This post is also available in: Danish
This story is based on my own personal experience. Feel free to let my story inspire you but what I’m describing here isn’t for everybody. It’s sort of a last call for those who experience that sugar keeps having negative impact on their lifes
It’s about giving up sugar. For good!
A FORMER SUGAR JUNKIE
I used to feel like I was addicted to sugar. I ate sugar often and I always experienced how I couldn’t stop when I first started. I would tell myself that I would just have one bite or just a little bit but I never managed to leave it at that. More wanted more. Every time!
Then LCHF came into my life 5 years ago and I experienced how this Low Carb High Fat lifestyle eliminated my cravings for sugar. Such a relief! Since I wasn’t overweight or had any serious health issues, I still allowed for small amounts of sugar in my diet, from dark chocolate or the like. Sometimes, though rarely, I would chose to eat sugary things like a delicious dessert on a restaurant or my family and I would buy some good quality ice cream and eat it all in one sitting. I found my lifestyle to be good, healthy and balanced. A low carb lifestyle with a little bit of sugar eaten in moderation.
But some things still bothered me…
Even though I no longer consumed large amounts of sugar, some things still bothered me. Two things, really:
- I felt like eating sugar altered my personality. Even when eaten in small amounts.
- I was never satisfied, no matter how much I consumed. Instead, it gave me constant and strong cravings for more.
Especially the part about altering my personality bothered me. I do not want to consume anything that makes me a less likeable person and I find it disturbing that food (or food like products) can actually do that. But sugar does that to me. When I had sugar I got terrible mood swings, I became ill tempered and impatient, especially around my kids, I felt drugged or sedated like someone put a blanket over my life, I felt a need or an urge for isolation, to get away from people, I couldn’t stand being close or intimate with anyone, I felt dislocated from myself, disheartened, all challenges or obstacles seemed insurmountable, I got trouble sleeping etc.
Without sugar I feel normal, my moods are stable, I feel comfortable with myself, I’m optimistic and I feel hopeful about my future, I’m social, I enjoy being with other people, I sleep well at night, my stomach issues are gone, my appetite seems normal and healthy, I have very few cravings etc.
Eating sugar in moderation was very important for me. Everyone would tell me that an all-or-nothing approach was a bad idea and would only lead to even stronger cravings or binge eating so I was very insisting about eating that ice cream with my family in the summer. Even though it clearly wasn’t working for me!
Because the truth is, sugar brought me no satisfaction. NONE WHATSOEVER! All it did was it made me crave more sugar. It wasn’t like the cravings were so strong that I found myself robbing a candy store on my way home, but it was an urge that I needed to fight using all my willpower. A constant inner battle! And it just felt like such a waste of ressources! I’m a grown up, rational person with a relaxed relationship towards food, myself and my body. I could not grasp why sugar was so hard for me to be around.
So I decided to give up sugar completely. Forever and ever! That was in the beginning of October 2015.
BUT RESTRICTIONS LEAD TO BINGE EATING, RIGHT?
Everyone would tell me that restricting something from my diet would lead to binge eating. But that was never my experience. Quite the opposite, really. Instead by giving up sugar, I feel the outmost freedom of not having to debate with myself all the time.
For the first time in my life, I can keep chocolate in my home without any risk of me eating it. Because I don’t eat it. It’s out of the question. I don’t touch it, not even just a small bite, it doesn’t call my name anymore, it’s just so far off limits that the inner dialogues have ceased. Like I don’t debate whether to eat dirt or not! It doesn’t take much strength. That means that I have no exhausting inner dialogues about whether to just take one small bite or not. It means I don’t use any willpower to maintain this new habit. And that makes it really, really easy. Yes easy! Can you believe that staying off sugar is easy? I would never have believed you, if you had told me this before.
THE HARDEST CHOICE
The hardest choice for me was actually choosing to go 100% sugar free. In many ways, it was against what I believed in and maybe also against the way I wanted to live my life. In theory, I love the idea of being able to eat some high quality chocolates from time to time but it just doesn’t work that way for me. Eating sugar feels like a prison to me whereas being sugar free feels like the ultimate freedom. And that makes the choice much easier.
In my experience, deciding to go sugar free does not lead to binge eating. It’s eating the sugar that leads to binge eating. Another hugely important factor is under eating (eating too few calories). You binge eat because your body is starving. And sweets and starchy foods are first on the list. Very few people (if any) binge on meats and pure fat.
ALL-OR-NOTHING VS. EVERYTHING-IN-MODERATION
The idea of giving up sugar for good came from reading the book Better Than Before. The book describes two types of personalities and why each type needs a different approach to succeed in changing their habits. The Abstainer (someone who abstains 100%) and the moderator (someone who works best on an everything-in-moderation approach).
When I looked back at the habits that I managed to kick completely in my past, it was clear that I was more succesfull when I went for the all-or-nothing approach so I am clearly an Abstainer. I gave up smoking 15 years ago by never lighting that next cigaret and I gave up eating bread (gluten) 5 years ago. Not one time in that period have I binged on cigarettes or bread. Not once! So I thought to myself: why not use the same approach with sugar!
100% IS UNREALISTIC
Unless I want to cook all my food for myself for the rest of my life, avoiding sugar 100% is unrealistic. I realize that. When I chose to formulate my goal that way, it’s because I don’t want to offer any loopholes for my addicted brain.
ONE LAST NOTE
I know that the choice of giving up sugar for life can evoke strong feelings in people but before you get mad at me for sharing my story, please examine why my story provokes you. I would also like to stress that I don’t judge anyone who chooses differently and I acknowledge that everything-in-moderation can work just fine for some people. Just not for me. If it worked for me, everything-in-moderation would be my first choice but since it’s not my reality, I’m really happy with the choice I made.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any comments or questions, ask in the comments below!