Busy Mom Fitness – Sweeten Your Disposition – Day 3

sugar cubesHow do treat sweets? Are you a sweet-a-holic, or do you rarely eat them? Are you a carb-fiend? Sweets and carbs can slow, stall, if not slam shut your ability to lose weight. Measurements need to be taken to limit your sugar and sweets intake, as well as cutting back carbs to a respectable level. I’ll talk more about simple and complex carbs another time. Right now, I want to discuss sugar and sugar substitutes (something you might know I’m currently struggling with.)

As you may recall, I went through a sweetener crisis about a month ago, when I was asking “Is Splenda a problem?” because of symptoms I was experiencing. You may recall, I was experiencing the following:

  • headaches, horribly, debilitating headaches and migraines.
  • aching all the time
  • getting weaker and weaker
  • feeling “not ok” all the time
  • overwhelming tiredness, yet I hardly sleep
  • back pain
  • inexplicable stomach pain we thought was onion-related but appears after I ate, we just can’t nail down what it is or why
  • Wrist pain and numbness
  • leg aches (restless leg syndrome)
  • inability to concentrate

I had previously discussed that I wasn’t exactly certain whether Splenda was the culprit, as each of those symptoms could easily be explained by other factors, such as recently giving birth, having a gazillion kids *ahem*, change in climate, water (our water is horribly chlorinated), and much more. I decided to experiment and stop using Splenda, to see if Splenda did indeed cause any of these, or if I noticed any change. I wanted to also wait on making any other changes, such as dieting, fitness, weight loss, to indeed “test” and see if it was Splenda.

Well, it’s been well over a month since I quit Splenda, and I wanted to give an update as to what I’ve experienced being off of it, and what I’ve used as a sweetener since, how my body has reacted, and an update as to those symptoms I was experiencing and what, if anything, has changed. (This is meant to give you my experiences, to give you information first hand, so you can choose for yourself which is best for your diet.)

Tiredness – still exists, but no where near as bad, but to be honest I think it’s because of my feeling overall healthier with dieting, change in sleep schedule, working out, etc. But there are points in which I could fall asleep right there. I think tiredness is just a given. I’m a parent. It happens.
Hardly sleeping – my sleeping habits have improved, but I doubt Splenda had anything to do with my issues in the first place. In fact, I noticed no change until I began forcing myself recently to go to sleep at a decent hour, now my body is getting used to that, and so, more sleep, thankfully.
Aching constantly – definitely not the case still. I didn’t notice much of a change after quitting Splenda, but I’m unclear when that stopped, so Splenda could very well have been the culprit. My only aches lately have been muscle soreness from working out and a pulled neck muscle giving me trouble.
Back pain – as I mentioned, I was in a car accident, suffered whiplash, and so, back pain is my middle name, but with working out and such, it hasn’t been nearly as bad
Stomach pain – while I’ve always had it, it has subsided somewhat. Could be Splenda.
Headaches/Migraines – this has died down, actually, by a great deal. The only times I get these now is when I’ve done something to aggravate my neck, because of my back injury. The pain in my back/neck will trigger a migraine. Or allergies, as opposed to everyday. This very well could have been because of Splenda.
Wrist pain and numbness – The numbness is gone. The strength is coming back the more I work out, could have been Splenda, or just lack of use in doing anything other than cooking, breastfeeding, holding kids and blogging *cough* 😉
Leg aches/Restless leg syndrome – I still have this, and still take Hylands Restful Legs. I think it’s just remnants of this pregnancy.
Inability to concentrate – I have six kids. It’s still called mommy brain times six 😉

So, Splenda seems to be the culprit for some while it may or may not have been the reason for the rest. But.. what did going off Splenda do for me!?

Acne – I’ve broken out on my chin and cheek. Weird, since I rarely ever. All in the same spot. Related? Possibly detoxing off of it? Not sure, but I’m just reportin’ it here, folks.

Weight gain. Hello TEN POUNDS! I weighed in a month ago at 163. Last night I was 169! And I know, I reported on Tuesday that I was 168 – amazingly enough, in one day I gained four-and-a-half pounds! Up to 173! I completely spazzed! I went and saw a “doctor” only to be told that I didn’t have enough info, and to chart my weight for 2 weeks and call them with the results, that they would not do any blood tests. Say wha? You know? I don’t think I have to tell you how much this concerns me.

Since then I’ve dropped down to 169, but still, that’s a lot, considering. It is more than likely the sudden sugar intake and salt, so I cut them both out, practically. Sodium is unfortunately in some products, so I’m doing my best to eliminate it.

I know, I reported that I only gained four pounds the other day. And then I got on the Wii Fit and found I’d gained again! So apparently, what I was using is NOT helping aid weight loss, in fact, it’s causing weight gain!

At first, when I quit Splenda, I used plain sugar. BIG mistake! I felt truly jittery and spazzy on it, and I crashed a lot. I was recommended stevia, an herb sweet enough to mimic sugar, with 0 calories. Here they are, the two stevia products I’ve been using –Sun Crystals and Truvia.
Truvia is pure stevia, and comes in packets (hope they choose to change this option later on). Truvia took a little getting used to at first, as it tastes nothing like anything I’ve ever tasted and isn’t as ‘strong’ as they claim it is (one packet is supposedly comparable to 2 tsp of sugar). In fact, at first, for each Truvia I used, I used a tsp of sugar, too, needing to combine the two. Not good. Wasn’t enough for me at first (but that’s changed, read on).

One day, when Truvia wasn’t available, I saw Sun Crystals, which contains half stevia half cane sugar, so I purchased it, as it came in a bigger box and was seemingly a cheaper stevia option.

Sun Crystals tasted marginally better, with the sugar already in it, and all, but after using it a bit, that’s when that out-of-thin-air weight gain appeared. Not sure what happened, or what the difference is between the two products, considering Sun Crystals just a combo of what I was using before, Truvia with sugar, but in an effort to find out if it is indeed the issue, I’ve stopped using Sun Crystals, too.
So, right now I’m back to Truvia once again, and, as I said, I’m back down to 169 – 4 lbs down since Wednesday night (I can’t believe I’m saying that – gained 4lbs in a day, only to lose 4 in 2 days. Say wha!?). But, I’ve also begun my dieting extravaganza, on top of stopping Sun Crystals, so I’m not 100% sure which did it. But my concern was to halt the rapid weight gain, pronto, and begin losing, as that is, after all, the goal, you know? (update at bottom)

So for now, Truvia, so we’ll see how this goes. So far so good, I enjoy it much more now than I did in the beginning I sure wish they would make a bag, or at least an option without all the individual papers, right now. Perhaps the weight gain is my body saying it doesn’t like stevia. Or perhaps this was just a fluke weight gain in a day kind of thing. Or maybe it’s sugar-related, because I didn’t completely eliminate sugar when I first started using it. Or something.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, definitely get off the sugar, but if you do use it, use it very briefly and only organic raw or natural (unbleached – it will be brown-looking). In the sugar substitute department, stay clear of aspartame/nutrisweet, with all of its crazy reports of how toxic it is for you, definitely research and try and go with what you can live with, for you and your needs. You’ve seen what I’ve written here about Splenda, and my experiences with stevia thus far. I know there are others, too. Try them for yourself and see what works for you.

What about you? What sweetener do you use? What works for you?

(Update: I only ever use Truvia anymore. So much so, I bring it with me to be sure I only use it. Because of Truvia’s help in eliminating sugar and Splenda, I am down almost forty-pounds. See my weight loss posts for more details.)

sugar cubes on pink creative commons picture by klevo! via flickr

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