I signed up for Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox on Tuesday the 5th. It was the first day I was home from our wonderful vacation in Maui. What’s ironic is that I started writing this post in Maui, then on the first day of the detox I opened the first support email from the detox support crew and read “WAKE UP AND BE AWESOME”. So, a little more inspiration for me to power through the first few tough day of my detox knowing I’m being- yes, awesome.
When I refer to being more awesome, I’m not talking about how to be that chick at the beach with the amazingly defined abs (how does she do that?!), the dude who walked into the gym for the first time and set the new gym back squat PR, or that person who never hesitates to try something new and scary. (I saw many examples of these things during my time in Maui & tried not to stare in amazement.) It may seem silly to do so, but I’m going to state the obvious here: All those people are not you. If you want to be more awesome, you’re going to have to do that…yourself! In your own body! And more importantly, your own mind.
For a long time now I’ve been interested in the many reasons we have for holding ourselves back from being the best version of ourselves. It seems like friends that are around my age have been going through the ‘What’s next?’ phase in life for a few years now. We graduated with great degrees, we started working in the real world, we realized that maybe we have other interests, we start looking for other career paths, and boom- we often stop ourselves from diving into our real passion or dream job. Maybe we’re holding onto an old, false idea of who we are, even though we have come so far and made such important changes. Often times people see us differently than we see ourselves. Maybe we are afraid or intimidated by the “new” us. Heck, maybe we’re just being lazy. Maybe it’s easier being less than what we truly want. But is it worth it?
I came across a really cool article awhile back that discusses how tricky it can be mentally when one’s body changes for the better. Maybe you finally successfully lost the weight, but you still think of yourself as overweight. While that’s always been a personal struggle of mine, I think the common thread there also pertains to many parts of who we are, other than just our body image.
I’m sure everyone knows the feeling of unequivocal pride after doing something that once felt so scary and daunting to them. And sometimes these things we accomplished are not even the big name kinds of things. Sometimes they’re little things that have been eating away at us for some time, and we’re just so set free to finally have broken the cycle that was trapping us.
I’m on day 5 of the sugar detox and it’s starting to feel harder- like it takes more than willpower. This is one of those little but scary things I was talking about. It’s starting to take constant reminders of the many reasons why I chose to do this. It’s more than not wanting to crave sweets all the time. It’s even more than not wanting to eat sweets. For me, it’s an integral part of the puzzle that needs to be put into place on my health journey. I can’t really heal my autoimmune condition without first prioritizing blood sugar handling. Yesterday I had a small group mentoring session with other Nutritional Therapists and our wonderful lead instructor reminded us about glycation- sugar actually sticks and attaches to proteins and feeds pathogens. I remember when learning about blood sugar regulation in school that consuming sugar is not just consuming empty calories but rather dangerous calories, as it depletes the very nutrients needed to regulate blood sugar, such as thiamine (B1). And Americans consume an average of 196 lbs of refined sugar a year! (If you and me are not consuming that, someone else is having our share!) It’s rare to find conventional information that agrees with this notion, so I always appreciate it when I do. The NY Times published a comprehensive article a couple years ago that actually agrees with some of the major points I’ve made. While I don’t think of myself as a food fascist (and hope others don’t either!), I don’t think the 80/20 rule can be applied to sugar. I agree when Chris Kresser said “There’s a lot more to life than food, and in fact I believe (as did the ancient Chinese) that in some cases it’s better to eat the wrong food with the right attitude than the other way around.” But, I have to make a special exception for refined sugar, which is that I don’t think it’s ever worth a special exception to consume it. Besides its major contribution to obesity, food intolerances and digestive issues, sugar directly feeds cancer cells. If that’s not enough to quit sugar, I don’t know what is.
Anyway. Full steam ahead for me on my sugar detox. I have 16 days to go but already feel more awesome.