I Quit Sugar : Progress Notes from Week 1
About two years ago I tried to quit sugar. I lasted about two days before I succumbed. Not that I haven’t quit successfully before : 2010 was a year of quitting. I quit coffee for a month. I quit dairy products for a month. And I have not eaten meat consciously (unless I was an unexpected guest of strangers who are doing their best to host me on my travels) since more than 15 years.
But sugar! Even the idea of quitting sugar makes something inside me scream in frustration. One, I love autonomy and I hate the idea of limitations. Two, sugar is my beloved. I use it to motivate myself to finish projects. I celebrate milestones with cake. Pastries was how I got to know French culture when I lived there for almost three years, how I got inculcated in their culture of pleasure of the senses. I love ice cream, cookies, chocolate, sweet coffee.
But I know how bad sugar is. Doesn’t everyone? If you don’t think sugar is bad, consider that
- becomes fat instantaneously
- gives me mood swings as well as energy swings
- makes me more liable to get sick since it compromises the immune system
- ages me faster than normal
- fuels inflammation needlessly
- induces salt and water retention giving me a bloated mini-belly some times.
If you want to know the science of why sugar–all sugar, even fruit sugar and “brown” sugar and honey–is bad for you, watch the very long and informative lecture below.
So I sat about two years with the idea that sugar will run my life. It’s really not a problem to start the day with sweet coffee every single day. It’s not a big deal to indulge in a sweet treat craving of the chocolate variety every single day. Sometimes for a few nights straight I drink hot chocolate (but dark hot chocolate!) right before bed for the sweetness it gave my dreams. Or so I told myself. And I needed to motivate myself somehow, right?
I know that I’m addicted to sugar because the thought of quitting it gives rise to irrational irritation and incredible resistance. Until one of the women who inspires me with her lifestyle Sarah Wilson wrote the book I Quit Sugar, which made me to commit to quitting sugar again for the next 8 weeks (edited to add: since I wrote this post, Sarah has updated her book with a different cover).
In fact, she’s leading a 8-week program on her blog to guide people through her book I Quit Sugar. So if you’re looking to detox your body after the excesses of the holidays or just from fast living in general, come join us! You don’t have to buy the book; you can find lots of information on Sarah’s blog.
But the idea of quitting sugar was so hard for me to face that it’s easy to have a week-by-week schedule. As they say in other addiction programs, one day at a time. The 8 week schedule for quitting sugar is really gentle and moderate, unlike when I tried to go cold turkey back in 2010.
Week 1 : Start to cut back
Week 2 : Operation Eat Fat
Week 3 : Quit!
Week 4 : Face the demons
Week 5 : Get creative, experiment, and detox
Week 6 : Adding some sweetness back in
Week 7 : Recovering from lapses
Week 8: Refining and moving forward
Yes, you can quit sugar without the book. You don’t need it to just. stop. eating. sugar. More power to you if you can just decide to do it and get it done.
But I recommend buying the book if you want Sarah Wilson’s shopping list of great supportive sugar replacements, her recipes for breakfast replacements, her tricks for making quitting sugar a fun-ish experience, and the general feeling that you are supporting your choice to quit sugar with the kindest and most researched advice possible. You can buy the $15 book from her site or from my link here (edited to add: since I wrote this post, Sarah has increased the price of her ebook). If you buy through my link, I get a $6 commission but the price is the same to you no matter where you buy it form. That said, I’ll be working on a German-based and American-based version of her shopping list, which is full of products mainly from Australia. Once I finish my research, I’ll send it out to those of you in Germany or the US so that it’ll be easier to source some of the teas and supplements Sarah recommends.
Progress Notes from Week One of Quitting Sugar
So for week 1 of quitting sugar, the idea is to just cut back. I’ve started to drink coffee without sugar and stopped drinking a fruit smoothie every morning for breakfast. Nonetheless, during yesterday’s and today’s afternoon slump I’ve already had 5 or 6 chocolate chip cookies and a dark hot chocolate. Oh! And a chocolate mousse after dinner last night…but the point is to endure the 8 weeks, so I’m cutting myself some slack and am happy that I am not adding honey to my coffees for now.
Edited to say : If you buy the handbook by clicking on this link, THANK YOU! I get a commission, but the price is the same no matter where you buy it. Once you make your purchase through my link, please contact me with your order receipt, and I’ll send you my bonus PDF detailing where to get some of the supplies in Germany and in the US that Sarah Wilson recommends on her Australian-based shopping list.
Have you tried to quit sugar or any other addictive substances? Please share your tricks and tips with me in the comments section below so that I can quit sugar as joyfully as possible in the next 8 weeks!Top photo from U.S. National Archives ; all others from Sarah Wilson