Friday, January 3, 2014

Sugar Is Not Your Friend

I’m addicted to sugar. I’m not using the word “addict” lightly here. I am truly powerless over processed sugar. The best thing I do for my health is to avoid white sugar and all of its forms altogether. 

Once I’m two or three days into not eating sugar, I don’t want it. When I'm off sugar, my appetite is right in line with my ideal weight. But if I’ve had even one piece of candy, it's over.  My appetite grows into a ravenous beast that I can't satisfy no matter what I eat.  My skin breaks out and wrinkles, my energy lags, my joints ache, my pants stop fitting.

I am thankful not to be addicted to alcohol or drugs or gambling or any other thing that could get me in trouble with the law or ruin my life.  When I’m in the throes of sugar madness, I’m perfectly functional as far as everyone else is concerned. It’s just me that feels crappy. I bow down to people managing addictions to the hard stuff. I can't imagine how difficult that must be.

Still, sugar is corrosive in its own way. Many people battle their weight and spend so much money on diets and feel lousy about themselves. If you are having a problem with toxic hunger, or in other words an appetite that will not listen to reason, maybe stop beating yourself up about it. Maybe stop eating sugar for one month and see what happens to your life.  For me it’s not about willpower. It’s about avoiding the toxic hunger that sugar throws my body into when I have even just a little.

There are tons of studies coming out right now that point to the fact that sugar is poison. Sugar consumption can lead to diabetes, cancer, all kinds of bad health. Check the information out for yourself if you don’t believe me.  This is just one lady’s experience. I’m not a scientist.  I’m an English teacher.

Sugar looks awesome, but it is just like the beautiful-sounding siren ladies in the Odyssey.  If I feel like eating it, I try to be like Odysseus and strap myself to the mast of my own good health and gut that pretty song out. Practically everything in the grocery store has tons of sugar and it’s made up to look awesome and normal and not poisonous at all.  It’s a big trick designed to toss me on the rocks.  I'm not falling for it.

An ancient vase picturing Odysseus strapped to the mast to keep himself from giving in to the siren's song. You need to do the same thing with sugar, but not necessarily naked.

I’m just telling you this because it's January and everybody’s talking about losing weight. I don't like to talk about what I eat and don't eat because I'm embarrassed by the whole subject, frankly. So I'll say it here and be done with it. Sugar is not your friend.

Besides, there is no polite way to say to a person that sugar is not your friend because when you’re eating sugar it really really seems like it is your friend.

I’ve gone through periods in my life where the only thing getting me through the next three hours is one of those packages of white Donettes from the 7-Eleven.  I’ve been there.  I may very well be there again tomorrow. 

Not today, though. Today I’m tied to the mast. 

So cute.  So not your friend.