9 Surprising Things That Happened After I Quit Sugar
Because I'm a functional nutritionist, people often assume I don’t struggle with cravings. But the truth is that I didn’t grow up eating blueberries and kale. For years, I relied solely on sugar, pizza, and bagels to get me through the day—and the result was certainly no picture of health. As a young woman, I could barely stay awake in class, had bouts of depression, and slept until noon.
I was a scholarship athlete in college, and I worked out three hours a day, so I assumed I was healthy. I ate what I wanted, whenever I wanted. Still, I would fall asleep shortly after drinking a Venti Frappuccino. I knew something wasn't right.
While my psychiatrist prescribed meds, my intuition pointed to sugar instead. It just didn't make sense that she'd increase my dose without asking how I slept and what I ate. Slowly I began to remove many of the high-sugar foods from my diet, and soon after I came to see a remarkable difference.
Here are the biggest ways my life changed when I ditched sugar for good:
1. I became more aware of my eating habits.
I started to realize just how much I was relying on M&M’s, pretzels, Frappuccinos, and energy bars. I had no idea how much sugar I was actually consuming until I began reading labels. Slowly and surely, I became more mindful in my choices and created new habits, and ultimately, a new normal around food.
2. My energy increased.
Initially, I felt tired. But after a few days I adjusted, relying on my own body’s ability to produce energy. Soon, I'd no longer need to rely on caffeine or sugar.
3. I stopped sleeping until noon.
Literally, getting up before noon on the weekends used to be a major victory for me. But shortly after ditching sugar, I starting popping out of bed. I couldn’t believe it. I had always bought into the notion that I just wasn’t a morning person, but life without sugar has proven this to be false.
4. I found mental clarity.
I used to feel like I had cobwebs in my brain. I was incredibly forgetful, which limited my workplace productivity and efficiency. Now, without sugar, I no longer suffer from brain fog and forgetfulness. These days, it’s just cute kitten videos that periodically keep me from crushing my to-do list.
5. I lost weight.
When I was eating sugar, I couldn’t lose weight, had a hard time building muscle mass, and was constantly craving sweets. Once I ditched sugar for good, my body stopped using glucose as fuel and looked to burn fat more readily.
6. I became less anxious.
7. I saved money.
I've done the math and found that skipping the sugary protein bars, chocolate, lattes, and pricey cocktails saves me well over $200 a month. Throughout the course of a year, I save over $2,000, which I can now use for travel and adventure! #win-win
8. My skin cleared up.
The #1 compliment I now receive is usually about my skin. It still shocks me given that my skin was once never anything to write home about. “You have a glow about you,” people often say.
9. My relationships improved.
Having more energy, better clarity, more patience, and feeling better about myself (independent of external stimulants), had a big impact on my relationships. A shift was evident; I began attracting more positive people into my life.
Plus, ditching sugar has also helped me find my calling: The wisdom from my wounds, as they say, of being a complete sugar addict was that my struggle was not in vain. Once I ditched sugar, I gained the confidence and desire to help others find sweetness beyond sugar.