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Skimping on Sugar Experiment

We have had our own biggest loser competition going on at work for almost a year now. It is divided into 3 month increments so people can sign up at the beginning of each round. Then, at the end of the three month round, the person with the largest percent body weight lost wins the prize money. Each contestant pays $10 to enter and the winner takes home the money. So far, the largest prize was $200! Not bad. I usually do not participate but instead, I keep track of others' weights and organize the competition. The past rounds (round 5) I noticed people were starting to lose momentum. We had fewer people sign up than ever before so I knew something else needed to be done. That's when I talked with some of the other women in the office to see if they would be interested in doing a group healthy eating experiment.

The goal is to see if weight loss can be achieved by following a simple plan. Most of the office is health conscious anyway (i.e. no sodas, etc...), so I wanted a plan that would help already health conscious women lose weight and get healthier. Myself aside, the people involved are not dietitians so they have no more nutritional training than another person may have. They are full time working women (some with young kids and babies) with no more spare time than anyone else. What do they have that no one else has? Motivation. They are ready to follow a plan to make healthier changes happen. Kim, one of the secretaries at work, has even started her own blog to journal her progress. Head on over to A Better Me to check it out! She is truly inspiring and we could all use some encouragement, so drop her a comment.

What are the rules? I started with the Sugar Buster's plan and made my own changes because, as a dietitian, I completely disagree with avoiding fruits and vegetables (potatoes and bananas, anyone?!) but I do agree that, as a nation, we eat way too much sugar (hidden and intentional). Plus, I  really want something people can actually stick to. Also, as a dietitian, I used to get annoyed when people told me about new plans they are "starting".  I have studied food and the body for almost 7 years now so I don't need a plan. I look at labels, make educated decisions on what to eat, when to splurge, and what ingredients are just plain gross. I exercise daily and don't need a schedule for that either. However, recently, I realized that while eating healthy is second nature to me, it isn't so easy for others. Food companies make packages so misleading and the consumer is often left confused about what is "healthy" and what isn't.  People like structure, they like plans that outline do's and don'ts and some people just need a short time frame to stick to a plan to prove to themselves that they can do it.  That's what this plan is! It is not designed for people to cut out food groups or potatoes, it is designed to reduce sugar intake while learning to make better choices over all. Some people don't like to "think" about what they need to eat. To that person, this isn't for you. My personal belief is that everyone should "think" about what they need to eat, so for the person who agrees and is willing to look at a nutrition label, this is for you.

30 day Experiment- Endo Plan
* Adapted from Sugar Buster’s plan
Main Guidelines:
  • No more than 3 grain or starchy vegetable serving per day. This includes rice, bread, potatoes, yams, pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, and any other grain. Serving size is 1 slice or ½ cup so total daily servings allowed is 1.5 cups.
  •  No fried foods; including chips, tortillas, fried chicken, fried vegetables, etc.
  •  No “healthy” junk foods like sweet potato or vegetable chips or no sugar added ice cream.
  •  This is not a carb free plan. Our main carbs should come from fruits and vegetables.
  •  3 meals required + optional 2 snacks per day (no over snacking)
  • You don’t have to count calories, but if you eat out often calorie counting may be necessary.     Choose non fried meal options with less than 600 calories per meal total.
  • No desserts! You have 2 dessert cards to be used for special occasions. (Birthdays, weddings, other events). Only 2 events, so choose wisely.
  •  Read labels!
  •  No skimming others plates (i.e. I didn’t order fries, but then ate  half of J.T.’s!)
  •  Exercise of some kind, minimum 3 days a week for 30 minutes each.

·         Water- required 64 ounces per day.
·         No sugar from drinks (includes juice, Gatorade, powerade, soda, tea, coffee drinks, etc) Drinks with less than 5 cals per serving are ok.
·         Coffee and teas are acceptable. Use sugar free sweeteners and light or nonfat milk as creamer. No powdered creamers or refrigerated creamers.

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol daily will sabotage weight loss efforts. Alcohol should be saved for special occasions and should be limited to one of the following choices:
·         2 glasses red or white wine or
·         1 dark or flavored beer or
·         2 light beers per occasion.

Grains to eat: (1/2 cup = 1 grain serving) Choose no more than 3 servings per day. Breads and pastas should have no more than 3g of sugar per serving.
·         Plain oatmeal ( you may add in items,  but start with plain)
·         100% whole grain bread/whole wheat bread/whole wheat wrap
·         100% Whole grain pasta, brown rice or cereal (cereal with <10g of sugar per serving)

Proteins to eat: (choose 1 per meal and 1 per snack)
·         Lean meats
·         yogurt with <12g of carb per serving (preferably Greek yogurt and preferably plain)
·         2% or leaner cheeses
·         1% or nonfat milk, almond milk, soy milk or other unsweetened milk variety
·         Nuts and seeds
·         Nut butters limited to 1 tablespoon per day

Vegetables to eat: (choose at least 1 per meal)
·         Any vegetable you want
·         ½ potato (sweet or white)or half cup peas, beans, corn=1 serving starchy vegetable

Fruit to eat: (choose at least 1 per meal)
·         Any fruit is acceptable
·         No fruit juice (unless you need to correct a low blood sugar)
·         No fruit with added sugar, like fruit cups in heavy or light syrup

Fats:  No margarine
·         Light butters, no more than 1 tablespoon serving size. (I can’t believe it’s not butter, light, or Smartbalance light). Be sure to look for no partially hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.
·         Olive oil, vegetable oil and other oils are fine, use sparingly. Usually, no more than 1 tablespoon.

·         Vinegar based dressings and condiments will be better than milk or mayonnaise based.
·         Look for no more than 3g of sugar or less per serving on the condiment label.

This plan is meant as an experiment. We want to see if it works and so far, some have seen progress! 
Our 30 days started already, but if you would like to join, comment below or email and let us know how you are doing! 

Copyright of Rainie Carter, RD, LD and Be Well and cannot be duplicated or printed without written permission. 

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