How did I do it? How did I give it up? With Divine help in taking one step at a time, one day at a time, until those one days accumulated into ten years.
To better understand my before and after, here's an excerpt from the "My Story" page on this blog...
MY SUGARHOLIC STORY: When people find out I abstain from sugary foods, they usually say, "I could never live like that." They don't understand... I was not living before giving up sweets. I was existing, but certainly not living. I existed in a world of mood swings, depression, fatigue, sickness, anger, and self-loathing. I had dreams, but no oomph to follow them.
I reached a point where I was desperate. I wanted to be well! I wanted good health! I made appointments with my gynecologist (were my hormones out of whack?); an allergist (were allergies making me sick?); and an internal medicine doctor. Surely someone would have answers. In the meantime, I poured my heart out in prayer. This was nothing new, but perhaps I was finally in the right frame of mind to understand the answer: sugar addiction. Just as surely as someone could be addicted to alcohol, I was addicted to sugar. I realized that addiction runs in my family. Alcohol. Drugs. Sugar was my drug of choice. I realized that just as an alcoholic needs to avoid alcohol at all times (one should not tell an alcoholic, "It's your birthday, go ahead and have a drink!") I needed to avoid sugary foods, even on special occasions.
When this realization hit me, I stopped cold turkey. It was October 9, 2001. I went through about a week of withdrawals...and then...the cravings ceased, and I emerged into a whole new world! I felt alive. Really alive!
I am a different person. Here are some things that changed for me:
- Nearly every day of the week is a good day for me. I used to have maybe one good day out of a week. A good day for me is when I am productive and accomplish tasks.
- More energy! Sure, I still get tired, but it is because I have been on the go all day long.
- No heartburn. Before going off sugar, I used to have frequent heartburn. I kept Tums in my purse, next to my bed, in the medicine cabinet. Now I don't need them.
- Better sleep patterns. I go to bed early and arise early. (I never dreamed I was actually a morning person!!) I used to go to bed exhausted, have insomnia, and never feel awake even after arising. I slept in any chance I could get and the only thing that motivated me to get out of bed was the thought of something yummy to eat. Sugary cereals. Donuts. I used to have a sweatshirt that read: "Start every day with a smile and a donut...the smile is optional."
- No need for anti-depressants! Prior to discovering my sugar addiction, I went on anti-depressants (off and on) always thinking they would help me feel better. They did not. Since avoiding sugars, I have never once felt the need for medication--and what's more, I feel mentally better than I ever did during the times I used anti-depressants.
- Fewer skin tags. I used to have lots of skin tags all over my neck. Most of them disappeared when I stopped eating sweets!
- Easier to donate blood. When I was full of sugar, if I donated blood I became very light-headed and dizzy. They would have to put ice packs around my neck and have me recline with my feet up for a long period of time until I could finally leave the blood mobile. It was embarrassing, so I rarely donated. Now, they take my blood, I hop up, grab a bottle of water and free T-shirt, and I'm out the door.
- Courage to do hard things. Now when faced with a challenge I think to myself, "The Lord helped me quit eating sugar, He can help me accomplish (insert any difficult task) too.
Freedom from addiction tastes far better than any sweet. I don't want to enter that bondage--the prison of sugar addiction--again.