Hey there! Today I am going to hit on the topic of my old best friend in the whole wide world.... SUGAR! We had a love/hate relationship. I could depend on her to be there when I had a tough day or when I wanted to celebrate something in my life but then I dealt with the effects after.... the swelling of joints, brain fog, heart palpitations, anxiety, mood swings, gut dysbiosis, fatigue, and so on.... Even though those symptoms were sooo awful to experience, my brain somehow kept thinking that sugar was my fix-all. I could call on it whenever I needed to change how I felt in my body immediately whether it was to "de-stress" or numb out from an overwhelmingly busy day or to deal with a broken heart. There she was. So brain said SUGAR = HEALING + COMFORT. Oh, how the brain was wrong. It just made matters worse! It heightened the anxiety. It created such a funk in my gut that I was no longer able to produce serotonin (ya know... the happy hormone!) My body ached from all the inflammation. I felt heavy, weighed down, and tired all the time. I literally had so much brain fog, I would have to drink loads of coffee and eat more sugar just to get through my busy schedule. Not to mention the lovely excess fat that seemed to never go away no matter how much I dieted and exercised. How many people relate to this? As Dr. Mark Hyman says, the only part of your body that wants sugar is your taste buds. The health ramifications of eating sugar are countless, and a bit scary. I don't want to scare anyone away from eating sugar AT ALL! Don't get me wrong! But so many people eat it every single day, with every single meal, 365 days a year in very large amounts. They are hidden in most processed foods and people don't realize it. Have you ever counted how many grams of sugar you consume in a day? Below is just a few of the many health impacts that sugar has on your body and the well-being of your life:
chronic inflammation (side note: most diseases start out as chronic inflammation)
weight gain/weight loss resistance
dysbiosis in the gut
mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
blood sugar disturbances > insulin resistance > diabetes
cravings and addictions
acne and other skin issues
wrinkles and aging
headaches and brain fog
nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
leptin resistance (bye bye "I'm full" hormone = eating too much)
and MANY, MANY more...
So, let's first take a look at where sugar lurks.
Woah! So as you can see sugar is in sooo many things! Next time you go shopping or are in your pantry, look at the labels of the processed foods you eat to see just how many of these are listed in the ingredients. You'll be surprised. (And this list didn't even cover some of the more popular synthetic sugars like sweet n low) Some of the sugars listed above are natural and healthy when eaten in their raw, natural form like honey and agave in small amounts. Most of the sugar that is consumed by Americans (and other countries like the UK) has been so processed that it, not only, is not even close to the natural form but it's been processed in a way that basically makes it a drug. Studies actually show that sugar has the same addictive causing properties as drugs like cocaine and heroin. I don't know about you but that sounds not only detrimental to my physical and mental health, it also takes my power away. Addiction talk for another day. The best form of sugar is definitely its raw and natural form like in fruits, honey, molasses, etc. The best part about eating sugars like fruits though, is they contain fiber which slows the blood sugar spikes and includes a ton of healthy nutrients that make and drive all your body processes. When humans start trying to "modify" and process our foods, the body isn't meant to ingest them. If you find yourself unable to go a week without the things listed above or if you do you get detox symptoms when you do; it's safe to say you may have a "problem" with sugar. The good news is there is a way to find freedom from sugar! Here are some tips to help rid sugar from your life and gain your health back!
Take note of the types and amounts of sugar you consume. This can be done by using an app to track your food intake throughout the day.
Rid yourself of all refined sugars. If it's not in its natural form, don't eat it.
Don't eat refined flours either. I.e. wheat flour, rice flour, or any other grain flour. These have basically been processed into a drug that spikes your blood sugar. Instead, opt for the whole-grain option.
Drink lots of water, especially in the beginning, to aid in the detoxing of the toxin build-up in your body. Water is also a great tool when you begin having a sugar craving. Drink a large glass every time the cravings strike.
Exercise. This will help your body detox better and adapt to reversing insulin resistance as your muscles become more insulin resistant (basically meaning, less insulin is needed to flush out the sugar in your body) Exercise also helps counteract the damage to the organs and cells after years or decades of sugar consumption.
Have a positive mindset. Instead of thinking, "OMG I can't live without sugar!!!!!! I NEED it now!!!" switch your thinking to loving thoughts about how you are caring for your body. (see list above if you need to be reminded how bad sugar is for you!) If that doesn't work, think about doing a line of cocaine every time you are eating those sweets lol.
Be mindful of how detoxes best work for you. Some people are all-or-nothing types where they need to eliminate ALL sweets at once. Others do better by slowing weaning off. If you try the weaning off technique and you find yourself binging after, you may need to just eliminate it all together until your body heals.
Be KIND to yourself. We are all human. Even you. And sometimes we commit to something and then make it a few days or weeks and give in. That's okay. Give yourself a break :)
Have a plan. Plan your meals for the day so you don't end up grazing. Also, plan for mishaps. They are bound to happen. So what will you do if you have one?
Enjoy the process and celebrate the little wins!
I know some of you are thinking about how hard something like this would be or how awful the detoxing process is. Trust me, I relate! My detox symptoms were awful. I LOVED sugar!!! I had massive headaches, dehydration, constipation, mood swings, heart palpitations, breakouts, you name it. But after a few weeks, it all stopped. My head cleared and I had more energy in my body than I knew what to do with AND because the inflammation went down so did my excess fat. If I can do it, so can you!
Studies show to create a habit, you must implement a change for an average of 66 days. For some, it's less, for others it's way longer but 66 days is the average. If you find yourself having issues with sugar, I recommend trying these tips for at least 66 days and see how you feel! If you need help going through the process or with learning more about how to find these hidden toxins in your food, I am here to help you along the way! Just shoot me an email and let's have a chat. What is your relationship with sugar? Comment below. ____________________________________________________________ May you live your life with purpose, passion, and joy. Have Courage, my Friends!
In Health & Wellness,
"Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness."