Honey baked ham, chocolate covered pecans, whole wheat bread, blueberry Greek yogurt, granola bars, coleslaw, fudge, white chocolate covered pretzels, Ritz crackers, fried apples, blueberry muffins, tuna salad, Doritos, pretty much anything from Panera bread, cupcakes, salad dressing, gum, and cereal....
This is just a small list of the things I've turned down over the last 5 days.
Because they contained sugar.
Six days ago I told Troy that I was going to give up sugar in the New Year. He didn't have to ask "why?" He knows all too well what my addiction to the sweet stuff is all about. As a matter of fact, he's even coined a term - "my second pocket" - that's the place where all the desserts go when I'm too full to finish a meal, but not too full to have dessert.
This is not my first sugar-free stint. I've thrown around the idea a few times at the New Year, Lent, three months before bathing suit season, etc. Give up sugar for a few weeks, and then reintroduce it in moderate amounts...as idealistic as that sounds, it's not something I'm capable of. I usually make it about four hours after declaring a sugar-fast...and then I convince myself that this is too impossible of a task...too monumental for me to take on at the time...I tell myself "I'll just workout more."
But, really, it's not about losing weight for me.
I've been on a sugar-binge for the last 20 years or so. Other then gaining 55 pounds while I was pregnant, I've been blessed with the ability to eat whatever I want while my weight only fluctuates a few pounds up or down. So, really, this is not about losing weight.
It's about Brenna. And my new life as a role-model for her. I've been really cautious to make sure her sugar intake comes from fruits and other natural sources. She didn't even have any sugar in her first birthday cake (it was sweetened with applesauce). I just don't want her to struggle with sugar like I have.
And then I saw this video: I Ate All of Your Candy
And I got really really scared.
I mean, how did these kids get to this level? These parents seem like good people....they seem like parents similar to Troy and I. Could my kid be like this one day? Could she be truly upset, even hysterical...because her candy is gone?
It gave me a wake up call.
Like I said, I want to live a life of being a role-model for Brenna....I know I won't do everything right (did you hear she ate coffee grounds out of the trash can yesterday?) but I want to do the best job possible. It's MY job (and Troy's, as well) to make sure she has everything she needs, that she learns right from wrong, and that she takes her health seriously. And if it's my job to do those things, shouldn't I start by doing them myself???
So, I gave up sugar. Not as a New Year's "resolution" and not in an attempt to have "moderate" sugar intake (would anyone suggest that I become a smoker again, but just in "moderation?"). I'm giving it up because it's bad for me (it's bad for you too) and I don't need it. It's just that plain and simple.
Actually, it's plain but not that simple. I am ASTONISHED at the amount of things that have sugar in them. It's in EVERYTHING. And even some things that used to be sugar-free (Jif's Creamy Natural Peanut Butter), now have sugar in them. So, I have to read the label on EVERYTHING. I've had to ask my in-laws about the ingredients in the chili they cooked...in the cornbread...in the spaghetti. Troy got the ingredients "binder" from the management at Panera so I could figure out what I could eat (and it will never be a bagel again...). I've had to take my salad, dressing-free. I've been eating the worst tasting loaf bread on the planet (sorry Ezekiel 7 Grain Sprouts). Eating that stuff may make me never eat bread again. I've had to switch to the runny natural peanut butter. I even made a tuna fish sandwich yesterday out of Ezekiel bread, tuna (plain...no mayo), and a melted piece of provolone cheese. It was so awful, that I couldn't even finish it.
I've lost 2 pounds according to the scale. And my grocery bill will be shrinking as my list of "approved" foods gets smaller and smaller. Our budget for restaurants will probably shrink as well, because it's just easier to prepare a healthy and sugar-free meal at home.
And Brenna will never know the difference. Sure, eventually, she will figure out that her friends drink Coke and sweet tea and have ice cream 3 times a week. But, hopefully we will mold her to have enough self-esteem to make wise choices...to learn what moderation is all about (Troy will be a great example to her on this) and to be able to just say "no thanks. I don't like sugar."
I hope that some day I will be able to tell her about the "day I gave up sugar." It might not be as gut-wrenching as walking up a hill...three miles...in the snow...to get to school everyday, or as awe-inspiring as completing an IronMan event...but I will be able to say I did it for her. And for me. And for the rest of our lives.
So, what are you giving up this New Year? What changes are you making in your life? Or what changes have you made in the past that were the best decisions you ever made?
Happy New Year!