Are we “once a year”-ing ourselves into metabolic destruction??

I hear so many times a week “Oh Erin you and Ben are just so fanatical about sugar and eating right and obesity and exercise and Plexus.”

Yes, we are.  We surely are.  Why?  Well it is no secret we both used to live extremely unhealthy lives.  I was always obese and then morbidly obese before my gastric bypass about six years ago.

Ben had high cholesterol DANGEROUSLY high- and ate the typical unhealthy southern diet of fried everything and biscuits and gravy and hit the drive thru pretty often with his line of work which included travel. He ate lots of processed boxed frozen garbage for most of his adult life as well- until he finally followed his love of cooking and turned it into a side business catering in the medical field. Even then, when he began cooking more often, it was typical unhealthy, but tasty fare.

I fed my kids frozen fish sticks and we frequented fast food joints and I cooked things like boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper when I was a single mom.  I bought the snack cakes and Little Debbies and all of the typical junk we are feeding our kids.  They were chubby.  All three of them.  Cute and chubby. And sugared up most of the time. From added sugar in boxed foods, to juices and cookies and cakes and ice cream, they had it all.  And mom looked like this:   And was totally unhealthy.  I was a heart attack or stroke or diabetic waiting to happen.  It was bad.  REALLY bad.

November 2008 015 Disney four 2008 043This was me two weeks before my bypass making the rounds of every restaurant in Walt Disney World in a 12 day long stream of gluttony I likened to the Last Supper. This was of course long before any of my nutritional or fitness certifications and before I went back to school to become a dietitian.  I was as clueless as most of America.  But I really did know EVERY restaurant and menu in Disney.  Sad huh?
December 2008 085
      Then my dad who was in pretty darned good shape, had a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass.  It was enough for me to say NO MORE and my new healthier life was born which also brought a love for fitness and nutrition.  Life changed FOREVER.  It was little by little and not overnight.  It came from educating myself and deciding NOT to be a statistic anymore but to truly change my life for good.

My road has been far from perfect and as a food addict I struggle daily and always will, but after therapy and education and now having the tool of Plexus to help me make the right choices, I am in a really great and happy place.  I went from the pictures above to this over a period of 5 years.  erinspic

I developed a passion for running, until an accident in 2012 took that one away from me.  (I can still walk so I suppose I should not whine about the running, but I miss it terribly!) I became a Personal Trainer and water fitness instructor and also Fitness Nutrition Coach so yes- I am pretty passionate about this stuff for sure!  I have been on both sides of health and wellness and see what both sides are doing to and for people daily.  After my accident and back surgery, I regained 40 pounds of the over 130 I had lost and then thankfully  lost that plus another 15 with the tool of Plexus.

erinbeforeaftermay2014This picture is pre-Plexus on left and just a few months ago on right.  The photo above in the medal at Disney is midway through Plexus loss while the one on left of that was pre- gastric bypass.  I like to be very clear in distinguishing the two.  I am really proud of my  results with both.

So a lot changed in my house over the years.  We do not buy cookies and snack cakes and soda and junk.  For us moderation really is moderation in that I can count on one hand the times sugar, specifically added sugar, not sugar from nature in fruits and veggies and dairy- enters my house in a year.

Do we give our kids alcohol or cigarettes?  Sugar kills more people through metabolic disease than both of those but we still have commercials for sugar filled food and drinks BLASTED at our kids.  Fast food restaurants give toys with meals and have playgrounds inside.  The food industry is smart although I truly do not know how they sleep at night.

To me, feeding our kids loads of sugar is child abuse.   PERIOD.  And yes I used to abuse my kids with sugar.  Morbidly obese kids who are eating garbage daily and have no other rare medical issue causing obesity are being abused.  Can kids drive themselves to the grocery store or the fast food joint?  Does a child have the ability to buy the ice cream and candy and cakes and trash we feed them?  NOPE. Why is it okay to poison or kids from birth with the most addictive and abused drug on the market?  We think it is okay and are brainwashed into thinking there is nothing wrong with “just a little bit”- or “it is just once a year.”

The bottom line is we are excusing ourselves into the destruction of our  health. You can literally walk into any grocery store at ANY time of year and find a bakery and candy aisle stocked with sugary junk for some event that we excuse away by saying it is “just once a year.”

BUT- is it REALLY?

January- the Valentine’s Day stuff is out and in certain areas you will start to see King Cakes and Mardi Gras candy and junk.

February- Valentine’s Day junk and usually Easter junk already out for the taking.

March- Easter junk everywhere.  Then comes all of the green junk for St. Patrick’s Day.

April- usually more Easter junk still there depending on when Easter falls.  Mother’s Day junk is starting to show up also.

May- Mother’s Day junk because special candy and cookies and cake are just what we need to tell mom we love her!!

June- Father’s Day junk and fun summer junk!!!  TONS of summer sweets and treats and many are frozen.

July- July Fourth Holiday and now comes the patriotic junk.  HOW could we possibly celebrate all we love about America without candy and cakes and pies and cookies???

August- BACK TO SCHOOL JUNK!!!  Our kids cannot return without mini bags of every type of junk known to man!  Goldfish, cheese-its, fruit roll ups, granola bars, fruit snacks, juice pouches, cookies and EVERYTHING MINI.  Just what we need for a successful year of school- SUGAR AND EMPTY CARBS!

September- Halloween junk is here!!!!  No explanation needed!!!

October- This is where it gets almost “frenzy-like” because we have Halloween junk, fall/Thanksgiving junk, and already Christmas junk all together!!!

November- Thanksgiving and Christmas junk

December- Christmas junk and usually Valentine’s Day junk and in the south Mardi Gras junk.


Now throw into the mix the trips for ice cream as a reward for something, the once in a while donut or candy store visit, the birthday cake, and if you have kids the endless birthday parties with said cake they attend, the post sporting event treats from the team mom, the school parties with treats, and more.

So is the sugar frenzy REALLY “just once a year?”

I think not…

When we took these things out of our home some people went ballistic!  I got comments like “Wow, you are going to punish your kids because you are fat?”  No I was actually SAVING my kids from the life of obesity I lived until my late 30’s.  It is no fun.

And now the food industry has fooled most parents and well-meaning people again with LOW fat cookies and 100 calorie packs of cookies and BAKED chips.  Most people do not know better.  Guess what?  Low fat means double sugar.  The calorie difference and sugar difference in baked/regular chips is almost NONE.

Look at my drug of choice- Doritos- yes I could have eaten a whole bag.  When the low fat ad fat free craze began of course the food industry had a plan.  They just replaced the fat with sugar.  Why do you think obesity has grown and grown just as hard and strong while we have more gyms and more fitness equipment etc than we had 30 years ago?


Look at the carbohydrate count here and calories:

baked-doritos-nc doritosnutrition

Can someone explain to me how one of those is any better than the other?  The BAKED one actually has more carbs and sugar.  WAKE UP AMERICA!  This is not food.  THIS is food:


Here is another one and this one is taken from Fed Up itself. cookie  Newsflash- most of the protein bars out there- they are just glorified candy bars.

The ONLY brand we promote at our events and seminars is Quest.  That is it.  No junk in them, no gluten, they taste good and are high in fiber and protein and SUPER LOW carb.  3DProteinBars_Fan_300dpi_01 These are an awesome pre-or post- workout fuel or an on the go fast meal.  I do not think Ben and I would have survived the crazy rush of our flight home from Las Vegas last week without Quest bars! And check out the recipes for baking them on their website.  MY granddaughter loves the protein “cookies” we make for her from the bars.

When we speak to groups about the dangers of sugar and how incredibly harmful it is to us and to our health, we get a wonderful reply and reaction.  When you are in person and have an hour to explain it all, people GET IT. However online, reading posts here-sometimes I swear I can see the eye-rolls through Facebook.  I used to let it bother me, but now I just keep on preaching, with Ben, because for every person we touch, the one or two who roll their eyes or who un-friend us on Facebook really do NOT matter.

Here is a FACT- WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES with sugar in this country.  And now all over the world.  This means sugar- added sugar- in ALL FORMS.  I do not care if you call it high fructose corn syrup, sugar in the raw, brown sugar, whatever, SUGAR IS SUGAR.  It is added to over 80% of the processed grocery store items we buy.

Here is another fact- empty carbohydrates like bread and rice and pasta and cereals (with the exception of a FEW high fiber ones) ALL TURN TO SUGAR in our bodies.  Newsflash- this “whole grain” craze may as well be called the “another name for sugar” craze.  We eat far too much of this stuff.  I am not talking to the elite athletes who run 30 miles a week and need extra carbs.

This is about the average American.  This is for anyone overweight and or struggling to lose weight.  Empty carbs are the same thing as sugar metabolically.  I love a line from the movie Fed Up and is you have not seen it you really need to watch it ASAP.  One doctor says “You can eat a bowl of cornflakes with no sugar or a bowl of sugar with no cornflakes and it is the exact same thing from the neck down.”


I AM ESPECIALLY TALKING TO PEOPLE WITH KIDS.  We start our kids on sugar almost from day one.  Many baby formulas- especially those for kids with a lactose intolerance- have added sugar.  Seriously???

We have got to start looking at sugar as the poison it is and THINK about what we are doing to ourselves and our kids.  The number of people on medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease is insane and through the roof.  NOT ONE PERSON who reads this will be able to say to me they do not know someone on a med for either high blood pressure or diabetes.

Have you seen a photo of the way sugar lights up the brain?  It is just like cocaine.  It is highly addictive and destructive and is the root of all of our obesity issues.


trash20can photo-6

We do as much as we can to educate about healthy eating and living through our Cook, Eat, Live SMART Ministry which now has a Facebook page!  We love talking about the dangers of sugar and of unhealthy living.  WE also LOVE talking about the tool of Plexus that is helping thousands JUST SAY NO to sugar and carbs.  If you would like for us to come speak to your church or group, we are HAPPY to do so.  This is our passion!


Before you grab that treat next time, of give it to your kids and try to tell yourself it is just once in a while or just once a year, think long and hard.  Better choices are out there!

Be sure to check out my Podcast channel HERE for a recent episode of my radio show Fit Living all about the dangers of SUGAR!





About Erin Akey

I am a formerly morbidly obese wife, mother, Christian, author, speaker, water fitness instructor, nutritionist, anti-obesity advocate, and Emerald Ambassador with Plexus Worldwide. I am passionate about helping people fight the disease of obesity and also preventing and addressing obesity in children. I believe we have so many amazing tools available to treat this disease and we all need to take advantage of the ones we feel are right for us. I am also passionate about women taking the time to care for their needs. We live in a world where so many of us spend all of our time taking care of others that we neglect ourselves. I am all about making God the center of everything and letting His will take control of our lives and watching the beautiful blessings come from that release of power! Live, Laugh, and LOVE every day! Be grateful and be humble and watch the world around you change!
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4 Responses to Are we “once a year”-ing ourselves into metabolic destruction??

  1. This is fantastic Erin.. everyone should read this post.. sugar is killing this country…

  2. Megan says:

    LOVE this! Thank you for posting it. I am going to share it with friends and family that I feel pressure from to let our girls have a “treat” because it’s “only” once in a while. I try to explain to them that a “treat” should not have negative effects on the body. Hopefully your words will help get through to them the importance of our decisions and mindsets about eating.

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