Sugar has been an addiction of mine for a long time, and I don’t use the term lightly – I truly think that my obsession with sugar was unhealthy, but it took me a long time to notice that it was a problem before I could go about fixing it. As a child, my favorite candies: Pixy Stix, Fun Dips and Sugar Daddys. If you’ve ever had any of them you know – they are some of the most sickly-sweet choices you can make when buying American candies.
I’ve always thought that I had a sweet tooth and gravitated towards extra sweet snacks, cereals and sauces, seeing it as a part of who I was. I had wanted to make changes in my diet and eat better, but was finding that the diet part was difficult. Even though I didn’t overeat, I always had that nagging thought that too much of my diet was based on sugar.
One of the first times that I actually thought about how much sugar I ate was when an ex-boyfriend of mine told me how he had dropped 40 pounds by cutting out any foods with corn syrup from his diet. 40 pounds! How much could I impact my health and weight if I were to cut out corn syrup and refined sugar from my diet?
This is what inspired me to go on a no-refined-sugar diet. My first foray into this was January 2012, and it was brutal (I also had decided to cut out alcohol and caffeine, making for a very healthy but unexciting time of my life).
On a side note – do you know how hard it is to go out to a sports bar and drink water? Or any bar, for that matter. But I digress.
How did I make this change? I dove right into it, quitting cold turkey, abruptly starting a 2 month challenge (after which time, I planned to have food with refined sugar and corn syrup again). In addition to the normal, obvious things that have sugar in them, I had to cut out:
- Chips (except for a few natural brands made without sugar)
- Cranberries (they all have sugar added to them!)
- Granola bars of most types (I allowed Kind bars)
- Soda (both diet and regular sodas were excluded under my self-imposed rules)
- Peanut butter (though I did find alternative brands, regular p/b has sugar)
- Peanut sauce (mostly applies when going out for Thai)
It was definitely a hard thing to do – I did break my diet once or twice, with 4 cheat days over the course of the 2 month span.
I noticed a few things over the course of the 2 months. I:
- Slimmed down
- Had less sugar cravings
- Have more interest in eating a complete, filling meal (since there would be no dessert)
- Paid more attention to what was in my food
Though I knew I wouldn’t deprive myself of sugar forever, I’ve become much more away of which foods have refined sugar. It’s hard work but was valuable in becoming more aware of what I was putting in my body.
Have you ever tried cutting something out of your diet? Do you have similar cravings towards sugar, or another food or habit of eating that you’re trying to break?