Breaking up is hard to do, specifically when you are completely addicted. About two months ago, I decided to break up with sugar; that crystalized, syrupy sweet substance. A clean break. You heard me. No ice cream visits after dinner. No vanilla lattes out on the town. No more sugar.
Gasp! Why would I do such a thing? Was I lusting over a new quick-fix diet fad? Hardly. Let’s try to make a long story short:
Cutting out sugar isn’t a cure-all or a super-speedy way to lose 10 pounds. It has been a way for me to become more self-aware and more food-aware, if you will. You see, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States, and women are more likely to be affected than men. In the past few years I’ve found myself in line with many individuals looking to control high anxiety. After a few nudges and a little dose of self-love, I finally began to seek out ways to control my anxiety. After much thought and research I decided to cut all added sugar out of my diet.
The thing is, while sugar doesn’t cause anxiety, it really doesn’t help it. I’m sure you’re familiar with the sugar rush, sugar crash and have been on a sugar “high.” Basically when you give your body lots of added-sugar you’re messing with its natural ability to manage the blood’s glucose levels and the brain depends on an even supply of glucose.
My body was addicted and my high sugar diet was impairing my body’s natural ability to cope with stress. I committed to 30 days of a no-sugar diet (consisting of refraining from eating sugar that is not found naturally in your food--a definition derived from research and talking with my doctor). By day 30 I had greatly reduced my anxiety and by day 40 I committed to a long-term, low-to-no sugar diet. I’ve also realized how much I love to experiment in the kitchen and find natural ways to sweeten my food. Dates are really awesome, guys!
A large part of living well and reducing anxiety is being willing to take the difficult steps in life to better understand yourself. This doesn’t mean I will never eat sugar again; the mini-donuts I savored at Grand Ole Day last weekend were SO worth it. But you know what else is SO worth it? Having better control over my anxiety on a daily basis.
What part of your life is keeping you down? Is there something or someone that you need to “break up” with?