A Year Without Sugar

I decided to commit to a year without sugar.  I remember reading about a family that did that a few years ago and I thought: "How crazy and extreme and tough that would be!" But it must have planted a seed of inspiration in my head, because here I am.

I've talked to you before about going without sugar, and why. Basically, I was incredibly addicted to sugar, and it was making me sick. Also nervous, because diabetes is all over both sides of my family. Back in the beginning of last year I decided to go a couple of months without sugar or any other sweeteners (with my vanilla soy milk coffee creamer as my only exception) and it turned into 5 months because I felt so good. My energy and moods were much more balanced, my skin was clearer, my mind was clearer, and I'd lost 20 pounds, without any additional lifestyle chances. Pretty cool. But then I was at a work camp our church goes to for a week and had to eat what was provided. I tried to eat well, but by the end of the week I was eating pizza and brownies, and that swung me back into sugar-overload mode until autumn, when I went another 3 months without sugar. Buuuut then Christmas.

One thing I know: I cannot moderate myself. I am like a cocaine addict. I go off, then I go back on. I try hard, I pray about it, I make plans, but as soon as my "two months" or whatever is up, I go right back. (Incidentally, this has given me a lot more compassion and insight into the struggle of drug addicts.) I cannot eat sugar in moderation. At least at this point in my life. And the life of a sugar addict...well I'm just too good for it. Thinking of sugar first thing every morning? Letting it control my mood? Being a slave to cravings? Nah. We were meant for better things.
So I thought maybe if I committed to a full year, this time with no soy milk, and no exceptions whatsoever, I could reset my mind and body and get over it somehow.  I was thinking maybe after the end of it, I might even be able to do what I've known I should probably do, but wasn't ready to: commit to a lifestyle of no sugar. That's a tough one, because who wants to be the weird girl who "can't eat that" all the time? The one that nobody wants to have over for dinner because her diet is "special", and not even for real medical reasons. You know what I'm talking about. Also, can I really commit to the rest of my life without Brach's candy corn?? (Not a sponsor, haha. But you know that's the ONLY brand.)

A couple of months into this year without sweeteners, I had already realized that this is the life I want. I want to feel good. I want to rest within my "None at all" boundaries, so I don't have to struggle with moderation. I know it seems like it wouldn't be this way, but I actually find it easier to eat strictly no sweeteners than to try to only eat a little now and then. Because I can put it out of my mind completely, like it doesn't even exist. So after this year of no sweeteners is finished (July 2 of '18), I'm going to just continue, and make it a lifestyle. However, I'm toying with the idea of allowing something on my birthday and/or Christmas. That way I don't have to feel like I can never have a certain thing ever again. I'll try it on my birthday in July, and if it causes too many cravings or problems, I won't do it again. But I know myself pretty well here and I think it will be ok, as long as I know that it's just for that day.

So yeah. A year without sugar. It's not as crazy as I thought it would be, it's actually awesome. I'm over 5 months in, and by now I'm pretty familiar with which foods have sweeteners in the ingredient list (everything. just, everything.) and which restaurants I can eat at (It's a long list: Chipotle.) and most people are pretty understanding about why I'm doing it. And I feel so, so good. When you're eating nothing with sweeteners, you're almost always eating pretty healthy food, which is so nice. I never worry about my weight anymore, because it's almost impossible to gain too much eating like this. It's so funny, because with all the restrictions of eating this way, what I really feel is...free! So apparently there is something to this "self control" thing. Looks like my Creator was right again. Thank you, God, for giving us advice that gives us freedom.

Love you :)
-Disney

Comments

  1. Well done, Disney. I gave up sugar pretty well a few years ago to lower my cholesterol. It is amazing how much sugar is in practically every thing sold on the supermarket shelves in the food section not to mention soft drinks etc. I don't know anyone who has given up sugar who doesn't feel better. The 'I Quit Sugar' website is good for recipes too.

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    1. Good for you!! You are so right, sugar is absolutely everywhere. I know it's not inherently evil, but with it's being in everything we eat, it's just way out of control. I'll have to check that website out, thanks!!

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  2. It's been almost four years for me without sugar, and paleo to boot. I have serious autoimmune issues and I use the diet to help me not be in daily pain. Good for you!!

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry you have that to deal with-that's no joke. I have a couple of friends in the same boat. I'm so glad that you've seen some relief with diet though!!

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  3. Good for you! I completely agree about having no control with moderation with sugar. I'm always grateful for extra heveanly help too. I've looked into whole 30, but didn't find a personal need to go gluten free. But love their recipes for sauces without added sugar. Goodluck with the next few months.

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    1. I've heard great things about Whole 30, and have friends who've done it and love it! I'm pretty sure I have some of those recipes on my no sugar Pinterest board. :)

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  4. I have, like you, gone off and on sugar for awhile now. The thing that has helped me to feel better while also eating a little sugar now and then has been to change the type of sugar I use. If you haven't already, maybe look into sucanat, maple or honey? White sugar is incredibly addicting. So maybe on your birthday or Christmas, you could find a recipe using a different sugar-- I have found it to be a lot easier to eat a little treat made with maple, and then go back to not eating treats again.

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    1. That is a great idea, actually! Thanks!!

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  5. Good for you! I gave up sugar (except for very rare celebratory occasions) June 13, 2015. Lost 50ish to 60ish pounds, and have never felt better. Totally doable and so worth it!

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    1. That is amazing!! What an accomplishment. I am so encouraged by your success, and I look forward to being there someday! :)

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  6. Wow! This so describes my struggle with sugar!! It's exhausting! I have quit sugar before and feel amazing, but I always go back. Usually I'm feeling so amazing without it and I think I can have just a little bit and go right back to no sugar, but it just leads to binging and even more sugar than before. It seems harder and harder to get back on the wagon again. Your post and your description of being 'free' and not having to worry about your weight has totally inspired me to try again! Oh to feel that way! I have quite a bit of weight to lose, about 70lbs and food/sugar is a constant struggle. I'm just sick of how much of my life it all consumes! I was meant for better things! So inspirational! Thank you for this post! If I'm reading this correctly, you have given up all sweeteners including maple syrup, honey, agave, etc? Do you eat sugar substitutes like stevia, etc or stay away from those as well? I never totally gave it up- I would still eat some packaged foods that contained sweeteners so maybe that was part of my problem- I never fully got it out of my system...?

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    1. Oh my friend, I totally know what you're saying! I'm going to say a prayer right now for you to be able to conquer it. God cares about you feeling good in this way! He'll help. (I'm laughing at myself right now, because I've become that "Jesus lady" that I used to think was so weird. But I don't even care.) Yes, I've given up all sweeteners of any kind, other than naturally sweet things like fruit/fruit juice. I think I've used honey like two or three times for a special occasion, because I don't like honey, so I'm not afraid of overdoing it. I'm trying to overcome my addiction to that sweet taste, you know? When I do want something sweet, I have a glass of 100% juice or eat a Lara Bar or something. I think I'll write up a quick post soon of my non-sweetened treats that I enjoy these days. They are a life saver! It really is a bit of a transition, but once you fully commit and get used to it, it is a party!! I love it. Best of luck!!

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