A phrase that has become a part of the woo-woo lexicon is ‘I release what does not serve me.’ I’ve managed to do that in slow strides and unorthodox ways throughout my short 41 years on the planet. Let’s see, I’ve released relationships, jobs, terrible novels-in-progress, resentments, whole ass belief systems. My ego operates in a balanced nature now that I would not have had the confidence and self-awareness to even attempt in my twenties. Release is a daily practice, especially during challenging times…
…like when you realize that your relationship with sugar is beginning to mirror your former addiction, a hold you worked hard to release.
It wasn’t always like this, me and sugar. My adoration for salty snacks began when I was a child. I hoarded sleeves of Ritz crackers, topping the orange discs with sliced cheese. In my teens, I lived on Cool Ranch Doritos, movie theater nachos with all the fixings, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, French fries. FRENCH FRIES, Y’ALL. Anyone who knows me intimately has a story to tell you involving me and a serving of fries. It is, hands down, my favorite food. Should my life take an unexpectedly violent turn, my last dish on Death Row will undoubtedly be a small mountain of French fries topped with chorizo, queso, shredded bacon, and black beans (because fiber is important). The first food memory I can recall was of me as a teething baby, gumming a fistful of McDonald’s fries. I’ve learned now that my love for fries was an early indicator of my sugar addiction.
My trouble with processed sugar began during my second pregnancy a decade prior. The old wives’ tale is that carrying girls makes you crave the sweet stuff. ‘Crave’ was an understatement for me. I inhaled anything made of or dusted with sugar. My favorite go-tos were usually both: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, sugar cake donuts, French toast topped with powdered sugar and syrup, and – the absolute bane of my dietary existence – Sour Patch Kids. I popped those puppies like prenatal vitamins throughout my nine months. I did so with glee, thinking that the cravings would go away after I gave birth. The opposite happened; my addiction evolved.
I got sober when my daughter was eight, and my sugar cravings skyrocketed. It was insane, y’all. Here I was, sacrificing fancy martinis and gin-soaked cocktails for my health (like, Nobel Peace Prize shit, y’all) and here comes sugar slipping in its place. Random packs of Sour Patch Kids during my 2011 pregnancy eventually evolved into me purchasing a five-pound bag of sour gummy worms in quarantine last year. Now, as I type, I am in Day 2 of sugar rehab. But, unlike when I quit the booze, I’m not going cold turkey.
If I cut myself off completely, I would literally kill someone I love, trust me when I tell you. I would be on the news and in the jailhouse.
My therapist has pinged me multiple times on my tendency to big picture everything. Here’s the truth: I adore big pictures. I like everything where I can see it. Unfortunately, as a result, I often miss the intricate details that can make or break my success in most facets of my life, especially my wellness. With that in mind, I’ve decided to tackle my sugar addiction on a month-by-month basis instead of a full year forecast. Here’s what sugar rehab looks like for me in January:
- One sweet treat per day; must be under 30 grams of added sugar
That’s it. It didn’t really need a bullet, I’m just dramatic. It’s a small but mighty goal, serving as a base that I will build upon every month in some sugar-cutting way. Overall, I want to have fun with this because any step, no matter how insignificant-seeming, will introduce less sugar and more health into my life.
If you are far more well versed than I in the art of sugar reduction, please feel free to leave your tips on quitting the white stuff. I’m gonna need all the help I can get…because I really miss Sour Patch Kids and it’s only been two days.