My Sugar love

One of the ladies in my class hadn’t seen me in a bit, and asked yesterday if I was off sugar again. I had to admit to her that yes I was generally off sugar except for the half tub of ice-cream I had over the weekend along with the little cones that I demolished the day before and on my way to class. Why do you ask, I say… She says she could see it….and I was looking good! Oh right! My efforts do show, even when I don’t see it! I guess I’m back off sugar.
Saying I have a sweet tooth is an understatement. I truly believe that whatever sensor in our brain that tells it to shut off eating sugar, because our blood glucose has risen too fast, often takes a nap -and for long periods. My shut-off mechanism kicks in only because we have made it to the bottom of the bag and there’s no more. I often tell folks I eat chocolate by the bar or box or whatever container it comes in. As a child, my mother would bring home treats for the whole family…I would eat mine and everyone else’s. There was no stopping. I got sick right after my birthday EVERY YEAR…I would indulge in my birthday cake which my mother lovingly adorned with Smarties (like M&M’s but wayyyyyyyyy better, I have some at home if you would like to try it!) along with all the other sugary foods allowed.  As an adult it got worse because I could simply purchase as much as I wanted. Indeed I regularly keep a few pounds of chocolate at home. I love traveling to new places, usually because I can sample their chocolate. I can’t admit how much I spent on chocolate last year in London…even I was horrified when the lady told me my total….say what?
And I’m not the only one in my family.  My family’s request when I travel…chocolate. Years ago, my brother won a 5 pound Hershey bar…it didn’t take long for me, my father and him to blow through it. Though, my father was recently amazed at how much chocolate I quickly ingested…I guess I take the cake for the sweet tooth of the family….oooh cake! Yum! Ok, ok, I’m back.
So imagine my surprise when for 2014 I successfully gave up added sugar, which of course includes my beloved chocolate! In the past, I have gone for months banning chocolate from touching my lips. This usually happened after an especially punishing binge (2/3 bags or bars in a sitting) after which I talked myself into giving up the chocolate. At the beginning of the year we have a corporate fast at church; I usually do a full Daniel’s fast and eliminate sugar etc (Daniel’s fast eliminates meat among other foods, which I already do, so my focus is on the other parts of the fast). So I’ve done that successfully for a few years now, and had drastically cut down my sugar intake in the process. But in 2014 I decided to make it a lifestyle change and removed added sugar from my diet.

I’ll admit, this was not easy at all. I mean, at all. Sugar cravings will make you forget everything including the fact that you're avoiding sugar! But the reward has been amazing. The first thing I noticed was that contrary to what I thought, my energy levels stayed the same and possibly higher. I am high strung and overly energetic which I had attributed to my sugar intake, but alas, it's all natural baby.  I also noticed that I was not overeating as much. My stop eating mechanism seemed to be functioning a lot more and quicker. And of course my favorite change was my weight adjustment. The scale went below 150 lbs, something I'd been struggling to accomplish - and my midsection got trimmer. I noticed my skin was smoother, probably from losing the fatty tissue accustomed to sitting right underneath it. And the ladies in my class noticed...only after about a week!

So why is sugar the bad guy.
Well this article explains that eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease (even if you're not overweight).

CNN reports here that excessive added sugar consumption can cause fat buildup in the liver which can attribute to obesity, Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease

And this article from SFGate discusses similar trends including an impaired immune system which prevents your body from fighting viruses, bacteria and other guys bad for our health.

Oh yeah and it contributes to dementia and aging too!

I started the elimination as a part of a 3 week commitment and decided to extend it out. This allowed me to be really focused and work at keeping my commitment. There have certainly been slip ups and oopsies, but my newly adopted lifestyle has shown me that even I, the queen of the sugar world, can put my mind to something and accomplish it. I'll talk more about how I stayed on track and the challenges of a sugar-free world in the next blog entries! Stay tuned.  

Happy living!
Half-stepping diva