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How to Develop a Healthy Relationship with… SUGAR

Talking about sugar can be as polarizing as discussing political beliefs!

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

People don’t expect me to be the Mom to allow my kid to have sugar. I’m very physically fit. I look for the dietary value in the food I consume and love finding new, healthy recipes. I’m a Certified Personal Trainer, for goodness sake!

I should be the LAST person who would think sugar is OK, right?

Wrong. I have no issue with sugar. I like cookies, cake, ice cream. I eat them fairly often.

Here’s where it gets really crazy and where I am betting I am going to freak some of you out: I also have no issue feeding sugar to my child.

My kid turned 1 last week and I baked him a full-on 2 layer cake and threw some frosting on there for good measure.

He loved it.

You know what else? He slept fine and didn’t turn into a spastic, crazed animal. He just ate some cake and moved on.

He behaved better than some kids who are older than he is and definitely better than a lot of adults.

I believe he behaved that way because he has not villainized sugar.

He’s only 1, so that’s not all that surprising…

But don’t get me wrong, sugar CAN be a villain. People can absolutely become addicted to it.

Case in point? Me. I spent an entire year of college eating as much sugar as I could get my hands on because it was so readily available. It was all-you-could-eat in the cafeteria, for heaven’s sake!

Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

Growing up we had dessert every so often, but it was more scarce than I would venture it was in most families. That meant that as soon as I got my hands on it, I would binge. I never knew when we would have it again.

I don’t want that for my son. I want him to know that sugar, like all foods, is available. I want him to learn MODERATION. I want him to feel like he can be served a piece of cake and not need to eat it all.

I don’t want him to be afraid of any food, because fear can lead to denial which 99% of the time is followed by binging.

So what happened to me? How did sugar and I end up friends?

It wasn’t an easy process. My sugar shock year gave way to hypoglycemia. It took me a year to identify that with a doctor and 10 years to get to a place where I manage my blood sugar levels well and recognize that, while I crave sugar first, it may not be what my body ultimately needs.

I don’t want my son to have to spend 11 years of his life to figure out what I hope to teach him now: moderation.

Moderation. What a buzz word, right?

We can rationalize so many things we eat and believe they are in moderation. Here’s my question:

Are we really being accountable for what we eat?

I venture many of us are not. And so, if we can’t be accountable we need a culprit.

Enter: Sugar.

We would be just perfect if it weren’t for that damn sugar, right? We would be healthy and strong and have great eating habits. Sound familiar?

You’re not alone if you think it does. It is completely socially acceptable to villainize sugar. It is also completely acceptable to “fall off the wagon” for a piece of cake (which can then easily become 3) and tell ourselves “We are just being bad,” and maybe just for a day… Right?

The trouble is, before we know it, those days add up. And darn it all, if it hadn’t been for that sugar…

So here is my challenge if you want a healthy relationship with sugar:

Don’t be afraid of it.

I promise that you can eat it and you will be okay.

But here’s the kicker: you have to read serving sizes before you consume. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let’s use the example of a cake mix that you make at home.

Typical Question you might get: “How big of a piece do you want?”

My Typical Answer: “How many servings does the box say it makes?”

Before just cutting into your cake and throwing some on your plate, do your homework: What does the box say about how many pieces of cake that mix makes? Cut your cake it into that number of EQUAL servings and then, just eat 1. You can have another one tomorrow and the day after.

One day, you might even get to the point where you throw half the cake away because you forgot to eat it before it went bad.

I promise, your body will deal with the cake better if you spread it out over time than if you cram it all in during one sitting. And you? You will learn that you and sugar can be friends instead of mortal enemies.

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