growing up, i never even thought of sugar as a bad thing. sugar was good; it was a reward after achieving something and a celebration on birthdays or holidays. i heard dessert being called "a little treat" "something special" and "the yummy stuff." these descriptions make it impossible to associate sugar with being bad.
but truth is, sugar, at least the added kind, is really bad for you. most of america is addicted to it, and i'm no exception. i love starbucks. i could eat my body weight in cupcakes. you put carrot cake in my face and i literally do a little dance. many nights have ended with my walking to the store in search of cookies, ice cream, or candy. i can boast all day about how i don't drink soda, but if you give me a milkshake, it'll be gone in around three minutes.
recently, a lot of media has been shining light on the sugar problem in america. the latest buzz is about the newest health documentary, fed up. i won't lie; i'm kind of terrified to watch it. i easily started eating more organic foods after watching food inc, and i was already a vegan when i first watched forks over knives, but this documentary? this documentary hits at the core of my worst eating habit, and it's the one i'm most hesitant to change because i love sugar so much.
i decided to do my own investigating before watching fed up, just too attempt to show myself i'm not that bad. turns out the daily recommended amount of added sugar for women is 25 grams. i remember my first thought being "oh! that's actually a lot! i'm sure i'm fine!" but when i actually went to look at the labels of things i eat, turns out i wasn't so fine. that skinny soy vanilla latte from starbucks? 16 grams (this whole time i thought it was sugar-free; doh!) that bagel? 5 grams. that peanut butter? 3 grams. and those calcium supplement gummies? 6 grams. i hadn't even made it through my morning eats, and i was over the daily recommended!
so i did a little test run last week, only buying foods that would total up to less than 25 grams in added sugars, resisted the urge to add those cookies to my basket, swore off starbucks, and didn't eat at a restaurant so i could track my sugar intake better. the result? not awful. but i missed sugar, so after my test run, i bought a cupcake. then i stumbled across this article, and was quickly reminded that just because i'm training for a half marathon, that cupcake (and it's friend, the pint of ice cream i bought the next day) are still affecting my body in a negative way.
so, i've decided to commit to reducing my sugar intake during half marathon training. this means no bags of candy after class, no carrot cake cupcake saturdays, no pint of ice cream during a hockey game, and no milkshakes after a race (i told you all i was bad with sugar!) i do realize that this is going to be extremely tough, but i want to build a strong body for august's races (and obviously the rest of my life; hopefully this is the launching point to cut back even more when i feel ready). there are some exceptions that i'm going in to this with: race fuel and special occasions. chews have a lot of sugar, but it's sugar i'll be actively using, so i'm just going to deal with it. additionally, there are three special dates that happen during my training, and i'm allowing myself dessert on those days. besides that, it's cold turkey for me! wish me luck!
are you addicted to sugar? have you ever tried to break the habit?