A Youth Leader's Struggle: Sugar Addiction
Confession I've never talked about this before. I'd rather give a cat a bath then talk about food and my relationship to it.
But I feel like it'll be freeing in writing it, and helpful to someone
who may be struggling with the same thing.
I am a junk food junkie.
Sugar. Chips. Processed foods.
People debate on whether or not this is a disorder, an addiction,
a coping mechanism, a genetic trait.
For me, I don't really care what people call it. I call it a problem that has the power, if I let it, to define and defeat me.
I called my brother to tell him the other day that I felt helpless. I get busy,
stressed, and at night I find myself on the couch eating whatever I can find. And at this time of year, I find myself eating cookies, candy, treats, all day long and all night too.
I'm a thin person. I'm blessed with a good metabolism. I have been an athlete for most of my life. This isn't about weight gain or weight loss for me. This struggle is about the inability to control something that seems to have power over me. This struggle is about an inability to make good choices when it comes to my body.
I've prayed, I've fasted, I've tried a lot of things to help but always find myself in sugar binges that leave me feeling guilty, then apathetic. I start over. The cycle repeats.
It wasn't until this weekend when I sat with a friend talking about her hunt for a Reece's Cup. She sent her son to find her one at our Fall Party. I don't remember the whole conversation
but what it uncovered is that she struggles too. We agreed that are moments,
mid Reece's Cup when we are already thinking about eating the next one.
So we decided we were going to quit. Cold turkey.
And I decided to start reading.
What I found helped me to see that there are so many people just like me, with the same struggle.
Youth ministry gives me every good reason to eat a steady diet of grease and sugar. There is a moment
when I need to overcome--to be a practitioner of faith--in front of my students.
Someday, I'll be able to control my sugar intake, but for now, I need to quit.
I want to discover a healthy pattern for myself and let my kids and students see me "faithing" before them.
Here's what I'm going to try:
I'll start with a wild and reckless trust that Jesus won't leave me.
I'll talk with a friend who will do these things together with me...
Eliminate obvious sugars from my diet.
Eliminate artificial sweeteners that bring on cravings.
Get more rest.
Eat often, never skipping meals.
Eat whole foods that aren't packaged.
Be accountable to someone.
(This has made a HUGE difference for me.)
I'm writing because I know, all of us are struggling with something.
We may pretend that whatever it is doesn't exist but it's ability to ruin our day, our mood, our ministry is proof that it does.
The Holy Spirit can speak to us and the Word of God can invigorate us and give us direction--but it becomes harder to perceive it's power when we are shielded with guilt and crouched in hiding. I'm not suggesting you broadcast your struggle--but start with a conversation with someone who may understand and who may be able to help.
Whatever it is that you struggle with. Tell a person that you trust.
I hid my pain in laughter and in jokes about what sugar does to me.
The Bible says to carry each others burdens...to confess so that we may be healed.
I'll be able to eat my kids' birthday cakes.
But for now, I need a little rehab and I'm finally not ashamed to admit it.
Do you find yourself struggling to eat healthy as you serve teenagers?