eliminating sugarThe Social Cost of Eliminating Sugar

Whenever I thought about eliminating sugar from my diet, I always felt the social cost was too high.  Eating out at restaurants, business lunches, and potlucks, tend to be problematic when you don’t eat like the norm. Social meals tend to be full of heavy carbs and alcohol, plus they come with a connective social “high.” If I ate what was offered, I would feel like crap afterwards and then sleep badly that night. But when I ate only what I knew was right for me, I came away hungry and unsatisfied. If I insisted on eating special food, I felt like I was being too fussy and controlling. And that was without even tackling the BIG BOGEY of sugar.

My book club partners gather around crackers and cheese and alcohol.  Sometimes I went having eaten ahead of time, sometimes I ate what was there, anyway. When I didn’t eat or drink like they did, I felt a subtle “you’re out of sync with us” disapproval. I dated a strict vegetarian who didn’t drink alcohol and slowly my friends stopped inviting us to dinner because they didn’t want to deal with his “weird” food needs. The lesson there was: eat healthy and be excluded. I came to see that eating out socially, I wound up feeling out of sync with my companions or with myself.

Feeling better is worth it

Our social reliance on sugar in the form of alcohol, processed food, soda, and quick, cheap carbs isn’t healthy. It’s normal only because it has become the norm. And it can be hard to resist the pressure of people whose opinions and company you value.  Nevertheless, I can tell you, as you crest the hill of sugar addiction, the view gets better. I’m in the third week of no sugar (or wheat, or dairy) and things are really changing for me. I’m loosing weight without “trying.” I’m feeling mentally clearer and exercising is easier. I had an emotional day yesterday and I could feel that it was some long-held emotional gunk working its way out of my body. The process requires patience with self.

I love my body and I’m grateful for what my organs do for me. I want to give them conditions for all of me to thrive. Even though I’ve struggled to give up sugar for years, now I’m ready.  I’m ready to make the social “sacrifices” that will keep me alive and healthy and vibrant into my elder years. The social cost of eliminating sugar pales compared to all that I will gain in vitality, longevity and overall physical and mental function. This time, Health will prevail!

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