Like most Americans, I have my share of mildy-serious addictions. Off the top of my head- coffee, facebook, the Today Show, queso, my iPhone...
But there's one in particular that, through my own self-tests & research, I've found to have a profound negative effect on the way that I look, feel, and act. And again, like most Americans, that addiction is sugar- junk, candy, chocolate, cakes, cookies... you name it, I love it. It's always been my downfall when it comes to health & fitness-- not just physical, mental too. A sugar hangover can be even worse than an alcohol hangover and can last days longer. Not to mention added sugar is pretty much socially acceptable everywhere so there's really no escaping it. You get that sugar high off too many rolos, skittles, chocolate chip cookies- whatever your pleasure- and the crash from it is awful. So then your body wants more and since you love it so much and it tastes soooo good, you eat more and it becomes a vicious cycle until eventually its a regular staple in your everyday diet and you don't even notice that you're an addict. And to be honest, thats probably where about 70% (if not more) of the population is- you don't even know it. You don't know it because you've been doing it this way so long, you don't know the difference in how you feel when it's out of your system... feeling tired & cranky & lethargic is just part of your everyday. And the extra weight you carry because of this socially acceptable addiction... well, that can range from extreme to just that little extra pudge you can't seem to get rid of.
Five months ago, back in September, after trying and failing time after time to limit my sugar intake, I decided that I was going to go a whole 30 days without any- no candy, cookies, cakes, desserts- nothing with added sugar in it. I wanted to see how I felt with it completely out of my system, hoping it would motivate me to continue to really try to keep my sugar intake to the bare minimum for the rest of my life.
Why? Not because I was trying to lose weight, but because I knew it would be a healthy lifestyle change that would positively affect me and the people who spend time with me.
I never felt good after nights of too many Mike'n'Ikes or too much cookie dough- I always woke up the next morning hating myself and feeling like shit the entire next day which would be obvious, mostly to Matt, because I would project that unhappiness onto every aspect of my life. This was not something I wanted to control me forever, especially when I'm eventually ready to start having children. This definitely wasn't an addiction I wanted them to inherit so I knew if I could give myself a few solid years with minimum sugar before having kids, it would help me to guide my little ones into naturally healthy lifestyles. --- I'm always thinking ahead ;)
So I did it. 33 days actually, without any sugar. After the first two weeks, it was a breeze! Even with Mo brandishing Milky Ways in my face or handfuls of Starbursts that he would bring home from the clubhouse, I kept my word and didn't eat a single sugary treat.
WHAT an amazing experience! What a confidence-builder! The more days I went without, the better I felt about myself and the less I wanted anything to do with sugar. I couldn't believe how good I was feeling, how much better my yoga practice was, how much more drive & focus I had, how much easier it was to get up in the morning, how much easier it was to sleep at night! My whole mentality was positively affected. I had so much more energy. I had a new faith in myself. My spirits were higher, I wasn't moody like I had been and things didn't irritate me as much. My mind didn't feel so scattered all the time. I had deeper feeling of peace.
I was happier, period.
And like I said before, although it was not intended for weight loss, my clothes were fitting better, getting looser. The tricky areas (the ones no one else notices but you) were improving, were shrinking. No more bloat, no more pudge. It was truly incredible.
This one little change I made has touched every other area of my life as well. I instilled discipline in myself and determination. It has helped me to truly see my body as a temple, the only one I've got, so sacred and so deserving of only good things coming into it. I appreciate myself more. I value myself more. I trust myself more. And I appreciate the taste of everything I put into my mouth. I'm more conscious of what I'm eating- what the ingredients are and how much. I'm so much more aware of my body's signals of hunger and fullness.
These things I've learned, they mean so much to me. I've really proved something to myself that I would have thought impossible last year at this time. Its helped Matt too- he's a HUGE candy-lover and he's cut waaaaaay back. His eating is healthier, its purposeful- so much so that I've had to nag at him to eat MORE so that he doesn't get too thin ;)
After my 30 days was up, I had a few days (non-consecutive) where I overdid it but I was quickly reminded of the awful after-effects and got right back on my wagon. I went home for the holidays with so much confidence that I didn't have a single holiday treat either. This is the first Christmas I haven't gained weight nor been a moody mess at the beginning of the new year.
So I've set myself a little challenge for 2011: 12 months with only 1 day per month allowed for sugar. I welcome you to experience this amazing mental & physical transformation, I'd be happy to support anyone who wanted to join me. I can only imagine how good I'll feel after this year...
|I'm at peace with ME.|