Which really, who cares? If you want to eat sugar, eat it. I'm not here to judge. But, I was eating SO much of it all day long. For example:
Coffee with Cinnabon creamer (High fructose corn syrup)
Greek yogurt with strawberries on the bottom (Sugar)
Blueberry Nutri-Grain bar (Sugar)
Subway turkey sandwich on their cheesy bread (Sugar)
Handful of M&Ms (All kinds of sugar possible)
Vegetable Lasagna with jarred marinara sauce (Sugar)
Brownie-in-a-mug (an ass-load of sugar...damn you Pinterest)
So on the surface, my daily meals didn't look too bad right?? I was getting my veggies/protein at every meal. But every.single.thing I ate all day had sugar in it. You've heard the phrase: "Everything in moderation" right?? Well eating something that is known to be bad for you (when consumed in excess) in every meal... I just don't see that as moderation.
I was looking for a way to curb my sweet tooth while also get over my weight loss plateau, so one day, after having my brownie-in-a-mug for the FIFTH night in a row, I literally decided "Okay Audra, no more sugar for a week." So I did it. And I felt okay. So then I did it a second week. And a third.
And now here we are. I'm 7 lbs lighter, my skin is clearer, and I have truly lost that violent, pleading urge to have a cookie/dessert after every meal. Don't get me wrong, I still use Cinnabon coffee creamer and jarred pasta sauce. But actually reading food labels has made me much more aware of what I'm putting into my body, and I'm happy to have kicked the sugar habit. I now make a conscious effort to choose foods in their most natural state, as often as possible.
So why am I telling you all this? Well a few days ago, I had to complete a Biometric Health Assessment as part of our health plan at work. I have been worried about my cholesterol levels because a) high cholesterol runs in my family and b) For the last few years, it's always been over 200. Over 200 is a danger zone. I think 210 was my highest point, but still... who wants to be labeled as someone with high cholesterol at 28?? My blood pressure has also been high for the last year or so, and in all of my OB checkups when I was pregnant, which was scary but I chalked it up to pregnancy anxiety.
So anyway, I take this health assessment yesterday, and when she gives me my numbers, I about peed myself:
Since my last test in March of 2011, my cholesterol went down a staggering 30 points. Blood pressure went from 130/80 to 100/70. My trigylcerides went from 105 to 55. And my BMI went down 2 points. And this is after being pregnant.
I wanted to cry. I didn't think these numbers could change so significantly, but it has absolutely shown me real, concrete proof that your diet and your lifestyle can have a huge impact on your health. Sometimes I need physical, tangible evidence that choosing whole grain over white bread is the best option, and this is exactly what that did for me.
I am not telling you this because I think every person out there reading this needs to ditch sugar. Sugar is delicious, and I'd be crazy to suggest that. I'm just sharing my story, and how reducing sugar in my diet has made me healthier. Just my .002.
Since I began this post, after putting in the title, there is one song that will not get out of my head. Who remembers that movie "Now and Then"? Classic coming-of-age flick from 1995. I had never heard of the "Sugar Sugar" song before, but whenever I think Sugar, I think that song and whenever I think that song I think of this movie. Totally random, but that's what you get with me.
Such a sweet movie. Get it??