Monday, June 3, 2013

Sugar, ah honey honey...You are my candy girl

At the beginning of February I made a change in my life. A huge change. A much needed change. A drastic change.

Let me tell you about two things first though...sugar and anxiety.

I love sugar. Candy. Soda. Chocolate. Hard candy. Sweets. Cookies. Sugar covered sugar with sugar on top.  I always have. I remember when I was younger I would ride my bike to the gas station and buy Fun Dip. My dad would bring home a bag of Brach's mix. The kind with cinnamon bears, caramels, butterscotch's, and those yummy neapolitan chews. As an adult I've always liked to have a little somethin' somethin' sweet after a meal as dessert. Oh and none of this fruit as a dessert business either.

I seemingly had no effects from all these crazy sugary sweet treats either. I'm not fat, not diabetic, no cavities.

Now the anxiety part.
I'm a person that tends to recycle thoughts, thinking on something a tad too long.  Worrying about this or that. Making sure I have my ducks in a row. Prepare and plan. Very self aware.

 (Side note:I love being spontaneous and carefree it's an exception not a rule but I'm not a neurotic, worry wart, Debbie Downer stick in the mud.)

What anxiety means to me, because I think that word gets thrown around a lot these days...All my tendencies, normal worries, and thoughts were taken to a new level. Heightened. Exaggerated. Amplified. Not totally, but almost out of control. I would take everyday parenting decisions or issues that we were dealing with regarding Rosaleigh and think and worry and obsess. Not able to let it go in a reasonable time frame. My worries about a situation or event were keeping me doing things in life. The feeling of "being stuck" everywhere is a good way to describe it. What finally pushed me to check out natural ways to deal with anxiety was an upcoming dentist appointment. The thought of having to sit in that chair was totally freaking me out!!

So I started to do a little research. I started seeing little facts here and there. Sugar and anxiety were so linked. Also I was having some stomach issues, not sleeping well, etc, etc. I honestly thought to myself, "Really?!? Could cutting out sugar or even drastically reducing my intake make THAT big of a difference?" I was incredibly skeptical. (Now here's where I sound like a nutto on an infomercial.....)

At the beginning of February I cut sugar out completely. (Except for fruit and with that I didn't go ├╝ber crazy either.) CUT OUT COMPLETELY.  Let that sink in for a second.....

After the initial detox/freak out/all I want is a soda or a cookie phase it was awesome. I should mention that didn't last too long. I was drinking water like it was going out of style and I added healthy fats back into my daily diet. The changes were like night and day. My mood improved.
My lows aren't so low. I'm more even keel.  My stomach isn't in crazy knots all the time. Life is easier to handle. I have more patience with R. I have motivation to do things and the energy to carry through with them. I went to my dentist appointment and of course was nervous, I mean who *loves* the dentist. But it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. It was under control. Was all this really that simple? My answer is YES! My plan was to rid my body of its sugar dependence and then add it back in when I could be more responsible with it.  It's a crazy cycle of waking up tired, consuming sugar and caffeine, crashing and consuming more, not sleeping well, and starting all over again the next day. LIFE DOESN'T NEED TO BE LIVED LIKE THAT!  Food is meant to be fuel. Treat your body well and it will definitely thank you for it.  Another thing I noticed was that food tasted better and when I finally did have something (a sugar splurge) it was delicious, rich, and filling. I made it worth it too. Not just some junk candy bar or fountain soda. It was the cheesecake cupcakes I made for Tom's birthday. (Yum!)
I eventually added drinking Kombucha into my daily routine too. Let me tell 'ya that stuff is like crack! The energy and mental clarity it gives me is awesome. It definitely takes a little getting used to but the benefits for your body are awesome.

If I hadn't lived through it I wouldn't believe me. This change has honestly been one of the hardest things I've ever done. The phrase that kept pushing me through was "You have to want it more than.." So for me I had to want energy more than a cookie. Patience more than a soda. Sleep more than those (yummy yummy yummy) candy cane Hershey Kisses. To live life, actually LIVE and not just make it through every day. To give to my little wonderful family, to invest in us.
I can say now that I'm not addicted to sugar. If I have something it's not out of a need.
And I can say with absolute confidence and pride that life is good. It's not easier but it sure is easier to handle what life throws at me. I have the tools to work through troubles instead of hiding under a mound of sugar.