A while back I mentioned that I participated in the 40-Day Sugar Fast, based on the book of the same name by Wendy Speake. I kept notes during the fast and typed up my thoughts when it was complete. Here’s what I learned.
To be clear, for the fast I refrained from desserts and any food item with a high refined sugar content. That was a decision I made based on my habits, behaviors, and what I felt like I should give up. Other readers might have made slightly different choices, but the spirit of the 40 days remains the same.
1/13/22 – I am being tested. It is day 4 today. I’ve been doing OK the first 3 days with the cravings and the moodiness, but man, today it really hit me. I am moody, cranky, and craving sugar like crazy. I’m also currently hungry, and the first things I find myself reaching for are sugar-based foods. So I’m trying to retrain my brain to want something else…the problem is, we don’t have a lot of healthy snacks at the moment. I need to go to the grocery. So I’ve kind of set myself up for failure here. Whoops.
1/14/22 – Jake still tested positive for Covid this morning after 14 days. It’s the straw the broke the camel’s back. I realized that I’ve been carrying the stress of other people’s burdens and it’s getting a little heavy underneath all this weight. This morning I wanted to run to the pantry, but we have zero snacks. I ran to the freezer next. I have these frozen veggie muffins for the kids that I’ve been avoiding because they have chocolate in them, but I stood in front of that open freezer door and read the nutrition panel on the package, trying to justify 10g of sugar as not cheating on the Sugar Fast because it was only 10g and they are super healthy otherwise. I caught my self mid-argument and closed the door. It’s not the quantity of sugar. It’s the reason behind why I opened the pantry and the freezer door in the first place. I ran to food this morning when I should have ran to Jesus instead. I texted my friends with frustration in my words instead of giving that frustration to God, who is the only one actually capable of fixing anything anyway. 40 days without sugar sounds so simple on paper, but when you invite God to do work in your life, surprise, He shows up and does some work. And let me tell you, right now it doesn’t feel great. I don’t like that I’m craving sugar right now. I want to be stronger than that. I don’t like that my first instinct this morning was to eat comfort food. I want my first instinct to be to pray. To worship. To praise God for the good He’s done in my life amidst the not-so-good. But becoming a better person and a better Christian takes time, as my pastor pointed out in last week’s sermon. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not always pleasant either. But God is good and works all things out for HIs glory.
1/18/22 – God is giving me the strength to make other decisions that don’t involve sugar. However, am I filling the sugar void with another item instead of Jesus?
1/19/22 – Started my day with a nice run and reading today’s chapter in The Sugar Fast. It was more more effective than reading it at the end of the day, go figure. It set the intention for the day. Unfortunately, I spent the rest of my quiet morning time on IG instead of starting a new Bible study, so I’ll have to do that tonight. But it’s still a step in the right direction and I’ll take little victories as they come.
2/3/22 – Failed for 9 days and ate sugar. Shook myself free of the triggers and the guilt and allowed myself some grace. I refocused on the purpose of the sugar fast and not the benefits of the sugar fast, which I believe is why I gave in to the cravings and temptation. I wanted to see results quickly. I was engaging in the Fast for the wrong reasons. I caught up on the reading and realized that I wanted the results of the Fast more than the reason for the Fast. The reason, of course, is God, the ultimately Provider and Sustainer. I didn’t crave spending time with Him more than I craved sugar, and I craved seeing a new number on the scale more than the Creator. Gutted, I renewed my intentions to continue the Fast for its true purpose: learning to spend time with my God, craving time with my God, and trusting that He will sustain me through the somewhat petty difficulty of not eating sugar… Because it is more than not eating sugar. It’s emptying myself through discipline so that I have clarity to receive whatever God has for me during this time. I can feel nudges on my heart but I haven’t been open to them. I’m open now.
2/4/22 – Today I had an argument with the scale. I’m pretty sure it was lying to me, as I don’t feel like I weigh the number that it displayed. And I’m pretty sure that I was hit with this discouragement because I had resolved to refocus and reprioritize the remaining days left in this Fasting devotional.
God, give me Your strength when I don’t believe in my own strength, give me eyes to see beauty in your creation even when I don’t feel beautiful, and let the burden of my glass scale shatter.
Day 41 – It’s over. What did I learn? I learned that I am not as dependent on God as I should be or want to be, and that is something worth changing. I learned that giving up sugar for 40 days means that it affects me differently on day 41 than how it affected me on day 0. That is a tough realization, but a good one. I am better in tune with my body and the affects that sugar has on it, but I’m also aware of my emotional eating triggers and the habits that form chocolate coated ruts within my brain. It’s time to scrub out those ruts and replace them with something more beneficial. I’ve learned that sugar is not bad, nor am I a bad person for indulging or falling off the wagon. I’ve learned to be nicer to myself when mistakes happen. I’ve learned that God wants all of me. I don’t get to keep bits and pieces for myself, hoarding them away for a rainy day. God is with me in the rain. He’s always with me. He is patient and loving and doesn’t give up when I need to learn and re-learn lessons about myself and about Him. I’ve learned that there is power in reading Scripture and today’s Christian culture does not utilize or emphasize that enough. Read your Bible. That’s how we hear God speak.
Day 60 – I’ve allowed sugar to come back into my life in a sustainable way, but I’m more aware than ever of my need for God.
And that was the whole point.