sugar, sugar {or…not}

in the interest of full disclosure, i need to confess something to y’all. something i’ve only told three people about.

i’m doing a sugar detox.

it’s a bit weird to talk about, because “detox” is an extreme words that implies that i am cutting all sugar out of my life completely as of right now.

i’m not. the program i’m doing – which is run by the same woman leading the half-marathon training program – is easy to mold into what i want, and what my goals are. and what i want is to be more educated about what i put into my body. i’m not planning on abstaining from sugar – i’m not someone who does that well with anything (though there will be 5 days at the end where i abstain completely, so that will be real fun). i am pretty good at moderation, so i’m planning to use this program to learn about the ways sugar is added to our food, how sugar affects my body, and figure out a good balance for myself (when and how i want to eat sugary things, and what foods i eat that are secret sugar sources).

as i make my way through week 9 of my half-marathon training, i’m starting to be more aware of how certain food – and drink – affect how i feel during a run (and after. and before. just…all the time). this sugar detox seems like a way to make sure that i know what fuel goes in – and how my body reacts to that fuel.

let’s be real. i love sweets. i can moderate, but i also treat sugary things as a reward for a good day OR a bad day. that’s not a healthy relationship, not really. i also am an emotional eater – and i know that most people have, at least once, gone to food for comfort. for me, being an emotional eater means that when i’m stressed by something related to the people in my life, i indulge like whoa – let me eat everything in my way, please, with chocolate. when i’m stressed by work or school things, i lose my appetite completely and have to make myself eat. neither of those reactions – all or nothing – is good for me, mentally, physically, or emotionally. something i’ve learned about myself in the past couple of months is that i react well to guidance and coaching. it’s why i love training for the half, and it’s why i signed up for this program. having a person who has organized a lot of useful information ahead of time, a group of people (from all over the world) doing this along with me, and daily check-ins from the woman in charge? it all helps keep me accountable, and keeps the information fresh in my mind (which feeds into the accountability). i find myself checking labels – if i cannot pronounce something, maybe i shouldn’t eat it. i think about why i want to eat that sugary treat – more often than not, i’m bored, or anxious, or some emotion is driving my desire for a cupcake, and so i turn to a coping mechanism (something we make for ourselves in the program to do in lieu of eating all of the sugar. for example, i have “clean something” and “go for a run” as alternates to “eat my weight in cupcakes”). and i am really interested in learning more about the kinds of sugar added to the food i eat on a regular basis – and finding ways to avoid it (especially the not-so-natural sugars out there).

this is clearly not for everyone. but this program, i think, is a smart choice for me. and i’m trying to make more smart choices – running and cleaner eating are two of those choices. it’s part of my decision to take more positive risks in an effort to, i dunno, better myself. not that i need bettering, just that i think life is about learning new things, and trying new things, and the best way for me to learn and try is to do so with the support of someone who has been there before me.

if you’re interested in learning more about the sugar detox, i am happy to share more information with you – i don’t think it’s open for registration anymore, but i certainly plan to talk about my experience and what i learn!