“Give up sugar,” reads the headline on an article in the Huffington Post Jan. 31, 2014. It says all nutritionists agree that giving up processed sugar, not the kind in fruit, is a good idea. Because “while we all know we should eat in moderation, that can be almost impossible.”
Right here I need to interject a hearty, “Amen!” I’ve known this for years! It just took me years to actually surrender it.
Corrie Pikul, the author of the article, points out that experiments show “that sugar affects the brain in the same way as morphine and other opioids do.” What this means is “the more sugar we eat, the more we want,” according to Nicole Avena, PhD, “and we need increasing amounts of it to keep producing the same euphoric effects.”
I didn’t really understand the addictive qualities of sugar when I ballooned up to 430 pounds. I would go on diets and lose weight, sometimes up to 100 pounds. As soon as I would go off the diet and reward myself with a sweet treat after being good for six months or more, I’d immediately go back into the tail spin cycle.
For years God had given me a plan that included to stop eating processed sugar and eat less bread, but I had tried that short-term and it never worked so I couldn’t see how I could do it. I would sigh and try again.
As I gained more and more weight and ignored what God told me I felt more and more guilty which drove me to eat sugar and bread all the more. It was an endless treadmill from which I longed to get off.
Most people I talk to who are having a problem with weight agree with me, and the nutritionists, that if they could just stop eating processed sugar and flour, they would lose weight. Most, however, don’t have the slightest idea how to start.
The key is in the headline above and in what God told me for years—give up sugar, stop eating sugar. In other words, surrender.
“Cold turkey,” you say?
“Yes,” I say, “and the sooner the better.”
Sugar is one of those substances that when you eat it, you want more. For a person who has the metabolic makeup of one who is addicted to sugar, they cannot stop eating it. If they eat one cookie, they want five.
The last run-in I had with sugar occurred over cookies. I consumed them because they were gluten-free, but they certainly weren’t sugar-free. I had eaten five of them before I heard God’s still, small voice ask me what I was doing. At the time I was eating a cookie and driving.
I answered, “I’m throwing this cookie out the window.” I did and I haven’t had processed sugar since. I had been eating sugar-free for several years. This slip-up, though, showed me I was still a sugar addict and probably always will be.
There is, however, a way to get free of sugar. And, believe it or not, it’s much easier than living in bondage to it.
There are essentially three phases to getting free of sugar or any addiction: acceptance, surrender and obedience. I’ll not go into each in depth in this article, but will give you a definition of each. Tomorrow I’ll share more in-depth.
Acceptance is knowing you have a problem. For me it was simply, “I am a sugar addict.”
Surrender is laying down your addiction for the rest of your life. If you accept you are a sugar addict, you must surrender it on the altar to God.
Obedience is walking out your surrender with the power of God’s grace at your back propelling you forward. God won’t take the cookie out of your hand, but He will remind you if you ask Him.
The most rewarding part of this journey is getting closer to God. For so many years I was trying, trying, trying to fix my problem myself. When I admitted I had a weakness, I needed His strength to pull me through.1
His strength comes in total, abject surrender. Many times mine comes when I am face down on the floor. I get as low as I can to let Him know I am surrendered totally to Him. I invite Him to speak into my life, show me where I’m going astray and what I need to do to fix it.
I have never ascertained God’s voice more clearly than after I surrendered the thing that was more important to me than Him.
Recently I talked about the issue of Surrender on Views from the Heart, an awesome Christian radio talk show in Albany, N.Y. Take a listen. Let me know what you think and what your questions are.
1 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.