why I stopped eating sugar

From my health blog: Journey to a Healthier Me:

Sugar.

I love it. My friends love it. My family loves it.

And I’m pretty sure my dog loves it.

We sprinkle it in our coffee. You can find it in pretty much anything you consume. Valentine’s Day was last week and chocolate sales went through the roof, so to speak.

And when I was ten years old, sugar became my best friend.

Growing up, I didn’t really fit in. Having been blessed with red hair felt like a disease and viewing the God of the Bible differently than what they taught at the church I grew up in set me apart. On one particularly bad day, I  felt the need to seek out comfort from a parent only to be turned away.

That same year, Little Debbies treats, donut holes  and chips filled the pantry and sugar sang me to sleep on the nights I felt the most lost. I didn’t feel safe reaching out to anyone, so I saught comfort in the next best thing. That led to a battle with my weight, self-image and, well, gluttony (as the Bible puts it). I would over-indulge just so I could feel full, even though it wasn’t my stomach that was empty. It was my heart.

That battle with my weight and health still wages today, but I made a choice in four years ago to do something about it.

In 2010, soda, especially Mt. Dew, began affecting my stomach in weird ways and made me feel sick, all the time. So…I gave it up. Although it was hard at first, but the benefits of not putting that into my system have definitely outweighed the short-lived satisfaction I once got. I feel better. I’ve had less cavities, so my teeth are definitely thanking me. I also have more energy to get through my day rather than facing that 2:00 PM  sleepy lull that hit every afternoon, during which I used to grab a 20 oz. Coke from the break room.

I also went out and purchased a gym membership that I could afford. (Go me!…lol). I got tips from a trainer and started working out on a regular basis.

In 2011, I moved to Minneapolis and my health journey continued. New gym. I also now lived in a city where most people walked or rode their bikes. There were trails right in my yard (well, almost)! My friends also were making healthier choices when it came to food and because of that accountability, paired with my gym regimen, the weight started falling off and stayed off.

It hasn’t always been easy. For instance, this last year I was saddened by the end of a relationship that had come to mean more to me than it probably ever should have and because of that sadness/depression, I didn’t have the energy to workout or the desire to make healthy choices. There were many days where I ate what I felt like eating. And then came Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and I believe the food minions were out to get me last year. It was a series of stinkin’, rotten, horrible, no good days (I’m referencing a little Lysa Terkhuerst here) and there didn’t seem to be a light at the end of that tunnel.

2014 is here…has been for the last fifty days and the light is there. I can see it and it’s all due to God in his unending love and goodness (not to mention his grace). He has reached my aching heart through this online Bible study I’ve been doing with Proverbs 31 Ministries and the words of Lysa in her book Made to Crave.

I’ve gotten up again. I’m working out again…at 4:30 AM of all times. I’m making healthy choice again. But…

None of this has been by my own power; it has been by God’s.

This time will be different.

This time will last the rest of my life whether I experience another series of stinkin’, rotten, horrible, no good days or not.

This time, I will succeed; for his glory, not mine.

This time, I’ve got accountability on my side. I’ve got a couple of friends who text me or reach out to me via Facebook every day to see how I’m doing. If I’m not being truthful, they know it and call me on it. Besides, why on earth would I want to lie to my friends? Another perk to this: I have a couple of workout buddies…especially when the weather turns nice. Anyone up for a walk around the river or the Chain of Lakes?

This time…

I’m doing more than buying healthier food. I’m skimping out on MSG all together and putting sugar back on the shelf. I recently found out that I have a sensitivity to the former and have been advised by my doctor not to eat that junk; that latter is simply a choice. Neither of these have a purpose in my body. I prayer that God will be honored through my journey to taking godly care of my body (his temple).

I’m giving up sugar (with the exception of dark chocolate). You should too.

Here’s why:

  1. Sugar is addictive. Did you know that in a 2007 study by James Cook University, researchers discovered cocaine-addicted mice actually preferred sugar-water as a reward over cocaine? Put that box of Lucky Charms back on the shelf. I don’t care if the label says they’ve added more protein or if they claim there are now more whole grains in your choice of cereal or that those marshmallows rock your world. Put it back.
  2. Sugar makes you fat. This so true. Remember those food minions from earlier? They came in the form of chocolates, cakes, Christmas goodies, cookies, candy canes, turkey and stuffing. Even the canned cranberry sauce was screaming my name. In that short amount of time, I gained some of the weight I had lost back and added a few inches to my waistline, making me feel incredibly uncomfortable. An over abundance of sugar puts your live into overdrive, working frantically to re-balance your system, and stores sugar as fat so your blood sugar and insulin levels can stabilize. Eating it every day and at every meal, your body will end up with an excess of belly fat over time…and that’s right about where mine is sitting right now. Makes sense not to eat it and thus, one of the reasons I’m giving it up.
  3. Sugar keeps you from making healthy choices. Remember that cocaine statement from #1? Sugar is just as addictive and when your body has felt that high, you’ll keep coming back for more. Not to mention, when you fill up on sugar, you’re less likely to eat the nutrients you body really needs, causing systems to shut down.
  4. Sugar is altering our children’s culture. While I don’t have kids, I remember quite well how it changed my childhood. Having that over-abundance of sugar as a kid could lead to early death or illness for life. My kids, if God chooses to bless me in that department, will only see sugar at special occasions…even that seems less of a probability. Healthy cake anyone?
  5. Sugar keeps you hungry. Sugar doesn’t satiate. Many of us get our sugar from liquids (pop, energy drinks, etc.) and when you consume it in liquid form, you’re getting empty calories that never satisfy and in turn, you’re inviting constant hunger into your life.
  6. Sugar is everywhere. Check the sugar content on the healthy foods you purchase and you’ll be surprised.
  7. Sugar feed cancer. Scientists have long noted sugar molecules are present in high numbers near cancer cells. Just this last year, a study by the University of Copenhagen showed that sugar actually aids the growth of malignant cells. No thanks — bring on the mushrooms!
  8. Sugar accompanies other things you don’t want in your body. Enter in MSG and other additives added to preserve many of the foods people purchase today. Ugh…
  9. Sugar is making us sick. This is true. Eating all the sugary foods I chose to eat during my season of sadness left me feeling like crap. Not just on the days I splurged on it. This happened every day. I was tired all the time. I was in a perpetual state of feeling like I was coming down with something. Sugar can actually suppress your immune system, causing your body to get common sicknesses more often.
  10. Sugar costs money. Getting sick often and feeding your constant hunger can add up over time. Think about it. Your grocery bill and the number of doctor visits…neither come cheap.
  11. Sugar turns into belly fat. See reason #2. When sugar is processed by your liver, the excess that you don’t need gets turned into fat; belly fat. This can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the former of which runs in my family. I can make choices now to keep that at bay, then I’m on board.
  12. Sugar is causing your cravings. See #5. When you eat sugar, you’re always craving more.
  13. Sugar is sneaky. It’s listed under many names and although it may not be listed on the nutrition label of your Nutrigrain bars, it’s there: Agave nectar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweeter, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated can juice, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, sucrose, and syrup.
  14. You’re eating way too much. Recommended amount: 6 teaspoons per day. Not tablespoons.
  15. Sugar hides in your drinks. Choose water (I also heard that they were debating on whether to add sugar to milk…no).
  16. Sugar is ruining your teeth.
  17. Sugar contains no nutritional value…whatsoever. It contains only calories.
  18. Sugar withdrawals are real. Explains why going through pop withdrawal brings on headaches…it’s not the lack of caffeine. It’s the lack of sugar.
  19. Sugar may be making your moods swing. No kidding.
  20. We use sugar as a reward. Turning another year older? Let me buy you a cake with lots of frosting! Aced that exam? Have a cookie. Dropped 50 lbs? Here’s a tray of Oreos. No more.
  21. Sugar isn’t helping your skin. Unless you’re using it in the form of a sugar scrub.
  22. Sugar is affecting our kids…didn’t they say this already?
  23. You don’t actually need any calories from sugar. Fruit and starchy vegetables provide more than enough calories for a healthy adult diet.
  24. Sugar is connected to more health concerns than we once imagined.  Check this out.
  25. Sugar affects your brain. Feeling tired or hungry all the time? High blood sugar has been linked to memory loss and cognitive decline. In other words, sugar consumption can lead to a domino effect in the body which can prematurely age the brain.

I’m chosing to cut sugar from my diet. Will it be easy? No. It will probably be one of the hardest things I ever do, but I do know that my future self will thank me.

Most of this fascinating infomration was found here.

Journey to a Healthier Me

Sugar.

I love it. My friends love it. My family loves it.

And I’m pretty sure my dog loves it.

We sprinkle it in our coffee. You can find it in pretty much anything you consume. Valentine’s Day was last week and chocolate sales went through the roof, so to speak.

And when I was ten years old, sugar became my best friend.

Growing up, I didn’t really fit in. Having been blessed with red hair felt like a disease and viewing the God of the Bible differently than what they taught at the church I grew up in set me apart. On one particularly bad day, I  felt the need to seek out comfort from a parent only to be turned away.

That same year, Little Debbies treats, donut holes  and chips filled the pantry and sugar sang me to sleep on the nights I felt the most lost. I didn’t feel safe reaching out to…

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