Sweet Acne: Final Update

March 8, 2011 was the day I decided to challenge myself.  Is my acne caused by sugar?  I can’t believe it has been a year since I’ve had ice cream or a Bakers Square pie.  It would be great if I could say my skin has finally lived up to my definition of ‘clear skin’.  It hasn’t.  Not yet anyway.  I have no doubt that it will soon.

Despite my diet change, I still get one or two breakouts gifted to me, courtesy of my monthly cycle.  That will not change anytime soon.  What will change is my reaction to those breakouts.  I’m proud to say that I’ve finally learned to not pick at my acne.  When I don’t pick, the acne will go away within days.  I am (was) a chronic zit picker and it is an accomplishment every time I walk away from a mirror and not have picked at my face.  I know picking is horrible and exacerbates everything, but it’s a bad habit to break.  The end result of picking for me is hyperpigmentation that is darker, which takes longer to fade.  Clear skin for me is the day those old hyperpigmentation scars fade and I can bury my concealers.

My diet is consistent.  I am taking my vitamins and supplements daily.  I still struggle with drinking enough water on a consistent basis.  That is my next hurdle.  I hope you find what I’ve learned over the past year helpful.

Sweet Acne: September, 2011

My skin’s reaction from last month’s problem cleared up, but it still isn’t where I want or expected it should be given the sacrifice and diet change.  I’ve got a feeling the coconut water I’ve been drinking during my marathon training runs for the past four months has prevented my skin from completely clearing up like I want.  I thought it was pretty safe since it’s all natural and low in sugar.

To make matters worse, the past few days I’ve been carbo-loading in preparation for the marathon, which was today (Chicago Marathon).  Although I’ve been eating ‘safe’ carbs, I ate much more processed foods, which I’ve learned my skin doesn’t like.  I’m currently experiencing the effects.  The drinks and food I consumed today will definitely have a negative impact:  I had to consume a sugary sports drink during the marathon and I celebrated my finish by eating two big slices of scrumptious pizza.  My husband forgot to get wheat crust on the pizza so I ate white (double whammy).

It will be interesting to see if my skin does get better from not consuming the coconut water.  I will start fresh tomorrow.

Sweet Acne: Update, April 2011

Okay.  Two months without sugar and I haven’t gone into convulsions or clawed at my skin.  Things are good.  No major outbreaks to report.  I did have two hormonal breakouts related to my cycle.  I could feel them, but they weren’t that visibly apparent.  They arrived late in the afternoon, but were gone the next day.  I’ve had some minor annoyances but I believe it was because my water intake dropped off to around two liters versus three for about a week.

What foods did I cut out?  Of course table or raw sugar, anything that would resemble dessert, white foods (bread, pasta, rice and potato), ketchup, soft drinks, fruit drinks and yogurt.  I’m also very careful with sauces, especially tomato based sauce.  I’m reading labels of packaged foods more closely now including the nutritional guide of any restaurant that offers it.

I am still loving Ezekiel bread, yams, sweet potatoes and fruits (not too much though).  I’m eating fresh vegetables, brown rice/pasta cooked with vegetable stock, very little cheese, natural coconut water (great for my training runs), fish, vegetable protein based foods and wheat bread.

Surprisingly, I’m adjusting to not having caffeine in the morning.  I’ve also lost a bit more weight.  As of this writing, I think I’m done with the weight loss as it relates to simply removing sugar and white foods from my diet.  Any additional weight loss will come from increasing my running mileage over the next few months.  I will say I’ve never been this small (without being too broke to eat) in my adult life or even as a teenager.  Size 6 clothes are fitting loose on me, which I never dreamed possible without being deathly ill.

April update published May 8, 2011.

Sweet Acne:  Update, March 2011

Wow.  One month without sugar, a milestone for me.  The last time I went that long without consuming sugar is when I was six-months old…roughly.  I started this post a week ago today, but I couldn’t bring myself to publish it.  Some of that original post included:

“I sincerely wish I had better news to report.  Sadly, I didn’t see the improvement in my skin I had hoped.  I did see longer periods of time between eruptions; a few days at the most, but it didn’t stop.  Perhaps my expectations were too high.”

I didn’t keep a daily or weekly log of skin’s woes, but I remembered having breakouts during the first few weeks of the month.  I thought it was attributable to the two meals I had that contained white rice or the few red potato wedges I ate.  There was the two slices of white-bread pizza too.  Crap!  Did those four meals out of the 31 days in March ruin everything?  As I held off on publishing this post, I realized my skin needed to cycle out of the bad food I ate during the previous month.  I should’ve given myself at least an additional two weeks.

During this past week, I’ve kept up my no sugar or whites rule (no white bread, white rice, white pasta) and upped my water intake to 3 liters and voila!  I’ve been zit free for one week!!!  I was nine years old the last time that happened.

Another great thing occurred. I was able to lose around 7 pounds and a whole dress size.  Most of it is probably water because sugar and simple carbohydrates makes your body retain water.  I could’ve lost a bit more if I was running regularly, but I’ve been nursing a sore hamstring.

Life without sweets got easier as the days progressed.  I now live for sweet potatoes (a must with almost every meal) and cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread, with plenty of fake butter.  The hardest thing is no coffee in the morning.  Oh how I miss coffee.  Maybe one day I’ll appreciate plain black coffee (disgusting).  I’m trying to enjoy plain green tea, but I’m not there yet.  Soooo sleepy.

I’m hoping the last five zit free days hasn’t been a fluke.

Let’s all join hands in prayer…

Originally published April 9, 2011