My Sugar Free Journey Blog – In the Beginning

I’ve been meaning to update everyone on my progress so far. My journey to becoming sugar free has certainly had its bumps already. Ironically, my main motivation for wanting to cut sweets (pregnancy) has also been the cause of my setbacks.

October 2nd

After using ovulation test strips for a couple weeks without the expected results, I took a pregnancy test and found out we’re expecting baby #6. The unexpected news immediately sent my mind whirling with all the things I’d need to do to prepare. I’d dabbled with the idea of cutting out sugar before but here was the motivation I needed to push me to make the decision. I quit right then and there.

For the next couple weeks things went fairly smoothly. I felt good mentally and physically. Sweets were hardly even tempting.

October 16th

We had an early ultrasound to determine how far along I am – still very early! Baby was estimated at only 5 1/2 weeks along. I’m still feeling normal and sticking to my healthy diet.

October 18th

My kids had a homeschool co-op meeting in the morning, so after I dropped hubby off at work, I pulled through the McDonald’s drive thru to grab a quick breakfast for everyone. They’ve got a sweepstakes going on now (I’m a sweepstakes queen! haha) so I ordered items I knew would have the pull-off tabs for the contest. This included a mocha for my teenage daughter. No, not a healthy meal choice for anyone but I really wanted those sweepstakes entries, and I justified it to myself as a rare treat on a hectic day. Anyway, on the drive home, I took a sip of the mocha. Why? I don’t really know. Part of me wasn’t tempted at all. I was more interested in my bacon & egg biscuit! But part of me wanted to see if my 2 weeks without sugar would change how the drink would taste to me. So I took a sip. And it was gross! OK, maybe not totally disgusting, but certainly much too sweet and artificial. I thought to myself, if I had to drink that whole cup, it would make me sick to my stomach and probably give me a headache too.

October 19th

My mind is on sugar this morning and I head to the store. The past couple days, morning sickness (the kind of all day nausea that makes it hard to find foods you can safely eat without gagging) has begun to kick in. I had decided before I even got to the store that I was going to get stuff to make smores. That was going to be my one indulgence. I don’t know why I picked smores. I think one of my kids had mentioned wanting graham crackers and it put the idea in my head. I wandered the aisles trying to find anything to eat that didn’t make me want to hurl. It was a difficult task! I got the graham crackers, the marshmallows, and for the chocolate I thought I would make a ‘better’ choice and picked the 70% dark stuff. When I got home, I popped 4 smores into the microwave to warm up and sat down with a cup of coffee, ready to enjoy this treat I was so looking forward to. I was sadly disappointed. It just wasn’t as good as I had thought it would be. Maybe it was the dark chocolate instead of cheapo Hershey’s. I don’t know. Maybe it was tainted by the disappointment in myself for giving in to the craving. Either much, I didn’t finish them. We left to meet friends at the park that afternoon.

For lunch, we stopped at McDonald’s again. Partially for more sweepstakes entries, but also because I was craving a cheeseburger. If you’ve never had pregnancy cravings like mine, let me tell you how it feels: most of the time when I think about what to eat, all the foods that come to mind make me disgusted. So disgusted that there’s no much I could put it in my mouth without puking. Even foods I normally love or eat all the time. And I can’t control what foods will be on my ‘gross’ list that day. So once my mind hits on food that sounds good, it’s the one and only thing I can eat. I just HAVE to have it. It’s awful! And I can’t wait for this phase to pass!!

So here we are again and I get another mocha for my daughter. At home, I take a sip, then later, another few sips. I finish off the smores I had left on my desk earlier.

Since then….

In the past week, my diet has gotten worse. Morning sickness that lasts all day has settled in and made life difficult. I’ve had much more bread, and carbs in general, than I normally would. Certainly much more than I want to have in my diet. But right now it’s a matter of survival more than anything else. I eat what I can to survive another day without throwing up. That’s been one success so far at least. One month down without puking which is a big deal for me. With past pregnancies, I haven’t been able to manage as well.

This stage of sickness and food aversions should fade away by the end of the year. It usually lasts 2-3 months. I’m holding onto the hope that with the new year, I’ll be able to get my eating habits back on track. That’s the easiest time to do it as well. Everyone starts over in January. I will too. My journey may be sidetracked by my treacherous hormones but it is not derailed. I WILL succeed in the end.

In the meantime, I’m doing the best I can. Feeling sick every single day for weeks is exhausting and depressing but I will get through it.

How are you doing in your journey towards better health? I’d love to hear what your setbacks have been, how you’ve overcome them, or what your plans are to succeed. We’re all in this together, doing the best we can with what life has dealt to us. Share your story in the comments below!

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Does Sugar Cause Belly Fat?

belly fat

Chances are, if you’re a sugar addict, you probably have some extra belly fat you wish you could lose. Wonder what causes fat in the first place? How does it go from food in your mouth to the squishy stuff around your middle? Does sugar cause belly fat or do fatty foods make you fat? Let’s find out!

dietHow Food Becomes Body Fat

Food’s #1 purpose is to give our bodies they fuel they need to keep living- vitamins, minerals, and energy that keep your cells functioning.

If you have eaten too much “energy” then your body has to do something with it. I sure wish any excess calories I ate would just be turned into waste I could flush…but sadly our bodies don’t like to waste anything. Instead, our bodies turn on Fat Storage Mode to hold onto that extra energy for later.

While we’d probably all like our bodies to be in Fat Burning Mode, sugar in your bloodstream makes that impossible.

Here’s why:

  • The carbohydrates you eat become glucose during digestion.
  • Higher glucose in your system tells the pancreas to send out some insulin to take care of it.
  • Insulin pulls the glucose out of your blood by telling your cells and muscles to use it for energy (if they need it) and any leftover glucose to be stored as fat for future use (just in case you might need it later).

Sugar Is Pure Energy

craving sugarAs tasty as sugar may be, it just doesn’t bring any benefits to your health. It’s pure energy in the form of calories, created to be quickly burned as glucose. For the vast majority of ordinary folks, we aren’t burning it. We’re storing it. As fat! Glucose should be burned up first as our body’s source of easy fuel but our “tanks” are already full most of the time. There’s only so much glucose that can be used at one time or stored in our muscles. What we don’t use up, we hold onto for later.

It’s so easy to overeat sugar. It’s almost everywhere, in almost everything, and we gladly eat much more of it than we would ever need in a day. So yeah, sugar does make you fatter. Sugar does cause belly fat and all sorts of other trouble too.

Blood Sugar Battlebalance

Homeostasis. For some reason I always loved that word. Ever since I learned it in high school biology class. It’s a word that means your body wants to be in balance. It’s always trying to keep itself balanced. Sounds so nice and calm doesn’t it?

Insulin is a hormone that should be our balancing friend. Its job is keep our blood sugar nice and even. Ate a little too much? Send in the insulin and take care of that extra glucose before it damages your cells! That’s how it should work anyway.

Eat too much sugar for too long and the cells stop listening to insulin like they used to. Now you’re working towards a diabetes diagnosis. Your body will actually lose its ability to take care of the sugar you put into it.

We want to keep ourselves in balance as much as possible. Excess is dangerous.

on fireHow To Turn On Fat Burning Mode

Now that you know how your sugar habits have built that donut around your middle, what can you do to get rid of it? You have to stop being in Fat Storage Mode all the time. To do that, just make sure you don’t have too many carbs. Here’s what will happen when you don’t have extra glucose:

 

  • Your cells use the glucose you gave them earlier to do their thing.
  • Cells use up the glucose they had and start pulling more from your blood as needed.
  • The level of glucose in your bloodstream begins to drop.
  • The pancreas works to put some more glucose in your blood by releasing the hormone glucagon.
  • Glucagon tells your fat cells to break down their stored energy to supply it back to the cells.

Yay! Fat Burning Mode!

 

 

By the way, your fat cells don’t actually disappear. You will always have fat storage cells. What does get burned is the fat molecules stored inside. To ‘burn’ that, it has to be pulled out of the fat cell by signals from helpful hormones trying to keep homeostasis in your bloodstream.

An Appetite For Moresign to eat

The nature of sugar’s interaction with your brain’s reward pathways makes it hard to stop eating more sugar even when your body doesn’t need anymore. As I mentioned before, the cravings for sugar can be as strong as they are for hard drugs. You can’t trust your appetite to tell you when to quit eating treats. Emotions, habits and social circumstances can also cause us to over consume sugars.

That’s why you need to gather information, decide on a plan great jobthat’s right for you, then decide ahead of time that you are going to follow through. Even when it’s hard or you don’t feel like it. Even when your coworkers are enjoying their peppermint mochas and bagels with flavored cream cheese. They’re not in Fat Burning Mode and you are. Do you want to give that up or do you want to walk in a year from now wearing a power suit 5 sizes smaller than you could fit in today? Your choice.

Fat’s Not All

If you’re looking to get a flatter belly and slim down in other areas too, we should mention that fat is not the only culprit for your larger size. You also have bloating, water retention, and inflammation to deal with.

bloatedBloat is a sign that your digestive system is in distress. Remember that sugars are the primary food source for bad bacteria and fungi hanging out in your gut. Keep feeding them a high sugar diet and they’ll return the favor by bringing on constipation, gas, cramping, indigestion…and a bloated tummy. Cut the carbs, starve them out and enjoy a flatter midsection with less discomfort.

Most people think retaining water is only related to too much salt. But sugar is mostly to blame (again!). Remember that too much sugar leads to too much insulin being circulated. And insulin also tells your kidneys to hold onto more water. Keeping this extra fluid makes you look puffy.

Finally, a high-sugar diet changes the pH balance of your internal environment making your body a cozier place for infections to grow. Ideally you want your body to be alkaline, not acidic. An acidic environment makes it easier for germs to hang out, puts stress on your cells and keeps your immune system on high-alert. So you’ll likely have inflammation throughout your system. Inflammation in turn makes it harder to be in Fat Burning Mode.

Can We Blame It All On Sugar?get fit

It would be much easier if all we had to do was eliminate sugar to be our healthiest thin self. OK, not really “easy” since cutting out sugar is hard! But there are many other factors to consider if you want to start losing belly fat. Here’s a quick list to get you thinking in the right direction:

  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Include plenty of vegetables and healthy fats in your diet
  • Find ways to reduce your stress and relax more.
  • Move your body more than you do now.
  • Build muscle tone by lifting heavy things.
  • Reduce the amount of toxins in your environment.

Better Than Skinny

It’s natural to want to be thinner and more attractive. Cutting out sugar is a big step in that direction. But let’s not overlook the other benefits. Don’t forget that in your quest to get rid of belly fat, you can reap other fabulous health benefits as well. Better health will go a long way towards making you more attractive!happle couple

As I discussed before, sugar can do some nasty things to your physical appearance. When you remove it from your diet, some great things can happen. You may experience clearer and brighter skin, firmer skin tone, brighter eyes, thicker and shinier hair, cleaner teeth and fresher breath.

Just the act of taking control of your bad eating habits makes you more attractive. It takes courage and confidence to make changes in your life. Even without realizing it, when you step out to improve your life, it shows!

When you cut out the biggest factor for illness and disease, you’re setting yourself up for a longer, healthier, more beautiful life. Melting your fat away is really just a bonus!

Tools To Help You Get Started

Ready to take action and burn off the belly fat? I’ve gathered a list of tools to make your journey easier and more effective.

body fat scaleDo you know how much body fat you have to begin with? It will be hard to tell how much progress you’re making if you don’t have some solid numbers to go by. I don’t recommend just relying on your weight because 10 pounds of fat and 10 pounds of muscle look very different! As you progress, you’re going to be moving from a fattier body composition to a more muscular body. Muscles weight more than fat but look thinner…go figure!

To get more reliable data, get yourself a scale that measures your body fat. You’ll be able to accurately track your fat loss over time and stay motivated towards your goal.u

The RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale measures 11 aspects of your body composition: weight, body fat percentage, BMI, muscle mass, free body fat mass, metabolism, bone mass and more! All your stats sync to your smart devices to easy track your progress.

ketone test strips

As you’re tweaking your diet to move from Fat Storage Mode to Fat Burning Mode, you’re going to wonder what mode your body is in. Are the changes you’re making working yet? You don’t have to wonder! Grab some ketone test strips and you’ll know for sure when your body is burning instead of storing fats.

If you’re cutting down enough on your carbohydrates to move to fat burning, there will be ketones in your system. These strips measure when those ketones show up and how much you have circulating around. It’ll give you valuable insight into how your body is working.

 

 

Fitbit Charge 3

 

Want to make sure you’re moving enough during the day to use up the glucose in your bloodstream? Remember that you won’t burn the fat in your storage until your cells need the energy from it. Moving more every day makes that happen faster.

For you techie people out there, try a Fitbit to keep track of your daily activity. Combine that information with the numbers from your body fat scale and the amount of ketones you’re producing to really get a picture of what’s going on inside your body. It’s a pretty cool process to watch in action!

L Glutamine

I’ve gotten several questions from readers regarding supplements to curb sugar cravings. The one I recommend is called L-Glutamine. It’s a natural amino acid that supports your overall health but especially the function of your pancreas and thyroid.

L-Glutamine supports balance in blood sugar levels and so it can be a tool for reducing your sugar cravings. It’s available in both powder and capsule form. If you have trouble controlling your cravings, this may work for you!

As a bonus, it also helps with muscle repair, gut health and your immune system. Win-Win!

Raise Your Hand If You Want To Lose Belly Fat!

I’m raising my hand! Waving it around like a loony! Yes, I have too much fat around my middle (and some other places too).

The great news is, I know what to do about it. Even better news, I’ve started the process of cutting out sugar and I’m already seeing awesome results! In just 10 days I can tell my stomach is significantly flatter than it was when I started. It’s so exciting to see your body changing right before your eyes. I look forward to checking myself out in the mirror because now I know I’m only going to look better today than I did yesterday.

Do you want to lose fat too? What tactics have you tried before? Have you lost weight only to gain it back? I hope I’ve given you the facts and tools you can use to move forwards towards your goal.

Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

hands raised

 

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Gateway To Better Health? – A Whole30 Overview

Whole30 is probably a program you’ve heard about. It’s an extremely popular plan for those looking for a way to improve their eating habits. I’ve even tried it myself. This Whole30 overview will help you decide if this plan is right for you.

What’s The Whole30 All About?

Whole30 is a plan developed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig about 9 years ago. The basic idea is to eliminate certain foods/food groups that may be harmful to your body. After 30 days, you will slowly reintroduce foods to determine if your body tolerates them. If not, you’ll see how your body reacts negatively to that food so you can make an informed decision about whether to continue to exclude it from your diet.

The book explaining the method is It Starts With Food. After reading the book, you’ll understand what foods to include and exclude for the next 30 days. It explains the reasoning behind cutting out certain items as well as what to expect during your program experience.

Whole30 Diet Rulesstop light

For thirty days you will not eat any foods containing

  • Sugar! (including fruit juice)
  • Grains and “pseudo-grains” such as rice, corn and quinoa
  • Legumes (peanuts and beans)
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Soy
  • Artificial stuff like MSG, carageenan, artificial coloring and preservatives

Also you aren’t allowed to weigh yourself. No cheating whatsoever or you’ll have to start over at day 1. And no making any type of dessert items with allowed ingredients. They call this “sex with your pants on” and it’s a no-no.

What The Whole30 Is/Is Not

The Whole30 program is a way to

  • clean up your diet
  • discover unknown food allergies and sensitivities
  • jump start a permanent change to a healthier diet
  • completely cut out harmful food for a short period of time
  • change your eating habits
  • learn how to properly fuel your body
  • break bad habit by learning new habits
  • get yourself cooking at home instead of relying on takeout

The Whole30 is not

  • a permanent solution
  • a quick fix
  • for the wishy-washy
  • flexible
  • a long-term diet/lifestyle

How To Get Started on The Whole30

Reading the book is the best step to take first as it explains the entire program along with the reasoning behind it. Once you have done that, check out the official Whole30 website for helpful printables, meal plans & recipes, testimonials and online support.

meal prepYou’ll need to create a meal plan and shopping list to get you through your first week. Begin by cleaning out your kitchen, throwing out any food on the excluded list. You won’t want any added temptation in your cupboards. After your shopping trip, try to prep your meats and veggies as much as you can for the coming week. Spending an hour a week on meal prep will be a life-saver later on.

The web is loaded with approved recipes you can try but I suggest getting one of the official Whole30 cookbooks.

Support For Your Journey

The Whole30 website has a forum where you can post questions and read other people’s stories. A quick online search can also get you connected to groups that are planning to start a Whole30 within the coming month so you will have others doing it along with you, day by day.

Get your family on board with you so they won’t be caught by surprise by the changes going on in your kitchen and your meal plan. If at all possible, get the entire household to do the program with you so you can keep off-limit foods out of the house. If someone else wants to cheat, make sure they do it somewhere else!whole30

A great resource to support you each day is the new book The Whole30 Day by Day.

It includes valuable tips and tricks to get you past the daily changes you’re going to experience. On a bad day, you’ll want all the help you can get to make it through!

My Whole30 Experience

My sister was the first to introduce me to the Whole30. A large group of her coworkers had decided to try it together and she invited me to follow along in their Facebook group. I had been looking for some way to clean up my diet and keep myself motivated to stick it out.

The first time I tried it, I had a great experience. Not that it wasn’t difficult to stick to (it was!) but I learned a lot about myself and about nutrition. I picked up some new recipes that I still use today and discovered products I never would have tried before- like coconut milk and avocado oil. I even made homemade mayo for the first time! healthy meal

It was the first time I experienced what it was like to go without sugar for such a long period of time. I found out where my weaknesses were and learned ways to cope with cravings. It was enjoyable to share experiences and recipes with the group, to see how the program was changing us.

Confession- I didn’t do the entire 30 days perfectly. I cheated on like day 27 (I don’t even remember what I ate but I know I cheated). And I admit I made some dessert-type items with allowed ingredients even though we weren’t supposed to. But overall the experience was well worth it! Even though I cheated a bit, and I didn’t do the reintroductions part exactly as instructed, I did find out that my body has an issue with milk.

I don’t remember how much weight I ended up losing although there was some loss. Mainly I lost the bloating and puffiness, and my skin cleared up nicely too.brain

The benefit I enjoyed most of all was getting rid of my brain fog. When I eat clean, I can think clearly even in the afternoon when I’m usually in an energy slump. My mind just isn’t as sharp as it used to be (maybe because of all these kids running around!). But on the Whole30 I felt more like myself. Like I could think and function as a normal human being and less like a tired and stressed-out Mom.

Can The Whole30 Help Me With My Sugar Addiction?

Absolutely! I highly recommend using the program to jump start your sugar-free life. Although it seems harsh at first, you’ll be forced to completely eliminate all sugars and most carbs (except for fruits and veggies). You’ll be able to experience what that feels like and reap its benefits. The thirty-day timeline feels more doable than a lifetime. You’re getting the experience and tools to cut sugar forever but in a more manageable chunk of time.cooking

Once you complete the 30 days, you’ll be better equipped to continue your journey without sugar for the long-term. It will no longer seem like an impossibility!

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If you’ve done the Whole30, we would love to hear what your experience was. Would you recommend it for sugar addicts? If you’ve never tried it, have you considered it? What’s holding you back?

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Anatomy of an Addiction – How to Break the Sugar Cycle

eating a donut

Think you may be addicted to sugar? Most people wouldn’t put it that strongly. They say they “love” sugary treats. Or that they “just can’t stop” or “can’t help themselves”. No matter how you want to phrase it, the fact remains (and is backed by science) that it’s hard to kick the sweet stuff. You’re going to need solid facts and help to break the sugar cycle in your life.

Cookie vs. Cocainepile of oreos

What’s a harmless little cream-filled cookie got to do with cocaine? Hopefully nothing right? I mean, we put them in our kids’ lunchboxes every week. How bad could they be?? Turns out, the 2 could be more similar than you’d ever imagine.

Rats studied at Connecticut College were given morphine, cocaine and Oreos. Scientists measured the amount of neurons activated in the rats’ brains after receiving each substance. Guess which one the rat’s brains like the most? Yep, the Oreos. This study indicated that the potential for addictive behavior may be even stronger with treats than with hard drugs.

candy colored drugsWell, OK, but cookies aren’t going to kill me like drugs would. Right? You can’t overdose on Oreos. Perhaps not. At least, not as quickly. Sugar’s insidious internal damage can go unnoticed for years. Until one day, years down the road, you’re diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, or liver failure. These things can be sugar-induced and they CAN kill you. More slowly than an overdose would.

Considering how much easier and more affordable it is for the public to obtain cookies than cocaine, the potential for problems is more widespread.

Why Do We Love Sugar So Much?

Simply put, when we eat sugar it releases “feel-good” hormones like dopamine and our own naturally produced opioids. Every time this happens, you’re training your brain to expect these good feelings when you go for a treat. You start to look forward to, and crave, the hormonal rush of happiness it brings.lick the frosting

Over time, you become less sensitive to the hormonal effects. But the neural pathways have already been set. The habit has been created and you will continue consuming sugars. Now, in order to get the same benefits, you’ll have to consume even larger amounts since you’ve developed a tolerance to its effects. You will keep on being lured back even when the intelligent part of your mind tells you it’s a bad idea.

Plus it tastes good. There is that…

What If I Want Off This Path?

You’ve been living for years under the influence of sugar and you’re ready to free yourself from its control. Excellent! A wise decision for sure. Unfortunately, it won’t be as easy as simply making a choice. You’re probably going to have to fight for your freedom.

Symptoms of withdrawal are likely, just as when coming off of drugs. You may experience headaches, sweating, sleeplessness, lack of energy, dizziness, mood swings, upset stomach, and intense cravings pushing you to give up.

Suddenly you’ll notice that sugar is everywhere! It’s seemingly inescapable! You’ll soon realize, you’re going to need more than sheer willpower to make it through the day. You’re going to need a plan and support.

What’s Your Exit Strategy Going To Be?exit sign

Only a rock solid plan for breaking the sugar cycle is going to be effective in breaking your addiction. So where do you start?

The good news is, you’ve already started! Just by reading this information you’re beginning to prepare yourself to overcome your sugar addiction. Knowledge is power!

  1. Step one is what you’re already doing, gathering information that will help you make wise decisions. Learn about the harmful effects of sugar so you’ll be more determined to give it up. Find out where sugar is hiding so you won’t be tricked into eating it unknowingly.
  2. Now you know your enemy. Do you also know yourself? Take some time to think about your own situation. Consider where your weakest points are. Snacking in the car? Mindlessly munching at your desk or in front of the computer? Maybe you enjoy dipping into the sweets along with your kids. Or some people might stay up too late and be unable to resist the midnight munchies. It could even be indulging in several fancy sugary coffee drinks throughout the day. Also don’t forget about other carbs like chips and breads. They may not taste sweet but as soon as it hits your digestive tract, they become sugar too. Figure out where your personal trouble spots are. What are your triggers? Boredom? Being in a specific place or at a certain time of day? A morning routine that might need to change? Figure out ahead of time what situations might need to change to give you the best chance at victory. I suggest using this time of discovery to start a journal or notebook. Writing down your thoughts will help clarify and ingrain them in your mind.
  3. The next step in knowing yourself will involve figuring out your reason for taking this journey. Find your “why“. It will be different for everyone. For me, I want to be able to have the healthiest pregnancy I can have. You might want to be able to fit into clothes you haven’t worn in years. Or have a better shot at avoiding a disease that runs in your family. Do you have infections or skin conditions you want to clear up? Maybe you want to set a good example for your kids and help them grow up healthier too. Perhaps you are sick of the feelings of guilt and shame that come with sugar bingeing and you want to be in control of yourself and your emotions. Whatever it is, be clear about why you want to do this.
  4. Decide on a strategy for replacing old habits with new ones. By now, you should know what weaknesses and triggers cause you to fall into the habit of reaching for sugar. To kick the old habits you’re stuck in, you’ll need to pick something else to replace them with. For instance, a smoker may choose to replace his cigarette habit with chewing gum. The idea is, you can’t create a vacuum. You can’t just remove something from your life and not expect something else to take its place. Decide ahead of time what the replacements will be.

good food

The best strategy will be one you can live with for years to come. An approach that covers your entire lifestyle to work towards better health will be the most effective. There’s no point in doing all the work for a few weeks then slipping back into they way things were before. For that reason, I recommend researching the Whole 9 or Paleo/Primal ways of eating and living. They both encourage wholesome foods, movement, and stress reduction techniques. This holistic approach to life is easiest to maintain long-term.

Build A Support Team

The Final Step I recommend is finding a support group. This can be your family, friends, a group that shares your same goals, or hopefully, a combination of all three. If you enjoy using social media, a Facebook group may work for you. Or you could even start a local group in your hometown for recovering sugar addicts. Just find other people who can help keep you accountable. It helps to know there are other people on your side, people to share your frustrations and successes with, someone to pick you up on your bad days and cheer on your good days.

Make sure you tell your friends and family members about your goals. They will be more supportive if they understand why you want to quit sugar.

victoryWhat If It Doesn’t Work?

Remember, if you do your best to walk a path towards sugar freedom, there will be bumps. You may fail. That’s just a fact for addicts; recovery can be a long process that includes relapses. I myself have failed numerous times. As long as you get back on track, you won’t be a failure. Continue to work through the steps, adjusting as needed, and one day you’ll wake up and realize you’ve made it!

Have any questions or concerns about how to start the process to break free from sugar? Please leave your comments below and I’ll be sure to follow up asap!

 

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What’s My Reason for Stopping Sugar Addiction Now? You Won’t Believe It!

This week I discovered the ‘why’ that made stopping sugar addiction right away a top priority. Can you guess what pushed me to make such a drastic decision one ordinary Tuesday morning?

Surprise! I’m Pregnant With Baby #6!

swan with ducklings

I know! I was shocked too. So surprised in fact, that I tested 4 times just to be sure. Those 2 little lines have a way of changing everything in an instant. What kind of things do you think run through a woman’s mind when she gets the news that she’s about to become a mother of six? Well my first thought was, “Are you serious?” I’m not sure who I was directing that question to. God maybe. Or myself. Either way, my next thought was “How am I going to do this?”

  • How am I going to get through another pregnancy? My youngest daughter is only a year old. She’s still breastfeeding as well, so my body has had to sustain another life for a long time. This new little one inside is going to need me to provide it everything it needs to grow. That’s a massive amount of work to demand from my body. So I worried whether I could safely grow another healthy baby. It was going to take focused effort to make that happen.
  • How am I going to keep myself healthy over the coming months? I’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes before. I don’t want to go through that again. In order to keep my blood sugar within normal limits, I will have to change some things in my life. Exercise is going to be very important. Building muscle works to keep down blood sugar levels. It also makes you stronger; a fact I’ll appreciate when I’m carrying around an extra 10 pound person.
  • Another thought (or fear) that came to me may seem vain and superficial. I worried about how this pregnancy was going to make me look. What kind of toll would it take on my physical appearance? Yes, having already done this 5 times before, you’d think something like that wouldn’t bother me. But it does. Some things are unavoidable. Your breast will change. Your hips and feet may widen and never go back to the size they were before. The stretch marks and loose skin around your stomach will always remind you of motherhood. But you don’t have to gain too much weight. You don’t have to always carry around that added baby weight.

maternity photo shoot

I don’t have many photos of me pregnant. I always put on more weight than I should. I always look awful, especially towards the last trimester. The extra weight, swelling and puffiness just aren’t attractive (in my opinion) so I avoid the camera. I have friends who can stay thin and look beautiful all through pregnancy. I admit to some jealousy when I see how easily they keep their looks. Could I finally work hard enough to do things differently this time? Could I finally be pregnant and still feel beautiful?

It’s a lot to take in and so much to consider. The choices I’m making are affecting my baby’s health as well as my own. This isn’t the time to sit around and worry but the time to take action! It’s time to kick my sugar addiction to the curb!

My New “Why”

make things happen

Any time you want to do a difficult thing, you need a “why.” Your “why” is the reason you put yourself through the struggle. The reason you keep on pushing yourself when it gets hard. If your reason is weak, your resolve will be weak too. At the first sign of difficulty, you’ll crumble under the pressure.

Your “why” is your motivation. It’s true that motivation can come and go. It’s not easy to stay motivated. But some motives are stronger than others. If your motivation is shallow, you’ll probably decide to give up pretty soon. If you really want to change, make sure you have a solid reason that you feel passionate about.

This child immediately became my reason to change, my reason for stopping sugar addiction TODAY. There’s no putting it off any longer. I’m pregnant now so I need to be my healthiest now.

Sometimes in life, an unexpected change will come your way. Maybe the death of a loved one, loss of a job, a financial or health problem. Or it could be something wonderful, like meeting your future spouse. Either way, it causes a shift in your thinking, in your priorities. This is the opportunity to grab a hold of your new “why” and let it push you in a new direction.

Why Did I Choose to Quit Sugar When I Found Out I Was Pregnant?

today is the day

I had wanted to tackle this problem for a long time. In fact, I’ve tried before but never with such an adamant determination.

For some reason, this time I want to beat my addiction more than ever before. I want to be healthy more than I want chocolate! I want to be pregnant and beautiful, more than I want to relax with a cup of coffee and some cookies. I want to give myself a strong body more than I want a treat. I want to avoid gestational diabetes so I don’t need to worry about complications that go along with it.

By the way, did you know if you have gestational diabetes, it’s a strong sign that you’re likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life? I’m taking it as a warning that now is the time to change before it’s too late. And yes, I do believe you can beat diabetes with the proper diet and lifestyle changes. More on that in another post!

What I’ve Tried in the Past

My diet is mostly what you would call Paleo or Primal. Mostly. Like maybe 70% other than the sugary stuff. In the past I had worked harder at being more Paleo compliant with some success. When life got hectic or stressful I let things slide. On the positive side, it did teach me how I want to eventually eat the majority of the time. It’s something for me to work towards.

Then there was the Whole 30. I tried that a couple of times. I made it 20-something days before I totally cheated. Not a total loss–It helped me see that it really is possible to cut out sugar which I had done for 3 weeks. Not having any dairy showed me I’m sensitive to milk, something I didn’t know before. Milk makes my throat sore for some reason. I learned how to meal prep ahead of time so I could quickly make dinner during the week. And I added a few more recipes to my repertoire.

The last time I tried a Whole30 just happened to be the day I found out I was pregnant with my 5th child. OK, so I’m really good at making babies 😉 And not very good at sticking to a diet! I did manage to stick to it for a week before morning sickness kicked in and I didn’t want to eat any of the foods I was supposed to be eating. Instead of forcing myself through the aversion to meat, I gave up and ate what I wanted instead. Mostly yogurt.

failure

My life until now feels like a long series of trying…and failing…hitting bottom, then trying again. Just to fail again. It can get so frustrating and depressing. Have you ever felt the same way? After failing so many times to beat my sugar addiction, it can seem impossible. Why even try again?

Then I did a search on YouTube on “how to stop failing” and found some great videos that put me on the path to better thinking. First of all, it’s OK to fail! Failure is part of the learning process. Every successful person failed too, many times over! The only difference between a successful person and a failure is that the successful person didn’t give up. No matter how many times you mess up, you can try again. It comes down to a choice. Choose to stay down or choose to carry on.

I thought about that. I thought about the many times I had “failed” to clean up my diet. All the times I “failed” to control my cravings. Instead of thinking of those times as failures, now I realize they were essential times of learning and exploring my options. I learned about nutrition. I improved my cooking skills. I figured out how food labels can be misleading and how to choose better products. Overall, my habits did improve. There are lots of foods I used to buy that I just don’t anymore. No matter how it seemed at the time, I realize I had made progress over the years. dont give up

You can experience the same thing. When you decide to fight your sugar demons, it’s possible you will “fail.” Remember above all else, you don’t have to stay down. Accept what happens, learn something from it and try again. Eventually you are going to make it! Just don’t give up!

The First Week

The day before I took the pregnancy test, I had pigged out on sugar. We had stopped to get some groceries a few days before. We had gone without a list, which everyone knows is a bad idea. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream, Pop Tarts, Oreo candy bars, Twix minis, pretzels with chocolate dip, lollipops for the kids- all ended up in the cart.

think about food

Not thinking much of it, other than the usual nagging feeling of guilt, I ate a small pile of candy while I worked on the computer. Totally oblivious to the 180 turn I was going to take in the morning.

It’s been six days since then and I haven’t eaten any more of those treats we bought. My husband and kids have but there’s still a lot of it left in the cupboard. Usually I would not be able to see it, or know that it’s there, without taking some. I’m grateful that for now, the urge to indulge isn’t strong enough to make me give in.

As you can see, I also started this site about my journey. That’s another reason why this first week off sugar has been easier. I want to show the world that this is an addiction we can beat. A few times when I’ve wanted a treat, I’ve thought about YOU! My reader, you are also my “why.” I want to be strong for you, to be an example you can follow in your own journey. I can’t promise you perfection. But I can promise to be real. I can promise to be here for you.

Do You Have A Reason To Try?stumbling

Now you know my story and the reason why stopping my sugar addiction is of the utmost importance. If you think it’s a crazy choice to make or not worth the struggle, I hope you’ll read up on what kind of damage sugar can do to your body.

  • If you already know how bad your sugar habit is for your health, may I ask what’s holding you back from trying to quit?
  • What would have to happen to you or change in your life to make you want to quit?
  • If you’re ready to quit, have you tried before and failed? Tell us what you learned!
  • Are you ready to try again? What’s your “why?”

Join in the discussion in the comments below. Remember, beating an addiction is so much easier when you have a community of support. Thanks for following along and cheering me on! It really does make a difference to me on days when I get down.

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Why Is Sugar Bad for Your Body? – How is My Addiction Harmful?

danger sign

You’ve got to have a solid reason to try to beat your sugar addiction. If there’s no harm, why stop? We need to know exactly why is sugar bad for your body. How is it hurting us?

Sugar is Destroying Your Brain & Body!

Your brain controls it all and need lots of energy to do it. Having a little bit of sugar stimulates a craving for more, even if your body doesn’t need it. The ‘happy hormone’ Dopamine is released to make you feel good so you will reach for more treats. Sugar essentially trains your brain to want more, leading to addiction.

The excess sugar in your bloodstream damages your ability to learn, your memory, your mental focus, and motor skills. Science has shown it can literally shrink your brain tissues and bring on dementia! Brain damage?! That’s serious harm, folks!

What about the rest of your body? Let’s start with your joints. If you enjoy the pain of inflammation when you try to move, sugar can definitely do that for you. No thanks! I’d rather not feel old before my time.

heart attackToo much insulin (caused by too much sugar) makes your blood vessels expand and tense up. Over time, making your heart work harder–leading to heart disease. If 25% of your calories come from sugar, you’re twice as likely to die from a heart attack! Yikes!!

Moving on to the kidneys…excess sugar over time = insulin resistance = type 2 diabetes which can lead to kidney failure. Dialysis, anyone?

Also susceptible to damage are your liver and pancreas. Too much sugar makes your pancreas work overtime to secrete enough insulin (so your body can do something with that sugar) but eventually it will give up. Same thing with the liver. When it gets worn out trying to deal with all the insulin, you get diabetes. Not good news!

Sugar is Messing with Your Emotions!depression

Not enough reason for you to quit the sweet stuff? I know, it’s your go-to solution when you’re feeling down. Because your emotions have been hijacked! It’s the dopamine talking. A quick fix of sugar sets off a surge of adrenaline too. Then the crash and burn. Irritability, anxiety, and depression are sure to follow. Once you get off the blood sugar roller coaster, your emotions will stabilize also, putting you back in control of your moods.

Sugar is Working for the Bad Guys! 

Bacteria – Fungi – Cancer

Need another scary way that sugar bad for your body? It literally feeds disease. The “microbiome” in your gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Obviously you want the good ones to grow and the bad ones to die off. Sadly, the little boogers that weaken your gut, block nutrient absorption, cause gas and constipation and bloating…they love eating sugar. Too much sugar and they take over leaving you feeling pretty awful.

One well-known fungi that also thrives in a high sugar environment is Candida. It’s the cause of nasty conditions like bladder infections, thrush, vaginal yeast infections, ulcerative colitis, sinus infections, nail fungus, or infections of the skin, bones and joints.cancer

Feeding fungi in your body also increases your chances of developing the disease many of us fear most- cancer. Cancer cells are hypersensitive towards insulin as well. If you don’t want to grow cancer cells, you don’t want to have elevated levels of insulin caused by too much sugar!

Sugar is Making You Uglier!

Ugh! Is sugar trying to kill us or what?! Now I’m telling you that it makes you look bad too! When will it end??

  • Your smile: Sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your mouth that give you bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.
  • Your skin: Sugar causes inflammation leading to wrinkles, saggy skin, dullness, blotching, acne, and stiffness.
  • Your hair: Sugar accelerates hair loss.overweight
  • Your physique: Sugar turns into fat, fat and more fat!

Kick It To The Curb!

Why is sugar bad for your body and why should you cut it from your life? I think we have plenty of reasons now to say “Bye-Bye, Sugar!”

Has someone you love (or you) suffered from any the harmful effects of sugar? Please share your story in the comments below!

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Names for Sugar on Nutrition Labels – Know What You’re Buying

Sugar sure is sneaky! It goes by many aliases and lurks in places you wouldn’t expect. Arm yourself with basic knowledge of Sugar-Lingo to beat the system. Only by knowing the names for sugar on nutrition labels can you protect yourself from the hidden enemy!

How Do I Know if a Product Contains Sugar?

food labelThankfully, food packaging in the US is required to give us certain information. Learn how to decipher food labels to pick safe products.

Don’t pay any attention to the front of the package! Those tasty photos and misleading promises on the front aren’t regulated like the nitty gritty info on the backside. So flip that baby over.

Check out the Nutritional Facts. Especially paying attention to the line showing “Total Carbohydrates” and the indented lines beneath. You’ll be able to quickly see that there are 12g of sugar in one serving of this example product.

Next, you want to check out where those sugars are coming from by reading the ingredients list. They may be naturally occurring (as in the case of lactose in milk) but most often they are added.

Sneaky Names for Sugar

Our enemy goes by many names. To seek him out you’ll need to know these synonyms:

  • Agave
  • Malt
  • Cane Juice
  • Caramel
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit Juice
  • Glucose
  • HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Honey
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Mannose
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Panocha
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle
  • anything containing the words ‘sugar’ or ‘syrup’

Be Your Own Detectivemagnifying glass

Did you know that the ingredients list is written in order with the highest quantities shown first? If any of the first ingredients listed is a sugar alias, you better beware! That ‘food’ is mostly made of junk. Make smarter choices with your money and your health.

What About Carbohydrates?

In the example label above, you can see there are 37g of Total Carbohydrates. Part of this total includes 4g of fiber. Because fiber isn’t easily broken down in the body into sugars, you can subtract that amount to get a more accurate idea of how much sugar your body will be absorbing when you eat this. In general you’re going to want lower carb products to avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes.

It Starts at the Storesnack shopper

Knowing how to choose the right products (and avoid hidden dangers) at the supermarket is an easy step towards better health. Knowledge is power and the processed food manufacturers hope you don’t use your power to see through their tricks. By looking closely at the facts, you will be able to make smarter choices. The groceries you buy today will be the fuel for your body tomorrow. If it’s a product you know will be a temptation, leave it on the shelf. If it’s in your kitchen, you will succumb. Make your life easier by taking away the option.

Have you ever been shocked at the amount of sugar in some “health” foods available? Personally I think cereals are the worst tricksters! Share your thoughts below with our community.

 

 

 

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I Quit Eating Sugar Cold Turkey – No More Chocolate??

Exactly 4 days ago I made the snap decision to quit eating sugar, cold turkey! What?!?! That’s pretty extreme!

Why “Cutting Back” Won’t Work one donuts

I know I have a problem. So do I stop eating sugar completely or should I just try to cut back? If I cut back, I could still enjoy my favorite treats once in a while. After all, cookies and chocolates are old friends. I can’t turn my back on them. Can I?

Besides, NEVER having any sugar is too hard to actually do, right? I don’t have the will power to keep it up forever. I should just abandon this crazy idea now. It’ll never work.

The thing is, I have tried “cutting back” on sugar before. You probably have as well. Did it work for you? I hope so, but I failed miserably! Briefly depriving myself just made the urge to binge later on even stronger. If you were a recovering alcoholic, would it be ok to have just one drink? Of course not. You’re fighting to quit and you know one drink could lead to a relapse. Same thing with sugar. If you’re going to quit the habit you CANNOT allow an indulgence because it will lead to a relapse. You want to quit for a reason. Don’t let one fancy cupcake make you forget your goals.

Can you really just eat one cookie and be satisfied? The food industry has worked long and hard to make sure we keep eating. That package of Oreos will quickly disappear because they’re designed to be irresistible! In another article I’ll tell you the secret way food manufacturers sabotage our efforts to “cut back” and pull us into addiction.

What Can I Still Eat?

Deciding to quit eating sugar can be tricky. Sweet treats aren’t the only foods containing added sugar. Most processed foods, especially low fat items, had added sugars. With names like “dextrose”, “maltose”, “fructose”, and pretty much anything ending in -ose. Not to mention corn syrup! It’s hard to avoid if you aren’t careful.grocery choices

What about starchy foods like bread or rice? Or fruits? Carbohydrates in any form are turned into sugars when your body digests them.

Deciding exactly what to exclude and what to still include is going to have to be a personal choice. Do some research on your own and consider what foods will genuinely be safe for you to keep in your diet without becoming a problem. Be truthful with yourself. Listen to that inner voice. Is it leading you on a path to better health or are you listening to the inner addict who doesn’t WANT to give something up?

I chose to stop eating sweets because that’s where my addictive behavior lies. Chocolates, cookies, cakes, sweetened coffee drinks, and ice cream are all a NO.  

Starchy carbs like bread aren’t something I enjoy. Usually I pass on bread anyway and use lettuce for sandwiches or just make a salad. I also don’t eat much pasta. Those things will be fine for me in moderation because I don’t feel any mental or physical dependence on them.

Fruits are also going to be included in my diet. Although they do contain natural sugars, their vitamins and fiber are great for our bodies. But only in their whole form. Juices are a NO because they have been stripped of fiber and many of those vitamins. Applesauce will also be a NO because the peeling and cooking process has removed most of the apple’s health benefits, leaving behind a dense sugary sauce.

Fear of the Futurethanksgiving toast

I am aware of how extreme it sounds to completely quit eating sugar cold turkey. Truthfully, it’s scary. I’m letting go of habits that have brought me comfort. Treats that make me feel happy. I’m afraid of a relapse. Afraid of bingeing again. Scared of letting sugar continue it’s powerful hold over my life.

How will I get through the holidays? Will the joy be lost if I don’t have our traditional special treats? I’ll soon find out because Thanksgiving and Christmas are mere months away.

Is This Sustainable?

So much of our culture and traditions include sugary treats. Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, Grandma’s fudge at Christmas, cake and ice cream for birthdays, morning meetings with coffee and donuts, chocolates from our sweethearts. It’s impossible to avoid. I know it won’t be easy to sustain my resolve for a lifetime.

It will be hard but it won’t be impossible. Maybe years from now, when I’ve lived sugar-free long enough, perhaps I’ll be able to enjoy a slice of pie without fear of backsliding. First I have years of bad habits to break. I have to work on creating new healthy habits that will be permanently ingrained in my thoughts and behaviors.

For now, I’m saying NO. No to the sugars, yes to a healthier future!

 

 

 

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Symptoms of Sugar Addiction – What is an Addiction Anyway?

How do you know if you’re an addict? What are they symptoms of sugar addiction? And is this even a real addiction??

What?What is an addiction?

Insert dorky dictionary definition here — If you’re addicted to something it means you are “physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.”

OK. Let’s take that apart. An addict is:

  • Physically dependent
  • Mentally dependent
  • On a certain substance
  • Not able to quit
  • Bad things happen when you try to quit

Got it? Good.

Does this sound like you?coffee and cookie

Your coffee is dripping in the morning and it needs a glazed donut or danish to go with it. You were looking forward to that donut as soon as you woke up today. Just like yesterday. You know you should eat an egg with some sauteed spinach instead, like you had planned, but now you just want to the donut. Cooking is too much work anyway. You eat 2 donuts because one just wasn’t enough. Maybe your coffee is a salted caramel mocha instead of black coffee? While you work throughout the day, you have your trusty bag of candy on your desk. Somehow it disappears before lunch (you don’t even remember eating it). You grab another from your bag to keep you focused on work. Yesterday you forgot to bring any snacks and you were a grouch all day. Later you remember you have to stop at the store to pick up something for dinner. Which store should you go to? You pick Ingles because they have a better ice cream selection. The candy bar you snagged in the checkout line is devoured on the car ride home. And you still want that ice cream after dinner. The bowl you scoop out is 5 times the suggested serving size. Yet when it’s gone, you wish you’d gotten another scoop.

Any of this scenario resonate with you? I know it does with me.

My Symptoms

  • I often find myself thinking about what healthy breakfast I can make so I can feel justified in eating a sugary pastry afterwards.
  • I never write snacks down on my grocery list, yet they always make it into my cart.
  • I drool over Pinterest dessert boards.
  • We make dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies “for the kids” every year yet most of them end up eaten by me. Late at night when the kids don’t see me.
  • I sometimes eat sugary things in secret so nobody knows just how much I’ve had.
  • I sometimes binge on huge amounts of candy or cookies at one time. Cartons of ice cream seem to empty overnight.
  • I love coffee, but I think I love the snack I always have with my coffee even more. I drink coffee as an excuse to eat another snack.
  • If the only sugar in the house is something I don’t really like (such as Peeps, ewww) I will eat them anyway!
  • I’ve tried to ‘cut back’ and end up bingeing later.
  • I feel ashamed at my lack of control.
  • I’m secretly OK with my kids not finishing their meals because that means they aren’t allowed to have dessert. More for me.
  • I will eat sugar until I make myself physically sick. Yet knowing the consequences doesn’t stop me.

Decide for yourself

ponder

Do you feel like you physically depend on your sugar hit? Does the infamous afternoon slump make you run for the nearest candy bar to boost your energy? Maybe you get ‘hangry’ or irritable if you can’t have that snack when you want it.

Are you mentally dependent? I love the calm, relaxed, happy feeling I get when I sit down with my coffee and cookies. It’s soothing for me. Does the thought of giving up your habit make you feel miserably depressed? Do you use sugar as your antidepressant?

This goes for any carb loaded foods, even things like potato chips, pasta, and bread. They all turn to sugar in your bloodstream. So if those are your weaknesses, you’re in the same sugar-addict boat as the rest of us.

Have you ever tried to quit, or even cut back? Get ready for some sugar withdrawal symptoms! Headaches, irritability, weakness, low energy, and digestive issues are some fun thing to look forward to. Somehow we always come back for more.

My Decision

Looking at the evidence in my own life, I believe that sugar addiction is indeed a very real condition. The effect of sugar on our brain chemistry is similar to cocaine. That’s not something we can easily walk away from. Even when we know we should.

Sugar Addiction is being mentally and physically dependent upon excessive amounts of sugar, and not being able to stop eating it without suffering debilitating withdrawal symptoms in our body and emotions. My definition anyway.

Only you can take a realistic look at your life, your habits, your secret indulgences, and decide if you have a problem. Deep down inside, you know if this is you. And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you want to do something to change.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve tried so many times to change, only to fail every time. That’s OK. It doesn’t have to always be this way. No matter how many times we fail, we can always choose to try again. Face your demons and call your addictions what they are. Hiding will only make the problem worse. Come out into the light and take your victory! We CAN beat this!

high five

 

 

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My Sugar Addiction Story – Hiding Candy and Dreaming of Donuts

I want to share with you all my sugar addiction story. Maybe you can relate to some of it? I’d love to read your story too so feel free to leave a comment below and tell us all how you came to be here!

My Story Begins

How much of our habits begin in our childhood? I really can’t say. But I’m sure my upbringing had some negative influences on my food choices today. My mom suffered with depression and low self-image. Our family also struggled financially so the foods we ate reflected that. I remember lots of hot dogs, mac & cheese, Little Debbie snack cakes, white bread pb & j sandwiches, things like that. I can’t blame my mom; she was doing the best she could to feed us on our tight budget.  I also remember that my mom was always yo-yo dieting. Over the years, she’s probably tried just about every diet out there. With no lasting success, sadly.

First Introduction to Healthy Living

By middle school, I was a heavy girl. Around 175 pounds. I didn’t really think about what I was eating or why I was fatter than most of my peers. Until my teenage hormones ramped up and I wanted to be thin and attractive for the boys. I discovered a book that my mom was reading that talked about gluttony. “Oh, I should only eat when I’m hungry and I should stop eating when I’m full.” That was a revelation surprisingly! Around that same time I decided to stop drinking soda and lay off the snack cakes. And my aunt introduced me to Billy Blanks Tae Bo. I enjoyed working out for the first time. In just a couple years, I dropped 50 pounds.

Going into high school I was now ‘skinny’. I remember being able to wear a size 0 pair of jeans once. My food choices were far from healthy. I worked at McDonald’s and ate tons of fast food. Pizza was my lunch choice every day. But I walked a lot and did aerobics videos so my metabolism kept up with the junk I put in. When I finally got married, I was a hard-fought 120 lbs so I could fit in my dress.

Sugar Addiction Creeps In

Marriage, financial difficulties, working overtime at a job I hated, all added up to crushing loads of stress. At work I kept a jar of chocolate candies on my desk. Always. Plus a perk of the job was free restaurant lunches every day, pastries and donuts for breakfasts, coffee and snacks always available. I was consuming carbs all day long. I also wasn’t getting enough sleep.

chocolate candies

Then we moved, I got to quit that job and stay at home, but I was isolated from family and friends. Food was an easy comfort. Thankfully I was able to get a discounted YMCA membership and enjoyed going there to work out as my “me time”. I slowly learned more about nutrition, tried a couple different diets, started buying organics and shopping at Whole Foods for ‘healthier’ groceries. My favorite was their indulgent chocolate raspberry cupcakes! I made a lot of mistakes and wasted a lot of money on expensive grocery shopping trips.

I grew and gave birth to 5 beautiful babies (not all at once thankfully!!). Life took its ups and downs. Always sugary desserts were there as comfort or reward. I lived a double life nutritionally. I learned about Paleo, organics, ketosis, and all the reasons to eat a whole food diet. Mostly I followed a healthy diet. Slowly adding more fruits and veggies. Slowly reducing the amount of processed foods we bought. Except for the sugar. Sigh. I just couldn’t let it go.

Where I Am Now

I tried doing a Whole30. It worked for a while until the last week when I caved in. And you aren’t supposed to make desserts with approved ingredients but I did anyway.

At holidays, I make and eat insane amounts of cookies and pies. At Easter, I sneak chocolates from my kids’ baskets. Same goes for their Halloween bags. At social functions I think about how I can get more cookies or cake without drawing too much attention. I always want dessert at restaurants even when I’m stuffed.

xmas cookies

For my daughter’s birthday I bought cupcakes. Then I had to buy her another cake because I ate the cupcakes (secretly when nobody was looking). I’ve hidden candy bars in my desk. And my purse. I’ve given my kids snacks just so I could eat them too without feeling guilty. I’ve consumed entire cartons of ice cream in one day. Yeah, sounds like an addiction to me.

I’ve talked to my husband about my problem. If sugar is in the house, I will eat it. It’s like I just can’t stop myself. He suggested I only eat one a day. Hmmm…okay. Nope, didn’t work. I ate it anyway.

Where Do I Go From Here?

I’m not grossly overweight but I’m far from healthy. In another post I’ll tell you about the things my sugar addiction is doing to my body. And what happened this week that pushed me to finally decide to quit. For good. I know I need to finally, once and for all, make my stand.

My sugar addiction story isn’t over yet. If this is a true addiction, it can be broken. Alcoholics can do it. Smokers can do it. So I can do it too. Like a heroin addict, I cannot go back for a hit. For me, it must be a clean break. Cold turkey. All or nothing. Is that extreme? Yes. Am I worth it? YES!

 

Will you come along beside me? I’m here for you too. Just drop a comment below if you’re struggling (or overcoming) sugar addiction too.

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