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Sugar Hangover

Happy Weekend! After 2 weeks of being on a first name basis with my friends at the the Lowe’s service desk, I am back home at my desk. I had a great time in Alabama remodeling our rentals with a dear friend. The weather was absolutely beautiful, so we did squeeze in some beach time. The rest of the day was all about faucets, fixtures, and decorating. I'm so happy with how they turned out. I miss my decorating hat once and while! We were both ready to come home and see our families though. I can’t stay away very long before I get homesick for my people. Getting away is great, but coming home is the best!

I mentioned in my short post last week, that I had some ideas running around in my head I wanted to expand on. I had trouble narrowing it down, but this is where I landed.

I am a big fan of the Whole30-The 30 Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. I did it last spring, but mine was the Whole40. Not because I am an overachiever, but because I cheated a couple of times.

The reason I did it in the first place was because I wanted to make friends with food. When I quit drinking, I gradually moved into filling myself with food. I was consuming massive quantities of sugar. I justified my poor eating habits with the “at least I don’t drink” mantra running through my head. I was gaining weight at an alarming rate and basically felt like crap. After a stern warning from my Dr that I was pre-diabetic (WHAT!) I gradually got a hold of the sugar dragon. It took about a year to start feeling better and lose the weight that came with it. Then I did the Whole30 and that is where I tried to stay all summer. My goal this summer was to develop a healthy relationship with food and I feel I made a lot of headway here. I did allow myself occasional treats. I was eating dairy, grains, and legumes (how exciting)in moderation. I stayed steady all summer and was really happy with how I was feeling and the sugar cravings were staying at bay. I had great energy and felt like a lot of the food drama was behind me. Then came birthday month. Ah yes, a month of cake, candy, travels, and an attitude of deserving. That catches up with you real fast! So I decided to try again to tame the Sugar Dragon (as the author of the Whole30 calls it) and go back to applying what I had learned before the big 50.

I am not officially doing the Whole30 again, instead I am working on balance. Which is something I am not good at in any area of my life! You would think that because I have been able to totally cut alcohol out of my life no matter what the occasion, I could say no to breadbaskets and desserts rather easily. Ahh no. What I have learned is that just like with alcohol there are consequences. Feeling like crap the next morning being the biggest. I literally feel like I have a hangover when I eat too much sugar. I wake up groggy and stay there the whole day and have enormous empty pit in my stomach that no amount of carbs (hello mashed potatoes) will fill that day. Just like alcohol I have to abstain from it long enough to reap the benefits. After about a week I feel good when I wake up, the nights sleep was amazing, my skin is glowing, I’ve dropped a few pounds, and the cravings have subsided. I WANT to keep going in this new way of living. I have no desire to feel the way I did a week before and am willing to do the work to keep it that way. Then there is those triggers called life and I screw up. Eating milk duds in bed with a book is my all time favorite way to spend the evening when I am home alone and that’s just one of my personal favorites. You all know about the Costco cake and Chicago popcorn. For the record I have never purchased a Costco cake to simply eat it without a celebration involved. At my last birthday party with my girlfriends from high school I brought a cake to the restaurant. It was my party but we had all turned 50 in the past year so I had all our names on it and a candle for everyone. We indulged, shared with the staff, and the next day I sent it to the office. I said goodbye to my birthday month of sugar and moved into October.

In early October the author of the Whole30 Melissa Hartwig came out with her new book; Food, Freedom, Forever. Fantastic read for anyone trying to make friends with food. It was just what I needed to kick off my healthy month.

One day I looked at that book and it was right next to my Bible and I thought to myself “what about God, Freedom, Forever?” There is a bestseller thats been out for quite a while on that topic and its called the Bible. The first book Melissa wrote was called “It starts with Food” Here’s another thought, It starts with God. I am a huge fan of Melissa Hartwigs books and anything Whole30. I have learned so much about nutrition and what food can do for me. What about the core of the issue though? It’s not that I love all things Hershey, its that God has given me this temple called a body to take care of and it did come with instructions in his handbook, the Bible.

It's a package deal. Inside and out God wants it all, He bought and paid for it when he died on the cross. It’s hard to work on both but they go together. If you feel better inside emotionally and spiritually you have more motivation to take care of the physical. It all goes together.

Take Pastor Rick Warren for example, he admitted in front of his whole congregation that he was not honoring God at all with his body. Hence, the Daniel Plan was started. He brought thousands of people in to better health by looking at the physical from a Godly perspective. Why? He knew the answer to honoring God body & soul was to become Daniel Strong. The goal of the Daniel Plan is not to become skinny by the social standards we so often fall into but to pursue proper health as a matter of stewardship.

Does God mind if I have some Milk duds? I don’t think so. Does he mind when I eat the carton (yes they come in a carton) and feel like crap the whole next day? Yes ,because any day here on earth is a gift from him. Spending the day wishing I felt better, or I could take a nap is not what he had in mind. . Kind of where I used to live every day when I was drinking. Essentially nothing productive comes out of either kind of hangover.

I try to keep some of the same things I apply to my addiction with alcohol to food in the forefront of my mind. When there is a social gathering it is not about the alcohol any more than it is about the food being served. It is about the people I am with, always. God wants us to get something out of everything and I am pretty sure he’s not looking for me to recognize that the wings were fantastic. I mean thats ok, but I really only need one wing to tell if they are good or not. Kind of like the wedding is not about the cake! I was at a wedding on my birthday… really good cake.

God wants us to enjoy food, that’s how he made us to function but just like anything else we have to do all things enjoyable in moderation. When it creates to much drama in my brain it is taking away from what God has planned for me in that moment.

I told you he has given us a book of instruction! I don’t think he could make it any clearer. He doesn't expect us to be perfect. We can’t possibly be in this sinful world, but we can try to keep things like addiction or bad habits under control using his guidance.

I know I am not alone in this food struggle any more than I am with alcohol. I have had many conversations with friends about the food giant in our lives. The quest to be healthier, and not a slave to any substance is a big one. Bowing down to the scale God and letting it define us for the day is not beneficial either. I definitely recommend the Whole30 books for some great instruction. I believe they are tools provided by God. I really relate to the author as she is also in recovery from drugs. In AA there is the big blue book, another useful tool. The ultimate manual will always be the Bible though. Find a verse that resonates with you and put it where you will see it often. For me that is the pantry or the fridge!

I heard a song last night by Switch foot called “Life is short I want to live it well” Love that!!!!

The song describes completely how I feel about this life. I want to do my best in everything that is pleasing to him. When I do, it is effective inside and out. They go together. That’s how he created us. Sometime we tell ourselves one of them doesn't matter. Not true, it is a partnership. A partnership just like you can have with God. When it comes to any struggle he is there for us. Find him in your struggle today. He’s waiting.

Life is short I want to live it well!

Peace on your weekend,



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