Why Quitting Sugar Changed My Life

I've been a yo-yo dieter my whole life: Size 10 to size 16 to size 12 to size 16 to size 12 to size 16. (See how I never got back down to size ten after about age 16?) I was never hugely overweight, but I was never comfortable in my body.

And I thought about food ALL THE TIME!

What would I eat, and when, and would anyone notice, and could I slip some more chocolate in the daily menu, and was there a new crash diet that could take the weight off and then keep it off while I gorged on chocolate? (There never was one, and I tried a lot.)

I've spent more than my fair share of afternoons at work watching the clock, having an internal battle (always a battle!) about whether to go and get sweets, and how many, and how could I hide my sweet eating from my colleagues (or husband, or friend, or sister... the battle didn't always take place at work). I was mean to myself about my lack of willpower, and my ugly fat body*. Whatever my size, I was unhappy with it.

Then, I stumbled across the quitting sugar revolution.

I wasn't sleeping, so I went to a naturopath who suggested cutting carbs, including sugar, for a couple of weeks. She had looked at the detail of my diet and where I was struggling. (While I hid my chocolate consumption from everyone around me, I knew that if I was paying a naturopath to help me, I had to assume she wasn't judging and give her the cold, hard candy truth.) 

That was very hard. I tried 6 times before I managed to do it. The cravings got too strong, the internal negotiator knew me too well and I crumbled. Usually with quite some gusto. 

Once, I made it to 3 weeks, then thought I'd be OK to have some chocolate for my birthday dinner. I was OK with it that night, but then the next night I wanted chocolate again. And the next. And the next. 

My 5th attempt lasted a month, and Easter saw the end to that. I realized it was time to give up after I ate so much chocolate that I was sick. Twice. (Think: two packets of chocolate cookies and a liter of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the evening, following a big bag of mixed sweets during the afternoon at work.) that I was sick. This was part of my annual, two week, post-Easter, a-lot-of-chocolate-every-day binge.

So I decided it was time to break free, and I quit!

All sugars, in all their forms. No processed sugars, no natural sugars, no sweeteners, not even any fruit. I went extreme, for about two months. After that, I slowly started adding a bit of fruit in, and it took about 5 months before I added in any fructose-free sweeteners (like stevia, or rice malt syrup).

The effect?

Freedom! In a way that I had never experienced before, and could never have imagined.
  • I stopped thinking about food all the time, and now I can stand at a party next to a bowl of sweets and not touch one, and not be mean to myself, and still hold a conversation. That is success in my book.
  • My daily internal negotiations stopped.
  • My daily internal diatribes stopped! I'm not mean to myself about food anymore.
  • I stopped eating in secret. 
  • I no longer see eyes filled with loathing, silently watching and judging  my lack of willpower when I eat something other than a piece of lettuce.
  • The freedom gave me the ability to start thinking about food in a positive way, so now I look for nutrients, and healthy fats, and nourishment.
I haven't felt free from food and its vice-tight grip on all my thoughts and emotions before. Ever! I can remember feeling fat at age 5, and eating in secret from not long after that.  

I can honestly say giving up sugar has changed my life, and given me a mental freedom and clarity that I had never before experienced.

In case you're wondering, I also lost weight. I've settled now at size 10 without really doing anything else.

Five year old me, and now me both say, "Try it! You have everything to gain."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

About the Author
Samantha Sutherland is a Sydney-based health coach and the passion behind The Happy Eater. She helps women find a balanced lifestyle full of nutrition for mind and body; whole foods, whole happiness. The Happy Eater gets women off the diet yo-yo and leaves them feeling energetic, smiley and alive!
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