Fighting My Greatest Nemesis!!!
That’s not all. My brothers and I would feast on Hostess cupcakes, Twinkies, and Ding Dongs, the box of 12 quickly emptied once we got our hands on it. Any allowance money in my pocket was hastily spent at the Rexall Drug Store on candy. Snickers was my favorite, with Kit Kat a close second. At the movie theater, I would always get milk chocolate Raisinets. No wonder I was such a mess as a kid with undiagnosed ADD! I was running on sugar 24/7! Those poor elementary school teachers!
But it didn’t end there. I never outgrew my love of donuts and pastries. Bear claws, apple fritters, chocolate frosted donuts, blueberry glazed cake donuts… and basically any other pastry you put in front of me are kryptonite to my willpower. Dunkin Donuts used to have toasted coconut donuts, and I would eat at least three in a sitting. As an adult, I got hooked on chocolate eclairs and cinnamon rolls. Which brings us to homemade baked goods… chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts, delish! And if a cookie was fresh and warm out of the oven, I could not possibly eat just one. I’d happily eat three at a time without thinking twice. I’m going into a sugar coma just writing about it!
Each night I had a routine that included doing multiple rounds through my kitchen (basically a sugar scavenger hunt). I’d start with the refrigerator and freezer, then move on to the cupboards where I knew we kept processed foods. Then I’d scour the countertops and sift through the pantry. Some nights, I’d exercise a bit of self-discipline. But admittedly, most of the time if I found something I liked, I’d gobble it down as a pre-bedtime snack.
Training on Sugar
The Sticky Truth About Sugar
When we started our fitness company, I began researching sugar. What I learned was pretty staggering. In 2013, I first attempted to overcome my sugar addiction. I wrote and published a book called Think: Use Your Mind to Shrink Your Waistline. I found a study from 2010 that stated the average American consumed 130 pounds of sugar a year. After considering what I had been eating, I realized I might be an outlier. I ate even more than the 100+ pounds the average Joe was eating. I sure hope that you eat way less sugar than I do!
Here’s what I wrote at that time: Sugar is responsible for triggering both an adrenal response, (the “rush”) and the release of serotonin, (the “ahhh”). When these excited and happy feelings subside, we want to experience them again. And each time, we have to eat or drink a little more sugar to get the same high. Hence, sugar is like a drug. That’s why so many of us feel caught in its grasp.
Is it any wonder that I am a sugar-holic? I cannot have just a little bit of sugar. I can’t stop with just a small taste here and a tiny bite there. For so long I judged myself harshly for this weakness. But it’s not not entirely my fault. The food industry hires scientists to study this behavior, and they create foods that our brains crave at an addiction level! No wonder it is so hard to say no to sugar! With great effort and commitment to my ‘Why,’ over the last 18 months I have been able to rein in the sugar consumption. But it is still so difficult to walk by a temptation and just say no.
Our Brains on Sugar
One of my favorite books from 2020 is Limitless by Jim Kwik. Talking about what sugar does to the brain, Jim quotes Dr. Eva Selhub who, “…often likens the brain to a high-performance vehicle. Like an expensive car, she writes, your brain functions best when it gets on premium fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress–the ‘waste’ (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.” She goes on to note that when you force your brain to run on inferior fuel, it can’t possibly do everything it could do for you.
This next part of her quote really hits home for me, “Refined sugar, for example, contributes to impaired brain function, leads to inflammation, and can even cause depression (something you might want to consider the next time you reach for a tub of ice cream to contend with a tough day).” Wow, the memory of that daily ice cream indulgence really stung when I read those words. Can you believe that I have spent most of my life impairing my brain function? And now I have built visceral fat around my vital organs, which leads to much higher chances of Alzheimer’s or a heart attack. Sugar is truly trying to lead me to an early death or to life in a memory care facility.
The Uphill Battle
Breaking the Sugar Habit
Life After Sugar
Just as I used to train my clients, I am disturbing the homeostasis of my old sugar habits and convincing my brain that I want to replace them with new healthy habits. I’m getting better at saying no to foods I know cause damage, and saying yes to premium fuel for my body. That’s because each day my ‘Why’ is getting stronger. I’m consciously building it into my subconscious mind.
Over the last two years, I have improved my health dramatically. I got rid of the sugar that was killing me. It’s not in our home. We do not search for it when we eat out. At social functions that include dinner, appetizers, and desserts we choose “Eating to Live.” Carla constantly researches and creates recipes that meet our optimal health goals. I am so grateful that science came up with Swerve and other products that allow me to have an enjoyable healthy diet. “Eating to Live” has required me to change my taste buds. For example, here is a great dessert recipe that is sugar free.
What does “Eating To Live” mean? It means that you become a scientist to find the facts about your unique body. You record how certain foods either remove inflammation or create pain, from the esophagus down to your bowels. You learn the difference between visceral and subcutaneous fat, then how to decrease the bad fats along with your chances of heart disease. It means becoming your own best advocate and working hard to achieve health and wellness and increased energy every day.
“Eating to Live” means living your best life, for as long as you possibly can.