Confessions of a fitness guru: I had no clue sugar was the devil!

Confessions of a fitness guru: I had no clue sugar was the devil!
Sugar is the devil

I have been a fitness instructor since 2004. What began as a hobby to earn some extra money has since turned into a major career change. I love teaching fitness classes and my participants know it because they love my classes too. I can teach on land. I can teach in the pool. I can teach on the beach. I can teach in a school. In the word of Dr. Seuss, “I am lucky to be what I am!” quote-i-am-lucky

There have been times when I’ve taught 10 or even 20 classes in one week. It sounds crazy, but fitness professionals know this can happen. You don’t set out to do it, you just do. You have your own schedule then you fill in for others and before you know it, you’ve taught a gazillion hours.  This used to thrill me, with the exception of some questions I just couldn’t seem to answer: Why can’t I lose weight the way I want to? Why can’t I transform my body like the women in Shape magazine?

Now, I know people are air brushed and all kinds of things, and this has been the rationalization I have told myself over the years to keep myself encouraged when others seemed to get themselves into amazing shape and I’d just be stuck at the same place. Up until recently, I’d just resolved within myself to accept that I’m getting older so this would just be it–until three weeks ago when I saw my oldest daughter, Ashley, and her now husband, Charlie. The long and the short of it is this, they looked amazing! I mean like, “What-on-earth-have-you-guys-been-doing?” They looked FRIGGIN FANTASTIC!

Ashley looked like a black Barbie doll and Charlie looked like a svelt Ken. 

My beautiful daughter Ashley and her husband Charlie.

My beautiful daughter Ashley and her husband Charlie.

If you are like me, you will want to know what they’d been doing, and I’ll tell you. Basically, they removed sugar from their diet. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Maybe yes. Maybe no. I don’t know what you think, but I always knew the problem I was having with my physical transformation was my diet. I mean, for heaven’s sake, I have a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion and teach people on nutrition.  “You make abs in the kitchen, not the gym,” is what we say, except I never wanted to dealt with this fact. I just wanted to believe that moderation with this or that would take me to the next level, but there’s no way to get there with the hidden devil of sugar in almost every dressing, spice, drink or dessert!


I didn’t think it was true, but it is. I checked my spice rack. You know what I found? In Lawry’s seasoned salt (that I use only in moderation…or so I thought)–sugar.  Lemon pepper has sugar. What is sugar doing in seasoned salts and peppers!!!

I checked the levels in oatmeal. Sugar.

I checked the levels in yogurt. Sugar.

Diet drinks. Sugar, disguised as 0 calorie sweeteners.

Fruit bars that I ate for dessert. Sugar.

Peanut butter has sugar.

Protein bars have sugar.

Just about everything processed or with some kind of 0 calorie packaging has sugar disguised as something else.

Is it any wonder we are all overweight? Is it any wonder violence is so high in Chicago with many neighborhoods smack dab in the middle of a food desert with the only affordable food options being processed or drowning in sugar and high in fat? Food is making us crazy! Sugar is killing us!

I want to live to my fullest potential. I don’t want to be the fitness professional who gives exciting classes and motivates others but could never achieve my own personal success because I am a slave to sugar–the hidden devil no one wants to really deal with. I find it especially interesting that people will condemn others for their sexual orientation or for their political affiliation or for whatever it is they think they have a right to put someone else down for, all the while ignoring that they have a major health issue that is easily controllable simply by taking responsibility for what they eat.

I must take responsibility for my own health. I must be more than a sermon.  I must practice what I preach.  This is my cross to bear.

I’m so glad God does in fact use the children to lead others, because in this case, He used my child, my beautiful adult daughter Ashley, to show me that I can become who I dream of being and I don’t have to settle for less. It’s been five days and I’ve gone from drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day with heavy cream and at least five Splendas, to one cup with coconut milk (and maybe one Splenda or all natural sugar). I’m getting there a cup, a meal, and a snack at a time. I’m freeing myself from the sugar devil, and it feels good.

***My daughter actually did more than remove sugar from her diet. She followed the Whole 30 meal plan and now I am doing the same. For more information about Whole30, click here. ***

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    Elana Anthony

    I am a wife and mother blessed to have six daughters who fill my home with love and laughter. My passion is writing and teaching, but most especially inspiring people to live healthy lives in my faith-filled fitness classes. My dream is to have my own faith and fitness TV show where people from all the world collectively join together on our "temple" building project of enjoying optimal health. I am a certified group fitness instructor by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and earned graduate degrees in Writing from DePaul University, in addition to a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the California University of Pennsylvania. I have seen and experienced the hand of God work and move in my life, and consider it an honor and blessing to be saved to serve.

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