a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Jan, 2011

Sugar Fast update and a bit about pushups (one hundred pushups, to be exact)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you|Yaktivism

It’s Day 9 of Sugar Fast Plus, in which I am not eating refined sugars or flour. (Read the how and why here.) Amazingly, it’s actually getting easier as I go. The only sweetener I’ve consumed is a bit of honey in an occasional cup of tea. The only processed/sweetened food I’m eating is a small bowl of All-Bran Buds in the mornings, which I dropped at the beginning and then started eating it again because, well, just because. :) 

So I’m doing pretty well!

My “trick” is that there’s no real trick. :) I have discovered, however, that it’s important to (a) plan detailed menus… almost right down to breakfasts and snacks, and (b) do a full grocery shop. If I don’t have any of “my” food in the house I know I will resort to hot buttered toast. (I work from home. It’s so hard to avoid hot buttered toast!) But most importantly I can’t buy groceries that might tempt me. It’s not like my family is being starved – far from it – but I don’t want to sabotage my own efforts, and what’s the point of making it harder on myself? I had a couple of close calls recently that came in the form of leftover Christmas chocolate, Chinese takeout (plus dessert!) at my in-laws, and a fresh loaf of garlic bread Mark brought home from the French Baker … but I NEVER CAVED.

Feeeeeel the power.

There has been some unintentional weight loss, not much, but a bit, and I am very happy to be at my ideal weight for my age/height right now. Yay me!

Edited to add: I had a bit of an ephipany about it just now. The Sugar Fast is not about denying yourself. For me it’s mostly been about finding new and healthy ways to treat myself. Mentally, this makes all the difference in the world. Eating a hot breakfast in the morning; snacking on marinated garlic and nuts, delicious cheese, veggies I love, etc. It makes me happy! When it’s over I will go back to eating sugar and flour, but it’ll only the “good kind.” A croissant or baguette from the bakery, a square of great-quality chocolate (less is more!), a beautiful cupcake or a homemade cookie. I think eating fewer sweet and/or butter-laden “good” things is better than eating more of that other stuff. In other words, one square of great chocolate is better than a dozen Mars bars. Don’t you think?

A couple weeks ago I started doing the one hundred pushups training program again. It is a great challenge, and I totally recommend it. I did this last year and had great success with it. It builds muscle in a relatively very short amount of time without a huge time commitment, special equipment, or sweaty gym clothes. I don’t think I blogged about it at the time, but I will say this … it really works. I never looked or felt better than when I was doing pushups (although I was admittedly doing it in conjunction with a Couch-to-5K program, which I will start when the snow melts). I am, once again, working towards having stronger arms and more definition in my abs. And it’s all about the pushups, nothing else.

I asked Donna Davis at Elation Centre (a Fishbowl patron) about the benefits of doing pushups, and here’s what she wrote:

“We do lots of these in yoga and I am a stickler for proper posture. Note, “yoga push-ups” are done with the elbows hugging the sides of the body pointing straight up and back as opposed to out to the sides, and the hands line up right under the shoulders. We do this to protect the wrists, the rotator cuff in the shoulder area and it builds amazing triceps.

Donna’s tips:

  1. 1) Keep your lower abdominals strong – always. This will support your lower back.
  2. 2) Do not let your lower back ‘dip/sway’, you want a nice strong flat lower back.
  3. 3) Imagine my hand resting between your shoulder blades, notice if there is ‘dip’ between the shoulder blades (if you saw a picture you would see the shoulder blades pop up like wings) – if this is the case push up into my imaginary hand, making a very slight lift in the muscles between the shoulder blades – keep this area strong!
  4. 4) When you lower yourself to the ground, keep your chest and hips in the same line.
  5. 5) If your lower back starts to sway or shoulder blades wing out you have gone down too far.
  6. 6) Options: only go down halfway, or put your knees down [I am doing mine with my knees on the ground a.k.a “girl” pushups. I get results, and they’re easier, so I know I am less likely to give up.]  
  7. 7) Doing pushups with improper posture will injure your lower back, shoulders and wrists.

Pushups build an amazing amount of strength and endurance in your muscles; core, shoulders, chest, and arms!”

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I’m sticking with it, doing incrementally more pushups (as per the training program) every other day.

I was very sore when I started, but this only means that it’s working. I’m feeling stronger every day, and it’s a pretty good feeling.

6 Responses to "Sugar Fast update and a bit about pushups (one hundred pushups, to be exact)"

1 | Patti Murphy

January 11th, 2011 at 11:16 am


I’ll check out that push-up program. I love efficient exercise programs that involve bursts of intensity in short periods of time (and that avoid the gym).

Good for you with your sugar fast. In my case, the mind is unwilling and the body is weak when it comes to self denial on that scale.

Cool beans.

2 | Ryan

January 12th, 2011 at 1:05 am


A friend mentioned the hundred pushups to me a while back, and your commitment to it got me interested. Now I’m doing the pushup, situp, and squat programs and enjoying having a regular, muscle-building routine. I’d love to do the 25 pull-up routine, as I’ve always found those hardest to do. Thanks for the inspiration!

3 | Shannon

January 12th, 2011 at 10:01 am


I forgot that I had these 100 programs on my ipod from last year. When you do them, do you warm up first or just do the push ups? I’m in a position where I dont have time to work out but I’d love to do this just before bed. I know it would tire me out a bit too to fall asleep faster!!

4 | andrea

January 12th, 2011 at 10:04 am


Patti: try it out and let me know how you do!

Ryan: pull-ups are hard. Where would you do them? Would you have a chin-up bar installed somewhere? :)

Shannon: I don’t do any warm ups beforehand but during the rest time between sets I do stretch my neck and arms in some kind of yoga move I can’t name. :) Feels great.

5 | Donna

January 12th, 2011 at 6:19 pm


Hey Andrea keep it up – pushups and a sugar fast – you Rock!

6 | Lara

April 19th, 2011 at 5:09 pm


Hi Andrea – I am just checking out your site and noticed this comment from January.

For pull ups you can go to your local playground and do them there (with feet on ground). you can also take a resistance band (trx like or just regular) and tie it to the goal post at the park! :)

so how is your 100 pushups challenge going now a few months later? Enjoy!

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Ang Antos: I would respectfully disagree that the parks should open up individual reviews for each site, part of camping is the adventure, the not knowing and di
  • Maureen Kilpatrick: I love reading books and last year I read the most I’ve ever read since I started tracking on Goodreads. It was mostly due to the pandemic and the l
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive weathering - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] am happy to say that I am still making my bed every day and reading lots of books. I don’t want to oversell it, but the making the bed
  • jdope: It is ridiculously addictive, if you can get your hands on some it won't last long. FYI The ingredients on the Ikea Mustard Dill Jar: Canola Oil, M
  • Lisa from Iroquois: Totally get why you saved that calendar. You know, the way it is designed, you could easily create an slip of paper with 2021 calendar and glue it i
  • Stephanie Henderson: Thank you very much, you're an outstanding author! Maintain providing us with excellent stuff later on.
  • valiasi: So hard to say. Yet, knowing your tendency for either opening or finishing can help you understand what habits you need to work against and what parts

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter