quitting sugar

No more sugar, please!


It has now been 3 1/2 months since I began my sugar free journey.  Of course I still have a small amount of sugar, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post.  I even had a piece of the coconut cream pie, pictured above, at Christmas time.  The joy of that piece of pie was short lived, however.  After eating something with a lot of sugar I start to feel a little jittery as if I’ve had too much caffeine or a mild panic attack.  I believe this is because the pie has processed sugar and causes a blood sugar spike.  This adverse reaction helps discourage any further “cheat” snacks so I’m glad it happens.  It’s actually been pretty easy to stay away from sugary snacks and desserts though.

Over 3 months of eating minimal sugar, I lost 12 pounds.  I wasn’t trying to lose weight so this was just an added bonus.  Losing a pound each week with zero exercise is a pretty great bonus, if you ask me.  In the last two weeks I have started exercising regularly, for heart health, and I feel great!  

The greatest and most surprising benefit that I have experienced is sleep quality.  I still sleep the same amount, sometimes a little less, but I’m well rested and don’t feel the need for caffeine at all.  It’s a little difficult to wake up at times because I’m in such a deep sleep.  My answer to this has been to exercise first thing.  At least in the last couple weeks, anyway.  Showering first thing would work as well, but I feel cold as soon as I leave the covers so heating up the body with a good workout is perfect for me.  My sleep quality was always an issue before.  It took a long time to fall asleep and then I would wake up every couple hours and be tired all day.  Now I can fall asleep quickly and maybe wake up once a night.  Sleep alone is reason enough for me to continue a sugar free life.

To sum up my experience, I feel healthy, I look healthy, and that makes me happy.  With results like these, I plan on being happily sugar free for the rest of my life.  

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Hold the sugar, please.

In continuing my efforts to become a better me, I have chosen to stop eating sugar.  I don’t mean that I can’t have any sugar because that’s not really practical.  I have stopped eating added sugars.  For 5 weeks now, I have been eating less than 45 grams of sugar a day.  It’s usually between 20 and 25 grams per day.  From what I have read, 4.2 grams of granulated sugar equals one teaspoon.  So I am averaging 4 or 5 teaspoons a day which is what the American Heart Association recommends for a woman. It doesn’t seem like that’s a difficult request but they do not distinguish between natural and added sugars.  It all counts toward the same total grams of sugar.

How did this start?  This was not something I planned on doing.  In fact, I was certain I would never give up my candy, soda or cupcakes.  Man do I love a good cupcake!  It started one weekend when I ran out of candy and was too lazy to go to the store.  I realized on Sunday that I had already gone two days without candy so I thought, this is a good time to stop eating sugar.

In the first week I was astonished by how much sugar was in EVERYTHING.  What can I eat that doesn’t have sugar?  Pizza?  No.  Cereal?  Only occasionally and yes, it tastes no different than eating the box.  “Healthy” granola bars?  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  No!  Juice, of any kind?  Absolutely not.  I realized quickly that it was pretty much impossible to eat no sugar and be healthy.  I’m sure there will be people that argue with me about that, but I think you should still have fruit once in a while and fruit has quite a bit of sugar naturally.  Also, I do not want to ingest to many artificial sweeteners.  I doubt that is healthy.  So in this first week, I resigned myself to the idea that I will never again eat candy, dessert or drink soda.  No pizza either but, as you will read later, that changes.  The good news is that you no longer crave those things.  You may want it when you see it, but for the most part, you realize that is a want, not a need and you don’t have to indulge.

During week two, I noticed that I wasn’t as tired during the day.  Probably because my sleep is deeper and better quality.  I don’t toss and turn as often or wake up every two hours like I used to.  In fact, during the 3rd week, I slept straight through the night sometimes.  This may not be amazing to some, but I have never slept through the night unless I was sick or something.  I was a bit perky and hyper during this time period as well.

I think it was week three that I thought I was sweating more than normal and some people do a 21 day sugar detox so maybe I was sweating things out.  I also noticed that I would just keep working and forget to take my lunch because I wasn’t actually hungry yet.  One word of caution here.  When you are not eating sugar and your tank runs out, you are out and need to find food fast.  The alternative is one cranky individual that can no longer function properly.  I was pretty sure I was going to faint in the middle of the Halloween store because I didn’t stop to eat before going in and it was larger than expected.  It was my own fault.  I knew it was past lunch time and that I needed to eat, but wasn’t feeling the hunger pangs yet.  Lesson learned.

Week four and five have been smooth sailing.  No side affects and I’ve discovered that I can make homemade pizza that has much less sugar, but still tastes pretty good.  In the future I may try to make the dough and sauce myself, but for now, I look for marinara with the fewest grams of sugar per serving and pre-made pizza dough from the store.  Also with the lowest grams of sugar, per serving, that I can find.  It’s not ideal, but it’s a nice treat.

If you have tried to stop eating so much sugar or know a great, low sugar recipe for barbecue sauce, feel free to share in the comments.  I would love to hear all about it.