Some struggle with sugar (raising my hand big time!), and some are blessed that don’t. But for this chick, I find comfort in something sweet. I have trained my brain over the years to find comfort in it; whenever I’m bored, upset, happy, after meals, my brain says, “Hey Nat you should get something sweet.” Most of the time I feed into it, especially at night after dinner. It has become so routine that it is quite hard to stop. I know it is possible to stop or limit intake, because once upon a time I did! I was dating someone who didn’t have a big sweet tooth, so I stopped eating a lot of sweets myself, just because I was barely around it. I eventually stopped craving it. My coffee went from flavored creamer & sugar, to just half & half, and now it is actually just black. My coffee sweet tooth did stay dead, but after that breakup my sugar cravings came back with a vengeance, because I remembered, “oh that’s right sugar =‘s comfort,” and at that time I needed some comfort.
Sugar is oh so addictive and it can turn into a nasty habit, that can been difficult to break, because for me it can be so comforting, but the effects of it are not worth it, but I rarely take a break from it, and I deal with my symptoms (fatigue, panic/anxiety issues, acute depression, congestion, dizziness, forgetfulness, short term memory issues, & brain fog could all be linked to my sugar intake). I like to rationalize my overindulgence and tell myself, “well you don’t drink alcohol or have too many vices, so you need at least one right!?! (A pint of ice cream later)” When I talk about sugar intake I’m talking about excessive intake, not your occasional cookie. I’ll have like 6+ girl scout cookies in one sitting, and at one time I was having a pint of ice cream EVERY night. I didn’t gain weight because I worked out. That was another rationalization, I’m fit, so why stop.
This is super personal and I wanted to share a bit of my struggles, because I feel that we are all human and all have issues/struggles/demons, and I want to be able to help in some way! I thought this would be a great start to get everyone collectively together to support each other to better our healths! (I want to make it known I have these issues; however, I take no medications for them (I am not adversed to medications at all it’s just my choice). I try my best to manage my daily struggles through eating healthy, exercise, prayer, meditation, talking to others that care about my wellbeing, and most importantly helping others!)
Most don’t realize that sugar wreaks havoc on the brain and body. They even did a study between cocaine & sugar on the brain and both of them had similar effects on the brain regarding addiction. I can tell you that cocaine is not great for the mind or body that’s for sure. So, for sugar to have similar effects on the brain that is pretty darn scary.
Other illness & issues increased sugar intake is linked to is: diabetes type 2, depression, anxiety, fatigue, risk of cancer increases, and more which we will get into.
I thought it would be a great idea to get everyone together to do a group sugar break up, because I think isolating and trying to do things ourselves sometimes doesn’t always work out so well, but coming together and supporting one another does! This is NOT a diet, it will have a short term goal, but the whole point is to make this a lifestyle, not a quick fix. A lot of cleanses, detox’s, and certain diets make you remove SO much all at once it’s hard to stay committed. Honestly, for me it’s too much to handle. I think by removing one component in your diet it’s easier to manage, and less stressful. If this goes well with everyone, maybe we can decide as a group what we would like to remove next. A lot of us don’t realize that we could have food allergies and not even know it. (Dairy, Gluten, etc) I have really bad digestive issues, and I think they stem most from dairy, but I haven’t done a complete elimination diet, because it is too restrictive for me. When I tried I lost too much weight (some people this is good for, for me it is not), and it was really hard to stick too. I was starving! So, for now let’s stick with removing sugar, because I think as a whole that is an area where everyone should be limiting there intake anyway.
Starting Feb 7th, over the next 21 days, we can check in daily with one another. I made a Facebook Group for those of you that have Facebook can join it, and for those that don’t I will be posting what I do on FB here! I will be adding recipes, daily or weekly exercise plans (beginners – advanced – haven’t figured that one out yet). I can’t make food plans, because that would require me to know more about each and everyone of you. I will however add food choices & shopping lists of what is acceptable to eat, with guidelines & directions for the break up.
So many people take on an ALL OR NOTHING mindset, believe me I was one of those people. I use to take on what I called “Carpe Diem Sunday’s” swearing to myself that Monday would start me on the right track again. I would do juice cleanses like they were going out of style. (I don’t believe in them at all anymore. You need nutrients & protein, and this just helps to lose water weight in my opinion, and that’s it) I do think juicing is great as an added benefit to your daily nutrition, just not the only thing you drink for ‘x’ amount of days. So let’s all release our Carpe Diem Sunday attitudes, and if we fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on, and keep trying. Never give up on yourself!
With Love & Peace!
*****Natalie Johnston is USATF & RRCA certified runner coach & Certified Personal Trainer serving areas PA, NYC, & NJ.*****