My key word for 2020 is going to be “wellness.” The danger word is “donuts.” Or “cupcakes” or “cookies” or “chocolate croissants.”
I’m definitely one of those people who has a new diet plan or health goal to obsess over every time a new year rolls around. But if you’re looking for perfection in the wellness department, you’ll want to go look somewhere else—you won’t find any of that here. The reason I’m constantly refocusing on my health is because I have not yet attained my goals. But, hey … at least I’m still trying.
This year, I’m going to tackle one of my biggest challenges ever—giving up sugar. Go ahead. Bow your head in a moment of silence. I’ll wait while you ponder the enormity of this endeavor.
Sounds pretty daunting, doesn’t it? Sugar is in E V E R Y T H I N G! But, I’ve learned that I am absolutely a sugar addict. It’s a trigger for me. And just a little bit of it can completely derail me from whatever eating plan I’m trying to follow.
So, what does it mean to quit sugar?
First of all, let me remind you that I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, or health professional of any kind. I’m just a momma who has been on a diet all her life, and continues to struggle with her weight. Constant dieting gives you at least enough knowledge to be dangerous, as they say.
In order to avoid plagiarizing, I’d like to direct you to the following sources for some background info:
There are a billion articles, books, and Facebook groups out there all chock full of information for you to devour. All in all, here’s the skinny on quitting sugar:
- You just have to decide which types of sugar you are going to avoid.
- And if you will quit gradually or cold turkey.
Sugar “groups” include refined sugar, added sugar, grains (that’s right, sugar-free is gluten-free, but not the other way around), sugary fruits, starchy vegetables, soda (including diet), processed foods (that most likely contain sugar of some kind), and artificial sweeteners.
Many experts say that artificial sweeteners are even worse than real sugar because they are packed with nasty chemicals that harm your body and trick your brain into thinking it needs more sugar. That being said, I’m not quite ready to give up sugar-free sweetener in my coffee, so I’m going to phase that out later. My focus right now is on quitting refined sugar, added sugar, grains, sugary fruits, starchy vegetables, and soda. I’m doing this cold turkey, while following a keto diet, and observing an intermittent fasting plan on most days.
Wish me luck! I’m going to need it!
What are the pros and cons?
The benefits of giving up sugar are endless. Many people report increased mental clarity and decreased inflammation throughout their bodies. Avoiding sugar helps with things like heart health, diabetes, acne, and even cancer; and, of course, people who quit sugar this drastically will most likely see some sort of weight loss.
I think the only “con” there is to quitting sugar is dealing with the withdrawals. Cravings for sugar should dissipate over time, but I think the mourning period you go through when you give up something you love is super tough. I mourned cigarettes when I quit smoking more than 12 years ago; and I mourned alcohol when I quit drinking almost five years ago—still miss it often. I know I will feel the same about sugar. And the thing that really sucks is that I’m a darn good baker. I’m sorry, universe … I’m hanging up my apron for a while.
Can I do this forever?
I don’t know. Like I said, I quit smoking and drinking cold turkey and never went back. It was difficult, but I did it. As for sugar, I’m not trying to predict our future relationship. I know if I have a lot of success and feel a lot better that it will be an easier way of life to maintain. But I’m also being realistic about the fact that I will be among some hella-amazing baked goods when my husband and I go to NYC in March to celebrate our anniversary. So, there’s that.
For now, I’m going to try my hardest to kick this addiction and see how it goes. I’m going to be diligent about avoiding every speck of flour, every grain of sugar, and even every communion wafer. The only way for this to work is to be strict and intentional about every single thing that I eat and drink. I’m going to have to get up every morning and recommit to this goal in order to keep myself on track for the long haul.
I’m hoping this strategy will help me create some healthier habits in 2020. New year—new me. This time, I mean it.
Sugar is sweet … but so is life.