I Un-Quit Sugar

I used to think sugar was the reason I was addicted to food. Sugar was the reason my hormones were out of whack. Sugar was the reason I wasn’t skinny.

It was all sugar’s fault.

This seemed to be confirmed by every health and diet book or guru out there. In the 90s it was fat, now it is sugar.

And depending on the diet I was on, not only as it refined sugar, but all carbs, too. Because all carbs turn into sugar. Haven’t you heard???

That includes fruit, and rice and, depending on the diet, even carrots. I didn’t mind, cause I decidedly hated carrots, but still, too much sugar in carrots? Yep.

And the more I cut out sugar, the more it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The less I ate sugar, the more I craved it and the harder time my body had processing it when I would inevitably eat some. Then my body’s impaired metabolism of carbs and sugar just seemed to prove those beliefs about sugar even more.

But 4 years ago I started eating sugar again, full force. I was over it. I was over my futile attempts to find the perfect diet. I was over the yo-yo. I was over obsessing over my weight. I was over bingeing. I was over it all.

I knew there had to be a better way. And that included eating sugar and just letting it happen.

And now, 4 years later, my relationship to sugar is… awesome.

I did not spiral into a 4 year sugar binge. It was more like a 3 month sugar bender, and then… it all normalized.

That’s the part that people never let themselves get to, people panic or fight themselves and therefore stay in the binge/repent cycle. Guilty over eating, trying to cut back, then rebelling over their cutting back — and the cycle continues.

But now that I eat carbs, I can handle carbs. My weight is stable and consistent. I eat lots of carbs every day, but I can tell when my body has enough. I can tell, mid-dessert, if I’m ready to stop. And because I am allowed to eat as much dessert as I want, for the rest of my life, it’s no big deal.

Eating sugar did not make me a bottomless sugar pit, instead, eating sugar actually ended my dysfunctional relationship to it.

I fed my body sugar, and finally, my body started telling me what it needed.

I’m not saying that eating candy and only candy for the rest of your life is a good idea. But, I want to say very strongly that I believe what we are told about sugar and carbs is destructive to our relationships to food and feeding ourselves. That catchy headline that sugar is as addictive as cocaine is complete sensationalist bullshit.

The truth is, we need sugar. Our brain runs on sugar. We also obviously need way more than just sugar (fat, protein, minerals, vitamins, sunshine, sleep, connection, people, oxygen), but we need carbs and sugar, too, pretty profoundly. And the less you eat it, the more you’ll likely crave it, and the harder your body will work to break down protein and muscle into sugar for your brain to use (to keep you alive).

Not only that, but the less you eat carbs, the slower your body will burn fuel. Meaning, the less you eat carbs, the slower your metabolism becomes. And I promise you, that’s not what you’re looking for.

Sugar is only addictive to people who are either physically or mentally (and often both) denied carbs or calories. It is a fast fuel that we are wired to crave when food or fuel doesn’t seem abundant.

Hey, everyone needs something different. I can’t possibly speak for everyone. If cutting out sugar has completely healed your life and health, by all means, keep doing what you are doing.

But if you are like most people, odds are, things aren’t better. You still feel addicted to food. You’re still bingeing. You’re still cold, and tired, and reactive to food.

Maybe, just maybe, your issues aren’t from sugar, but actually from denying yourself sugar.

For me, cutting out sugar was definitely not the answer. (And you had better believe I tried over and over again for 10 years.)

The answer was finally feeding my body everything it craved, including sugar, and letting my body do the talking. My body is actually pretty freaking wise and normal with sugar, now that sugar isn’t forbidden.

One comment

  1. lauren says:

    this is awesome. totally relate. this is recovery. this is life on the right track. when i restrict, i invariably take away the joy and freedom of living like i want to.

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