Anne Lamott, one of my favourite writers once said, “Trying to reason with an addict is like trying to blow out a light bulb.” I am that light bulb. Food is my drug, and no matter how many times people tried to reason with me throughout the years, they were wasting their breath. If I needed a fix, there was no stopping me. However, by doing this yearlong experiment (and especially now that I’m testing the 12-Step Food Addict plan), my light bulb is beginning to flicker.
I’ve been off refined sugar for 28 days now, and aside from the first week when I suffered withdrawal symptoms, I haven’t missed it much. Yes, it has been difficult to turn down special treats, like melt in your mouth (and live on your thighs) fudge, or decadent designer Torrone imported from Europe, or scrumptious beignets bathed in salted caramel sauce, but the more I say no, the easier it gets.
Truth be told, the benefits have been worth giving it up. I’m sleeping better, I have more energy, I haven’t had a single hot flash in 2 weeks, and best of all, my taste buds have awakened from their Rip Van Winklesque slumber. I can taste the subtleties in food again! I never thought I’d say this, but my sweet tooth is being satisfied with nature’s candy… fruit!
Natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables are healthier, and offer a whole lot of benefits like vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre, whereas refined sugars have no nutritional value, and high consumption can be toxic to our systems.
The World Health Organization recommends we eat no more than 25g of sugar per day. The reality is the average American consumes 126g per day! That’s not a typo my friends. Even though you’re mindful of your diet, these sugars are added to your food during manufacturing. They inject it in the unlikeliest places, like McDonald’s Hot ‘N Spicy McChicken sandwich with 22g! That’s your daily allotment in one meal. Or 32g in a bottle of Vitamin Water. WATER!!!
It’s no wonder we’re addicted, sugar is laced in just about every processed food we eat. The sad thing is we parents are our children’s first dealer. How many times have we offered them a ‘treat’ for being good? What we’ve actually done is produced the next generation of junkies.
Attending 12-Step meetings has opened my eyes to the poison refined sugar really is. Everyone who has given it up has not only lost weight (some over 150 lbs!), but improved their health and quality of life.
I don’t know how long I can resist refined sugar – my hope is forever because (1) there isn’t any nutritional value in it, and (2) it’s the gateway back to my food addiction hell.
The more I learn the bitter truth about the refined sweet stuff, the more I’m ready to fasten my holster, strap on my spurs, and declare a SUGAR SHOWDOWN – eeeeeeha!
So, whad’ya say partner… want to join my posse and cut down, or eliminate our health’s most wanted bad guy?
To view my Week 43 food journal, click here.