We Broke Up: My Year without Sugar

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Wow. I made it! Today marks exactly a year without sugar. To clarify, I’m talking about sweet nothings such as candy, cookies, and chocolate. I ate primarily protein, veggies and fruit. Most days I eat no grains.

How and why did I do this? Glad you asked. ūüôā Most Americans are addicted to sugar. I love chocolate, and although dark chocolate is healthy in small amounts, I craved it daily. I read about the connection between inflammation and sugar, and thought my body would feel better if I ate healthier food.

A few years ago, I discovered a recovery group called Overeaters Anonymous. The meetings are for anyone with compulsive food behaviors, including compulsive overeating, bulimia and anorexia.

I went to my first meeting and met people of all body weights, shapes and sizes. Many appeared to be at healthy body weights. Later, of course, I learned some had lost 20 to 130 pounds and kept the weight off more than a decade. Since research shows diets don’t work, I was impressed. Like other addictions, dieters end up gaining more weight than they initially lose, statistically.

I continued to attend the meetings, and read the newcomer’s packet the members gave me. I learned that OA is a spiritual program. Each person is free to choose their Higher Power, and for me this is God.

“Well, this works for them, but I know it won’t work for me.” I thought. Why? You ask. Mostly because I had a love affair with dark chocolate. I heard countless stories about how their higher power¬†did for them what they couldn’t do for themselves.

I didn’t plan to break up with sugar, but continued to hear stories of OA members who had been off sugar for months or years. ¬†Everyone chooses his or her own food plan, which gives people freedom.

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I met with a lovely woman who has attended OA for 15 years, and she shared her experience, strength and hope. (Note: advice giving is not allowed in the program, just personal stories.) With OA, she hasn’t eaten sugar in 13 years, and has dropped 55 pounds.

On the drive home, I thought I could try – with God’s help – giving up sugar “just for today.” Not forever, but only one day.

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I read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, replacing the word “alcohol” with food.¬†I called and texted other people in the program, and read the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous. I prayed each time I craved sugar. I talked to my sponsor, and texted ’til the cows came home. (They’re home now aren’t they? ūüėČ

Just one day at a time, God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

Before you think you’re going to do this yourself, OA is¬†a¬†“we”¬†program, not a “me” program. ¬†The power of community creates an ocean full of support. I’ve lost 7 pounds, but keep in mind I’m 5’2 1/2″ tall, so it’s about a size and a half. I really have only another 5 pounds to lose. I’m an athlete, even though I struggle with two chronic illnesses – lupus and ankylosing spondylitis. So I’ve never really been more than 15-20 pounds overweight. ¬†I’d like to report I’ve experienced a great healing of all issues related to Lupus¬†and¬†ankylosing spondylitis. I’m gradually improving, and hope this continues.

God has done for me what I couldn’t do for myself. And for that, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.~

UPDATE: It’s now been almost a year and a half! I’m going to stop taking my Humira injection because I think I can control the inflammation eating mostly paleo. I’m so excited and basking in gratitude! I’ll keep you posted.

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