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give up sugar

Year without sugar-lessons learned three months in

In true drama queen fashion, I decided to give up sugar for an entire year for my 41st birthday. I was tired of how sugar made me feel and I felt powerless whenever I found myself in a situation with sugary treats involved. As a mom with two kids at home and an elementary school teacher, I am often in sugary situations.  

Read more about it here:

I learned just how powerful sugar’s hold on me was

The first week was so hard. I literally dreamed of gummy bears. I was really crabby and my energy levels were lower than normal. I started to seriously doubt my decision. I knew that the first couple of days would be hard but they were even harder than I had anticipated. It did not help that in the days leading up to giving up sugar, I went all out with my sugar consumption. 

It also reminded me how much I dislike anything having this much power over me. All the more reason to take a break. I hate being bossed around by anything or anyone, sugar is no exception!

It eventually got easier

After a couple of weeks, I started forgetting about sugar all together. I did not think about it anymore and I did not miss the feeling I got whenever I consumed sugar. I went to birthday parties and weddings and turned down sugar with ease. I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

I was disappointed to see that I did not lose any weight by giving up sugar. My overall health is way more important to me than my weight but I was hoping I would lose a pound or two of vanity weight. Nope!

I also liked that I was no longer thinking about sugar at this point. I was not trying to decide if I should eat something with sugar in it or not. I was not weighing the pluses and minuses in my head every time I was offered a sugary treat. The pluses are how delicious it was and the quick dopamine hit I got every time I consumed sugar. The big minus was how I felt almost immediately after consuming it.


And then a moment of weakness hit

I went three months without sugar and then I was caught off guard by some candy. 

One day I walked in the house after making an exhausting Target run with my kids. I had not eaten in hours and I was very tired. My kids snuck a bag of Watermelon Sour Patch kids into the cart and now they were taunting me by sitting on my counter. I decided I would have just one (ha!). At first I was blown away by how sweet they tasted. And then immediately after that, my brain remembered how much it loved sugar and I ate three giant handfuls. My stomach hurt within minutes and I quickly felt a sugar crash.

Later that same evening, we were at dinner at some friends’ house and they had those gummy peach rings. Two or three handfuls later I seriously felt like I was going to throw up. I went three months without sugar and then consumed 100 grams of sugar within two hours.  


Lessons learned

Even though I did not make it the whole year without sugar, I still considered this a successful experience. I have learned that I don’t do well when I eliminate anything (Whole30 made me so crabby, Sober October made me want to drink more wine, a year without sugar made me go on a crazy sugar binge). I turn into a rebellious teenager anytime I am told I can’t do something. 


Now instead of eliminating sugar, I am much more mindful about it because I simply hate the way I feel if I eat a lot of it. I try to keep my sugar intake to under 25 grams a day (which is actually kind of hard to do because of the amount of sugar added to everything). I have also learned which sugary foods I can eat in moderation (dark chocolate is my go to) and which ones drive me to over consume (anything gummy and chewy like gummy bears, Swedish Fish, Watermelon Sour Patch Kids). I try my hardest to stay away from those types of sugary treats.

This was also a good lesson for my children. I know they are always watching me and learning how to treat their bodies from me so I want to be sure I am modeling healthy behaviors. I told them all about why I was giving it up and then how I felt when I went on a sugar binge (the stomach and headache, the blood sugar crash, the crabby mood). I am trying to teach them early on that what you and how you feel are deeply connected.

Now lets see how I do moderating my sugar intake now that Halloween/Christmas/Valentines Day/Easter (AKA the holidays with sugar being thrown at you everytime you turn around) season is upon us…



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