Sugar detox day 18 of 30.
I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food and with myself for as long as I can remember. I managed to stay thin throughout high school, but I heard very frequently that I had a big butt and “thunder thighs.” My mother reminded me often that she only weighed 105 lbs. when she was my age. (It never seemed to matter that I am a full 4″ taller than she is.) Additionally, neither of my parents were particularly strong role models when it came to how to eat healthy and how to stop eating when one is satisfied.
In college, I started gaining weight. There was one summer where I ate nothing but yogurt and Lean Cuisine meals in order to lose the weight. I also did aerobics videos almost every day. It worked. I lost weight. I also gained it back almost immediately after returning to school in the fall.
After college, I gained even more weight. I joined Weight Watchers and lost it again. Then I gained it again. I joined Weight Watchers again after graduate school. I never did hit my goal weight again. I got married. I got pregnant. I got hugely fat during my pregnancy.
I was the person that ate when she was depressed, lonely, overwhelmed, angry, or bored. I ate to have some control over my life. I was also the person who would eat in her car because she was so ashamed of the fact that she was eating anything at all. I was the person that snuck food because she didn’t want to be judged. I was the person who felt guilty for putting anything in her mouth.
In March of 2012, I decided I had had enough. I hated myself. I hated how I looked. I hated that I couldn’t get pregnant. I hated that my marriage was falling apart and that my life had no direction. I decided that I needed to stop hating myself before I could deal with anything else.
That’s when everything changed. I started working with a personal trainer. I went back to Weight Watchers. I began cutting processed foods from my diet. Eventually I decided to become a vegetarian as well. The weight started coming off.
In August of 2014, I joined Broad Ripple Fit Club. The experience changed my life. I stopped focusing on the scale. I stopped thinking about my weight loss journey in terms of how I look. Most importantly, I stopped being ashamed of how I was eating. I began to think of food as fuel and my workouts as comfort. The gym became my happy place. The weight didn’t come off as quickly, but my body composition changed. I looked better than I have in years, possibly ever. I was more confident than I ever have been.
This is why I’m quitting the sugar challenge. Over the last two and half weeks, I’ve been waiting for some miraculous change in how I feel. There has been a change in how I feel, but it’s not the one I was promised. Instead of feeling more energetic, etc., I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I feel like I have to hide in my car when I want to eat foods that I like. These days, those foods are rarely the highly processed, fat filled bags of unpronounceable chemicals that I used to eat. I’m talking about foods like apples, bananas, strawberries, and tomatoes. I shouldn’t feel like I’m eating “bad” foods when I want to enjoy my favorite things. I shouldn’t have to have a “cheat” meal. I shouldn’t have to say, “I can’t eat that.” That’s not how I want to live my life.
I’ve realized that by joining this challenge, I was allowing someone else to decide what my goals are. I was letting someone else tell me what is best for me. I understand the math and science behind the challenge. I understand why some may want to live this way. I also understand that it simply doesn’t line up with what I want for myself. I’m not going to “win” this detox, but I’m not a quitter or a loser. I don’t “suck at life.” I’m walking away with greater self awareness and a clearer sense of what I want my life to look like. Those are pretty great prizes.