We are heading into our 6th, and final, week of this Sugar Shakedown, and it’s time to really reflect on what you have learned and how you will carry things forward once these 6 weeks are up. Much of that stems from your WHY – not only your why for starting this focus, but also the subconscious whys of your sugar consumption. In this final week, we share information about some of the mental and emotional affects that overconsumption of sugar has, as well as pose considerations for you looking forward.
Remember that health is not just about the number on the scale. How do you feel? Your emotional state, energy levels, mental clarity? You may be feeling a burst of energy as the body learns to self regulate insulin and not rely on sugar highs for energy. It has been proven that brain function slows down as a result of insulin levels lowering. Insulin levels lower with a higher than normal consumption of sugar. Having a balanced diet and consuming less sugar can positively affect your emotional state. With fewer “sugar crashes” and controlled insulin, your emotions will begin to even out. Mood and emotional disorders have been linked to higher blood sugar, along with long-term negative cognitive affects such as memory loss, learning capacities, even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. By continuing to keep your sugar in check you can decrease your risk of cognitive decline and drastically slow the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Now that is a GREAT reason to continue watching how much sugar you consume.
Of course, there are some physical benefits too! Do your clothes fit better? How do they feel? Not only is eliminating unnecessary sugar from your diet affecting your emotions but also your waistline! Your body begins to receive energy from stores of fat rather than quick burning sugar. Any excess sugar consumed was being stored as fat. The average American consumes roughly five times the recommended amount of sugar daily [Washington Post]. But as you eliminate those extra sugar calories—that quick “fix” for the body—it becomes more efficient at burning fat! Cheers to that! You may notice at this point that you don’t even crave sugar as much as you did. Those naturally sweet foods (fruits and even carrots) taste sweeter. Your taste buds awaken and can recognize healthier naturally occurring sugar.
In this final week, we want you to reflect, to really delve into what’s worked for you, and what hasn’t, to bring some conscious awareness not only to where your sugar is coming from, but also the reasons why you consume it? Was it simply because you didn’t know that certain products contained sugar? Or might there be underlying factors too? Do you reach for that bar of chocolate, box of Wheat Thins™, or glass of wine at a certain time of day, time of the week, time of the month? Are there, perhaps, better ways to meet yourself at those times?
As humans, we are naturally very social creatures, and many social occasions involve food. Sharing a meal brings people together. It’s a common bond. We all have to eat, plus these are some of the most joyous occasions – family gatherings, celebrations. And let’s face it, food is delicious! Or at least it should be. The intention with this Sugar Shakedown is NOT to encourage restricting your diet in a way that inhibits your ability to LIVE LIFE. Quite the opposite! Our goal has been to help give you the awareness to LIVE BETTER – to be able to make conscious “eyes wide open” decisions about how, what, and when you choose to consume sugar and foods that contain sugar. What are your goals for this final week, and beyond?
The first one should be to continue with the focuses of each of the 5 weeks: treats, beverages, grains, condiments, and alcohol. The second should involve revisiting your WHY – why did you start this challenge? What were you hoping to achieve? Have you done so? Has your why changed? How can you carry that forward? Begin to look towards life after the challenge and consider:
Where things go from here is very much up to you, but the ONE thing we want to be adamant about: DO. NOT. BINGE. Yes, you may now choose to indulge in a dessert, and you should – enjoy it, savor it, eat it slowly, but do not let it spiral you out of control! We do not want to return to a life of binges and severe restrictions, of cravings and crashes. The goal is sustainability and a lifetime of eating well, to LIVE well, to #livefarmgirlfit #farmgirlstrong!