Living a Sweet Sugar-Free Life: It’s About More Than Just Weight-Loss
For the last 6-weeks, I’ve been in full-tilt creation mode. I’m filming, writing, brainstorming and recording all of the components of my brand new one-on-one coaching program called, Sweet Liberation: 30 Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb. (Coming: May 2014)
Now…you might be asking yourself, ‘why is she creating a sugar-free coaching program?’ Well…let me tell you all about it.
I’ve been living sugar-free for almost 3-years now (since August 2011). For the initial 2.5-years, I didn’t even eat fruit. Living sugar-free for me means no white sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, coconut sugar, agave nectar, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, rice malt, barely sugar, or any other type of added sugar available on the market.
I didn’t begin my sugar-free journey on my own free will. But, I’m certainly happy that I had to because the whole experience has taught me a huge lesson: Sugar made me feel like crap, and it was preventing my ability to recover.
Sugar not only made me feel like crap, it also:
- disrupted my immune system
- fed my chronic illness (Lyme Disease)
- caused internal inflammation
- forced me to ride an energy roller coaster
- made me feel bloated
- fogged my mind
- made me gain unnecessary weight
Notice that ‘weight-gain’ is the last thing on the list. I believe that the physiological and psychological manifestation of eating too much sugar far out weighs the physical results. I’ve learned, first hand, that living a sweet sugar-free life is about way more than just weight-loss.
In 2006, the year that I contracted Lyme Disease, my diet was primarily sugar. I ate cake for dinner; I stashed cookies and orange juice in my purse; I ate large fruit & nut chocolate bars and giant Toblerones. I hardly ate vegetables; I was too busy stuffing my face with pastries.
My physical health rapidly deteriorated once Lyme Disease invaded my body. I eventually lost the ability to function: I was no longer the independent girl I used to be. Every muscle and joint in my body felt like it was on fire; I could barely stay awake; I had vertigo, confusion, and parts of my body were numb. I merely existed, rather than lived.
When I finally received a diagnosis, 5-years later, my Lyme specialist told me that treatment would be difficult and prolonged. The bacteria in my body had 5-years to multiply, and it was now in my central nervous system. I was told that I would have to give up all sugar, including fruit, and some sugary veggies because the heavy-duty antibiotics I was about to take would inflict serious side-effects if I ate sugar.
So, I embarked on my journey to reclaim my health. I had already quit gluten and corn, now I was about to quit sugar in order to receive the treatment that I needed. And, I’m so thankful that I learned how to do it.
But, here’s the thing…I had to figure out how to live completely sugar-free on my own. I have spent the last 3-years experimenting and finding ways to enjoy sweet treats without eating sugar. And, I’m happy to say that it was totally worth the effort, but it would have been nice to have someone to hold my hand and show me the way.
When I gave-up sugar, this is what happened:
- my body felt an immediate stress relief; I was no longer riding the wave of sugar-highs and sugar-lows.
- my energy level became more consistent.
- the inflammation in my body decreased, drastically. My joints were no longer as swollen and painful.
- I was no longer bloated.
- my ability to think and to remember, strengthened.
- my perpetual gut pain disappeared.
- I no longer suffered from yeast infections.
- I lost 20 lbs.
- I felt empowered. I was eating in such a different way, and it was benefiting my recovery. The best thing: I was helping myself, and I felt stronger for it.
Experiencing these effects were a revelation for me. I had no idea how terrible sugar was making me feel, until I had to give it up. And, once I gave it up, I felt free and empowered. I realized that I felt powerful and independent merely be changing the way that I ate.
By transforming my diet, I was taking a stand. I, as an individual, was allowing my body to heal. Transforming my diet did not take the assistance of a medical doctor; I was able to do it on my own. And, the physical and mental effects were profound.
We as individuals have so much power to make ourselves feel better, on our own. We just need to know how to do it and take drastic action.
The whole experience made me want to look into this issue, further. I wanted to discover what sugar really does to the body. And, that is when I discovered the work of Dr. Robert Lustig M.D.: a research scientist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Lustig argues that sugar contributes to a number of chronic illnesses, including: cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Through the process of chronic internal inflammation, sugar slowly deteriorates the body, rendering healthy, physiological processes dysfunctional; chronic illnesses are then allowed to set-in.
Because of my first hand experience quitting sugar, I have chosen to maintain my sweet sugar-free life despite completing treatment for Lyme Disease.
I now know how much better I feel without sugar, and I don’t have any desire to invite it back to my party. Especially, since I’ve learned how to indulge in sweet treats without eating sugar. After all, it’s the sweet taste that we’re after, and not the sugar itself.
On my blog, I love to teach what I’ve learned: not only about living sugar-free but living with a chronic illness, living gluten-free, and staying positive, at the same time. I want to share what I’ve learned with you, in hopes that I can help you to transform the way that you feel.
Learning how to transform your diet is a skill. And, the skill that you learn ultimately transfers to all facets of your life. Learning how to live sugar-free isn’t just about weight-loss, or even the incredible physiological effects; it’s about stepping away from ‘status quo’ and cultivating independence and experiencing self-discovery.
Through the process of living sugar-free, you gain the needed skills to transform your diet in any way you wish. The freedom to transform the way that you eat is truly liberating.
We are constantly inundated by processed foods that contain a great deal of sugar. Stepping away from this mainstream way of eating is not only great for your health, it also helps you to create a new approach to food: one that is independent, different, and empowering.
Learning how to live sugar-free is just one step on a journey to carving out a life on your own terms. And, the Sweet Liberation program is just a safe space to explore new possibilities.
What is your relationship with sugar like? And, how does it affect your life? I would love to hear what you have to say. So, please, leave a comment below.