Recently I decided to start limiting my sugar intake. I didn’t intend to cut it out completely, but wanted to drastically reduce the amount I was consuming. My parameters were: any natural sugar was okay in moderation, but any processed sugar had to be under 20g per day (and I have actually been trying to keep it under 15g). I realized I was basically eating my weight in delicious, sugary goodness. I couldn’t escape the monster, it was everywhere! There were always treats filling the breakroom at work, yummy snacks at home, home baked goods galore in my holiday travels, and I couldn’t seem to get away from the treats… nor did I want to. I was weak.
I felt extreme happiness when biting into a decadent piece of dark chocolate cake, fudgy brownies, or a Krispy Kreme donut hot off the conveyor belt. You know the kind of treats I’m talking about. The ones that make you roll your eyes into your head and breathe a little deeper! Those were my mission, almost daily. I craved these treats and went to great lengths to fulfill the urges. I also want to clarify, I eat pretty healthy other than my addiction to sugar. I don’t drink soda, generally stay away from fruit juices (unless they are freshly squeezed), don’t eat a ton of processed foods, drink water and green tea daily, etc.
I also wasn’t gaining any physical weight, so weight loss was not my intention for this. I was gaining what I will refer to as “mental weight”. I was starting to get this uncontrollable “brain fog” toward the end of the day… every day! It was miserable and had been happening for months. It always happened later in the afternoon and my brain would start to feel heavy and clouded. It didn’t matter what I tried to do (i.e. drinking more water, keeping snacks at my desk, going on an afternoon walk, or eating my lunch outside to get fresh air), I could not break this viscous fog. It would sometimes subside for a bit, but would come roaring back around the time I got home from work in the evening.
I felt lethargic, had no energy to go to the gym, little interest in my previous passions or really to do much of anything. In fact, it seemed like a struggle just to cook dinner most nights. I just wanted to “veg” out and watch TV; that was it. That seems like a REALLY productive life worth living, right?? Don’t get me wrong, a little TV here and there is completely fine, but I watched the entire series of Friends in just a few months (yes – I do mean all 10 seasons).
Limiting my sugar started off as a mere thought. “Well, I guess I will try this since nothing else is working” was my mentality. I soon began to realize, however, that sugar was impacting my life in many other ways. It wasn’t just my teeth and the potential for high dental bills, it was truly rippling through my life.
I have been limiting my sugar for just over a month and the small changes I have seen are truly eye opening. My brain fog has decreased significantly, my energy levels are starting to normalize, and my overall happiness seems to be increasing. What is even better is that I don’t crave sugar like I use to. I was at a birthday party recently and tried to eat a piece of birthday cake. It was too sweet. I took 3 bites – yes only 3 bites – and had to throw the rest away.
Yes, I know this is just sugar and in perhaps a minor thing in life, but it is having an enormous impact on my daily living. I challenge you to take a step back and look to see if something is affecting your daily life. Look in the areas that may not be immediately obvious. Maybe by taking some time to reflect and see where things seem a little “off” you can see an opportunity to change something that will greatly improve how you are currently living. It might be something minor or it could be a major life change, but if you are not currently where you want to be in your life, make a change. You will thank your future self for it.
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