on new year's resolutions + quitting sugar

Want to know a secret? I never used to make New Year's resolutions. Honestly, I thought they were stupid. Why would I wait to change something when I could just start today?

But a few years ago, as I was looking to simplify my life around the start of the year, I made one and stuck with it. And, because I made it through twelve months, it became a lifestyle change that I don't even think about anymore - I just do it. Over the next few years, I found that I am actually pretty good at making New Year's resolutions and sticking with them through the year. 

Here are some good tips on keeping yourself accountable:

Be specific. Don't just say, "This year, I am going to get healthy." Wanting to be healthier is all well and good, but you need to have a plan. I like to stick with resolutions that are measurable like "I am going to work out every other day" or "I am only going to eat out for two meals a week." 

Write it down. I really don't know why this one works but it does. For goals that I am going to need a daily reminder, I usually print out a pretty sign and hang it somewhere that I will see it. (If you have goals that pertain to eating habits, your fridge is a great place to hang a sign.)

Tell a friend. Some people are super self-motivated with lifestyle changes. I am more of a prove-em-wrong type of personality. So when I am making a big change, I tend to tell everyone. I mainly do this for the "you're nuts" looks - those are super motivating to me. 

Look at what you are gaining, not what you are giving up. This year, I am giving up sugar. Instead of looking at what I am giving up (like no cake on my birthday), I am looking at what I am gaining (a healthier body, less cravings, less mind-fog.) 

So why am I giving up sugar? 

A little background first: I never really had a sweet tooth. I was one of those people who would always choose an appetizer over a dessert. Then slowly, sweets crept into my life after college. I don't know if it was the plethora of baking blogs I started reading or the office parties every other week but I made and ate a lot of sweets. 

A few years ago, after battling IBS issues for years, I came across the Paleo lifestyle. I regularly started eating that way and I didn't know my body could feel so good! What I had originally thought was normal (brain fog, stomach issues, daily nausea) was most definitely NOT. So sugar gave way to healthy treats like bananas with almond butter and cinnamon and mixed berries with whipped coconut cream. 

And then I had a baby. During the holiday season. And it was so much easier to reach for the cookies, cake, and pies that people had brought over than to make myself something healthy. And for the past year, I have been battling this. I would do well for a few weeks and then I would have a cookie and binge on anything with sugar for a week straight. I already ruined eating healthy with the cookie so why not?

There is no doubt in my mind that I am addicted to sugar. (Experts say it can be as addicting as cocaine. Cocaine, people!) So, I am going cold turkey. I know what one cookie, one piece of cake, or one chocolate croissant can do to me. It really isn't about self-control anymore. 

And here is why:

My cholesterol is high. I had my annual physical in August. My physician told me that my cholesterol was way too high for someone my age. What?! I am NOT that person. I was at my healthiest two years ago. I am only 28 - there is no way I am going on medication. 

I want my closet back. Those pre-pregnancy clothes are taunting me. I want them back. And I am not taking no for an answer. 

I want the aches to go away. The weirdest thing has been happening over the last few months. After I eat a dessert, I no longer just get a headache. I have pain that creeps down the back of my neck into my shoulders. It feels like I am on fire. I would go to my doctor about it but I know what is causing it.

I am sick of the brain fog and fatigue. I really should never eat dessert at work. About 20 minutes after I do, I regret it. It is difficult for me to focus and I feel SO. TIRED. 

So, sugar, I am breaking up with you. And, no, it's not me. It is most definitely you...