I did it! I went 30 days without eating sugar. It was harder than I expected, especially the last week as PMS struck and I found all my cravings for sweets came back. I wanted to give up on the final few days, but why quit when the end was in sight? So, I hung in there and completed the challenge. Although it was tough, I'm so glad that I did the sugar fast. I gained some valuable insights, both spiritual and physical.
First, I discovered that I was relying on sugar to help me feel better. When I felt stress, exhaustion, self-pity, or frustration I would turn to sweets to alleviate the negative emotions. Going through 30 days without my "sugar fix" definitely made me more understanding toward people who struggle with other types of addictions.
Second, I learned that God wanted me to turn to Him - not sugar - for emotional support. Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who trusts in Him." There is a sweetness to God's presence, and as I turned to Him in my frazzled moments I was refreshed. This is still a work in progress. It's easy to reach for food to comfort, but turning to God takes discipline and practice.
There are three books I am reading that have been a great source of inspiration on this topic:
-Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst
-The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
-Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
Third, I realized I don't really need sugar. Remember how I loved chai tea? I broke my sugar fast on Easter by having a chai. I was surprised to discover that it tasted like maple syrup mixed with hot water. Crazy, that is not how I remember it tasting thirty days ago! I've had a few chai teas since then, but I don't really care for it anymore. Chocolate, on the other hand, is still delicious!
What's next? I'm starting to plan ahead each day rather than waiting for hunger to strike and then deciding what I'll eat. For the next thirty days, I've also decided to use My Fitness Pal. It helps me count calories so I don't fall back into bad eating habits. (I'll post more about My Fitness Pal in the future as it deserves a post of its own.)
Although my challenge has ended, it is just the beginning of a journey to eat better and live better. It's not just eating habits that I need to change, but also heart habits. Every day I'm working at changing my perspective on things. When I need help, I'm retraining myself to ask God to help me instead of seeking a momentary fix that doesn't really fix anything.