm… too much coffee? I can’t break up with coffee, but maybe we can start seeing other people. Friends with benefits? ;-)

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List June 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I vividly remember reading about your no sugar challenge (which made me try one myself – it didn’t really pan out. Because sugar tastes really good.)

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List June 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

oh and you’re going to rock this challenge.
and i need to write my fitmixer letter.

Janetha June 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I remember you giving it a go!

Kerryne June 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm

PHEW… at least your break up letter wasn’t to ME ;) I am like you. I literally feel the NEED to have something sweet after every meal (well… more lunch and dinner). It gets worse if I allow myself a real treat, like ice cream or cake or something extra naughty. I might join you on this thing… after our trip of course!

Kerryne June 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

In all honestly though… I just want to break up with myself. I wish I could find a way to love my flaws… love my dimples… love and accept my body the way it is, and stop the negative self talk. It really is poisonous. I think that will be something I am going to REALLY work on.

Angie @ Pint of Goals June 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I actually had my students write a breakup letter like yours to sugar. I wrote one with them and addressed it to chocolate. This past summer I gave up chocolate for a full month because I was craving it constantly. It was hard at first but I found mangos satisfied my nightly craving. Good luck with your separation from sugar!

Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries June 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

awesome – i just loved this. not only can i totally and completely relate (i have a RAGING sweet tooth!), but your actual letter is so creative. good for you to recognize this and go for it!

Cheri Z June 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Loved your break-up letter. I need to break up with stress. It does terrible things to me! We’re talking about an abusive, restraing-order type of relationship. Not good. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ellen Clifford June 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Oh wow, tough question…I’d break up with guilt I feel towards how I treated my family when I had an eating disorder, they tell me over and over again they knew I wouldn’t have been so mean if I wasn’t sick, but I think I will always feel sort of terrible about the things I would say to them.
Wow, maybe I will write a lette to guilt…

LaceyAnn June 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

It felt really great to write this, I’ve been recovering from disordered eating for about 2 years now (yikes, that is such a long time!). First I lost a bunch of weight, then struggled to gain it back, then gained back too much. So, my break-up letter is to binge eating!

Dear binge eating,
I know you’ve really helped support me through some tough times, but I need to find strength from within to get through on my own. I can’t always be relying on you to numb my emotions just so I can get through. Plus, you always make me feel WORSE in the long run, and that’s just not very nice.
I love to eat, and you have taken advantage of that love and turned it into an ugly thing. Eating is a way to fuel my body to LIVE and do wonderful fun things! I shouldn’t live to eat, I want to eat to live! But, unfortunately, you want me to live to eat and I just can’t live that way anymore.
So, I’m breaking up with you. I know we’ve been on and off a lot lately, but I am ready to move on. We’re finished. I know that me and my body will be happier and healthier without you.
-Lacey

Janetha June 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Bravo.

Elena @ finding my fit June 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Wow, I love this break up letter and I sooo needed to read this right now! I have a huge sweet tooth and find it so hard to go through the day without something sweet! It just keeps getting it the way of my goals. Thank you for sharing your honesty and just being real. That’s what I love about your blog, you are just so real!

Leslie June 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

My letter would be to shame. Ive lost a lot of weight over the past few years, but I’ve gained some back. Shame has had a hold on me for about a year now. It’s been a really abusive relationship. I’ve allowed shame to cut me off from my true self. Because of shame I’ve stopped feeling good about my successes and instead just dwell on shame. I’ve allowed shame to lead me to believe that I’m not as good as I once was. I see that it’s time to kick shame to the curb. I don’t even think I’ll miss shame. Ive recently met forgiveness. Forgiveness is so kind to me. Doesn’t hold past issues against me. Such a sweet relationship. Forgiveness has lead me back the gym. A place that I missed while wallowing around with shame. Yes shame has lost its hold on me. I will no longer let shame spew its hurtfulness on me.

Janetha June 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I love that.. I need to say goodbye to shame, too.

jessie ann james June 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm

i am going to join you! Sugar and I need a serious break:) I would also break up with Insecurity…Insecurity holds me back everyday from fully appreciating my body!

Ezzie June 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Love this post! I gave up sugar for lent last year and I’ll admit that it wasn’t easy. I definatly noticed a huge change after just a week though! I felt as if my mind was more clear and just felt more refreshed in general. I don’t know if I have the willpower to cut it cold turkey again, but I’m for sure more aware of how sugar effects our bodies and I’ll enjoy it in moderation! I’m a huge sucker for icecream, just like you. Ben& Jerry are just too sweet to resist (;

Sierra June 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

Also sugar…I agree, it’s a perpetual problem and it becomes such a habit. creamer in the coffee? yeah buddy….that stuff is amazing. Good for you for initiating a breakup.

Tara @ Sweat like a Pig June 21, 2012 at 12:51 am

You’re on the right track! I used to have real problems with sugar – I would want something sweet after every meal. The simple act of changing my breakfast to something savoury (as you have done!) changed everything! I no longer felt the cravings throughout the day, and after a few weeks I didn’t crave it at all. Breakfast really sets you up for the rest of the day, which is why I try not to have anything sweet. Now I’m in a comfortable place where I can indulge in sugar occasionally (once a week or so) and not let it spiral out of control.

Sarah @ The Healthy Diva June 21, 2012 at 4:10 am

Oh my goodness…that letter and this post were truly inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing! Sugar is a tough one to beat, but if anyone can do it you can! I find having a savoury filling breakfast usually negates my need for sweets throughout the day. It also keeps me more satiated which is a bonus.

If I were to write a breakup letter it would be to food rules. Things I imposed on myself a while back, which I know are silly but I still can’t seem to let go of! For example, being pedantic about having balanced meals. It’s good most of the time, but let’s face it…sometimes you just can’t tolerate another vegetable and want a big bowl of carbs. My food rules really prevent me from the occasional splurge because of this and it’s a real bummer. Hopefully I can overcome them and realise balance is key, but living and having fun is just as important!

Thanks again for this fab post and for kicking sugar to the curb.
-Sarah xo

Lisa Broadley June 21, 2012 at 5:17 am

I think my break-up letter would be to sugar as well!! Everything you said, I agreed with!! I’ll use yours as my inspiration when I see temptation!

Sarah June 21, 2012 at 6:43 am

I’m with you.
I have a HUGE sweet tooth, but I know that sugar really does drain my energy. And I really need my energy! (Who doesn’t?) I’m back to cutting it out…I hope this time I can remember how much better I feel when I don’t eat it and how horrible I feel when I do. (I know what you mean about the sugar hangover.)

kristen @ livinlifeinlouie June 21, 2012 at 6:44 am

I would really like to break up with sugar as well. I have found that if I eat as “clean” aspossible,the sugar craving goes away. but not always. I could really go for a cupcake haha

Claire @ Live and Love to Eat June 21, 2012 at 8:05 am

I’ve gone no-sugar-added through Lent for the past few years and it’s super tough – but easier after a week or two, and I definitely feel better when I get in to that habit!

LG June 21, 2012 at 8:29 am

Great post! Ugh, I wish sugar was as good for me as nutritional yeast or something!

I love love sugar and, in the past, All-Bran bars and other granola bars were totally my downfall. I would eat at least two per day, but they have so much sugar! After reading The Four Day Win, I was able to switch my 2 All Bran bar breakfast to 1/2 oats, protein powder, cinnamon and peanut butter. This was a HUGE step for me even though it seems small.

I would usually have several mini chocolate bars during the day too, but tried going sugar free for a week (not checking labels on ketchup or salad dressing, but avoiding obvious things like muffins, candy etc.) I felt so much less crabby that week! So since last fall I’ve been mostly doing no sugar during the week and then relaxing a bit on the weekends if I want ice cream or ginger beef or something. This has had no effect on my waistline (which is fine except who doesn’t want to lose weight all the time in this day and age? lol), but I think I have more energy, and it takes less mental energy (“should I eat that or not?”) so I’m more relaxed, I think, because it’s decided for me. I’m eating better and it’s do-able for me. If I happen to have a scone on a Thursday because I couldn’t live without it, that’s fine, but generally I’m enjoying my “no sugar during the week” guidelines…I don’t feel deprived or overdo it on the weekends.

Yah so that’s my sugar story! :0)

ali June 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

I LOVE your breakup letter Janetha! And I love your approach to taming your sugar cravings by cutting back, but also allowing yourself a “treat”.

My breakup letter would be to wine. I drink way too much of it. BUT, I’m just not ready for the breakup letter yet! :)

Alicia June 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

I love your letter! There are a few too many things I need to breakup with… :) But I think I’m going to write my letter to guilt. Goodbye guilt! I hope to never see you agian!

Christina June 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

BAHHH why is it so hard?? I think the hardest thing for me would be coffee. Besides that I “might” be able to give up sugar.

Annette@FitnessPerks June 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

I love your letter! It’s awesome. I am breaking up with complaining, I was in a negative spot for the past 2 days (I felt icky and sick too), so I am gonna work on that! :)

Hayley June 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

What?!? You’re going to Costa Rica!! I was just married less than 2 weeks ago and my husband and I are having a really difficult time picking a destination. Costa Rica is definitely on the list, but I don’t know where to start for planning. Can you please do a post on this soon? I would love to know more about your upcoming trip. :)

Momma b June 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Send me a note Hayley and we can help you plan a fun trip to Costa Rica if you want!!

suebenson@remax.net

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Holy epic birthday weekend treats! While that sounds like heaven, I understand the need to break up. Love your letter! Are you allowing stevia or xylitol? I broke up with sugar except for those ingredients.

right not my break up letter is with booze. I’m training hard now and the tasty alcoholic bevs are no-no’s My name is Laura, and I’ve been sober for 7 days. *sigh*

Katie June 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Haha, I love it!! I especially love that picture of you and Marshall. So sweet. (really no pun intended)

Aaaand I didn’t do my homework…I can never make those dang calls, they’re right in the middle of bedtime duty!

Lisa June 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I love this idea! I definitely need to break up with some of my unhealthy habits, my priorities are a little different. So, I think my break-up would be with me ED and thoughts it leaves me with. Great post!

StoriesAndSweetPotatoes June 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I like how your breakup letter is still realistic. I’ve been off sugar for years and not only did the cravings stop completely, but now I’ve totally lost the taste for it and find sugar revolting. But maybe you don’t want that to happen :) Do you like sweet potatoes? They could probably satisfy a craving.

Trisha June 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I love this! And I’m pretty sure we could all write a few breakup letters to some things in our life. I like that idea – I just might try it!

Sarah @ Learning to Feed Yourself June 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I am seriously impressed that you gave up added sugar for a whole week!! It kind of makes me want to try it out. I don’t eat an extreme amount of sugar, but I have definitely started to realize that it is in everything!!

And I would probably write a breakup letter to going out to eat so much. I just love it but it takes all of my money :( haha

Momma b June 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Love this post and your creative letter to sugar….nasty thing!!

I’m gonna break up with lazy….I waste so much time. I could accomplish more if lazy would just get in the back seat!!

Guess going to GPP today and committing tomorrow is a good start!

Sure love you!
xo

amanda June 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm

super awesome idea, Janetha. I think there are a few break up letters in my future, and I’m working on them! yay for being on a healthier path, and good luck to all of the other ladies who shared their break up letters – you can do it!

jessiker June 22, 2012 at 11:01 am

That photo of you and Marshall is so sexual.

Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life June 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Love it! And you’re making me love Fitmixer more too! What a great “Activity”… not just a workout program, but a whole LIFE program. And you know how I feel about sugar :)

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 23, 2012 at 12:49 am

Oh now I see why everyone is ‘breaking up’ with something. Cool.

Did I tell you that I accidentally fell into a sugar detox because of my MIA tastebuds? It’s actually not been hard and I’m not being a total sugar nazi like I don’t care if Mrs Dash has sugar. I’m just trying not to eat a bite of chocolate here and a couple of M&Ms there etc. Having said that, yesterday I did have a Thrifty ice cream cone and it was totally fine. It didn’t set off any cravings and in fact ‘scratched the itch’ of wanting sweets and then I was totally fine. BUT (interesting you mentioned this in your letter) I DID have a headache later that evening!!!?!!!!?!! Weird. I even wondered if it was related.

You’ll do fine. Enjoy your weekend away and then detox. It really is easier than I thought and I’m going on 4 weeks now.

Lea June 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I gave up sweets for Lent this year and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I didn’t give up sugar, but desserts and candy. At the end of 40 days I didn’t miss sweets at all, it was amazing and very freeing. Now I eat sweets on occasion but I’m much more satisfied after a small serving and I can usually satisfy any sweet cravings with some fruit.

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