It’s NOT a Question!
This past Wednesday, May 1st, four of my friends–including one of my contributors, April–have decided to do a 31-day challenge with me: to eat NOTHING but whole foods for the entire month of May. Nothing processed, nothing man-made, no additives or preservatives, nothing.
Could YOU do it?
It seems sort of simple at first…at least I think it should seem simple…healthy foods for a month, right? How hard can that be? Then I remembered this weekend is Cinco de Mayo, next weekend is Mother’s Day AND a friend of mine is getting married (Congrats Heather!!), the following weekend I’m taking a trip to Charlotte NC, and the last weekend is Memorial weekend. What a month to eat nothing but chicken and vegetables, right?! Fortunately, I have four more friends struggling right along side me. And unfortunately, they all probably hate me right about now. They’re already struggling.
Dana is suffering from sugar withdrawal. She actually texted me that she would like to risk jail time right about now in order to have some chocolate covered almonds. Reagan feels exhausted and had to endure a torturous intern-potluck at work in which more dessert was brought than food. Trevor had to ask me what he could eat tonight for dinner because his work was headed to a popular chain restaurant. I think I’m eating too many nuts again. When I eat low carb I tend to overeat nuts to feel full and end up taking in too many calories despite my constant efforts to lean up. And April…poor April…she had a panic attack on Day 1 and ate two donuts! Haha…oh these poor friends of mine. I really appreciate their will power. They’re even taking before/after pics and measurements just to see how eating these whole foods pays off. Me personally, I’d like to have the six pack that I almost got when I did my 46-day Paleo challenge over Lent. Stupid sugar binge on Easter….and then the following weekend….and yet the following weekend after that one, screwed me up and made me “soft” again. I HATE SUGAR! Have I ever mentioned that?
Speaking of sugar, I had NO idea that April, my powerlifting champ, used to have a sugar addiction. And I’m not exaggerating either…I’m talkin’ legit, life-threatening, rehab needing, addiction. I know I’ve told you how horrible sugar can be, but this is a whole new level. Read April’s story below–and find out how she almost lost her life to this poison.
Cake vs. Coma: What’s Your Pick?
by April Harper
Let’s talk about cake, and my addiction to all things cake-like or sugar laden. MMMMMM, chocolate cake, pineapple upside-down cake, devils food cake, German chocolate cake, yellow cake, cake mix, confetti cake, birthday cake…is that the same as confetti cake…who care’s? It’s cake!!
When I was 15, I used to eat an all-sugar diet. Coke, cake icing straight from the plastic container, lollipops, pop-tarts, cupcakes…this list could seriously go on forever and you’d never see one healthy item. I ate like this every day. I also played soccer and was on dance team, and each day I would come home from school and practice, have soda and candy bars, and I would fall asleep until the next day without eating dinner.
This folks, is called a sugar CRASH. And it went on for a few years, then suddenly one day….I couldn’t feel my face, hands, legs; I couldn’t even feel my fingers to unbutton my pants to go to the bathroom. I would bite my tongue when eating and would start bleeding and not know it. I once sat down but couldn’t feel my butt so I actually missed the seat and fell to the floor, which was embarrassing. After about a month of this, I realized something was seriously wrong. I told my mom and we scheduled some blood work. After five hours and two vials of blood being drawn every thirty minutes on an fasted stomach, I was diagnosed as severely hypoglycemic and was told that if I didn’t get my sugar addiction under control, I would end up in a coma. Scary stuff let me tell you. I saw a nutritionist, she explained how important nutrition is and how it fuels our body, and to me, fuel was important for my love: soccer. It was all I thought about or cared about, nothing was above it. I knew I had to make a big change and begin to eat healthy. And I did it cold turkey: I stopped all of the sweets, I got addicted to vegetables (I guess you could say I have an extremely addictive personality), I ate salads everyday for a week at one point. But, I noticed that I didn’t crave candy or sweets and I began to associate feeling poorly with sweets and feeling like gold with healthy foods. I did well with the change and noticed that my symptoms of hypoglycemia were pretty much gone unless I got hungry or skipped a meal. After a few years, my symptoms were completely gone.
Now fast forward to about three years ago: I stopped smoking…yep, I used to be a smoker, I never claimed to be perfect. I quit, with massive amounts of help from my husband. After that, I noticed that when I got stressed, I would reach for soda or sweets. It wasn’t until last year around August sometime that I noticed my sweets problem had resurfaced with a vengeance. And let me tell you, it is intense. Carbs, sweets, colas, candy, cake, waffles even, have become crack to me. I crave them, I can’t walk past them without giving in and over indulging. They have taken over my brain once again–it’s a constant and I mean CONSTANT battle with me. Because of this, I’ve been having bouts of hypoglycemia symptoms again.
So, recently….Steph of StrongFigure asked me to join her challenge to eat whole foods for the month of May, which would mean avoiding sweets. I know/knew this would be extremely difficult for me. Today was the first day, and while in Walmart I was faced with the ultimate test….a display of donuts, including my very favorite, the LONGJOHN….and I failed. I had two–shoved them in one after the other without taking a breath. Wow. This is really an issue, and it never hit me so hard that …I HAVE A PROBLEM. So, after shoveling down the donuts and then confessing, I’ve decided to do this hardcore like I had to when I was 15. Cold turkey, no sweets. I fought this at 15 and I’m much stronger now, so I’ve decided to journal it every single day, because for some reason it’s very difficult, more difficult than before. Maybe more stress these days? I was young and carefree then, things are different now. So, I’ve beat many problems that tried to take me down in my life…now its your turn cake.
Bring it on whole foods.
Whatcha think? Can April do it? Can we all do it? We would LOVE your opinions–tell us below or visit us in the FORUM. When in the forum, create a login and once you’ve been issued a password, you can reply and chat with us on any topic. Feel free to follow us and help us through our challenge. We’ll be looking for recipes, inspiration and motivation. Come visit–frequently–and help us out!
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Feature image by kimberlykv.