Sugar. It's YUMMY. We all know we shouldn't eat too many sweet treats, right? But really, how bad can it be? Come on...a cookie here and there won't hurt, right?
Sugar is the enemy. Want to be healthy? Don't eat sugar. Want to maintain a healthy weight? Don't eat sugar. Want to be successful, beautiful, win the lottery, have it all? Don't eat sugar. Ok, that last one was a bit of a stretch but you get the point. Don't eat sugar.
Pretty strong words. But I stand by them. The more we learn about sugar and it's (negative) affect on the body, the more it seems eating sugar is a really, really bad idea.
Now, before I totally lose you, let's be clear - there are several types of sugar. Fruit has sugar. Milk has sugar. These are not evil sugars. Naturally occurring sugars aren't really the issue. Last I checked, no one developed Type II Diabetes from excess amounts of apples or milk. Where we run into problems is the sugar found in processed foods - cookies, cake, ice cream, snacks (granola bar, anyone?), protein bars (yup), soda, bread, peanut butter, yogurt, etc, etc. It's in EVERYTHING. Go on, peruse your pantry. It's kinda terrifying. But before you twitch yourself into starvation, we'll chat about how you can cut sugar out of your life and still enjoy what you eat.
Now, truly, what can too much sugar do to you? The short list - weight gain, weight gain in your stomach (which is particularly bad), unstable blood sugar that leads to Type II diabetes, water retention, poor sleep, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, inflammation, cavities, your skin ages faster, and lastly - yes, I'm going there - the ability to "get it up".
That enough for you? Yeah, it's not good, is it? So, a little side anecdote - I gave up sugar for lent (not Catholic, just an easy beginning and ending time period) and I lost 15 pounds IN 4 WEEKS. What did I discover? Apparently I was eating a CRAZY amount of sugar mindlessly. When I stopped eating all the junk, I realized how many times a day I craved it and would've normally reached for something to curb the craving.
Now, how do you stop the madness? First, cut out the junk. You know, cookies, candy, sugary cereals for breakfast, donuts, the kids' "snacks" - graham crackers, granola bars, gummies, crackers. The junk. Cut that out. You know very well what it is and it's the easiest thing to cut out because we are all aware we shouldn't be eating it anyway. There's no way ANYONE is convinced a Pop Tart is healthy.
Here's the cool part - you'll cut that out, it'll be hard because you'll still crave but IT WILL GET EASIER. And you'll start being conscious of what else you're eating that may not be the best choice. Pasta for dinner? With a big ol' side of bread? That is a TON of highly processed carbs. It may not be sweet and sugary but it's still not super healthy for you. Try cutting out the bread on the side and replacing it with a salad. Next, replace the pasta with spaghetti squash or something zoodled. You know, zucchini that is spun through that nifty attachment thingy and makes noddles. So you'll start cutting out processed flour-y stuff. Bread, pastas, etc. What's next? Maybe add a little more lean protein and fresh veggies.
If you tackle this intentionally and slowly, it will be easier. I'm not going to lie to you and say "OMG, it was SO easy!" Because it totally wasn't. I still battle it. If I'm stressed out, I immediately want something sugary. Tastes good and provides an immediate mood burst. Promptly followed by guilt that I caved on my promise to myself simply because I was having a bad day. A fave quote - just because you have a flat doesn't mean you slash the other 3 tires. See where I'd headed? You're having a bad day and that cookie would FEEL so good. Yeah, I get it but come on. It's a cookie, it can't actually make you feel better. It's not a friend or loved one.
I'll leave you with this challenge - give me one week of no sugar and tell me how it goes. Seriously...comment back on this. I want to know how you did, what you thought, what you felt. I have every confidence you can do it and I know you'll feel better!!