How is that for an introduction? Odd, but it’s true, I would say that I am a sugar addict. I like all things sweet. The sweeter the better. Add in some chocolate, and I’m in heaven.
I’ve long known that I ate a lot of sugar, but never really realized just how much until I started using MyFitnessPal some time back. I never really used it consistently, but it did say that based on my activity level I should be having less than 63 grams of sugar per day. On the times when I would enter everything that I ate for a day, I would often find that I was actually eating 300-350 grams or more of sugar per day. How much sugar is that you ask? That is the equivalent of almost two cups per day of sugar!!
Can you imagine downing those each day? I was, and I’m willing to be lots of other people are as well. Almost everything has sugar in it, in some form or another these days.
Where did I get my sugar fix each day? Well, it usually started off with breakfast, which was two cups of milk (yep, milk is actually quite heavy in sugar) mixed with my flavoring of choice, Ovaltine, and then some cereal bars. It also generally included 2-3 20oz soft drinks a day, followed by a number of store bought chocolate chip cookies each evening as I was working on things around the house or watching a show to unwind. And that’s just the really bad stuff!! Make a trip to the store where those Sour Patch Kids were just calling my name, and don’t even get me started on ice cream. Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla is made at a production facility up in Heaven I do believe.
I have repeatedly said over the last few years that I was going to cut down on the sugar. Just a soon as I finish off whatever was already around the house. Sometimes I would even get it cleared out, but then I would make a trip through the deli section at the grocery store, and sure enough a tub of 12 count extra large chocolate chunk cookies would somehow fall into my cart. Almost. Every. Single. Time!
In the meantime I watched as my weight slid sideways (if I was lucky) or slowly crept up from 170 to 200 pounds, and my days became a haze of sugar rushes and sugar crashes. Constantly looking for my next “fix” as the crash was setting in and the energy levels were falling off. I felt like my head was in a constant fog.
In December of 2015, after several years of letting work, marriage and kids get in the way of my love of running I rededicated myself to running, and by the end of 2016 was running a pretty consistent 25 miles a week, which is a good mileage for me. I got my weight down to the high 180’s, but then the weight just slid sideways as I increased my sugar intake to compensate for the exercise.
Finally, this past March, not due to the sugar, but to inflammation issues that I was having in my legs, I took another look at the Whole30 program. A friend had mentioned it to me back in the Fall, and I initially blew it off, because how could I possibly give up Dairy, Beans, Grains AND Sugar. However, when you get to the point that you are considering going to see a doctor, what have you got to lose?
As a result, on April 2nd, I went cold turkey on added Sugars. Not a single soda, cookie, bowl of ice cream or even a piece of chocolate cake since April 1st. I’m still four days out from the end of my program, but the last 25 days have been nothing short of trans-formative for me. The first couple of days coming down off my last sugar high was a shock, but since then my energy levels have been nice and steady.. I have learned that I can indeed survive life without sugar. My head has been lifted out of the fog of sugar rush and crash that I had been living in for so long now. My spirits lifted to where I feel much happier than I was before, truly amazing.
An added side effect of continuing my running schedule, and cutting out the sugar has been that my clothes are fitting much better. I won’t know just how much weight have have lost until I can step on the scale again on May 2nd, but based on how I feel, I am currently down some 10-15 pounds, and at least a couple of inches in my waist. Talk about motivation to continue!!
Now, does this mean that i’m no longer a sugar addict? Don’t think I can quite make that claim, and as with most addictions, likely never will. That siren call is going to always be there, but at least now I know what it feels like before and after Sugar. Just have to continue the good fight, and take each day as it comes.