what I learned from quitting sugar
1. Sugar is in practically everything.
I first realized this standing in the cereal aisle of Target. I was hopelessly looking for a sugar free option. By sugar free, I mean sugar free. Not filled with another form of what is basically sugar…and usually worse. Corn syrup, stevia, aspartame, truvia, splenda….the list could go on. To my disgust, many of the ‘sugar free’ options actually contained more grams of sugar per serving than the standard sugary cereals that attract kids. I left frustrated.
2. Being adaptable will work in your favor.
I quickly realized that I wouldn’t successfully quit sugar if I didn’t adjust my plan. I am not the type to routinely pack my lunch and snacks for work, make every meal from scratch, or to eat only raw foods, so it would be difficult for me to avoid sugar completely once I realized that it was in practically everything. I also didn’t want to substitute items that weren’t naturally sugar free with superficially sweetened options. (The goal of this experiment was to become healthier, not pick up unhealthy habits.) So the focus of my experiment shifted to quitting all desserts, candy and food items that contained an unnecessary amount of sugar, and for consumption of the last category to be limited. To determine what the ‘unnecessary’ amount was, I compared labels and sought out the options that included the least amount of sugar.
3. You need to tell others what you are doing.
If it hadn’t been for my husband and coworkers’ lack of confidence in me, I might not have had confidence in myself. Their doubt motivated me more than I would have motivated myself on my own.
4. If you are able to, allow yourself to make your own rules.
I say if you are able to because some people may be tempted to make too many of their own rules, to the point that they pretty much give up on what they were trying to do to in the first place. If you really want the end result, you’ll be cautious when ‘adjusting’ the rules. In my case, I decided to allow myself one day off per week from quitting sugar. The first day off was due to it being my first child’s first birthday party. Had I thought that through when taking on this experiment? I needed to have a piece of his birthday cake.
5. Six weeks was enough and just right.
It was enough time for me to break my addiction. Enough time for me to not care as much about or depend on sugar. And it was just the right amount of time. Had I gone another two weeks without sugar, as initially planned, I may have come to resent the experiment to begin with. I may have become consumed with when I would be able to taste sugar again. I may have undone all that I had done. As I had stated, it is important to be able to adapt.
6. It’s worth it.
You might be thinking… “Well, you didn’t actually do it, with all of your ‘adapting’ and ‘adjustments'”. But I did do what I needed to do to quit my sugar addiction. And it was still hard. And very worth it.