Saturday, January 14, 2012

How A Stomach Flu Can Be Good

As you know, earlier this week I was suffering from a stomach flu.  It was awful!  I had a fever and chills.  Everything made me nauseous, and I didn't eat for 4 days.  Yes, in the last post I joked that I had dropped 6 pounds, but it wasn't very fun, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  That said, there was some good that came from it.

I have already discovered that processed sugar is awful for me.  I don't just mean it's bad physically.  I mean, it really messes with my head.  It makes me depressed and lethargic.  It makes me cranky and sad.  All in all, it makes me feel like I'm the shell of a person struggling to get by.  The problem is, I am kind of a sugar addict.  All it takes is the bite of cookie or the sip of a milkshake to send me spiraling back.  The one cookie will make me crave a second cookie.  That milkshake (and the justification of that milkshake) will make me crave more milkshakes, or hot chocolate, or a banana chocolate-chip coffee cake, courtesy of Starbucks.  Stopping is easier said than done.  I can come up with a million excuses as to why I deserve more.  I've had a hard day.  It's cold outside (particularly good for hot chocolate).  It's only one, and one is fine.  I need a pick me up.  I'm tired.  I'm worried about xyz.  I'll say anything to have another bit of sugar.  The problem is that each bite makes me feel worse, and each bite makes me crave more.

I knew I needed to cut the sugar.  I needed to "sober up" if you will.  I've done it before, but it's extremely hard.  For me, it's even harder in the winter, and most of my sugar cuts have happened in the summer.  I'm happier in the summer, and I'm more active in the summer, so I can usually fight off silly cravings.  Cutting the sugar was going to be really hard this time.  I hadn't been feeling great emotionally, and things have been kind of stressful.  I was trying to succeed, but I kept getting in my on way.

That's where the stomach flu comes in.  Not only could I not eat sugar, the thought of anything sweet repulsed me.  I would think of saltines or very simple soup and be OK, but the thought of one of the Oreos sitting on our counter made me ill.  Smelling something sweet was even worse.  Heck, even the smell of our caramel-scented candle gave me pause.  I didn't enjoy being sick, but even at the time I could recognize that this was a good thing.

I started eating real food again on Wednesday, and I started eating colorful food (not plain rice and chicken) on Thursday, but I've done well with the no sugar thing.  I haven't really wanted any sugar.  My mentality seems to be, "I've gone this long without sugar, what's another day?"  It was something I recognized right away...I no longer needed all the sugar.  So, yesterday when Mom and I went to Starbucks like we often do, I let her buy coffee, but I had nothing (I already had tea that morning, so I really didn't want more).  I didn't have hot chocolate even though it was chilly out, and I didn't have that delicious banana chocolate-chip coffee cake.  Sure, the thought passed through my mind that I deserved one, but it was easy to squash.

Oh, and how has this paid off?  Am I feeling better?  You bet!  I'm sleeping better and requiring less of it.  I'm spending more time at the gym.  I'm cooking dinner (which makes Hans extremely happy).  I'm a happier person all-in-all.

Now, I know, realistically, that I can't hide from sugar forever.  There are some treats I refuse to give up (like Culver's custard), but I don't need those treats on a regular basis.  I can get by with only having them once or twice a year.  They will be more special because I did get by.  For now, I'm just thankful that my stomach flu ended with a happy outcome...or maybe that's just the lack of sugar pointing out the positive.  :)

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