For most of my life, I've been a sugar fiend. Sure, I'd hide behind the excuse of having a "sweet tooth." There have been times in my life when I was oblivious to how much sugar I was consuming from everyday treats (like caramel macchiatos) and other times I only had a once-a-day, calorie-controlled one (like a small portion of low-fat fro yo). But the common thread since I can remember has been a dependence on refined sugar. (Likely linked, in part, to my genetic, hormonal/adrenal issues I've been trying to better understand and address over the past few years.) That is, until recently.
As a part of my pre-wedding fitness efforts and a focused attempt to really address those underlying hormonal issues, I've been eating less and less sugar. Actually, since the New Year, I've cut it out almost completely. And I feel ...
AMAZING. And shocked. Oh, and a little bit sad. Let me explain ...
I've been a stevia (natural herb that is zero calories and typically doesn’t affect blood sugar) fan for a while now, so I just slowly started using it more and more in foods I'd otherwise be using sugar in -- like hot cocoa or cookie recipes. But, for the most part, I've been saying "no, thanks" to dessert. And if I pick up something that does have sugar in it, I'll check the grams on the label, steering clear of anything that seems too high. (I try to follow what celeb trainer Jackie Warner recommends, which is only choosing foods with five grams or less.) And if I'm really experiencing a killer craving, I'll go for a square of super-dark, 60 percent plus cacao chocolate.
The crazy thing is, since doing this, I don't really have cravings anymore. When my bridesmaids told me they'd like to take me on a cupcake crawl as part of my bachelorette weekend, I wasn't nearly as excited as I would have been a couple months ago. And when I thought I'd indulge in some self-serve fro-yo last night, yughhh!! Something that once tasted so blissful is now way too sweet. Honestly, this breaks my heart a little.
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Maybe it's wedding day willpower turning me off of my favorite vice. But I also think it has to do with cutting it out for the most part. I am convinced that once you stop eating sugar -- or at least break your dependency on it -- you really do change your cravings ... And your taste buds, too! You get more energy. You feel more in control. You might lose weight, your skin could clear up. There are a whole slew of health benefits to forgoing sugar.
But, no matter what, I'll never villainize it. I could never see myself eliminating it completely (how is that even possible -- it's in fruit!). I will always welcome a bite or two or three of amazing chocolate cake, the occasional ice cream cone, etc. But am I better off without it being in my life in a big way? I can't think of any reason why the answer to that question wouldn't be a resounding YES.
How do you feel about sugar? Have you ever tried to cut it out?