I often joke about my sweet tooth and talk about how it runs my life. I could easily out eat a full grown gorilla when it comes to anything with sugar, and in the past I’ve not worried about it too much because I had a decent balance on my intake.
Fast forward to over a year ago, when my mental strength turned to mush.
Some things occurred the last year and a half that helped catalyze my diet to become something you’d likely see on an episode of Jerry Springer, the foodie edition. It’s come to a point where it’s no longer a joke, and I’ve been completely hijacked by sugar. Don’t get me wrong, my Costco cart is still filled with greens, and the bulk of my diet are whole foods, but that doesn’t excuse the excess amounts of treats I’ve consumed.
I will never completely abandon processed sugar, I’ve tried and it just causes me to binge. A healthy balance of greens and treats is what I long for, and because I’m not currently in a mental state to have “just one,” sugar has got to go. For now.
I’m not proud of the spiral I’ve fallen into, and my carefree intake of processed foods has affected me both mentally and physically. I’ve gained 25 pounds, my fitness activities are challenging, and my motivation is dismal, but the good news (because I’m a sucker for silver linings and must end on a positive note) is that this is reversible.
Life happens, and sometimes that means we fall off the wagon. Or in my case, get body slammed off the wagon, run over, and then the wagon backs up just for good measure. We’re human and sometimes it takes time to realize our actions aren’t serving us very well, and in my case it’s taken over a year. I can only take what happens in life and learn from it.
I’ve been dwelling long enough on my choices and it’s time to make some changes. I no longer want to just “look a certain way,” but rather I want to feel a certain way. I want to sleep better, I want my skin to feel hydrated, I want my energy levels to be elevated, I no longer want my eyes to look lifeless, I want my joint and muscle inflammation to dissipate, and most importantly I want my mind to be at peace.
Sugar messes with so many parts of our bodies, and our brains are hit the hardest.
SO I went out with a bang last week and stocked up on treats from Whole Foods, because they are my JAM when it comes to vegan baked goods. Starting today I will be training for my seventh half marathon, which will help get me back on track. Within the next three months I plan to avoid any and all processed sugar with one exception – my birthday.
Life’s too short not to have cake on your birthday.
I guarantee I will have x-rated fantasy’s of sugar dancing in my lap, and post race I plan to indulge in the most decadent of treats, but overall I hope to regain my mental strength, reestablish some self control, and rediscover what balance means for me.
Posting this on the blog is my attempt to stay accountable because it’s easy to put this into words after eating a locally made donut when my sugar levels have been filled, but come next week when my reserves are empty I’ll need this accountability to stay strong. I know when I’m out running my double digit miles next month I’ll thank myself, because without all the processed garbage blocking my innards running will feel so much better.
Three months sans sugar, and three months of focused running to bring me back to a balanced state of living. I’ll do random updates every so often. One of my favorite half marathon training plans has every Monday as a rest day, including the first one.
Starting off training with a rest day, I can work with that.
Instead of running today you can find me at work, and unwinding with one of my favorite gifts of the year. A friend of mine took one of my Instagram photos and had it made into a puzzle. It was a total surprise, and totally awesome. Also, I’m still rocking three pumpkins outside my house because I have separation anxiety for the fall season.
Wish me luck, and if I snap at you while having a conversation just know it’s nothing personal. It’s just the sugar beast searching for glucose. 🙂
Q: What’s the longest you’ve gone without sugar? For those of you that live sugar free, what was it like when you first made the lifestyle change?
64 thoughts on “Sayonara Sugar”
I love this post! This is very inspiring to those who also struggle with the sugar beast. I did a low carb diet last year (which is how I came across your recipes actually) and I last 6 weeks without sugar. Then, I allowed myself a treat on my best friend’s birthday and it was a slippery downward spiral ever since. But I felt 10 times better when I was eating sugar. I don’t know why it’s so easy to forget how good it felt without sugar which is what leads me to binges. I will be rooting for you all the way!! And I won’t be far behind you. My goal is to start that after the holidays. Sugar defenders unite!!
I was going to wait until after the holiday, and then I realized it’s been over a year since I’ve been eating TOO MUCH sugar. SO it must start now HA.
This is a very inspiring post!! I struggle with the sugar beast too. I’ve done a couple of Whole30s so I do go without sugar during those stretches. I do so much better when I have time to cook my own food. One of my favorite no-sugar treats is homemade raw cashew butter, homemade sugar free chocolate (I use equal amounts of Bulletproof cocoa butter and cocoa powder- nothing else!), with a ripe banana. It almost always satisfies that dessert craving for me. I haven’t needed to “detox” from sugar in a long time. My diet has sorted itself out on my 700+ day running streak but when I first detoxed, I had headaches for sure. I’m excited to follow your journey and good luck on training for the half as well!!
I will have to make some of that chocolate! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
I don’t focus on sweets per se. I focus on junk food. Chips. Cookies. When I cut them out of my diet, I feel much better in the long run. In the short run, there is sadness. I wish you success. And no sadness.
Yes, the junk as a whole must go!! I anticipate momentary sadness followed by JOY!
I do need to do something like this. I, too, have a legitimate problem with sugar right now and every time I try to “cut it out” I end up going overboard. I worry it will turn into a full blown restriction, but at the same time, I’m in a much different headspace now and I don’t think I would have that problem anymore. Loading up on non-sugary foods does seem to help a lot. We can and will break those sugar addictions!
Ugh it’s the bane of my existence and it’s so bad. HA.
Those big jars of all-natural honey from Whole Foods are still fair game, right? 🙂
Eh, yes and no. HA. Natural sugar is OK, but MODERATED! That’s the key word for me.
I can totally relate. At the beginning of the year I was living was 5 minutes one way to a grocery store and bakery and 5 minutes the other to a convenience store. Too many visits later, I had put on weight and felt so sluggish. I managed to fend off my sugar addiction for the summer but it has definitely creeped up recently to get the better of my will power. Trying to also get back up onto the wagon so I know the struggle. Best of luck with kicking sugar to the curb!
Thank you, we’ve got this!! 🙂
Thank you so much for posting this. It is a comfort to know that I am not alone in this. I have been struggling with my diet on and off all year and all last week I thought: Maybe I need to start a Whole30 before Christmas and not even wait for the new year to work on this.
While I think my friends in real life and social media are champs for running in the cold and dark and rain, I get so defeated, because I feel big and lethargic and in the dumps.
But you are right! It IS reversible.
Girl I hear you, but you inspire me to keep running out there with your posts!! I feel SO MUCH better and more motivated to run without the processed junk, it’s just getting into a routine of no junk that’s hard. 😉 We’ve got this!
Kajsa's and Cecilia's world.
I actually went a whole week without sugar a while ago cause I felt like you. I was tired and my skin looked “grey” among other things. To my surprise it was easier than I thought. I didn’t miss sugar much and if I felt my body needed the sugar rush I chewed on sugar free gum. Today I eat sugar but I try to avoid it if I can.
A week long break is great! I used to do those, and then I lost the willpower for even a week. So now I must get drastic. HA.
I once went three plus years without white refined sugar, and it was awful. When I finally went back to regular sugar eating, I basically mainlined everything I missed. I have a terrible sweet tooth, and I too am trying to curb it, so I went out on a last Whole Foods fiesta as well – hey Vegan donuts!!! Anyway, good luck. My experience is it gets easier.
Haaahaha. Oh man, I’m in for a rough road. But three years is MAD IMPRESSIVE!
Ahh great post (and awesome blog!)
Cutting out sugar is hard!
3 years ago, I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar (and have gradually gone vegan/plant based). Sometimes, I will have a tiny amount (e.g. dark chocolate which contains some sugar) but I must say, I don’t feel too good afterwards – the last time I had a massive headache and flu-like symptoms (not sure if it was just from the sugar, but put me off for another few weeks!)
My skin is also much clearer when I stay off sugar, and I find my energy levels don’t dip as much.
When I do crave something sweet, I try and reach for dates or plenty of fresh fruit – really helps to curb the cravings! Or if I am craving chocolate (my weakness) I make a huge Choc/Carob smoothie! So although it is not always easy, I am learning to listen to my body and respond with good, nourishing foods.
I look forward to reading more of your posts!
P.S. Thanks for the like on my post 🙂
And hope the training goes well!! So inspiring! 😀
Oh I love this, so encouraging thank you!
Rachael @ Catch Me If You Can
3 months with no sugar i think you can totally do that! im plan on doing something similar once my marathon is done in 3 weeks. being stuck in a job i hate has made me pack on the pounds too 😦 what half marathon are you running?! im very excited about this!!
Duddeee story of my life! UGH. I’m just running a local St.Paddy’s Day run! Ha
I’ve never gone more than a day or two without sugar, at least natural sugars and I’ve never been more than 12 hours without some form of caffeine… I’ve quit enough things that were actually bad for me to choose not to sweat the small stuff. Nice post, and indulge every now and again, just don’t binge. Big difference in those two words. 😎
Oh trust me, I know the difference. 😝 I don’t enjoy the binges, and am focusing on putting a stop to them. Starting with this.
“Or in my case, get body slammed off the wagon, run over, and then the wagon backs up just for good measure.” This made me laugh out loud! I know there are times in my life when I looked forward to dessert too much. I don’t know if it was bad physically for me, but mentally when you think about your dessert before lunch…well, then there is a problem.
One thing that helped me out a lot was making banana ice cream. It’s still sweet, but it’s made from fruit so you get a lot of other good stuff in there as well. I think it will be hard, as it is for me when I try to hamper my addictions, but eventually it will get easier and be worth it.
I’m optimistic! Banana ice cream definitely helps, and dates! Yassss.
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
My husband and I did a “no sugar” thing for a month after we watched the documentary “fed up”. It was SO eye opening to realize how much sugar was in basically everything we eat!
Literally EVERYTHING! Thankfully I don’t eat many things that have unnecessary sugar (like sauces or breads) but focus more on things you’d assume have sugar (like cookies and cake). I’m hoping that makes it easier haha.
“Or in my case, get body slammed off the wagon, run over, and then the wagon backs up just for good measure. ”
Your visuals are always so perfect to read! One of the things I admire about you is how you don’t let these things really get to you, but rather, are able to acknowledge that things need to change and are able to make appropriate goals for them. Also, you know I’m excited that you are using a half as your motivation! I’m totally cheering for you all the way :))
Haha thank you friend, when they do start to get to me too much I like to open it up to the world. It helps me. Haha.
kathy @ more coffee, less talky
sugar is sooo good…..i used to freebase that shit every chance i got but then i blew up and gained like, 30lbs!
i went off sugar in 2012 and stayed off (sugar and all things processed, unhealthy etc) until late 2015! i only reintroduced this stuff (but only a little bit) back into my diet as of late because life and yolo. I don’t gorge like i used to but man, those things are TASTY so i have had to exert some serious self control when i do have a taste.
it was hard doing a strict detox back in 2012; i swear, it’s probably what heroin addicts feel like when they’re trying to go sober…i was crabby, had headaches, could not even look at desserts/sweets or even smell it. the first 2wks were tough but then after that, i was ok. i guess i stayed away from all of that for years afterwards because it was just easier to not eat it instead of having to “dry out” again LOL.
you can do this!! if you get the craving, just drink a huge glass (or two) of water. i also found that if i ate some fruit, the craving would go away so i would have berries on hand at all times.
This comment is so reassuring, thank you! Dates are my saving grace, so long as I don’t over do them!
This post feels a little bit like deja vu. You know my thoughts on this. I will support you always and hope you take my advice. Blows kiss.
Oh I’ve been talking to people. Perhaps not one you would go to, but friends and family and doctors. I’m so much better mentally than I was last year, however I’m aware I’m not fully there so talking it out on the blog and with friends helps me continue to move forward. Your love, support, and advice is always welcomed and appreciated. Thank you. ❤️ also, I’m aware of the root cause, and am making mental steps to change this…it’s a long process, but much simpler than I’ve made it. 🙂 love you.
Jessica @ Fit Talker
Reading this post made me realize that I should probably try something similar. If not completely cut out, at least cut back.
I love sugar but have definitely been feeling quite sluggish and unmotivated. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with sugar, but I suppose it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
Good luck!! 🙂
Sugar zaps energy for sure! But it’s just soooooo good! 😝
Love this post 🙂 I am more of a savory girl myself (with chocolate being the exception), but the access to cookies and sugar at this time of year is kind of insane! Thank god for bananas and dates and apples and fruit in general. I find that from a food standpoint I feel physically best when I graze on a heaping bowl of fructose in the form of whole fruit throughout the morning. I don’t know if you are cutting back on fruit or just refined sugar, but if you are still down with fruit that may help satisfy your sweet tooth 🙂 Good luck with your training!!
Thank you for the comment! I am most definitely still eating fruit, just trying not to go crazy. Dates and bananas are my go to (ha!!) so you have good taste!
I’ve wanted to ditch sugar so many times but just don’t have the willpower, I think the longest I lasted was 3 weeks! I’ve been so bad recently!
Girl I hear you, which is why I’m going DRASTIC. Haha.
Rach @ This Italian Family
When I first found out that I couldn’t have sugar due to my heart condition, it was pretty tough. Especially since I was a college freshman and it was both sugar AND caffeine that the doctor told me to cut out. There was a lot of back and forth the first 9 months. But then summer came and the camp I worked out asked us all to choose one thing to fast from. That made it different. Not just a physical health thing, but a spiritual thing as well. So I fasted from sugar & caffeine that summer. It made a HUGE difference. But once school started up that fall, I treated myself here and there which turned into all the time and I was back on my back-and-forth thing with sugar and caffeine. The next summer I decided to fast from sugar & caffeine again and this time it just stuck. That was May of 2006. So going on about 10 and a half years. Initially it was hard, but going without it showed me how much better it was for my health and that has made it worth it. Sticking to it these days is simple. It’s just part of my lifestyle. With all that said, if it weren’t for my heart – I would totally indulge in special treats now and then. Especially while traveling or on special occasions. Thankfully more and more things are being made with sugar free options so I can even eat sweets again if I want to (though most of the substitutes upset my stomach, but sometimes it’s worth it to get to eat a treat now and then). Aaaanyway, all that is to say: it’s hard, but it’s possible. You’ve got this!
Thank you for sharing all of this! I knew you were sugar and caffeine free, but didn’t know the back story to it! Making it spiritual totally helps with the mental aspect of it all, you’re awesome and totally inspirational!
Oh girlfriend, as you well know, I can soooooo relate to this! I love ALL THE SUGAH! I’ve gone without sugar for a few months at a time several times and I’m always glad when I do it. My cravings always chill out and I gain a lot of will power. Lately I’ve been doing pretty well with just having “a little bit” of sugar and it’s been pretty miraculous. Macro counting has really helped me to be aware of all the crap I was putting into my body. I’m grateful to be in a good balance right now. I wish you all the best!!!!
Thank you!! It’s time for something drastic and I was finally mentally ready.
An Unrefined Vegan
Amazing how that pretty white stuff derails us! Even eliminating refined sugar from my diet hasn’t immunized me from having sweet cravings. I can’t get it through my reptilian brain that one can have a complete meal without dessert following! So…I use a lot of stevia 🙂 and enjoy maple syrup here and there. I could probably use a detox at the New Year however…feeling flabby lately. Will I ever go sweetener free, though? Not bloody likely.
Oh yes, fruit and stevia, as well as honey (I eat raw local honey) will still be consumed mindfully. Otherwise I’d surely hurt someone. Haha.
This is such an inspiring post 🙂 🙂 I need to cut out more sugar out of my diet. I have such a sweet tooth, it is annoying lol. Thank you for sharing x x
Girrrlll I hear you. Mine controls me if I’m not careful!
Luv What You Do
Oh…um…sometimes I make it from breakfast to lunch without sugar : ) Love seeing all your amazing looking cupcake posts and appreciate your balanced approach!
You’re the best. Your breakfast to lunch abstinence is great.
I know what you mean about sugar impacting your brain! It feels good to have balance with treats and whole foods –mind and body! I love the puzzle you received! Such a thoughtful gift!
It really was, I love it too.
I have detoxed from sugar a few times and ALWAYS feel so much better. And, I fall off the wagon. I was completely added sugar free for about 3.5 months when a coworker gave me tin of homemade peppermint bark Thursday. Lawdy! 8 pieces later (shameless!!) I was nauseous, shaky, had a headache and ready to repaint my entire house. Yikes! Woke up horribly congested from the inflammation. So, now I get to detox again. I can’t moderate sugar. I just need to abstain. I feel so much better without it anyway. We both will!! Happy training!
This comment was great! It’s so true, it hits you like a speeding semi truck! I mentally pictured you wanting to paint your house haha! I’m only six days in and already feel calmer.
Sugar is crack. It’s so addicting and definitely messes with your body/mind. I try to “plan” my sugar intake around my running so at least it’s “used” in the best way… to restock my muscles with glycogen or provide quick carbs before a run. I too let it get out of control though and need to reign it in! Sending will power your way! Yay for half marathon training!
Yeah that’s how I used to eat my sugar too…and then I got out of control haaaha! Getting it all back in balance. 🙂
Giiiirl – I give you a lot of credit. I too am a sugar addict and I don’t think I could give it up. Will be living vicariously through your journey. – Kat
On day 7. Today I’m wanting some sugar, but I will continue to resist!
Good luck with the half and training! And the going sugar free! I know this part of the year can require a lot of willpower. I don’t think I’ve ever gone without sugar…so far I’ve just tried my best to moderate it.
Moderation is great! I’ve had enough the last year, it’s not been tooooo hard to withstand the last week or so ha.
Good luck!! I totally feel the same way!!! You’ve inspired me to cut down on sugar too!!