This morning I realized how much sugar affects me. In January, as part of a lifestyle change, I decided to give up sugar for the whole month to get rid of sugar cravings. The whole month I only had two occasions where I had sugar. My skin cleared up, I was dealing with the absence of my husband better, I felt I had more energy (and I have a lot of energy, being 22), overall I felt more healthy.
Staying off of sugars lasted into February until something devastating happened; my step-father-in-law passed away. It was a difficult time for me because he raised Jason and I could not be there for him when he found out. I was actually able to be level-headed through the process of getting us both tickets to go to the service. This was on top of being that special time of month when I can have some not-so-fun mood swings. After all of the arrangements were made, I decided to treat myself to some dark chocolate, so I went to the store and pored over the ingredient lists of the specialty dark chocolate – and ended up buying $15 worth of chocolate. Basically, I used the chocolate to make me feel better, like many people do. I did not finish all of the chocolate that night, no…I probably would have thrown up. But I think that I finished it off within a week.
Emotionally, I felt that I was able to help support Jason and his family during that trying time. The sugar hadn’t had time to completely mess me up. However, I was gone from home for eleven days on travel, so I did not have the best options for eating. Of course I did the best I could, but I was using food, specifically sweet foods, as comfort. I realize that now, especially after this morning.
You see, I realized how different this month was from last month, cyclically. I have binged on sugars in February and I had some extreme mood swings. I was stressed about things that should have been simple. And with that stress, I comforted myself more with sweetened treats.
It’s simple. Sugar is addictive and it had me in its clutches. After having ‘deprived’ myself from any non-fruit sources of sugar for a month, I used it as a crutch to help me when I should have gone to other sources. But you know what? I didn’t feel like going out for a walk. I am a military wife and a recent transplant, so I did not have any close friends that I felt I could talk to in person. Sure, I’m making myself a community, but trust is something that is built up. When I told people about the death, they said they were sorry, but didn’t seem interested in talking about it. Death is a taboo subject that I will talk about later, because it’s part of the cycle of life, but the point is that I felt I didn’t have any support from those around me. So I went to sugar.
Now I can see the difference in me when I have a lot of sugar in my system and when I don’t. It is a huge difference. I can now also see how dependent I have been on sugar in the past. I don’t want to be that dependent on it. Excess sugar can lead to some pretty bad diseases like diabetes and insulin resistance. I can already see what it does to my hormones to make me a crazy person. Why would I want to do that to myself long-term? Why would anyone.
My challenge to you is to try going even a week without any added sugar (meaning condiments too). See if you notice a difference in how you act (this is for the gentlemen out there too). Then go back to eating regularly. Notice how sugar affects you. Notice how any food or food additive affects you. If you don’t like what it does, change your habits. I know that I am going back to the severely limited amount of sugar and I know I will have better health, physically and mentally, for it.