What happens when you stop eating sugar for one year?
I took a sick day from work today. Sometimes it is days like this when I'm at home, doing nothing, that make me start to reflect on everything wrong in my life (this is why I should go to work....boredom = reflection = depression....just kidding!). I'm not really depressed, I promise! However, I did ponder on this white powdery substance that seems to have taken control over my life, my heart, and my soul. It has created this vicious cycle of highs and lows. One taste of it and I want more and more, oh the feeling of euphoria it brings to me! Until suddenly, my stomach aches and that feeling of euphoria suddenly turns to feelings of nausea, lethargy, and guilt all at the same time. Refined sugar.....it's a dangerous drug, perhaps the most abused drug in the U.S. In my opinion, it is the #1 contributor to America's obesity epidemic. Those that know me well will tell you that I preach this from the rooftops every single day.....every single day except for weekends that is.
I've prided myself on being able to eat a strict regimented diet Monday-Friday, while allowing myself to enjoy all of the sweet sugary goodness that my stomach can handle every single weekend. My co-workers always seem to be amazed at how much self-control and discipline I have. Birthday cakes, cookies, candy, none of the office temptations seem to phase me. I NEVER give in during the week. Having said that, self-control goes out the door from Saturday night to Sunday night, when I eat everything I want to my heart's content.
I reflected on this today, a really deep honest reflection. Truth be told, I feel like shit every Sunday. This addiction I have, this need to consume crappy foods every weekend, it ruins my entire Sunday. I'm not my normal, happy, and active self on Sunday. Instead I get so tired from my blood sugar spiking up and down, that all I want to do is sleep the entire day away. When I am awake I spend much of the day on the toilet (sorry if this is TMI) because these sugary foods are so foreign to my stomach after the high protein, vegetable rich diet I've eaten for the rest of the week. When I'm not sleeping or on the toilet I'm EATING....like my whole Sunday revolves around what I'm going to eat that day.
"Why do I do this to myself?" I asked today. A number of reasons I assume. Sugary foods taste amazing. I once saw a TED-Ed video that said that consuming sugar causes a chemical reaction that activates the "reward system" of your brain, just like drugs do! (See Video here : https://youtu.be/lEXBxijQREo). I also do it because it's cool to be able to say that I can stay in shape while enjoying any foods that I want on the weekends. Besides, food is a part of socializing, and everyone thinks you're strange when you don't eat the "Good Stuff" that they're eating.
But despite all of this, I hate the way my body feels after binge eating on sugary foods. I hate feeling tired, sluggish, and disgusting, especially after a week of otherwise healthy eating and hard work at the gym. Even if I can have my cake every weekend and still look great, for me I want to FEEL great too. It's much deeper than my outward appearance, I want to be the best, strongest, and healthiest version of myself on the inside and the outside. What bothers me is that I know I'm not there yet, not even close. Not when I'm inhaling two slices of cake and ice cream and half a pizza on any given Sunday. Bottom line, IT'S BAD FOR MY BODY.
So I've made a decision. I'm going to stop eating sugar for one year (refined sugar to be exact), SO HELP ME GOD! It's going to be difficult, but I'm ready. Matter of fact, I felt a real sense of freedom after my decision today! I haven't quite decided what else this will entail (for example, if I'll give up naturally high sugar foods like honey, give up certain carbs, artificial sweeteners, etc) but since I usually only eat these things on the weekends, I have some time to figure this out and come up with a plan.
I did have one last dessert tonight to kick off my sugar free year (Yes, even though it is a weekday - see photo below)!
So if you're reading this and have also decided to stop eating sugar, I'd love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, what your plan entailed (what foods were included/excluded), etc. in the comments below!
Wish me luck everyone! And if you're up for the challenge, let me know!