I had tried to quit refined sugar numerous times over the course of several years, but I finally stopped for good after being diagnosed with SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). In order to rid my small intestine of the bacteria that weren’t supposed to make a home there, I had to go on a very strict diet to starve them. There are a lot of things on the no list, the biggest one being sugar. Because I had quit sugar before, I knew what to expect for two months because that’s the longest I had ever been off it. I knew that my menstrual cramps would go away, and I knew that I would lose some weight, and I knew that some of my anxiety would fade, but as two months became three and then four, I started to notice something extraordinary that I did not expect!!! For the first time in over ten years, my chronic back pain went away. I thought maybe the pain went away because of the lack of bacteria which have been known to cause back pain, but I had a recurrence of SIBO over the summer and didn’t experience pain at all.
It’s hard to write about the experience of being pain free without wanting to cry. I was looking at journal entries I had written when the pain was so horrible and I can’t believe that that was my reality for ten years. For an experiential anatomy class I drew this picture of how I experienced my body at the moment:
Touching my toes hurt, I had to brace myself when I sneezed, I tensed up when people hugged me sometimes because I was afraid of them causing me pain by accident. I felt so restricted in my body. I always blamed my scoliosis and when I got x-rays I blamed my herniated disc. I took pain meds that made me feel spacey and yoga made me cry because a good day would be followed by a bad day where I couldn’t even do a sit up. Now, a year and half later, all that is behind me. It has taken me long time to trust my body again and play without inhibition and fear. My body healed long ago, but my spirit took a little longer. A big piece of my identity was wrapped up in being a person who experienced chronic pain, so now I am in the process of experiencing my new identity. I am 31, but I feel younger than I did at 20!!!
Being pain free makes me realize how complicated life was when I ate sugar and was in pain. It’s amazing how much mental effort, money and time go into avoiding pain and it’s amazing how much mental effort, money and time it takes to maintain a sugar addiction! Going sugar free may seem complicated at first, but it is actually the best decision I have ever made that has made my life more simple. I have saved money, I’ve learned to cook, I play more, I don’t have to worry about my weight, I eat less and less often because my blood sugar is under control, and I don’t have to go to the doctor for pain! If you are considering going sugar free, contact me because I would love to help and share what I know and offer support.