Health and Fitness

Save a bucket, kick a sugar addiction.

Addiction is one of those things that has never sit quite right with me as far as my personal life goes. Noticing that something has me in its clutches has always lit a fire in the Clint Eastwood part of me –- that side that saddles up to things, takes a big swig of beer and says, “you don’t own me, feller. Nobody owns me.” Despite my disdain for that desperate, tethered feeling I have found myself caught up in a few things here and there in life, all of which I have cut loose over relatively short periods of time. All EXCEPT sugar.

Sugar, that tantalizing temptress, has found its way into my brain’s pleasure circuit and set up camp for decades. Even though she is a cruel mistress — one that has pitted me against the scale, the clothing store and the mirror for decades — I have lacked the willpower to completely put her down.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my weight. The desire to be trim has plagued me since middle school and now as a confidant, educated woman and mother I am beyond ready to get it under control once and for all. But how?

I went gangbusters on the Paleo Diet during the time my husband was deployed and that helped be lose weight … right up until I discovered recipes for Paleo brownies and Paleo cake. I went on Weight Watchers after my son was born in September of 2013 only to find myself fiending for sugar even more than ever before and glaring irately at the scale as it stuck week after week in the same spot. So what gives? I could not for the life of me figure out what was keeping me in my size 14 jeans. Until the other night.

It was early afternoon and Wyatt was taking a pleasantly long nap. My husband was at an appointment out of town and my stepson was at a tutoring session. It was just my cuddly chocolate lab and yours truly – with unlimited access to the remote control. I grabbed a 100-calorie bag of pretzel thins (sounds delicious, doesn’t it?) and set down to pick something to watch on Netflix. Nothing really sounded all that great until I landed on “Fed Up,” the title of a documentary about childhood obesity. Why not spend some time educating myself on a global epidemic, I thought. That would be time better spent than vegetating through another episode of “Arrow.”

Mind. Blown.

I watched the story of my childhood unfold as these wonderful, well-meaning kids listened to messages telling them that the reason they were overweight was their lack of personal willpower. “If you would only eat less and exercise more you would be thin like your friends.” And “It’s all about energy balance. Calorie in, calorie out.”

Guess what, friends … that is faulty science. And when I say faulty science I mean intentionally misleading garbage designed by a money-hungry food industry to deceive you into staying fat so you’ll keep buying their junk.

The short explanation is that it is not now nor has it ever been fat that is making you fat. It is not about how many calories in versus how many calories out. It is WHAT KIND of calories you put in that matters, namely calories in the form of sugar.

Sugar is the main culprit behind the obesity epidemic. Period.

But what about those of us who pass on sugar all the time? What about those of us who drink diet sodas and pass on dessert and never, ever eat cake at co-worker birthday parties? Huh? What about those of us who are terrified to even make eye contact with an obvious source of sugar for fear that our thighs will notice we’ve taken interest in a brownie and preemptively double in size?

Here’s the really infuriating part, my friends: they (the food industry) are sneaking the sugar into foods that are supposed to be helping us stay trim.

That’s right. Foods that are low in fat taste terrible. They taste like cardboard. UNLESS you double the sugar. No harm done, right? Mr. SaladDressing can package a pretty bottle of light ranch dressing and slap a label on it that touts its “LOW FAT” status, all the while neglecting to mention that since it has “HALF THE FAT” it also has DOUBLE THE SUGAR. And why don’t we know that it’s the sugar that is making us fat and that by purchasing processed, “low calorie” foods we are actually sabotaging our own success and slowly poisoning our kids to death? Well, that’s because the sugar lobby spends billions of dollars each year ensuring that we never know these things. They pay lots of money and hire lots of fancy PR people to convince the American people that it is simply a matter of exercising more and eating less. Oh, and while you’re at it … eat low fat foods! That way we can get you and your kids hooked on the sugar and trap you and your size 14 jeans in reduced-fat food hell .. forever.

Sugar Addicts Unite.

When I finally turned off the T.V. I could barely collect my thoughts. The documentary likened this racket to the one that was once held by our friends at Big Tobacco and that’s exactly how it read to me, too. Sugar is a product that makes us sick and even kills us (obesity is gaining on cigarettes as the leading cause of cancer these days not to mention diabetes, heart disease, liver disease … the list goes on). Yet we consume it blindly (literally, we don’t know it’s there) and sometimes knowingly and enthusiastically despite its killer consequences. Well, I don’t know about you but I’m done playing puppet to the desires of Big Sugar. My time to break this life-long struggle is today. Well, yesterday to be exact.

Adios, Mi Amor.

Yesterday I started out on a sugar cleanse diet. For the next 14 days I will purge the sugar and processed foods from my life. I will drink only water and green tea, eat only low-glycemic veggies, yummy, homemade veggie broth, whole, fruity breakfast smoothies, lean protein, brown rice and some well-chosen, whole-food snackies. I will break my desire to midnight-much and sneak pieces of my kids’ Easter candy. I will not let these people make me sick OR dictate what my medical bills look like. I want this for my kids and for myself and for my household.

The Clint Eastwood side of this GranolaHeart is tired of being pushed around.

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

To join me, watch “Fed Up” and research sugar detox diets to pick one that will work for you. I recommend the “Fed Up” 10-day sugar detox plan or Dr. OZ’s 14-day rapid weight loss plan (but not for the weight loss, for the way it kicks sugar and processed carbs right out of your life). Then check in here to follow my journey and chime in with feedback about your own!

Here’s to health, wellness and not paying into some sugar tycoon’s Christmas bonus!

#GranolaHeart #CleanEating #Freedom

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