Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sugar Mama

I miss having a waistline.  These words came out of my mouth the other day when I was talking to my husband and he looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head.  I should have clarified the statement.  I miss having a small waistline.  The small waistline days were roughly 25 pounds ago, but that era still dances around in my memory every time I decide to clean up my eating habits.  Yes, I love being a vegetarian but I still go through nutritional peaks and valleys just like everyone else.  I have this odd dietary battle that I fight all the time, because I love eating vegetables (spinach and zucchini are my favorites), but I also equally love sugar.  Tell me to cut out fried foods...easy.  Tell me to cut out big deal.  Tell me to cut out sugar and I will freak out.  Sugar is my crack.  Sugar is my achilles heel and it defeats me all the time.  If you had never laid eyes on me and I told you I was a longtime vegetarian/occasional vegan and a runner, you would probably picture a super healthy person with a slender build.  Nope.  My body shows the damage of a lifelong sugar habit that hasn't improved one bit.  I am being real here and I hope my story helps others that are fooling themselves into thinking that sugar is no big deal.

I draw the line at calling sugar addictive.  It is different for everyone.  For me, yes, I do believe I have some form of an addiction to sugar because I display the typical withdrawal symptoms whenever I do a dietary cleanse.  Beyond my taste buds missing sugar, the headaches, phantom body aches and mental disorientation are very real indicators that some form of chemical dependency is in place when I try to flush out the white stuff.  Sugar is poison for the human body.  Of every food or fluid you put into your body, sugar is the only thing that has absolutely no nutritional value or benefit to sustaining your health.  It may act as an aid in getting other nutrients into your bloodstream efficiently, but sugar alone is nothing your body will ever need.  EVER.  Ask any nutritionist, study any diet fad, follow any weight loss program and the one universal factor is that they all advise you to cut your sugar intake.

So if I know all this, why don't I follow my own advice?  It is laziness, plain and simple.  I have always wanted to be a writer, but never pursued it.  I have always wanted to travel more, but never made time for it.  I have always wanted to get rid of sugar, but never made it a priority that would stick.  People always talk about having trouble losing weight.  Losing weight has never been a mystery to me.  I know exactly what to do, but I just don't do it.  I don't eat tons of candy or desserts.  My biggest problems are with sugary coffee drinks, sugary cereals and skipping meals.  Surprised?  You should be.  You thought I was eating mounds of candy?  You imagined me sitting in front of a platter of cakes and cookies?  Sure, I will indulge in a dessert here and there, but the daily intake of cereal and lattes has a much bigger sugar impact than most people realize.  For instance, my "big girl" sized cereal bowl of Cap'n Crunch and unsweetened almond milk may sound harmless, but it contains more than my entire recommended daily allowance of sugar.  Add my daily latte fix and my sugar totals have gone off the charts.  Multiple that by 4 or 5 times per week and you easily see how the pounds have added up over the last couple of years.  Then add that to my so-called vegetarian meals and things are not as healthy as they once seemed.

If I were a world class athlete or a supermodel, where my job and livelihood depended on the condition of my body, then yeah, my priorities would be different.  But unfortunately, my nutritional habits have always been about two (or twelve) notches lower on my priority list.  The good thing is that my hubby is currently restructuring his diet right now, so there are very few diet demons in the house.  Things should be okay for a while.  I expect the extra 5 or 6 pounds of holiday weight to fall off pretty easily over the next month.  But then what?  Will I go farther and try to get my old waistline back?  I want to and plan to, but I just need to get out of my own way and stop sabotaging what could be a relatively simple resolution.  Maybe I need to break up with sugar and treat it like a bad ex-boyfriend and refuse all contact with it.  Don't laugh at me too hard.  I am going to need all the mind tricks I can stand to battle this issue once and for all.  Good luck to me.