Erika Nicole Kendall runs BlackGirlsGuideToWeightLoss.com -- an amazing, no-nonsense source on all things fitness related. Her posts are funny, full of information, and leave you feeling like you can go out and make changes in your lifestyle. I've especially enjoyed reading her posts on sugar. Erika was kind enough to answer a few of my follow up questions -- here they are!
Martha van Gelder: What do you recommend to people trying to get rid of a sugar addiction?
Erika Nicole Kendall: Therapy, and the book The End of Overeating by David A Kessler. Seriously. Learning to cope with life out of the context of binge eating is hard, and getting assistance with that is always okay.
Martha: So, what’s the big problem with juice? Can something made from fruits and veggies really be bad for you?
Erika: Now, I'm not a juice drinker because I prefer to eat my calories, not drink them, but also because I'm a recovering binge/emotional eater; sudden and swift intakes of sugars aren't emotionally healthy for me.
However, there are two big things that I struggle with with people who juice: 1) I can't understand adults who refuse to eat vegetables unless they can drink them in a glass full of juiced fruits, and 2) I'm relatively certain that the intake of sugar, in the absence of fiber, is what contributes to high blood sugar and, thereafter, type 2 diabetes. (Robert Lustig talks about this an awful lot.)
If people are juicing tons of fruits and there's no fiber to soften the blow of that sugar on their system, then that's a problem. If people are just juicing kale with pineapples, apples, strawberries, pears and mangoes because they can't stand to try to find a way to cook the kale healthily, then that's neither sustainable nor sensible.
Martha: What has been the hardest thing for your readers to hear from you?
Erika: They seriously struggle with the fact that I don't do juices, supplements, diets or detoxes. It's almost like it's an affront to everything they've learned about what it truly means to be healthy.
Martha: Kids LOVE sugar – what do you do with your daughter to help her learn about healthy eating?
Erika: It's hard with kids, especially since they're in school, and they're learning about life WITHOUT you. It's more important for me to reinforce for my daughter a standard understanding of what "healthy" is, because she WILL eat the Oreos when I'm not around. I've accepted that. So, I try to ensure that she not only knows what "healthy" is, but also what "tasty" is. If I take her to a bakery and pick out a macaroon, and sit that next to an Oreo, she's going to choose the macaroon. She knows quality.
I also don't spaz on her if she manages to eat the Oreo, anyway. They're kids. I'd rather her grow up healthy than teach her the specifics as a teen, than have her develop a complex that results in her hiding in bathrooms eating "bad foods" because she doesn't want Mommy and Daddy to look down upon her.
Martha: I thought your “come to fitness moment” in your blog was a pretty powerful story – but it also seemed to illustrate that making such a huge change in your life requires a huge change in mindset. Do you think your message can reach people who haven’t had a big shift in clarity like that?
Erika: Yes, only because I think people often wonder what's separating them from making the kind of progress they may want to make for themselves. I find that most people are waiting for a big motivational push to come from the sky to make them get moving, but it never happens that way, and I think the "come to fitness moment" is the cornerstone of that realization. No, a giant foot will not descend from the clouds and kick you in the hindquarters. You've just got to breathe deeply, stand up, and dive head first. And, more often than not, you've been made better for it.