I’m sure we could all say that we eat way too much sugar, it’s become a real talking point as the obesity crisis spirals out of control and we look for both the reasons for why it’s happened and for possible solutions.
Sugar is at the core of this – what we don’t as consumers understand is the true effect on our bodies and minds. In light of this I conducted a very simple experiment this week purely based on my problem with sugar which is once I eat something sugary I want MORE! I’m instantly craving the stuff, I’m hungry, it’s as if a monster takes over pulling me over to the dark side.
Why does this happen? I’m the kind that likes to research these big questions so after some digging I came across this book. Managing sugar it appears is crucial, it’s this that is at the heart of our health and obesity problems and only understanding this will save this and the next generations from a fate which is becoming ever more real. Children will die before their parents, never be able to experience the childhoods we did and the pressure on our social and health services will be overwhelming and unsustainable. None of this is new news, however it appears to me that we are more happy to bury our heads about the reality. Yes its about inactivity however if what we eat wasn’t such an issue that might not matter quite as much? I also have fit friends and smaller friends who have appalling diets yet feel that as they aren’t obese that it’s not a problem?
When I was obese there were patterns to my eating, there was bingeing, one bar of chocolate would lead to a further 3, a tub of ice cream could be almost inhaled, I’m not proud of that but at the time as well as the emotional causes, it seemed uncontrollable. Other foods would have the same effect, but these were processed foods, take a look at the sugar content and you’ll be surprised and hopefully shocked at how much they contain.
I haven’t eliminated sugary foods as I’ve got smaller, however I do have to work hard and recently I noticed that it was becoming harder. I also have almost the model 40+ female body, as I go through my 40s the hips and tummy have become more rounded, despite the exercise, very little seems to move – from talking to experts this is done to a big degree to diet and specifically sugar.
So while I read about this, I’m taking simple steps to reduce sugar – reduce and eliminate processed food and to cook more from scratch using pure ingredients. Of course then I am cutting right back on the things we think of as really sugary, sweets and chocolate in particular. So this week the opportunity arrived to test my theory that if you start to eat something sweet, stopping will be really difficult, so I wouldn’t start. My friend had 2 eggs left over from Easter on her desk, one very small Lindt egg and then a creme egg. My research tells me if I eat the small one, I will want the bigger one and then I would probably be hitting the vending machine. Could I not eat either, could I beat the craving? They stayed on her desk for two days, I also reduced my overall sugar intake, the cravings were hard, it’s calling you, trying to bait you. On the third day they were moved to my desk drawer so every time I opened it, there they would be staring at me, shouting ‘eat me’!
On Friday afternoon they were both still there. The cravings were almost gone, but my head was now telling me I was in control not the sugar. I am not craving it. The trick on Monday will be to see if I can eat the small one and leave the large one. It doesn’t work to just eliminate sugar, you will crave it, the important thing is to gain control. I have of course still been eating other foods (natural sugars in fruit for example) that contain sugar over the week, what is different is that I am not allowing it to control my hunger or my mind and not using it as empty calories. In fact on Friday afternoon I eat a sweet apple, there were no post-cravings for more sugar or food? Interesting eh?
So think about it – portions are already too big, if those portions are also sugar loaded then you are overloading your body, it certainly wasn’t designed to deal with it and you are almost giving it permission to want yet more and then some.
Reducing sugar and other useless food is essential to saving ourselves, yes it will take work, yes it will probably need intervention but if you are prepared to take responsibility for yourself, start eating better, and appreciating what you put into your body. And as an end to this piece, I have this on my fridge just as a little reminder.