Last week, I shared my own personal struggles with sugar. I know I am not alone! That is why I asked my long-time friend, Tess Augustine, to also share her journey with you in today’s blog. I hope you enjoy her story and are inspired!
“Want some cake?”
“Sure, I’ll take the corner piece…”
Claiming the corner piece of cake is my signature move.
If the corner pieces were gone, I would take one covered with an abundance of frosted flowers. As I grew up and well into adulthood, my days were driven by finding the next sugar high. I was never satisfied with a piece of candy or a single slice of cake. I always had a compulsive urge to fill my body with sugary confections until I reached the point of sickness. I remember feeling this way from the time I was in elementary school. As soon as I walked in the door after school, I needed a chocolate milkshake. My mother would oblige and make me one every day.
In later years, I was medicating the challenges of adolescent life with sugar at every turn.
Daily, I unknowingly experienced the highs and lows of sugar addiction. Every challenge or trial I faced in life required a sugary form of therapy that helped me make it through. As time went on, I needed more and more sugar to keep from feeling ill or faint. I felt the need to have something sweet after every meal. Eventually, these eating habits caught up with me, and I needed to lose some weight. I just felt hopeless. I was so addicted that I thought there must be something medically wrong with me. So, I needed a workaround. At that point, I began to rely on diet soda, sugar-free snacks, and restrictive eating that would allow me to eat treats and still lose weight. To fill in the gaps between meals, I chewed gum and had a large diet fountain drink by my side each afternoon.
There was never a time I wasn’t thinking about sugar.
For years I was convinced that I had a disorder that caused me to need sugar. I always felt like my blood sugar was low. I had a lot of trouble staying focused, sustaining energy; and, getting things done. Despite the amount of sugar I ate, my energy levels bottomed out, and I often found myself (literally) sick and (very) tired.
The year I turned 30, I became sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I was married, a mom of four little ones and my husband and I just started a business. My clothes were getting tighter and tighter, and my willpower had seemingly bottomed out. Nothing I tried in the past seemed to help me lose weight and feel better. I spent hours at the gym, but weight loss and stamina never followed. I nearly resigned to thinking, “this is how it’s going to be.” This must be what being an adult feels like, right?
Finally, a friend challenged me to give up sugar and processed foods for thirty days. I didn’t even know what “processed foods” were, but I was desperate for change. It was in that next month that my eyes opened. I realized that my medical problem was actually an addiction problem. I sugar had an addictive stronghold on my life. Until I got rid of it, sugar addiction wasn’t even on my radar. I spent a week or so withdrawing from the effects of sugar. Fun? Absolutely not. Worth it? Totally. My days were devoted to learning more and more about the benefits of consuming whole foods as well as the dangers of excessive sugar consumption. During this time, my mental clarity returned; energy increased, and I lost 13 pounds!
After the first thirty days, I saw no reason to stop this new way of life.
I continued eating clean – avoiding sugar and processed foods. In society, we often joke about “being addicted” to this food or having a raging sweet tooth. However, what I’ve learned is that sugar addiction is real. Withdrawal is real. And, if you stick with it, your entire life can change. Removing sugar from your diet can help reduce your risk of metabolic disease, restore your energy, help you feel confident in your skin, and, most importantly, give you your life back!
Since being released from the stronghold of sugar addiction, I’ve made it a point to share my story with others. On social media and by way of my blog, Break Free. Be Fit. I’ve been able to share the joy of being FREE from sugar addiction to help empower others along their journeys. Friends, if you’re struggling today, please know that you CAN get your life back. You can ditch sugar, and as long as you’re breathing, it’s not too late.