By Cheryl Hansen
Sugar is sweet, inviting. Sugar supports me at my worst and celebrates with me at my best. Sugar is always happy. I can count on Sugar.
But Sugar is not my friend.
I’ve talked a lot about sugar already. I’ve given up dessert for weeks (and lived to tell the tale) and contemplated my solidly ingrained connections with sugar that date back to my childhood. I’ve worried out loud (and in writing) that I’m passing these ill-advised connections to my children.
For years, I’ve declared war against sugar. Swearing it off once and for all. Again and again and again. But deep down, my bond with Sugar was stronger than my resolve to quit it. It’s like a bad-boy ex-boyfriend who’s all wrong for you, but you keep going back. Today, however, I had one of those ah-ha moments: Sugar is bad for me. Like really bad.
While it may not seem like a giant revelation, trust me—it is. All this time, the idea of cutting Sugar from my diet has been rooted in vanity. Giving up sugar has been the pathway to skinny jeans. If I could skip the Halloween candy, I’d look better by Christmas. It felt superficial, and as a result, any urge to indulge was a lesser offense.
I’ve had a subtle, but nearly constant headache for months, maybe years, but the last few days it had seemingly vanished since sugar and I were on a break. But today, I helped myself to some Easter candy—just the contents of a single plastic egg—and within half an hour the headache returned, bringing with it an uncomfortable belly bloat that was all too familiar. I’ve lived with an overall feeling of ick (there truly isn’t a better word for it) for so long, I thought that’s just the way it was. I imagine ick triggers anxiety and depression, too. And probably affects my ability to focus. Ick’s not terribly helpful when it comes to regular exercise either.
I know, I know. Everyone KNOWS Sugar is bad. I know Sugar is bad. But so are a lot of things we do anyway. But it’s become clear to me that eliminating Sugar from my life isn’t optional, it’s essential. I worry that I’ll miss her, but I’m looking forward to life without the ick.