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Jumping Hurdles: Sugar

This weekend, I realized I have a problem. As I found myself elbow-deep in the cookie jar, reaching for my fourth cookie of the night while simultaneously typing into Google, “how to stop eating so many cookies,” it suddenly occurred to me that I may have a bit of a sugar addiction.

Sugar is a sneaky little substance — studies have shown that it is incredibly addictive and bad for your health. Not only this, but the sugar industry actually paid to have its health risks kept secret, and pointed the blame at fats instead.

So, in a determination to be healthy, fit and like all those health accounts you see on Instagram, I spent the next 20 or so minutes Googling sugar detoxes and figuring out which foods I’d have to cut to accomplish my new sugar-free lifestyle. But 30 minutes later, I got hungry and made myself some pasta with marinara sauce. Not thinking too much of it, I casually checked the label of the sauce. Bam — six grams of sugar in half a cup.

So, cutting out sugar would not be as easy as I intended. It seems that everything has sugar unless I buy fresh, organic produce and foods every week, which unfortunately just isn’t an option for me. Twenty minutes ago, I ate a bagel from the Rez, which probably has sugar in it. Going sugar-free is hard!

The thing I’ve realized though, is that I’ve caught myself getting too worked up about my newfound “diet.” And that, I think, is just as unhealthy as eating sugar in the first place. I’ve dealt with my fair share of unhealthy relationships with food and my body, and I’ve come to understand that it just isn’t worth it to obsess over food the way I found myself obsessing over a no-sugar lifestyle. Something I’ve learned in college is that it’s all about moderation. Eating healthy is important, as is exercise, but it’s completely fine to have a sugary treat here or there. If cutting sugar completely out of your diet isn’t realistic, there are ways you can cut it out in some things while still enjoying it in others.

Ultimately, it is important to listen to your body and nourish it with what it needs. It’s as simple as that. Loving yourself and appreciating your body is a critical step to a positive life filled with self-appreciation. Cutting out sugar should not be because of a desire for a certain appearance, but rather a desire for health, and that is something I remind myself of often.

My no-sugar fad only lasted about two days. But, it did help me re-evaluate how my eating choices are affecting my health and wellbeing, and I’ve begun to adjust accordingly. I’ll still have my elbow deep in the cookie jar now and again, but this time, I’ll be reaching for one cookie at a time. And if I end up eating a little more sugar than is suggested, that’s okay.

  • Dude

    “And that, I think, is just as unhealthy as eating sugar in the first place.” Well that’s just not true. I cut out added sugars about 3 years ago, and it wasn’t easy at first. You can’t just try it for 2 days and say “well it’s hard and doing something hard is unhealthy.” I urge you to give it a full 2 weeks and see how you feel. You stop craving sugar as badly, and you can still eat fruit (whole fruit, not juice) to get your sugar in a healthy way. It gets much easier, I promise, and it makes you feel so much better and energized. It’s definitely worth it.

  • I tried to stop sugar and didn’t make it. I started craving it like a crack addict. I didn’t even realize how dependent I was on it until then. I gave it about 1.5 weeks and started eating it again. To this day I remain shocked at how difficult it is to stop. I stopped drinking alcohol after years and stopping sugar was harder than stopping drinking.

  • Anon

    Cutting out added sugars definitely requires a more complete understanding of the food you are putting in your body. Like suggested below, after a few weeks, I felt much better and had much more consistent energy levels. One last thing, while health should be a prime motivator, I believe that wanting to change your appearance is still valid. That is a personal choice that can increase a person’s confidence in themselves because of the understanding and dedication needed.

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