Breaking up with sugar seems like a fad, and it’s under a lot of scrutiny. Why? Well, 1. because it’s hard, and 2. Sugar is a multi billion dollar industry. It’s literally people’s jobs to find articles on natural health and post something with the opposite opinion. So today I’m doing the opposite: this article says people should eat sugar, so I’m telling you why I think [many] people should not. And you can decide for yourself what to believe about the sweet little devil…
Sugar. It’s that ex-boyfriend you know you shouldn’t go back to. You say you’re breaking up “for good this time” but the next time you see each other.. you turn into a giddy teenager again and forget everything you went through. We were SO good together.. we had so much fun!
So, we can just be friends right? See each other at parties, where there are other people? You are both convinced this is a great idea.. after all, we ARE adults. You see each other. Just one look and all the recovery you have done goes out the window. But you are so sweet.. we are great together… why don’t I just have one kiss? Just one more time?
And an hour later you’re alone together and you’re shoving it in your face. The donut. You enjoy it, but afterwards you say “that’s it!!” Then, the next morning… your judgment is skewed and you think something like “well it just happened once and wasn’t THAT bad..” and now you are at brunch together. Blowing all your progress. You order banana pancakes.. can I add chocolate chips? I want the full sugar syrup… bottomless mimosas.. coffee with sugar… because why not? It’s not going to happen again..
All of a sudden your one secret, “just one more time” moment turns into a regular thing. You hide it from your friends, because you feel the shame. No one can know. You know you shouldn’t do it but.. you. Just. Can’t. Stop.
Later that day you think, “It’s not so bad…” and you get together for just one more night. You indulge. The next morning, you have a hangover so bad and you’ve tweeted something like “adulting is hard, I make poor decisions.” And you’re wondering how you got here? How you let yourself slip into this mess again?
Because it’s fun… and breaking up is hard. Breaking up with sugar is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But now I have a new boyfriend: BACON. And I am so in love (also, hi Nick, you’re amazing too).
Now that you understand what breaking up with sugar feels like, I’m going to share my reactions after reading something on the internet, from “experts.”
I opened this article with an open mind. Anything telling me to eat sugar – I AT LEAST want to give it a fair shot. To say my jaw was open the whole time is an understatement (read my full disclaimer here, and please stick with any treatment that is helping you).
I used to have a TERRIBLE relationship with food. Like that ex-boyfriend we talked about. Guilt, shame – my diet was never perfect enough. There was always something more I could do, less food to eat – just starve and that is the solution. But then.. oh that donut looks so good! And I would eat the donut. And popcorn. And cookies. And cake. And crackers. I would feel shitty and bloated and like a whale. And the cycle would start over. I blamed myself. I also knew other people who did this, so I kinda just thought it was natural. Normal maybe, but knowing what I know now – it’s not natural.
I feel compelled to write a response to the article I read, and share with you what has worked for ME – as someone who has been there and gotten out.
1. Sugar is actually addictive, like other hard drugs, and can cause depression, anxiety, and leads to disease.
2. The “increased cravings” are due to the addictive nature of sugar. Yeah it’s going to suck giving it up at first, but no one said breaking an addiction was easy.
3. For those of us who have all-or-nothing or addictive personalities, creating a “healthy relationship” with sugar means breaking up with it. There’s no healthy relationship with something that destroys your mental stability and well-being.
4. When we restrict a food, our bodies crave it – because it’s what we’ve been using as fuel for so long. When you cut off your body’s fuel source, you need to replace it with something else. Teach your body to burn something that WON’T make you spiral downward into depression or act like a crazy person [what sugar can do]. Something that will benefit your health long term.
5. You know what also improves taste and texture? Fat. And fat is not addictive, and without sugar in the mix – almost impossible to over eat.
6. When a substance is destroying your body and mind, it’s not “part of living happily and fully in the world.” Sorry but it’s not.
7. Sugar-free DOES NOT equal carbohydrate-free. You know what has carbs but no addictive sugar? Vegetables. Yeah, I know that’s not what you want to hear but you don’t need added sugar. You’re not leaving a macronutrient out, you are consuming a more nutrient dense, natural source.
8. “If it’s out of control, find out why” – I am not disagreeing with that at all; in fact, I completely agree. But this is like sending an alcoholic to rehab but allowing them to have a few glasses of wine each night. Doesn’t really make sense, does it?
9. “Numerous studies have shown that people who have fulfilling relationships with loved ones live longer, have fewer health problems, and are happier.” Okay, cool – thanks Harvard! But then this article gets seriously insulting. Just because I don’t eat sugar, that means I can’t have a social life? Really? I CAN go to a birthday party and not eat the cake. I could even bring a delicious sugar free dish and share with my friends… and you know what, they will LOVE IT because I’m a bad ass cook.
10. Giving up sugar WILL impact your life. It will improve. Is it hard? ABSOLUTELY!! So hire a health coach – it is literally MY JOB to help people through tough changes like this. I know because I did it. Doing it alone is not the answer. Hire me. Talk to a therapist, find a friend going through the same thing. Giving up food doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life. It just means the storm may be a bit longer or rougher before you see [a bigger, brighter] rainbow.
11. Just because I eat a certain way that some consider a “diet” doesn’t mean that it’s restrictive – seriously, you guys see all the food pictures I post.. that’s not even HALF of it. I eat so much. Check out my Instagram.
Before giving up processed sugar it controlled my life. Donuts = bad. But I still ate them!!! And felt guilt… and Shame.. and the cycle repeated itself. After giving up sugar.. going over the hump and replacing it with fat.. do I still want a donut every now and then?” I mean yeah – I am human – but now that I no longer deal with depression and anxiety around food, I am able to confidently say no to the donut. I don’t feel that I am “missing out.”
How I am fueling my body now is so much healthier – I’m off all my medications, my joint pain has disappeared, no more migraines, no more brain fog. And now that I can think clearly, I can find a way to have a low carb donut – and make it fun!
So, how do I do it? Here’s my secret: I didn’t do it overnight. I started gluten free, then moved to a diet without processed-packaged foods, then made the leap to Paleo. And when it got hard, I found help. Navigating this stuff is tough – and I want to help you live a life of freedom, just like I do! Sign up here and we’ll chat about it – no obligation!!
How do you feel about sugar? Are you able to be friends, or do you think it’s time to break up?