If we're buds over on Instagram, you know of my recent efforts to get healthy. I'm trying to make this a slower, longer change than diets or trends I've grabbed onto in the past. My husband has turned to a mode of "training for life" in which he exercises daily and eats balanced meals. And maybe.. just maybe.. it's inspired me to get a move on.
I've begun in small ways:
- Getting a baseline on all of my important stats (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.)
- Drinking more (water and sugar-free lemonade for now)
- Reducing drastically my sugar intake
I assumed that these three steps would be the first of a series. Baby steps, right? But in the process I've become very aware of my need for sugar. It seems that I rely on it for energy (in small bursts), joy, interest (life is better with a bar of dark chocolate by your side), reward, and basically every other emotion that you can attach to it.
I'm not shocked at this realization. Since adolescence and a freedom to make my own eating choices, I've often gone for the quick, the easy, and by, happenstance, the caloric. But I was surprised by how a reduction in my sugar intake really affected the rest of my life. I was moody (more than my usual emo), tired, bored and boring.
Some studies suggest that sugar affects our brain in similar ways to high powered drugs like cocaine and perhaps more frightening to me is that nearly 80% of our American diet contains either natural sugars or high fructose corn syrup.
And I felt it. I've never done drugs other than caffeine (and sugar, apparently), and with the withdrawal of most of my sugars (not even all), I felt the urges to binge and the "need" to fill myself. It wasn't pretty.
Here's what I'm doing to help ween myself away from sugar:
- Be Aware - Take a pause before eating or drinking. Am I hungry? Is this the best choice? Start simple.
- Drink, drink - Much of my hunger is satiated with hydration. Beyond that, I need to be sure that I'm staying hydrated to keep my energy levels and moods on an even keel.
- It won't last forever - If I can keep off of artificial sugars for 3-4 days, they are mostly out of my system, and I can return to a steady and happy place.
- Move it, move it - The more I can move and stay active, the better I'll be.
Are you addicted to sugar? Let's do this together. Follow #parscaeli_healthy and chime in!