CoreLife Challenge: Jen Liddy’s Introduction

Sugar: My Drug of Choice

For most of my life, I’ve been able to maintain a comfortable weight with exercise. I certainly wasn’t naturally thin and this never came easy, but I could stave off great gains through exercise!

In my mid-to-late 30s, all that changed. Unfortunately, my approach to nutrition did not change. Weight crept on and became impossible to get rid of.

In my early 40s, I was diagnosed with insulin resistance, which explained why no matter what I ate, I continued to gain weight. Spinach salad or a hot fudge sundae – both caused weight gain. I exercised regularly, worked out with weights, and learned a lot about nutrition from experts. Still, my weight rarely moved.

You may be able to relate. You may have done all the right things and found yourself staring at that immovable number on the scale, wondering, “What else can I possibly do!?” Yep. That is me, too. Frustrated. Angry. Unmotivated. Exhausted.

I’m now 46 and still try to find what works to make the numbers on the scale move. I’m uncomfortable in my body. I don’t sleep through the night. I’m chronically exhausted. I have breakouts on my face. I have cravings for sugar and processed food that peak strongly during the late afternoon – and I often indulge them.

In short, I feel bad about how I feel.

To add insult to injury: I recently got diagnosed with pre-diabetes – a step more severe than insulin resistance, yet not full-blown diabetes.

Devastated and ashamed of this diagnosis, I grappled with what to do. Did I bring this on myself? How could my diet have been better? How could I have worked out harder? What could I have done more?!

I soon realized that those were the wrong questions to ask. It’s impossible to change the past. The really important question I needed to ask myself is, “What do I need to do now?”

Todd Mansfield, a long-time friend and one of the owners of CoreLife Eatery, heard about my diagnosis. Todd approached me with the CoreLife Challenge: eat one healthy meal at CoreLife Eatery six days a week for 21 days and incorporate four to five strength and cardio workouts into my week. Additional rules? No alcohol, no gluten, no refined sugars. The first two are no problem for me: I drink very little alcohol and I have celiac disease. But…sugar? Sugar is my drug of choice!