I Didn’t Eat Sugar for a Month…And Lived to Tell About It

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Today is the last day of my “no sugar” fast. Tomorrow I’m going to binge on donuts, cookies, and every probably just eat straight sugar from the canister.

 

Kidding. Mostly…

 

It has been a challenging month. Not just because I don’t have my sweet friend chocolate to turn to in good times and in bad, but because we have gone through a lot… relationally, vocationally, spiritually and another other -ally you can think of. February has been a tough month, and I’m thankful it’s the shortest because in so many ways, I am ready for something new.

 

 

 

To give you the background on this month, the idea was primarily to cut out “sweets”. The goal was to decrease the amount of refined, processed, sugary foods we consumed (and the bigger picture goal of this 6 month fast can be found in my previous post). We { Lori, Amy and I. Amy also wrote about her sugar fast} said honey was OK, and so were foods made with some sugar (i.e. bread) but as for anything made in my home, I had to find a new way to make it, or cut it out for the month. Because let’s face it, sugar is in just about everything.

 

The idea wasn’t to be strict and radical, but to learn and grow and hopefully develop new ways of living and eating.

 

Did we cheat? Yes. Did I accidentally take a sip of my husbands Mt. Dew? I don’t even like the stuff so I don’t know why I did it! Did we allow for some social gatherings to trump the fast in efforts to accept gifts from others and not make a big deal out of it? Yes, because it wasn’t a life or death, do or die, eat sugar and you’re worthless kind of month. For every moment there was an exception, there were about 100 other moments where we said the painful “no thanks” and denied our cravings their satisfaction. And even with those few moments of exceptions, I still learned a LOT.

 

 

 

Turns out, sugar is really terrible for you (duh), but it also turns out that this doesn’t influence my eating choices as much as it should. I read so many articles this past month about the fast track to death and disease that sugar will put you on if you eat enough of it. About how sugar is more addictive than cocaine and how it helps grow cancer cells. I read all about it’s sneaky power over us, and how we don’t realize how much sugar has taken over our diets. I even read one article titled You’ll Stop Eating Sugar After You Read This Post. All that article did was make me crave cheesecake. Information fail.

 

Because the truth is, we can KNOW things that are bad for us, but that doesn’t instantly change our cravings, desires or habits. As much as we would like for change to come from a simple article packed full of good and helpful information, it so seldom does. We live in a day of information overload, to the point that we have become numb to the power of truth. That we can somehow read about things we should or shouldn’t do, and disconnect them from really impacting our core or inspiring anything in our lives to be different.

 

 

 

 

For the first week of the fast, I was a cranky disaster. I was kind for about 10 minutes the entire week. To realize not only the amount of sugar I consume in a day, but how it effects my mood was kind of scary. I also lost weight…but barely. I thought cutting sugar would mean I just dropped 20 pounds overnight.  I figured if that happened then surely I would be inspired to cut out sugar from here on out. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

 

So sugar has power over my mood, has some power over my weight, and isn’t very healthy for me. Anyone else still craving chocolate chip cookies?? Just me??

 

Somewhere in the middle of the month I realized that it’s about sugar, but it’s not about sugar. The root of my problem does not seem to be my craving for sugar. I mean, sure, that is a problem. But I believe the root of the problem is my lack of self-control. When I know the right choices to make and I don’t make them on purpose time and time again, that comes from my inability to say “no” to myself.

 

When I actively choose the shiny, sugary, sprinkle covered goodness for all it’s appeal and desire yet disregard what I know to be true, that’s when I realize the lack of discipline in my life.

 

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not a nutrition extremist. Matter-of-fact, I plan to have a coffee date with my husband tomorrow morning that will absolutely involve a sugary treat and I will enjoy every second of it! I’m not talking about never eating sugar again. Because I will. But that doesn’t mean it gets to have the same place in my diet and my day as it did before, controlling my moods, my cravings, and maintaining some sort of power over me.

 

 

What I’m talking about is who is ruling who: am I ruling my cravings or are they ruling me?

 

Does {fill in the blank} have control in my life, or can I easily say no?

 

 

In what ways to I exercise self-discipline?

 

It’s about the sugar, but it’s about more than the sugar.

 

 

 

And the hopes of keeping honey in the mix was to learn. To substitute refined and processed sweetener for something natural and start to do things differently. My new favorite biscuits, while a little heavy on the butter side (one hill at a time, people), are free from table sugar and use honey instead. So good!

 

 

Because if the point was just to hold our breathe and make it through the month without a drop of anything sweet, we could have. But once the month was over, everything would go back to being the exact same. I wanted to walk away actually thinking different and living different. I wanted to find new recipes, change my taste-buds, teach myself ways to cope when all I can think of is smashing on ice cream because I’m sad. And ice cream doesn’t actually fix things (some of you might want to fist fight me on this one), but we have given into our emotions and let the sugary chemicals make us feel like it does.

 

 

 

My sweet, 7 months pregnant friend Amy stepped up to the “no sugar” challenge. Quite impressive, as pregnancy seems like the time where you could eat an entire package of Oreo’s in one sitting and no one would even blame you. Not Amy. She denied her adorable pregnant self from the “right” to eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted and jumped on board with us! She said…

 

“I loved the challenge, the discipline, and stepping off the emotional addiction roller coaster of processed sugar. However, it’s still everywhere; every gathering, every social event, every house…so actually feels radical to say no…or to present other options. Loved the discovery of raw honey and unsweetened cocoa and what you can bake with a sugar substitute. I think an actual lifestyle change has taken place…still will enjoy a sugary treat…but SO many better options now.”

 

 

And that was the goal…a different perspective, a temporary change that brings about actual change, and to learn. To learn about how we can better ourselves, the power of saying “no”, and the incredible resources there are available when we sometimes are stuck in the rut of doing things the way we’ve always done them.

Living healthier. Eating better. Thinking clearer.

While I’m not completely breaking up with sugar, I hope going forward I can have better control over my cravings and over sugar, not the other way around.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for next month’s fast: excess spending!
 
 
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2 responses to “I Didn’t Eat Sugar for a Month…And Lived to Tell About It

  1. Good for you! One of the main things that prompted me to change my habits and lose weight was my blood glucose being at a pre diabetes level. Now, I’ve been 47 days without sugar and feel like I can make a lifelong change. I’ve been using Stevia in my morning cup of tea, and actually like it.
    I would love to join you in your excess spending fast. What are the guidelines? I’m in!

  2. That’s wonderful! 47 days…I admire you! In a short-sighted, fast paced, immediate rewards based society, long term choices and sacrifices are hard to make. Fantastic job of putting health first.

    The excess spending is really not as earth shattering as it may sound. $150 for the entire month, outside of rent, bills, and the basics (which we are counting groceries as basics, but still trying to trim that WAY down to just what we need. This week when I went grocery shopping I cut our bill in half. It can be done! :). We’ve decided we want that budgeted “extra” only for eating out and entertainment. No online purchases, no clothing purchases, nothing. That may seem like good sense, but the point of our fast was to put a halt to our celebratory and excessive living post-wedding and work on trimming everything in our lives way down. And it’s amazing how quickly $150 goes!

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