Chapter 26: The Ultimate Challenge

There's a deep longing in your soul for a piece of chocolate at night after dinner most nights, right? Maybe it's just a girl thing, or maybe it's just an Ashley thing. Nonetheless this craving has gotten all too real over the past seven months. 

Last year I vowed to go sweet-free. January 2014 rolled around and prayed to God to give me strength to give up sweets for an entire year. I didn't go a full 365 days of eating no sweets, but I ate sweets only 20 days of the whole year. Those 20 days included grad parties, holidays, birthdays, ect. I was on a roll. 

During that year a lot was learned about the emphasis society puts on sweets. Dessert shapes many of our social gatherings. We call each other to go out for ice cream, or go to coffee shops to get a famous brownie we've been craving for a week, or brunches where it gives us an excuse to eat doughnuts- we even get excited about morning meetings if there's pastries promised to us! And how much do we adore confectionaries that sell fresh, homemade fudge? I obviously couldn't take my eyes off of the pretty candies at Adam Turoni in Savannah! We sacrifice spare dollars here and there all the time to silence our mind's craving for sugar. Society has a sweet tooth. 

When 2015 ended I had the intention of doing another sweet-free year. I went back to school and quickly fell in a pattern of eating sweets again. All my friends wanted to go grab some ice cream, or go for dessert at Lulu's chocolate bar, (literally a bar with only desserts!) or just munch on/make some cookies. What was the harm in that? What was the harm in snacking on what I missed out on for a year?? The harm came when I realized that I started craving sweets again. For the year I refrained from eating sweets I didn't crave them, and they became almost repelling. This newborn craving arrived in February and that's when I knew I was no longer sweet-free. This year I broke a commitment to my body; I began feeding it excess sugar. I've been bound by a craving. 

There are many barriers in college that discourage maintaining your weight. The cafeteria food, lack of sleep and lack of side sports all contribute to the changes that happen to your body in school. It's a transition; you become an adult and start learning what you can and cannot eat. You quickly realize that what you intake directly corresponds with your body image and how you feel. You eat like crap, you feel like crap- and the more bad food you eat the more your brain wants it. The past seven months I've neglected to listen to my body's reaction to this sudden intake of sugar and the results have not been positive. 

This summer I've been introduced to a new barrier: my job. I work at the best place in the world (which I will be writing about later on) that sells nothing but dessert. In the week and a half of working there I've realized that my sweet tooth has totally taken over. Today after evaluating the situation with my best friend, Elsa, we decided it would be a good thing to give up sweets again together for the rest of the summer- and probably rest of the year. 

So what does this entail? 

A “sweet” is a dessert; the top triangle on the food pyramid that we can all physically live without.

A sweet is not sugar- your body needs natural sugars to provide energy. A "sweet" is a dessert; the top triangle on the food pyramid that we can all physically live without. A sweet is a small taste of your grandmother's famous pie, and a pastry at the best coffee shop in town. When your friends want to get ice cream, you have to say no. That's what this adventure entails. While it sucks to decline a dessert at a party, you feel good. You feel good about yourself, you feel accomplished, and you feel empowered by saying no to the craving that has taken over. You start to win the battle. 

Tomorrow we begin a new journey. We are making a commitment to ourselves and our bodies to eating NO sweets for just two months. I share this because a verbal and written commitment keeps me accountable for sticking to my word. If anybody else wants to jump on board with us we'd love to hear from you. I'll also be doing a follow up post about my observations as my body and mind adapts to eating less sugar. We're praying for strength and encouragement from our peers to give up this one harmful and dominant habit in our lives.

Here's to a sweet free summer as of July 7th, 2015! Do you think we'll rise to the challenge?