I've got some life-changing stuff to tell you about right now! So pull up a chair, and let me inspire you for a moment. It's about to get a bit kumbaya-like up in here. I'm thrilled to chat with you about the second most life changing thing I've ever done for myself (Lasik being #1 of course).
If any of the following describe you, this will be a must read for you:
- You want to eat healthier, but don't know where to start
- You are struggling to lose weight, keep weight off, or stop the yoyo-ing
- You're helpless around desserts. One bite or serving is never enough.
- You like your cake to be half as thick as your frosting (and ultimately scrape up the extra frosting from the serving plate and add it to your cake serving – this was sooooo me!)
- You leave parties with a stomach ache and jitters from sugar overload and get mad at yourself and say, “I'm never eating dessert again!”
- You feel guilty and embarrassed over your lack of control around sugary treats
- You try to restrict your sugar intake and it leads to over-eating it every time
- You want to feel free from sugar cravings once and for all
- You turn to sugar and carbs when feeling sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
- You want to sleep better and have more energy.
If none of that describes you, well than I'm jealous, you should write a book, and I'm gonna need your number so I can ask you about a million questions. But those things did describe the Marci of 3 years ago.
3 years ago I carried the title of Dessert Queen and I took dessert making very seriously. I had so many recipes I wanted to try that oftentimes I would bring 2 or 3 desserts to a family gathering just to be able to try it and share the love with all who came. I loved making desserts and enjoyed them, oh so very much.
I ate ice cream with my husband every night after the kids went to bed as a way of mental therapy. I ate squares of chocolate when my colicky son gave me more anxiety than I could handle. I consistently ate too many servings of dessert at family parties and always went home with a belly ache and a sugar buzz. I couldn't finish a meal without something sweet.
And you know what? None of that really bothered me, until it started to feel out of my control. It was my inability to feel in control of sugar consumption in general that made me realize there was a problem, and I wanted to be done with it. Being an exhausted mom to newborn twin boys showed me my weakness, and I hated it.
One summer day on a motorcycle adventure weekend with my husband, I ran into a blog post about a program called Go Sugar Free (this is an affiliate link and something I'm very passionate about). Her words resonated so deeply with my struggling soul and I couldn't stop thinking about it the whole weekend.
So many times that weekend I committed myself to the reality of taking the Go Sugar Free Course, only to cave and tell myself it really wasn't necessary, and I didn't need to be so extreme (which I possibly have a reputation for being).
Then in a moment of strength, I hurried and signed up and felt a surge of excitement, fear, and ultimately determination that I was going to do it 100%.
Let me pause for a moment to tell you what Go Sugar Free is all about
Go Sugar Free is a 9 1/2 week course that is basically a cold turkey approach to conquering the addictions to sugar and white flour foods that many struggle with. I had struggled with the “moderation” concept for long enough to know it wouldn't work for my personality, so cold turkey resonated with me.
Each week covers a different topic such as:
- How to handle withdrawals
- How to handle social situations while being sugar-free
- How to cook amazing food using herbs and spices instead of sugar
- Traveling and staying sugar-free
- Mental health
- and so much more!
The founder of Go Sugar Free, Jacqueline Smith, is the most amazing, caring, understanding human being I have ever met and without a doubt, she achieved one of her purposes in life when she created this course. She has been through sugar addiction and back and truly understands what people are going through.
There is a private Facebook group that accompanies Go Sugar Free and I felt like it was absolutely key to my success. No where else could I be so open with my struggles. The positive and supportive feedback from other members was fuel that kept me going.
So back to my story
I remember the night before the course started, sitting there with a big bowl of mint chocolate chip ice-cream that I had added mint Oreos and caramel too, and I felt so ready to be free of it all. I didn't let doubt sneak in one bit.
The first 2 weeks of being sugar-free further solidified my determination. I felt AWFUL! I was achy, tired, had a horrible headache, and was c-rank-y. My thought was that if my withdrawal symptoms matched those listed on many psychiatric medications, then I was definitely not going back.
And I killed it. I absolutely did. My head was down, my game face was on, and I was a bulldozer of determination that couldn't be stopped. I read food labels, I cleaned out cupboards, I tried new recipes, and little by little, it started to feel easier, more natural, automatic.
I should mention, my husband was so furious about my change of habits and style of cooking, that I simply couldn't talk about it around him. In fact, I talked to no one about it other than my sisters, my mom, and the Go Sugar Free Facebook group. The line that repeatedly went through my head was, “Only good can come from this, so stay on track and see where it takes you.”
Fast forward 3 years. Guess where it took me? To a very, very good place.
What being Sugar Free did for me:
- It made me a better cook. Without sugar and white flour as a go to anymore, I learned spices, curry, vegetables, whole grains, etc, etc, which ultimately led me to writing a cookbook and starting a blog. Which is mind boggling and I'm still wondering what happened to my life. I graduated as a Family Nurse Practitioner 8 years ago and had the rest of my life mapped out from there. Now I'm not sure what train I'm on or where it's taking me, but it feels right, so I'm gonna stay on it until it doesn't.
- I conquered my anxiety! I always knew I was wired a bit tight, but having twins took me to a world of anxiety that I didn't understand and couldn't be free of. Without food as my go to cure, I had to find something else. I found meditation. I still deal with anxiety, but I understand it better now, I don't fear it, and it doesn't control me like it did then.
- Remember that angry husband? You should hear him now. When people ask him how he lost so much weight or why he doesn't live on fast food anymore, he tells them he owes it to his wonderful wife who taught him how good real, wholesome food can be. Between you and me, it took 2 years for him to ultimately decide, on his own, that I was on to something good, and now he is my greatest support.
- Sunday dinners with the family even took a change for the better! More than once have I heard the line, “What has Marci done to us” when we look at our food spread and see fruit, veggies, and whole grains as the norm now. Dessert is an after thought, and sometimes, doesn't even get invited. Never ever ever had I anticipated how my choices would have affected others so positively.
- My confidence around food has changed. My food cravings are completely different. I feel like I know and understand my body and what it needs/craves better than ever. I often tell people that you crave the foods you eat. Highly processed and sugary foods can be very deceptive and confusing to the brain. When you nourish your body with wholesome food, you crave that food, and you feel good when you eat it.
- The greatest physical symptom relief I had was that of migraines. I used to get 1-2 migraines a month, and I swear to you I have not had a single migraine since that day I gave up sugar. Not ONE. I'm not here to claim that it will do that for everyone, but my goodness, if I had known that was going to happen, I would have done it years earlier!
- Ultimately going sugar-free gave me freedom. My lifestyle could so easily be viewed as “restrictive”, but it is anything but. To be able to look at a table full of desserts and feel no pull or fear around it anymore, that to me is freedom. To not feel like I'm missing out or picked on or weak, that is freedom.
You may be thinking, well what about this stunning Triple Chocolate Cheesecake or these gorgeous Peppermint Lava Cakes? Well those recipes are proof that there is still a dessert queen inside of me and that I can produce some seriously knock out desserts. On these rare occasions, I taste a bit to know its right, and then I serve them at friends and family get togethers and they all give me 100% honest reviews.
I don't think sugar is evil. Never have. I think there is a place for it and that wonderful memories can be made around a sugar loaded birthday cake, an ice cream cone at the park, or a marshmallow topped mug of hot cocoa. I haven't taken any of that away from my family, I don't believe I need to.
But for my personality, sugar-free has been the key that unlocked so many doors of learning and adventure that wouldn't have come otherwise. One simple decision took me down paths that I wouldn't have found otherwise. If you've been around my blog long, you'll see that whole grain, veggie loaded, naturally sweetened food is my passion. My goal is to never shove it in people's faces and claim that it is the only way to be. I'm only here to show you how good wholesome food can be! For example this Apple Pie (Oh my!)
and this incredible Sweet Potato Casserole!
Why would I hit you with this during the most sugar loaded time of year? Well, from my experience, it was exactly this time of year where my frustration with sweets was at its highest and ultimately lead to sugar avoidance being my New Year's goal.
Also, Jacqueline of Go Sugar Free offers scholarships to her course, and from now until 12/27/17, you can apply for this scholarship. After that you have until January 3rd to get signed up for the next course that starts on January 3rd. This isn't a, go at your own pace, kind of deal. This is a well structured work of art that you get to be a part of with so many other excited/nervous individuals.
If you read through all this, bless you! I hope it gives you hope like it did me 3 years ago amidst my struggling. I'm new at this whole blogging thing and my reach by no means extends to as many people as I would like to know about this course. But if it helps even just one of you achieve the freedom that I feel, than it was well worth it.
If you have any questions regarding this course and my experience, I am an open book! I could talk endlessly about food products I use and love now (hello Crio Bru!), what sugar-free looks like in my life now, how I eat at restaurants, how I feed my family, how I deal with people who think I'm nutzo, do I eat chocolate (short answer: absolutely – see picture below), how I justify eating chocolate, etc etc. You can leave a question here in the comments or send me a message here.
And if you want desperately to do this, but don't think you're strong enough, feel confident that there is a lot of good food in your future still like this Mac and Cheese
this Chicken Enchilada Soup,
and this Fettuccine Cauliflower Alfredo.
I've got your back in the recipe department.
Go Sugar Free also comes with a library packed with unsweetened, whole grain recipes so you will not be missing out on flavor one bit.
Not ready to commit? I understand, and perhaps that means it's not for you or you aren't ready for it. Or maybe you need a few days to process it like I did. I suggest signing up for Jacqueline's Newsletter and as you receive updates and announcements of new courses, you'll have time to ponder it and decide if it's a change you need in your life. Again, I am an open book on this subject! I love to talk about it as much as I love talking about my kids so if you have questions, ask away!