Four weeks ago tomorrow, I gave up sugar. Those of you who know me know that I am a sugar addict; giving it up was a very difficult thing to do. In fact, it seemed like (and many told me it was) a crazy thing to do. Why give up something you love so much?
Four weeks ago, I was listening to a CD lecture about physical fitness.While I am by no stretch a health nut, I do want to take care of my body. God has called us to be good stewards of what he has given us, and the first thing that we receive from him is a body. The speaker on the CD said that there were three things that one could give up to vastly improve one’s health. I was immediately interested. Surely I could do three things? Besides, who doesn’t love a challenge? Those three things were: MSG, hydrogenated oils, and sugar. MSG isn’t too much of a problem in my life. While I do like Chinese food,I am otherwise good at avoiding MSG. Hydrogenated oils are more difficult. They are in everything. I decided to wait until my self-control pertaining to food was a bit stronger before attempting to cut them out of my diet. But sugar? I thought about it. I could give up sugar. I mean, sure, I like sugar. Yes, I have a monstrous sweet-tooth. Indeed, I put two or three spoonfuls of the stuff in my tea. But that doesn’t mean I can’t give it up, right?
I did some research and made myself some guidelines: I could have up to
forty grams of sugar a day. I would give myself a once-a-week cheat day
in which I could eat whatever I wanted. My cravings could wait until then.
The first day was easy. I had just made the decision, and all I had to do
follow-through. I informed my parents what I was doing (they laughed and
assumed that I was joking), and began to check the labels of everything
that I consumed. It turns out that sugar is in a lot of foods. No matter–
I could do it. The second day was more difficult. I wanted sugar! I had
to have something sweet. The solution turned out to be this: If I were
very good throughout the day (less than 20 grams), I could have a very
small portion of ice cream in the evening (three and one half ounces of ice
cream, depending on the type, has only seventeen grams of sugar).
The hardest part was shifting from sweetened to unsweetened tea and coffee.
As I said, I like my tea on the sweet side. Two months ago, I couldn’t
drink more than one sip of unsweetened tea at a time. Now that I’ve adjusted,
however, I’m guzzling my English breakfast without sugar. I still have to
put creamer in my coffee, though (the creamer I use has five grams of sugar
but I don’t add more).When I told G about my personal challenge, he informed me that he had (unintentionally) done the same thing. Since he had moved, he simply hadn’t had anything sweet. This was something that we could do together, even as far apart as we were. After three weeks, though, G had to stop; he was losing too much weight, and needed to put sugar back into his diet. I have not had that problem, so I am continuing with my forty gram a day limit.
I’ve only lost control twice. Once was my great-uncle’s birthday party, and
I felt it necessary to eat the cake (it would have been rude not to, right?).
The other was last week. I wasn’t feeling very well, so I went to Sonic and
got some ice cream. It was worth it. Other than those two slip-ups, though,
I’ve managed to keep myself in check. Now if I could only make myself work
out as much as I should.