I am the biggest sugar addict you will ever meet. If I let myself run wild, I’ll eat so many sweets it’ll make your head spin. I’ve had periods of time where it’s gotten so bad I had to make a conscious effort to tone it down.
My most recent rock-bottom moment came just before Halloween. I had been working at a restaurant for a long time where I would shovel down mounds of dessert at the end of the night, exhausted and starving. It would be nearly 2 am and there I was mainlining sugar on an empty stomach. Not a great idea, but I kept doing it.
I stopped working there, but my addiction was out of control. I would eat sweets three or four or even five times a day. That wasn’t counting any sugar I got from other foods I ate. One day I woke up angry with myself and read an article about the horrible effects of sugar on your body. It was the impetus I needed to reform my behavior once again.
I knew I was killing my body, damaging my teeth, and ravaging my aging skin. It was the skin that finally did it. I started looking my age and I didn’t like that one bit. What I did not expect were the practically immediate benefits of letting sugar go. I have more energy, because I’m not going through the intense blood sugar roller coasters that had become my norm. I fall asleep quickly and I sleep more deeply. My insomnia issues have greatly decreased. It’s noticeable enough that it encouraged me to keep up the hard work.
The more gradual effects have been wonderful as well. My skin is definitely regaining some youthful glow and elasticity. I can see a renewed vitality in my face, and my fine lines are no longer advancing with alarming speed. My teeth feel cleaner and healthier, and I’m no longer in danger of developing gingivitis. I haven’t had any new cavities either.
While I know – and can even feel and see – that sugar is poison for my body, it doesn’t mean it’s been easy to lay off. I do allow myself a cheat day now and then, because otherwise I’d never stick to this regimen. The holidays were a disaster, of course, and I had to fight to wean myself off all over again. There’s no doubt in my mind that sugar is highly addictive. I can tell because I have to fight every time I go to the store just to keep from buying cookies or a candy bar. It’s sort of scary how automatically my brain decides I should get a treat.
I’m slowly but surely changing my relationship with food. I no longer reward myself with sugar, but with something more beneficial to my body and soul – meditation, yoga, a nice long bath, or simply a relaxing night to myself. Knowing that I’m preserving my health for the long run makes denying myself that cupcake worth it. Funny enough, the longer you’re off sugar, the less your body craves it. I’ve even cheated and not really enjoyed it that much.