This year, I gave up sugar. After reading a lot of research on this topic, I decided that it was best for my body. Another reason? Because sugar was my go-to binge food for a feel-better fix. As I decided to leave corporate America to become a life strategist and writer/publisher, I had a vision that I wanted to feel really good and energetic so that I could manifest a successful business. Plus, it just doesn’t do for a life coach to engage in never-ending sugar binges, now does it?
So, on January 1, 2010 I decided to go cold turkey on any food that contained sugar or sugar in sheep’s clothing, (like fructose or corn syrup) in the first five ingredients. At first, it was awful. At 3 PM every day, I would walk over to the candy jar and stare. Right after dinner, I longed for that sweet finish to my meal, like a heartsick lover. The good news is that by cutting out my main binge food, I was able to really see my emotional eating cycle. Instead of asking myself “What do I want to eat?” I started asking, “What is eating me?” Oh yes, it was a struggle, but I was ready to take it on. I had my vision: be strong, healthy, energetic and authentic for my new endeavor.
I started to substitute tea and coffee for dessert, not always the most healthful choice, but in the process I found a new addiction: an awesome (not cheap) white tea called Youthberry from Teavana. I also dumped out my sports drinks and tried coconut water. Research suggests that coconut water provides similar carbs and hydration that sports drinks do, only without added sugar! Sadly, for me, I think it tastes yucky, so I’ve switched back to water.
Why else did I do it? While there are some studies that disagree, there seems to be significant evidence linking sugar to disease. In their book, “You, The Owner’s Manual”, authors Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz note that too much sugar in the diet can lead to diabetes and has a direct negative impact on your arteries. Many sources, including Gary Taubes’ book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” also suggest that our bodies cannot handle as much sugar as we consume in modern American society. if you look at my post A Sweet Little Nightmare… on December 29 2009, you will find more research and can see that there is a long list of foods we eat that contain sugar, including crackers, soups, tomato sauces, cereals and other processed food. So most of us are already consuming way more sugar than we need. I figured that at the ripe age of 50, I just don’t need any more health risks– and frankly, I just feel clearer when I don’t eat as much sugar.
It’s now March and I am doing very well. I eat about 95% less sugar than I did a year ago. I mostly refuse dessert, but if a good friend prepares a special sugary treat for me in honor of an occasion, I’ll eat it and smile. Every now and then, when I truly can’t live without something sweet, I’ve found that a couple of dark chocolate almonds sprinkled with sea salt and turbinado sugar from Trader Joe’s satisfies that need. (I’m sorry if you don’t have these stores in your area, they are great!)
I feel better and I have managed to take off (and keep off) about three pounds – while weight loss wasn’t my goal, it’s cool because now my skinny jeans fit. I also believe I have better energy. Here’s what else I’ve learned:
1) When I am motivated by a vision, I am more successful at achieving my goal.
2) Changing just one food group in my binge area helped me to dramatically decrease bingeing in general; and
3) Just because it’s good for me, doesn’t mean that I like it. (Like coconut water, for instance.)
This was a tough change for me, but I was ready to do it. What changes are you ready for and do you think a vision will help keep you motivated?