February is my favorite month, because both my birthday and Valentine’s Day occupy this short, sweet month! For me, February means cake, candy and lots of chocolate. I relate sweets to love, to attention, to comfort, to family. All good! But admittedly, I happily hum the phrase “you are my candy girl” and sugar-high myself through every other month of the year as well.
The only problem is that time takes it toll, and over the accumulation of birthdays, I have found that the math of sugar is not in my favor. I have always associated sugar consumption to occasional celebration, but ignored my daily intake in the form of liquid. But here is some sugar math. One can of soda per day equals 15.6 added pounds a year if the 350 calories are not burned off (of course, if you prefer to sip on 20 ounce bottle, you can pack on 26 pounds of fat in one skinny year!) I went through stages of soft drink cravings, but I would “back it down” by substituting my drink of choice with my favorite combo of sweet tea (like breathing air in the South) and lemonade.
And the other math I was not taking into account was the easy one… labels! I have always had an awareness of calories and fat, and routinely avoided pasta, bread and rice. But I never read a food label to analyze the sugar content. As I got older, I became stricter with my diet, but my weight continued to creep up and up. Not only that, I began to feel sick almost every afternoon, even though I was eating the same way I had through most of my life. Milk and cereal for breakfast, energy bar for lunch, coke or sweet tea for an after lunch “boost”… then I would start to feel nauseated and dizzy.
Then other weird things would happen. Like I started feeling numbness and sensitivity in my toes, and then my hands. Then I realized my acid/alkaline levels were off (I had become very acidic.) There were other things that started happening to me that I had never dealt with, but I won’t go there. Suffice it to say that I was not a happy camper. But I also don’t like to run to doctors, so I tried my own remedies and to self-treat all these “un-related” (so I thought) symptoms.
Then one day, a bomb dropped. My darling Dad was diagnosed with pre-Type 2-Diabetes. When he got that news, I asked him to tell me what alerted the doctor to test him for that (assuming it had something to do with his heart problems). But, interestingly enough, it was the numbness in his hands and feet! Dad thinks he is Crocodile Dundee, and never complains about anything. So I had no idea that we had that shared symptom. Well, that was enough for me. There was no way I was going to a doctor to have him or her tell me the same news. I decided then and there to head that potentiality off at the pass. After a minimal amount of research, I decided to go off of sugar entirely — cold turkey — for six months. That little bit of research and those six months rocked my world. I will share more in my next post.
Since this is the sweetest month of the year, I felt that it would be most memorable to share my story now. But I am not here to be a “Debbie Downer” and I still believe in celebratory chocolate… the darker the better! So enjoy Valentine’s Day to the fullest! And I hope you get lots of sweet kisses from your “sugar” (or your “honey.”)