I, Courtney, am addicted to sugar. I love it. I will devour just about anything with sugar on it.
When I mean devour, I really mean devour. I am the person at parties who goes back for a second slice of cake, and if I can sneak it, a third piece. In fact, I’d probably eat the whole cake by myself if there weren’t people around. Yes, I do feel ashamed. I am the only one who can’t seem to resist, and it’s embarrassing.
There are some people who say I shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I’ve seen some body activists who preach that I should just eat the cake. Just have that third slice. I should just eat the thing. It’s self love to empower myself to eat whatever I want, whenever I want and who cares what other people think. If I want to enjoy that last slice of cake, I should, and to hell with everyone else. Be proud of who I am!
But the truth is, I’m not enjoying it. I’m eating it because I feel compelled to. I’m eating it because the sugar is calling to me, and I feel powerless to ignore it. I feel shame because I’m not in control of my own actions. I’m not proud of this at all. I am being controlled by sugar.
I can’t speak to anyone else’s experience, only my own. But frequently, whenever I have just a taste of sugar, all I want is more sugar.
Some people are either very disciplined and can ignore this, or they don’t feel this the way I do. I am envious of those people who seem to have an iron will. They get a cupcake at work, and instead of immediately devouring it, like I would, they literally have it sitting on their desk for almost the entire day. They are waiting for a specific time to eat it, despite it sitting there, smelling of delicious sugar, practically begging to be eaten. How on earth do they do this? Are they immune to the call of sugar?
If there’s something sugary in my house, it’s all I can think about. I know it’s sitting there, in the pantry or on the counter, just begging to be eaten. If I have one bite, I am lost. I have to eat all of it. Sometimes I’m better than others, in that I manage to leave some for other people to eat. But often, embarrassingly often, it’s led to arguments with my husband about why I couldn’t leave him some to eat. He’s one of those people with an iron will, who can eat sugar when he wants, but also stop eating when he wants. It just isn’t fair.
What is the Benefit of Sugar?
There is no benefits to sugar for the body. Sugar has no nutritional value except calories. There’s no vitamins. It just makes stuff taste good. That’s literally it.
Tasting good isn’t a crime. Tasting good is amazing, a wonderful thing that is part of the human experience. But sugar is one of the worst things for the human body. The calories add up fast, putting fat on the body. It causes tooth decay. It leads to heart disease. It disables appetite control. And like it did to me, it makes you into an addict.
The Pain of Sugar
I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life. I’ve been really skinny before, and I’ve been quite overweight. I’ve also had two full term pregnancies, one of which was extremely stressful. The stress of it, and my general attitude of seeking short term comfort over all else, led me to gain a lot of weight. I gave myself a year grace period to not worry about my weight, but I knew I needed to get it under control.
I started trying to lose weight a few months ago, and I had moderate success, but then my old nemesis popped up. Sugar. All it took was one bite, and it’s all I wanted. One bite and my resistance was gone. I gave in to sugar, and sought it everywhere. I ate my children’s snacks. I ate most of the Christmas cake. I bought desserts at restaurants.
I was sabotaging my own hard work, stemming from just eating some sugar. It had tasted pretty good though. I think anyway, after a while, it was just a blur.
So here I am again, feeling shameful that sugar is controlling my life. I think about my weight every single day of my life, and yet I continue to make bad decisions that hinder my goals. I want to be slim again. I want to wear the beautiful clothes that haven’t fit in years, but I still have hanging in my closet. I want to be athletic enough to ride my giant athletic horse. I want to be a good example for my kids. I don’t want them to struggle with not knowing what they should eat, or obsessing over food the way I do.
I want to eat normal food, and not spend most of my day obsessing over what I eat.
Enter: Whole 30. Again.
If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you might remember that I have done Whole 30 before. In fact, I did it for many months, lost significant weight, didn’t obsess over food, felt like I was eating like a king, was wearing the pretty clothes I didn’t think I could wear again, and I felt amazing.
If you were waiting for a downside to that, there really wasn’t any. Oh sure, I didn’t eat sugar. But I didn’t care. I was eating delicious food, and I felt amazing. It felt like the perfect diet for me.
Eventually, I did stop doing it. I don’t remember exactly why, but I know that I went to Germany (an amazing trip) and it was too hard to stick with it while eating at restaurants. I guess that is a downside – there’s almost no eating out, because it’s impossible to trust restaurant food. So I broke the diet then, and then was Christmas with all that delicious food, and it was too hard to start it again. I would also mark that as a downside. It is freaking HARD to start, because you’re fighting all your cravings for about a week. It gets easier each day, but the first few days are brutal.
Life does sometimes make it hard. But for the benefits, losing weight and feeling in control again, it’s worth it to me. So I’ve started Whole 30 again. It took a few false starts, but I have now been completely Whole 30 compliant for several weeks now. I fought through the cravings, and it feels much easier now. My desire for sugar is fading and I’ve already started losing weight again. It feels like I’m on the right path.
I am sick of sugar and what it does to me. Sure, I love the taste, but it makes me into a person I don’t like. I am determined that I will no longer be controlled by it. My goal is to be almost totally sugar free. I don’t want to be completely sugar free, because I think there are still occasions where I’ll make an exception. Weddings, Christmas, a really special and occasional treat. But not in my day to day life. I want to live a healthy life, full of delicious food, but not the kind where I will obsess over it and be unable to stop. When I don’t eat sugary food, I can actually tell when I’m full, and I stop eating.
I am posting this to hold myself accountable. I’m putting it out into the world that I will no longer be controlled by sugar. I will be in control of what I eat, and if I wanted, a cupcake could sit on my desk all day and I would not touch it.
If you too are struggling feeling like you’re being controlled by sugar, I highly encourage Whole 30. It made a world of difference in my life, and I’m positive it will do the same now. It basically means a diet based on meat, fruits and vegetables. No sugar, no sugar substitutes, no processed foods (which likely contain sugar as a preservative), no dairy, no soy and no legumes. It feels really strict, which it is, but the difference is incredible.
I still miss all the sugary things. Even as I write this, my daughter is eating chocolate animal crackers next to me, which are definitely one of those most delicious things on the planet. But I can’t live like this anymore.
I’m hoping for the best, and excited for the benefits. Naturally, I’ll be updating everyone on my progress. That is one annoying side effect, much like people who do keto and crossfit, I won’t stop talking about it. If anyone else chooses to do it too, leave a comment letting me know. We can do this!