It is delicious but evil. It’s heavenly, but it can be a goal-busting addiction.
And I should know. I gained 20 pounds in 4 months because I am an emotional binge-eater of sugar. My name is Beki and I am a sugar addict.
Five days before Thanksgiving, I decided I had enough. I did not want to be a slave to the sugar demon any longer. So I vowed that for 100 days I would cut out all sugar (except the occasional piece of fresh fruit). That’s right. I did it 5 days before pumpkin pies and right before Christmas cookies, candy canes and fudge. But I had to. For me.
5 reasons why I cut out sugar and you should too:
- Sugar is addicting.
Most people don’t want to be a slave to a substance. The thought of my being addicted to anything makes me uncomfortable. I mean most everyone who has attempted to cut sugar out of their lives, has experienced sugar withdrawals to some degree.
I experienced horrific withdrawals when I cut sugar out this time. My headache started around 5:00pm on the first day without sugar. The next morning when I woke up, I had a pretty significant migraine. I went to work anyway. I tried to eat, but by mid-morning I was starting to feel nauseous and the intensity of my migraine was increasing exponentially. By about noon I had to leave work. The lights and any movement made me feel worse. I tried to sip on water. When I got home, I laid on the couch as motionless as possible with a cold pack over my eyes. I wanted to cry. It would have been so easy to go get a bottle of Coca-Cola and make it all stop. But I knew I had to get through it. By the next morning, I felt better and the horrific migraine had turned into a nagging headache. I was through the worst of it. (The nagging headache lasted about a week.)
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that foods that are healthy and good for you don’t typically have this effect on your body once they are not eaten.
- Sugar doesn’t cause proper satiety.
Have you noticed that the more sugar you eat, the more you want?!
My go-to snack (before I cut out sugar and started eating clean) was a 20oz bottle of Coke and a package of Hostess Ho-Hos. That is 610 calories, and 107 grams of sugar. And it’s just a snack.
Protein and healthy fats are what provide satiety, which sugary foods definitely do not have.
Pure and simple… sugary foods will not keep you feeling full for long, if at all.
- Over consumption of sugar causes weight gain
When you eat a sugary snack (using the Coke & Ho-Hos as an example), you’ve just consumed 610 empty calories. For many people that can be more than a third of a daily calorie goal. If you are over consuming sugary foods, you will likely be eating more calories than you need, and when you eat more calories than you burn… you gain weight.
- Eliminating refined sugar can lower your body fat percentage.
Refined and added sugars are forms of processed carbs. When you eat more carbohydrates than your body can use as fuel, the excess is quickly stored as fat in your cells.
I gained 20 pounds in 4.5 months and the biggest contributor was binge eating sugar. Not only did my weight go up, but so did my body fat percentage. That means that I didn’t increase my muscle mass, I just added more FAT.
- Eliminating sugar makes you want less sugar!
One of the amazing things that happens when you cut out sugar, you discover you don’t crave it anymore!
You have to get through the withdrawal phase (where you feel terrible, and you know that you are just one 20oz bottle of Coke away from feeling better). Once you are on the other side of the sugar withdrawals (mine peaked the day after I cut sugar out, but the nagging headache lasted about a week), an amazing thing happens… You start feeling great! You realize that you don’t it and you can finally start to see how much better you feel without it!
As with any goal, you must be clear on your reasons why you are setting the goal. I gave up sugar for my own peace of mind, and because it was an emotional crutch I was using as a way to avoid feeling my feelings.
I felt out of control. I was beating myself up every time I opened a bottle of Coke, or scarfed down 3 candy bars in my car where no one could see me. My weight was going up and up. My clothes not only didn’t fit right, they actually physically hurt on my waistline. I felt horrible in my own skin. Binge-eating sugar was my emotional crutch. I used it as a way to not deal with uncomfortable emotions. And when I felt terrible about eating the candy bars, I used it as a way to “prove” to myself that I was a failure, as a way to show myself that I didn’t deserve to reach my goals. For me being addicted to sugar and weak in the face of any stress was my “proof” that I wasn’t worthy.
That’s a lot of emotions tied to something that wasn’t good for me and that could *relatively* easily be eliminated. This time I was ready and willing to get the sugar demon out of my life.
Even though there are many good reasons to cut sugar out completely, it is a drastic change. If you aren’t ready to make that kind of shift, even just eliminating a sugary snack or 2 a day will help cut out empty calories and get you closer to a healthy weight goal!
Are you ready to cut out or reduce your sugar consumption?
What are your reasons?