And how I’ve felt along the way,
I love treats. I love pop, I love candy, I love brownies, I love chips, I love sweets! and have always had a sweet tooth.
So today, I wanted to share about how I loved sugar as a child and how it became almost like an addiction over the years. Secondly, I wanted to share about how I have learned how sugar can be harmful to your body and ultimately, your health. And not only sugar, but other things we eat. And lastly, I wanted to share with you how I figured out that sugar was contributing to alot of my problems, the tips and tricks I have learned for decreasing my sugar intake and results I have seen from reducing my sugar intake. I hope you will enjoy what I’ve learned!
I will start with how I slowly came to use sugar as a stimulant and so ultimately – it was an addiction to sugar. My family has very addictive personalities. From a young age, it was something my mother talked to me about, because she didn’t want me to have the issues that she and other members in our family had struggled with. I decided at a young age that I would never drink much alcohol, and have kept that promise to myself through the years. But as I think back, I think I started having an addiction to sugary treats, at a very young age, and as I got older, I thought – well, it’s just sugar, it’s not alcohol or drugs, but as I have seen with my own body, and as I have been reading, Sugar causes many problems, short and long term, similar to a drug or alcohol addiction. From bad teeth, to bad gums, to bad skin, damage to your internal organs, circulatory system and heart, not to mention weight gain which can contribute to heart attack and many other problems. I’m learning eating certain foods creates something called FREE RADICALS in our body which have been contributed to the growth of cancer cells. Sugar is one of those foods.
Lets get back to the beginning…When I was young, I got an allowance. Every week, I looked forward to when I would get my $5 for doing my chores that week and I would race to the corner store to load up on candy. I would secretly look forward to that all week – when I could sit enjoy that sweet tastiness without having to think about anything else – by the time I was 8-9 yrs old, I hadn’t saw my real father for a year or two, my Mom was going through struggles with my brother and sister’s Dad, I was overweight, I had alot going on, that I didn’t want to think about, and somehow, candy helped with that.
Over the years, as my allowance grew, so did my desire for candy!, I can remember being 12-13 years old, and going camping and filling the top hanging pocket of the tent with candy – Every time I got money, I would get candy. Later when I was 15, I started working at a convenience store – and half of my pay would go to my tab, that I had started to get candy and treats while I was working.
It is a family joke now, how when I was a teenager I would sneak into the freezer and eat the treats my mom had set aside for special occasions, such as Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. I would eat an entire pie, or a half a carton of buttertart bars, I could sit and eat a whole box of cereal at one sitting, just eat 5-6 bowls.
As I became a young parent myself, I wanted to have ‘good’ treats in the house for my kids – My Mom was a single Mom,who was self employed, And as I have grown, I have come to respect her so much for that, but we were a one income household, we didn’t get alot of lunch ‘snacks’, or treats, SO when I was 19-20 years old, I wanted my kids to be able to have things like ‘GUSHERS’, FRUIT BY THE FOOT, FLAKIES, CARAMELS, all those yummy – but -have no nutritional value foods, and began to eat these things constantly and feed them to my child. At this time, I only had one daughter. Now, I have one daughter and two sons.
As my daughters father and I split up shortly after she was born, I was out on my own with her and needed a source of income. I started ‘Catching Chickens’ – Which is a very active and physical job – There were only 1-2 other women on the crew, it is mostly men, as it is such a physical job. As I was doing this – I started loading up on sugar before a job – the Sugar High would get me through all the strenuous work. I would spend $10- $20 on treats every time I went to work, which would get expensive and then when I didn’t have the extra cash – I wasn’t sure if I could work, or even work as hard.
Over the course of 3-4 four years, I used Sugar as a stimulant, instead of caffeine – Which is not healthy either ( I’ve learned we need to be fueling our bodies with natural food)
A few months back, I had come across an article about how women need protein in their diet too, not just men, to build lean muscle and burn fat – As I was learning about protein and how much I need, and different kinds of protein supplements. I have always had alot of issues with dairy, As I got thinking about it, WHEY protein seems a little too creamy for me, so I wasn’t sure how my stomach would handle it. I did some research and found a PLANT- BASED protein supplement – VEGA, and have absolutely loved it. As I started reading some of the info from VEGA, because it was created by an iron-man triathlete, I figured he would know alot about nutrition, So I went to the site and started learning how wheat and sugar can be harmful to your diet. And was amazed to see that I was experiencing, all, if not most of the things that can happen from having too much wheat and sugar in your diet. I also learned about food sensitivities- which are different than food allergies. If you check out his site here http://www.brendanbrazier.com/ you can find tonnes of helpful info.
Over the years, especially after catching chickens, I had zero energy. 8.5 years ago, I quit catching chickens when I found out I was pregnant with my fist son. Shortly after having my son, I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid. And one of the things that the doctors have always commented on- is that I am very thin – usually someone who has an under active thyroid is a few pounds heavier. Again, this is one reason I have always excersiced. As I look back over the years, I created alot of long term damage to my body by using sugar for fuel. It taxes your organs – Imagine doing the job of 10, when your used to the job of one – Well, thats what eating too much sugar does to our organs and tissue. They become over worked- and tired, ultimately, we become over tired and overworked. I have had alot of work done to my teeth over the years – 7 cavities filled, 4 route canals, all four wisdom teeth pulled, mostly because of sugar . I worked out for 20-30 minutes every day for 2.5 years and was never seeing any results. So I started doing some reasearch. If you have had children – there are totally different excersices you need to be doing instead of crunches for your abdominals – crunches will actually aggravate the situation more – causing the stretched abdominal muscles to tear apart even further. Thats something I hope to share about more in another blog.. Repairing a Diastase Recti – or DR – torn abdominal muscles after having children.
As I began my research, I was pretty niave about how to eat healthy. I had eaten like junk for years. It really is an ENTIRE lifestyle change! Since decreasing my sugar intake, I actually don’t ‘crave’ it like I used to. One of the first steps I took was removing sugar from my tea. I would have a small glass of tea with 3-4 teaspoons of sugar – plus I would have 4-5 tea’s a day, sometimes more- Some days I could consume 20 teaspoons of sugar, just in my tea, not even in the food I was eating. My challenge here was to tone things up. I have had four children, plus an emergency appendectomy. After my appendix was removed 6-7 years ago, I really wanted to heal and strengthen those abdominal muscles that got cut through surgically. 6 years later after incorporating pilates exercises everyday, I was not really seeing the results I wanted. I saw a difference, but not the difference I wanted, and I was still very bloated and uncomfotable most of the time. Here I was, thinking I was ‘SO’ in shape – when I was very out of shape!
I have also had to do some research on other areas as well. Because I didn’t want to loose weight – and I wanted to build LEAN MUSCLE MASS, I really had to research and change the way I was eating. I have learned in the last 3 months that I feel best on a low-carb, high protein diet. But If I am upping my weight ( in strength training) I need to add a little more carbs to help with that extra push.
I figured that most body builders and fighters need to ‘make weight’ – they have to keep there bodys’ at a certain weight – they do not want to loose weight – they are trying to turn muscle into fat, and build muscle – So I figured – they have to eat alot, to keep their weight up – but in a healthy way. So I learned about BODY FAT percentages, which is different than a BODY MASS INDEX. I hope to have a blog on this topic soon as well – DIFFERENCES IN BODY FAT. there is a great article hear about the difference between body fat and lean muscle mass – https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/body-fat-percentage/
SO, in conclusion, after 3 months of upping my weight in weight training, incorporating more cardio into my workouts and reducing the amount of sugar I eat, while increasing the amount of good wholesome healthy foods, I am finally seeing the results I want to! And I am feeling much better. I notice that when I wake up in the morning, it doesn’t take me as long to get that ‘fog’ out of my head, I’m ready to go! I notice, I am not as tired, I don’t have a hard crash after I eat, because I am making sure I eat food with less sugar, that used to happen almost ever time I ate – I would get extremely tired after. I am feeling as though I have alot more energy while not drinking as much caffeine! I might have one tea throughout the day now. And I don’t feel like I constantly ‘need’ caffeine. Personally, I have learned that once you do finally start making healthy eating choices, and you see how you feel, you do really start to change your whole lifestyle, because you want to keep feeling good. And I notice as soon as I eat something that doesn’t agree with me, and can avoid that food the for the next time. To me, it’s not worth feeling like crap anymore – it’s just not worth it!