shelley-lowther-newI’m writing this column on the first day of Lent, trying my editor’s abundant patience with my deadline once again (sorry, Margaret).  I was raised Catholic, but it has been a long time since I gave up anything for Lent.  In hopes that my mother is not reading this submission, I confess that for many years I quipped that I was giving up church for Lent.

This year, “giving up”  felt like a natural thing to do.

I have given up a lot of my food crutches lately.  On January 1, I gave up meat and animal products.  I do not eat meat, eggs or dairy. I have added limited fish and honey back into my diet, so while I am not vegan, my diet is mostly vegan.  I gave up cheese and ice cream, which for me was a very big deal.  I have given up almost all processed foods, choosing instead whole, mucus-free life-giving foods, like fruits and vegetables. I eat many meals raw and juice or blend frequently, often twice a day.

But sugar – mainly in the form of chocolate – has always been my Achilles heel.

I instantly and innately knew that giving up chocolate would not be enough.  If I simply gave up chocolate, I would find other ways to put sugar into my body.  And sugar, it seems, is what I need to give up.

When you study with Baron Baptiste in a bootcamp or in any of his programs, there is a recurring theme that comes up around growth.  What are you willing to let go of??  What do you need to give up to grow?

In terms of my health, that answer is simple. I must give up sugar.  I must break the hold that is has on my mind, and on my body.  I go through my days eating very well, starting with a green juice or smoothie, eating a light lunch, or juicing again, and usually a very sensible dinner.  And then it happens.  I undo my whole day.  With chocolate.  With cookies.  With dairy free ice cream.  Something happens and I convince myself that I need it.  I eat it – and then the guilt sets in.  The feelings of failure.  The feelings of not being good enough.

How is it that I know what to eat and what not to eat, and yet fall for this trap repeatedly?  How is it that I can be so sensible and so dedicated all day and then fall down at night?

To me the answer is simple.  I have a sugar addiction. I need to break the cycle.  As Baron often says, “If you can, you must.”  In order to break free of these sugary-sweet chains, I have to go cold turkey.  No sugar, no sugar substitutes. I know I can.  So I must.

Wish me luck.  I have a feeling I am in for a rocky sugar-free ride.


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