Guest Blogger: Amanda in Philadelphia - Sugar Junkie

It's been three months since our guest blogger, Amanda's, last post; that post remains the third most popular on And Topher Too (so go back and read it)! She recently committed to improving her overall health and today I'm very happy to be sharing a few of the challenges and successes she's faced along the way. Thanks Mandy! - Cullen

Sugar Junkie by Amanda D
September 2011 was when I made a conscious decision to be healthy. Not to diet, and not to lose weight, but to change my habits. Though I walk or bike every day as a means of transportation, I wanted to make sure my body was strong so I joined a gym. And while I ate relatively well, with lots of real foods and fresh vegetables, I regularly indulged in full fat local yogurt, humanely raised local beef, and many, many home baked goods.

Cutting back on red meat was easier than I expected. I choose chicken sandwiches or vegetarian options when I eat out, but don’t deny myself a cheeseburger when all my friends want to go to Five Guys. After a few months I found my body craving beef less and less, particularly when I upped my intake of kale, spinach, and other leafy greens. Habit #1 broken!

My next challenge was sugar. I spent the first month of this new lifestyle staring at my flour and sugar canisters in the kitchen and thinking of a million tasty ideas - Millet muffins! Banana chocolate chip bread! Chocolate orange cookies! It wasn’t these individual items, which I made with cage free eggs from the farmer’s market and half the sugar in the recipe, that were my downfall. It was my addiction to sugar, to having treats in the house all the time, that was the habit I needed to break. And much like the beef, I found after a few months that I no longer craved sugar. An orange or some berries in the evening were all I really needed. Habit #2 broken!

Until about a month ago - when I noticed a big bowl of discounted Valentine’s Day candy on my friend’s kitchen table. I mindlessly began snacking on them. Little did I know that with those little hearts I would awake my sugar addiction. I found myself buying candy bars, baking small batches of cookies and muffins, and eating cupcakes for lunch. I have simultaneously been dealing with a torn rotator cuff, working with a trainer and a therapist to strengthen and heal my muscles. My body has ached horribly and I have been very down on myself. It wasn’t until yesterday that I put it all together.

I came across this tidbit on the internet: “We are most often addicted to the foods we are allergic to.” A quote from Dr. Mark Hyman that rang loud and true in my ears. I’ve been living with this injury a long while, but over the last month I feel the aches and pains everywhere. And I really believe that with every bowl of ice cream cake I have been eating, I have been making it harder on my body to get healthy and heal itself. I have no scientific proof, I have no doctor’s opinion behind me, I just know that I felt better, slept better, and had more energy a month ago, before my sugar binge began.

So today is the first day of breaking my old habit. Again. And I won’t see this as defeat, but a lesson in what healthy really looks like for me. Wish me luck!