Yesterday, I celebrated my first anniversary of being refined sugar free! Refined sugars specified only because when you say "sugar free," people get uppity about fruit and honey, which I do still consume. But cut me some slack- from here on in, I will refer to the topic simply as sugar free.
Okay, let's get honest-- some of you won't like hearing this, but it has to be said: "You're stronger than me" and "I could never do that" are not compliments. There. I said it! It's not flattering to tell me that you have no faith in yourself. I know what you intend for that to mean, but it's just not a compliment. I promise you, if giving up sugars was something that mattered to you like it did to me, you would give them up too.
NOTE: there are some people who can eat refined sugars in moderation without struggling. I am in no way saying I judge sugar eaters (although, it sounds derogatory when I say it that way). Only that we should give compliments that convey what we really mean.
I've gotten a lot of questions about this sugar free decision, the most frequent of which is "WHY?". If you really wanna know... I am completely and undeniably addicted to refined, processed, sugars. I formed that addiction partially through genetics and partially because of my eating disorder.
July 2, 2011, I shared a tear filled conversation with a dear friend of mine during which I realized that the behaviours that plagued me in middle school had resurfaced in my life--I was purposefully skipping meals when I felt down on my self (weighing in at 220 lbs for a 5'10" girl? Basically all the time) and lying to everyone in my life about it. I claimed I didn't eat because I was sooo busy or that I just wasn't hungry when people asked. I had probably stood staring into a pantry or fridge that day (letting the cold air out, running up the electricity bill, I know), willing myself to not eat, though.
On the other hand, I had developed new behaviours that I hadn't recognized until that evening- when stressed, I binge ate on sweets. Gluttonous gorging on candies, cakes, cookies, you name it. I had no will power or discipline. If I opened a bag of chocolates, I would pour a small handful, eat them and put the bag away. Aaaannnd two minutes later, I was back getting another handful. And another handful. And another handful until the bag was empty. I could.not.stop.myself. Anyone who went to culinary school or worked at Aprima with me can attest to how incredibly stressful either environment was and also, I'm sure, to how much I was eating all of the time.
Yes, I was eating, but I was not getting nourishment. Both the anorexia and binge eating are completely separate with unique triggers while still existing simultaneously in my mind. It was hard living that way and I was not happy. Once I realized it, it had to stop. And that part wasn't easy either. Fortunately, I have an incredible husband and dear, wonderful friends who all love me and wanted only good health and happiness for me. They were the ones who really listened when I tearfully asked them for their help and babysat me through the first six months of eating on a regular diet at regularly scheduled times. Then, they were the ones who understood when I went Paleo that even though I didn't have a leaky gut, I needed healing in the area of nutrition.
I know this sounds so far like a huge sob story, but really it's a celebration! I DON'T live like that any more! I DON'T think like that any more! That is NOT who I am any more.
IF YOU DON'T READ ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS POST, READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH! Please and thank you.
An eating disorder is ANYTIME our food consumption is central to EMOTIONAL needs. That's it! You don't have to fit one of the three (now four) known and named disorders to be a disordered eater. More importantly, if you struggle with an eating disorder, it does not have to own you. There is life on the other side and it feels gooood! Lastly, you never know what the people around you are struggling with, so be kind, be loving, and lend support even when you don't understand.
So don't tell me if you felt that terrible all of the time, you wouldn't choose to give up sweets or grains or whatever it took. Don't tell me you couldn't handle choosing to be healthy and happy. I am not the strength in this situation; the strength only comes from our sovereign Father and He will provide for your needs too.
Today I celebrate being a year and a day on the road to recovery (cliche, but true), giving the Lord the control to make me whole.