Are you thinking about quitting sugar? Its negative effect on our health is at the forefront of the media these days. But, I’ll admit it: I eat sugar. No, not every day and not in copious amount. But, I haven’t quit sugar. And, actually, I don’t plan on it.
In our modern society, quitting foods has become quite the trend. First we quit fat, then we got scared and swore off carbs while proclaiming, ‘Evil bread! Bad pasta!’
Not long after, it seemed like everyone started experimenting with gluten-free or dairy-free. Even schools are becoming nut and egg-free.
Most recently, the sugar-quitting wave hit.
Now, let me state a few things on the front end:
+ I understand that some, if not many, diet restrictions are due to food allergies, medical conditions or ethical beliefs. I totally respect that. Hey, I’ve recently had to avoid gluten and dairy in an effort to heal my Leaky Gut.
+ I also understand that sugar increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, weight gain, and diabetes, along with other nasty side-effects.
+ I further understand that some people suffer from sugar addiction, binge-eating disorders and other sugar-related conditions, and quitting sugar is a necessary means of healing.
But, I want to focus on something different from medical conditions and ethics. I want to share my story and why I didn’t quit sugar.
During my early teens, I had a healthy relationship with food. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and can’t remember associating negative emotions with food. When I developed my eating disorder; however, my thoughts and beliefs around food became completely distorted. I feared fat. I avoided carbs. I shunned sugar. But in all of my willpower, I was going crazy.
The more I denied myself sugar, the more I obsessed about it.
As soon as sugar became forbidden, it’s exactly what I craved. I became obsessed with baking blogs, dessert cookbooks and the grocery’s candy aisle. I even started baking for other people, getting mild satisfaction from watching them eat what I was craving.
Because I deemed sugar as bad, my All-Or-Nothing thinking reared its ugly head.
If one bite of a sweet treat passed my lips, I deemed myself a failure.
So what did I do next? I threw in the towel and binged on the white stuff. Of course, I was then flooded with guilt and anxiety. And to lessen these unwanted emotions, I’d swear off sugar again. I promised myself, This is my last bite. Tomorrow I’ll be good. Tomorrow I won’t ever eat sugar again.
This became an all-too-familiar cycle that led me to believe that I could not be trusted around sugar. I loved the stuff and yet I hated it at the same time.
One thing was clear, I desperately needed to repair my relationship with food.
I learned to fuel my body with enough energy and nutrients so that I was not as susceptible to cravings. I also set boundaries around my sugar consumption. For example, grabbing an ice cream out with friends during the day rather than scooping a bowl-full from the freezer at night by myself. Is it just me, or is it wayyy to easy to eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting?!
Over time, my cravings subsided because I was allowing myself to eat sugar. I told myself that I could have sugar whenever I wanted. I could eat it everyday if I felt like it.
This freedom felt scary at first. But to my surprise, I didn’t even want sugar everyday. When I truly believed that I could have another cupcake tomorrow, the one tonight wasn’t as tempting. I even found myself forgetting about the bar of chocolate in the pantry or the cookies on the staff room table.
I can’t even remember the last time I binged. And that, my friend, is an amazing reality.
There have been times that I’ve thought about joining Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ movement. But, then I have an honest heart-to-heart with myself and dig deeper to the motives behind my decision.
LISTEN TO YOUR TRUTH.
If I quit sugar, the eating disorder wins.
In order for me to stay healthy, I can’t quit sugar.
Now, this doesn’t mean I eat sugar everyday. It doesn’t mean I have a secret stash of chocolate in my cupboard. It sure doesn’t mean I use sugar to cope with my emotions.
What it does mean is this: I give myself permission to listen to my body and honor its desires above all else.
To honor it above some stupid self-imposed rules. To honor it above my fear. To honor it above what the media tells me I should be doing.
Most of the time, I prefer to satisfy my sweet tooth with fresh fruit or these healthy treats. But ya know what? On my birthday, you can bet I’ll be eating my favorite red velvet cake. . . without guilt or fear!
Question: Have you ever tried quitting sugar? I’d love for you to share your experience below in the comments!
Lots of love,