I don’t know about you, but I grew up on sugar. As a kid, my breakfast was often a couple of Pop tarts and a big glass of Sunny Delight. I learned to eat emotionally and I also learned to love sugar. If I was sad, sugar was there. If I was celebrating, sugar celebrated with me. In my 40s, I was starting to notice my weight creeping up. I was an active woman, a personal trainer, yet my weight steadily rose. A family member got diagnosed with cancer, my mother had died from a stroke a couple years prior and a friend’s husband got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I started doing some research and learned that sugar can play a major role in all three of those major health conditions: Cancer, Strokes and Alzheimer’s as well as Diabetes, Heart Disease and Autoimmune diseases. I decided to try something I’d never done before; I gave up sugar. Three noticeable things happened to me within the first month.
First of all, I started sleeping better. I could fall asleep more easily and started to recall a lot more dreams. I felt like I was sleeping more deeply and felt a great deal more rested in the morning. I have learned that when blood sugar levels are higher, the body is less responsive to insulin. This results in your body remaining in a state of chronic stress. Of course, stress is a major cause of insomnia so then you don’t get enough sleep. That makes it even more difficult for your body to regulate blood sugar the next day, so your energy is low, you crave sugar and the cycle repeats itself.
Next, I noticed that my energy throughout the day was more level. Most of my life I’d have my carb heavy breakfast (with some fruit or other sugar) then work out. I’d be hungry soon after and grab a quick snack. I would eat lunch, likely have an afternoon “pick me up” coffee with a small pastry or other sweet treat. Then it was time for dinner! Now, without sugar OUT of my diet, I was eating less often and adding in some healthy fats. Instead of falling prey to the blood sugar and insulin spikes, my energy started to stay much more consistent. I even lost that “need” for afternoon coffee.
Finally, my skin started to look better. I’m 41 and no longer struggling with acne. Instead I’m noticing little fine lines and the skin on my face has been a bit blotchy for as long as I can remember. After just a couple of weeks after ditching the sugar, the fine lines around my eyes looked less pronounced and then skin on my face started to look more even and a bit brighter. I believe there are a few reasons for this but one that caught my attention is that sugar is dehydrating. It’s also affects water binding so your skin looks duller and less oxygenated.
I’m still pretty new to this land of no sugar but so far, things are looking promising. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and what else I observe about my body. Not ready to give up sugar yet? Maybe start by saying “no” to that sweet creamer in your morning coffee.