I am over a week into breaking my sugar addiction. I waited until mid-month, because Boyfriend didn’t end up leaving until mid-month. I’ve been satisfying all my sweets cravings with fruit, and minimizing starchy foods.

I still have sprouted whole-grain toast with peanut butter for lunch when I am at the office (I’ve been working from home quite a lot, so that hasn’t been often), and I had a tiny bit of brown rice mixed in with my mushroom-onion-tofu stir fry the other night, and I have some brown rice cakes in the cupboard that I can eat if for some reason I need a big calorie boost and don’t have time to cook, but other than that, I’ve been good. Well. I did “cheat” once with a small piece of licorice from the health food store. But one piece of candy in 8 days is not going to kill me.

I’ve switched my supplements a little because I ran out of the doctor-prescribed prenatal vitamin I had been taking and it was expensive to get refilled now that I don’t have university insurance anymore. I am now taking Deva Prenatal and a vitamin D-3 supplement instead of Prenatal Plus and a B-complex supplement. The Deva one is vegan, so it has plenty of B-vitamins, but its form of vitamin D is D-2 (apparently D-3 comes from sheep’s wool). D-2 isn’t supposed to work as well as D-3, so I’m taking my sheep’s wool separately.

I used my calipers to measure my body fat today, and I’m down to 27% according to them. However, I’m still not sure I’m doing it right, because I looked at the pictures on this article, and I look closer the the image representing 20% than I do the 25% or 30%. I would say if I were going by those pictures, I’m somewhere around 22%—fully a 5-point difference than the calipers are telling me. Either way, I guess the important thing is that they’re telling me a number that is getting smaller over time, more than what the number actually is. I think the first time I checked, it was 31%, and then I would have said I looked closer to the 25% picture. Maybe not even that big then. Skinny-fat indeed.

I’ve still been working out, to try to combat the skinny-fatness. I had taken a break over the holidays, but I’m back in full swing now. The other thing I’ve been working on doing is lowering my cortisol levels. I recently read that high cortisol levels cause people to gain their weight around their middle, which is definitely where I am prone to gain it (hello, love handles and pot belly!). I want to see if I can change where I store my fat, through lowering cortisol levels and, when it is time to gain my weight back, raising my estrogen level, which is supposed to influence how much weight is gained on the bottom. Not only is that the healthier place to carry weight, but Boyfriend, you see, is an ass man, with a particular love of squishy upper thighs, and I’d love to eventually stay around 20-22% body fat with most of my weight on the bottom.

Supposedly, the following things lower cortisol levels:

  • Not skipping meals (including breakfast, which I am often guilty of)
  • Sleeping plenty and well
  • Getting 30-60 minutes of exercise (but no more—too much increases cortisol)
  • Yoga and breathing exercises
  • Music
  • Laughing
  • Avoiding sugars, refined carbs, and caffeine
  • Not getting stressed out—remaining “zen” about things

All of that stuff fits well into my current plan, and shouldn’t be too hard to implement. I’ve already started making sure I eat something within an hour or so of waking up. To increase estrogen levels once I’ve gotten to my “turnaround” point where my body fat is satisfactorily low and it’s time to start gaining back again, I’ll be consuming a lot of soy and taking a black cohosh supplement (it’s the only herb for which there is any clinical evidence of its effectiveness). And we’ll see: maybe I’ll get a bumpin’ bottom!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that this detox may go on quite a bit longer than a year; we’re looking at doing a cross-country move in the spring, and we think we want to give ourselves an additional year to get settled in to a new city and new jobs before we do the whole parent thing. So this may turn out to be the Clear YearS—or at least year and a half. All the same, I hope to meet my fat-loss goal by June, gain again, and then just maintain after that. I’m not even sure what maintenance will look like on a cortisol-reducing gain-and-maintain plan, since re-introducing sweets was one of the main things I was looking forward to, but I guess I’ll figure it out.