Exactly 4 days ago I made the snap decision to quit eating sugar, cold turkey! What?!?! That’s pretty extreme!
Why “Cutting Back” Won’t Work
I know I have a problem. So do I stop eating sugar completely or should I just try to cut back? If I cut back, I could still enjoy my favorite treats once in a while. After all, cookies and chocolates are old friends. I can’t turn my back on them. Can I?
Besides, NEVER having any sugar is too hard to actually do, right? I don’t have the will power to keep it up forever. I should just abandon this crazy idea now. It’ll never work.
The thing is, I have tried “cutting back” on sugar before. You probably have as well. Did it work for you? I hope so, but I failed miserably! Briefly depriving myself just made the urge to binge later on even stronger. If you were a recovering alcoholic, would it be ok to have just one drink? Of course not. You’re fighting to quit and you know one drink could lead to a relapse. Same thing with sugar. If you’re going to quit the habit you CANNOT allow an indulgence because it will lead to a relapse. You want to quit for a reason. Don’t let one fancy cupcake make you forget your goals.
Can you really just eat one cookie and be satisfied? The food industry has worked long and hard to make sure we keep eating. That package of Oreos will quickly disappear because they’re designed to be irresistible! In another article I’ll tell you the secret way food manufacturers sabotage our efforts to “cut back” and pull us into addiction.
What Can I Still Eat?
Deciding to quit eating sugar can be tricky. Sweet treats aren’t the only foods containing added sugar. Most processed foods, especially low fat items, had added sugars. With names like “dextrose”, “maltose”, “fructose”, and pretty much anything ending in -ose. Not to mention corn syrup! It’s hard to avoid if you aren’t careful.
What about starchy foods like bread or rice? Or fruits? Carbohydrates in any form are turned into sugars when your body digests them.
Deciding exactly what to exclude and what to still include is going to have to be a personal choice. Do some research on your own and consider what foods will genuinely be safe for you to keep in your diet without becoming a problem. Be truthful with yourself. Listen to that inner voice. Is it leading you on a path to better health or are you listening to the inner addict who doesn’t WANT to give something up?
I chose to stop eating sweets because that’s where my addictive behavior lies. Chocolates, cookies, cakes, sweetened coffee drinks, and ice cream are all a NO.
Starchy carbs like bread aren’t something I enjoy. Usually I pass on bread anyway and use lettuce for sandwiches or just make a salad. I also don’t eat much pasta. Those things will be fine for me in moderation because I don’t feel any mental or physical dependence on them.
Fruits are also going to be included in my diet. Although they do contain natural sugars, their vitamins and fiber are great for our bodies. But only in their whole form. Juices are a NO because they have been stripped of fiber and many of those vitamins. Applesauce will also be a NO because the peeling and cooking process has removed most of the apple’s health benefits, leaving behind a dense sugary sauce.
Fear of the Future
I am aware of how extreme it sounds to completely quit eating sugar cold turkey. Truthfully, it’s scary. I’m letting go of habits that have brought me comfort. Treats that make me feel happy. I’m afraid of a relapse. Afraid of bingeing again. Scared of letting sugar continue it’s powerful hold over my life.
How will I get through the holidays? Will the joy be lost if I don’t have our traditional special treats? I’ll soon find out because Thanksgiving and Christmas are mere months away.
Is This Sustainable?
So much of our culture and traditions include sugary treats. Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, Grandma’s fudge at Christmas, cake and ice cream for birthdays, morning meetings with coffee and donuts, chocolates from our sweethearts. It’s impossible to avoid. I know it won’t be easy to sustain my resolve for a lifetime.
It will be hard but it won’t be impossible. Maybe years from now, when I’ve lived sugar-free long enough, perhaps I’ll be able to enjoy a slice of pie without fear of backsliding. First I have years of bad habits to break. I have to work on creating new healthy habits that will be permanently ingrained in my thoughts and behaviors.
For now, I’m saying NO. No to the sugars, yes to a healthier future!