Five Signs You Might Be a Sugar Addict

I used to be a sugar addict.  During my 60’s era childhood, nobody drank water on purpose, except to take pills.  Milk with Nestle’s Quick chocolate stirred in, Kool-Aid and Pepsi in a bottle were my beverages of choice.

Like many moms in the 60’s, my mother allowed my brothers and I to each pick a box of cereal every week at the grocery store.  Cleverly worded commercials, with cute songs, assured her that Coco Krispies, Captain Crunch and Frosted Flakes came loaded with healthy vitamins.  Nobody cared back then that they also packed a walloping 20 grams of sugar per serving, on average.

Like any good parent of that era, my mother monitored our sugar intake by limiting desserts and things officially labeled “sweets,” like baked goods and candy.  To feed our addiction, we kids snuck sugar cubes from the pantry and hunted for discarded pop bottles to turn in for pennies to spend at the corner candy store.  Looking back, I craved sugar much of the time.

Released from my mother’s watchful eye, I completely lost my mind, nutrition-wise, in college.  My college food service made fresh doughnuts every day, with frosting choices!  Along with my eggs or oatmeal, I usually gulped down at least four a day.  When I pulled all-nighters to study, I kept myself fueled with Pepsi and Clark Bars.  I came home from my freshman year with a host of stomach and digestive problems.

Somewhere in early adulthood I developed the habit of eating through an entire package of cookies in a day, Oreos being my favorite.  Sometimes, for a change, I’d eat a pan of brownies.  Some of my friends ate candy bars throughout the day, “for energy,” or numerous cups of coffee with multiple sugar packets PLUS flavored creamers with more sugar in them.  None of us ever considered the possibility that we might have a problem with sugar.

It took some years but finally my pancreas said, “No!”  The forced labor I pushed it into for so many years resulted in hypoglycemia, low blood sugar.  It refused to process large sugar dumps anymore.

I’ve been methodically removing refined sugar from my diet for several years.  I taste natural sugars in vegetables and fruits and no longer crave caramel corn and cookies.  My energy level is better at this age than it was 20 years ago.   More and more I feel fit, eager to take on new challenges.

My weight is naturally dropping as I’m making balanced food choices. Mercy, I wish I’d done this years ago!  For me, fat was never the real enemy in my weight loss battle.  It was always sugar. 

Dear ones, I genuinely believe we are living in the last days and God is looking for fierce warriors for end times kingdom work.  This can be anything from extended time in our prayer closets to starting new marketplace ministries or moving to another continent.   I don’t know what He’s calling you to do but I don’t want anything to get in your way.

I can see now that sugar addiction robbed me of energy and focus for much of my life, just as any addiction will.  Any time my mind and body are controlled by something other than the Holy Spirit, I’m not able to fulfill all the destiny God designed just for me.

Here are five signs I chose to ignore for years.  Their warning bells clanged in my body but I didn’t listen.

  1. I ate meals quickly to get to dessert.   I often bolted the main part of a lunch and dinner so I could eat dessert, which I used to consider the best part of any meal.
  2. I seldom felt any contentment after one reasonable serving of a “sweet.” One time, at a friend’s wedding, they placed a small wedding cake on each guest table, with seven different flavors available throughout the reception hall.  I ate seven pieces of wedding cake.

 

  1. I often woke up nauseous.   If you end your day with a refined carbohydrate like pretzels, cookies, ice cream, etc. as I did, that’s trouble.  You are making your pancreas work when it should be quieting down.  Because of the abuse I heaped on it for years, my pancreas became weary and didn’t process late day sugar. This resulted in dizziness and nausea many mornings.  Ideally, it’s best not to eat after seven p.m., but if you must, due to genuine hunger, eat a little protein like some nuts or hummus or few slices of turkey.

 

 

  1. Parties or gatherings that didn’t involve sugary food felt wrong to me. Movies without popcorn (corn processes in your body as sugar), birthdays without slabs of cake and ice cream and on and on, were an adjustment.  As a teacher I attended luncheons and dinners I ate nothing because the menu was filled with sugar based items.   I also realized that happy childhood and young adult memories were often connected with particular sweet foods.  Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, Christmas cookies, birthday cakes, Halloween and Easter candy and on and on we can go.   I’ve been doing the work of separating sugar from the joy quotient of holidays, parties and get togethers.  Our desserts now are fresh fruit or low sugar recipes.

 

  1. I craved sugar and grains.   I used to say, “Man, I could eat bread all day!”  Your body reads refined grains the same as refined sugar.  To avoid that, stick with truly whole grains and even then, we do not need so many servings of them. In general, cravings are your body’s way of saying, “Something is messed up in here!”

 

God designed a special destiny just for you filled with meaningful, kingdom advancing moments.  Don’t allow ANY addiction to keep you from fulfilling His divine purpose for you.

 

 

Confessions of a Former Lazy Leader

Until the age of 30, when I gave birth to my daughter, I loathed exercise.   I sucked it up though all my school gym classes obeying gym teacher’s commands, but I hated it.  My natural exercises of bike riding, skate boarding, softball and running around my neighborhood after school were fun. Organized fitness made me want to punch somebody.  I still struggle with repetitive activities.

During the sixties, we endured the “President’s Fitness Challenge” in which we were forced to perform jumping jacks, sit ups, pull ups, rope climbs, etc. ad nausea, in front of our whole class.   As a skinny, strong girl, I always performed well but my boredom meter stayed in the red zone.

Left to my own devices in college and my early married years, I ignored entire muscle groups completely along with flexibility or aerobic training.  I still played softball, rode my bike, danced in musicals and marched with flag corps, but did nothing else to deliberately maintain my cardiac system or other muscles. Once we entered the ministry, that became my great excuse.  “I’m waaaay too busy to make time for fitness classes,” I used to boast.   Since my skinny bod lasted through my twenties, I ignored the concept of keeping God’s temple in shape. Then, pregnancy crashed my world.

True story:  I began uncontrollable vomiting from pregnancy nausea only three weeks in.  Minus today’s technology, we assumed a virulent flu to be the culprit.  I lost 25 pounds in three months and spent much time hospitalized for dehydration.  By the end of the fifth month, the nausea came under control but in my body’s weakened state, I only possessed energy to regain my home life, ministries and prepare for a baby.  Exercise never entered my thinking.

I cannot explain why my daughter, who as an adult, is three inches shorter and three sizes smaller than myself, presented as a giant nine-pound baby.   My slim hips and her large, infant self didn’t mesh well and my hip bones became pushed out to such a degree, I climbed three pants sizes and stayed there for years.  For me, a former skinny who never deliberately exercised, this became a challenge.

In the eighties, aerobic dance classes popped up everywhere and I loved them!  I transformed into someone who jazzercised for hours every week.  I embraced step aerobics too and eventually weight training, mainly because my aerobics teacher recommended it.  My schedule became structured around available classes and gym hours.

Strategic, deliberate exercise is a wonderful thing, but for me it became an idol. The reason comes down to the motivation that changed me from slacker to fitness fanatic.  My desire came from an obsession about my appearance.  I wanted my skinny body back.  I didn’t make the connection between my ability to achieve God’s purposes for me on this earth and staying fit and strong.  For me fitness and self-esteem became intertwined in an unhealthy way.

There’s a popular saying right now, “Know your why.”  Your why is what will carry you through obstacles and tough times towards your goals.  If your “why” is faulty, it will fail you in the clinch.  Mine did.  I became sick of spending so much time exercising and still being larger than what I desired.  Took me some years to understand I desired the wrong thing.

I think we can look to Jesus’ earthly life as a healthy, fit one.  Think about it.  He walked, like everywhere.  He didn’t give way to the sins of gluttony or drunkenness which means he ate and drank only to suit the needs of his human form.  His strength to minister to thousands of people flowed from this balanced life, centered on listening to the Father then carrying out His will.

For a Christ follower, we need to live in the humble truth that we no longer belong to ourselves.  We are  mere stewards of everything in this life, including our bodies.  Lately, I’ve been struck afresh by the profound truth that the Holy Spirit lives inside me. My personal body resources and its abilities are now stamped as exclusive for God’s work.  That’s the definition of holy. The question is, how am I stewarding this holy, set apart temple?

Before you jump into any new exercise program or carry on with whatever one you might be involved in, I want to challenge you to ask yourself this question: “Why am I doing this?”  You may need to sort yourself out a bit, as I did.  It isn’t wrong to want to look fit and wear clothes better.  It’s not sinful to desire the strength and endurance to run with children or move your furniture around without killing yourself or survive a mission trip in a third world country.  These are all good motivators, they just can’t be your primary instigator. 

Foundationally, everything we do with our bodies must be inspired by the power of verses like Romans 12:1. “Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters, in light of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as living sacrifices….”     This means we daily crawl up on an altar and lie down. No squirming.  Choose to submit to His plans and goals for your inner and outer self, above all else.  Then, listen, listen, listen to what He says or you might become out of balance, like me.

Jesus is coming soon!  He’s looking for last day saints, fit and fiery, ready to take adventures with Him in strategic prayer and ministry opportunities.