I have a sweet-tooth that is difficult to match. In fact, I can't think of a sweet I didn't like at some point in my life, with the exception of Licorice Snaps. Which really, no one but old people and my mom actually *like*.
I remember once going to the dentist when I was about 15. I almost fell out of the chair when Dr. T told me that I had nine cavities in my mouth, so many that we'd have to drill four on one day and five on another. They blamed it on things like poor enamel, but I knew the truth- I ate too much sugar.
Fast forward 11 years, to the first months into a new job, a job I'm still holding; working as a nanny for a major cereal company family. Everything was great at first. More cereal than I knew what to do with, boxes of granola bars, crackers.... I thought, "Sweet. I pretty much never have to shop again. Care for a toaster pastry, guest at my apartment? How about a case?" I felt like a Snack Pimp.
But in reality, it only took probably three or four months to notice I was putting on weight. I couldn't figure it out, what was I doing differently? I was eating cereal, granola bars... these are healthy!! Right?
Then I started flipping those boxes around and paying attention to what was in them. Sugar, corn syrup, cane juice... sweeteners everywhere. Hiding in my tomato soup. Lurking in my bran crackers. Peering out from the depths of my yogurt. Everywhere.
I decided to try a little experiment. I wondered what would happen if I made the conscious choice to try and avoid refined sugar. Now, I'm not talking about the natural sugars you find in things like milk and fruit. I'm also not talking about avoiding carbs altogether. And I certainly wasn't putting down my glass of Jameson on the rocks. What I was proposing was refusing desert, cutting back on things with lots of sugar. Checking labels to see how many grams are in things.
And I was shocked by the results. Sure, the first few weeks sucked. I wouldn't even lie to you about that, it was agony to be near a plate of brownies. But I started noticing that not only was I losing weight, but I had more energy. No more ups and downs with an afternoon snack bar.
I started cutting the sugar out of other things. No more cereal- switch to oatmeal with fruit, BAM! Peace out, sweetened yogurt! What up, plain Greek yogurt?! After a few months, cantaloupe tasted like candy, and I hated the smell of donuts. It was like this crazy new world of deliciousness opened up for me, and it tasted so fresh!
I'm not so crazy that I don't eat peanut butter, or enjoy a pancake once in a while. I eat artificial sweeteners every so often. I love dark chocolate, but only if it's 88-90%. And people often tell me they don't think they could do it, but what they really mean is that they don't WANT to do it. And that's ok, it's probably not a lifestyle for everybody. It's not always fun to be the jerk at the birthday party who refuses the cake.
But really, I haven't had a cookie in a good year and a half, and I'm totally okay with that. It's interesting- I just don't miss what my body seems to have forgotten.
Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don't rent them out to tomorrow. ~Jerry Spinelli