I’m a bread eater. Always have been. Other people go crazy for chips, ice cream, dressings, sauces. Not me. I want bread. And sweets. I don’t understand those people who can have two Oreo cookies. Or worse yet, pass on them altogether. I’m a person who has been on the other side of that fence my whole life. If there is a bag of Oreos, I will eat them. All of them. Celebrating is not celebrating if it doesn’t involve something completely decadent and what’s a girl to do on a Wednesday without a little (or a lot) of Del Taco to see her through her day? That’s me. The girl who gets excited about Disneyland… for the food.
And that’s why I gave it up. All of it. Yes, all at once. Why? This year I hosted an Oscar party which, although fabulous, launched me into a fit of depression and self-loathing. My clothes were too tight. Again. I hated my arms. Again. I was embarrassed to be seen by loved ones. Again. And after the whole affair was over, I laid in bed and watched my hands shake. Sugar.
That’s when I opened it. Sugar Blues, by William Dufty. I thought one chapter would put me to sleep since nothing else would. As he talked about the way he’d seen the world his whole life (see opening paragraph) about his being prone to illnesses, his horrible skin issues and his virtual enslavement to sugar, the shaking in my hands started to terrify me. Was I on the shortlist for adult diabetes? Was this it? Was I going to be one of those women who settled into obese middle age?
Dufty described how drastically his body, his skin, his mental health changed when he drastically cut out the sugar. A light bulb (really) did go on. All these years, it’s no mystery how to make ourselves healthy. We all know that sugar and refined flours are killing us. It’s just the PAIN we associate with losing our drug of choice that holds us back. For YEARS I’d accepted that some women ate vegetables and chicken and passed on Oreos and I wasn’t one of those women. They were the ones who got to enjoy the beach in the summer time and pictures being taken of themselves by family members. I wasn’t.
I wasn’t one of them. I chose sugar. I chose enslavement.
But what if I was one of them? How long would it be painful to make the change? Could I really, truly pass on an Oreo (or the ode to Willy Wonka in my house)? How quickly would my body recognize that I was eating like them, being active like them, living like them?