Hi friend! Welcome to a fresh, new week! If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I went sugar free for a week. I was chronicling my journey and saved it to a highlight “NO SUGAR” if you want to see those videos.
Today, I’m excited to share my experience here on the blog with you. I’m also a little nervous because these kinds of posts are vulnerable and can also be triggering for some people.
If talking about food and/or this kind of topic doesn’t resonate well with you, just skip it and come back for more fashion and fun talk next post! No hard feelings, promise!
I’m keeping this post 100% real and sharing pieces from my journal while I did this sugar free experiment (entries I wrote without thinking I would ever share them). I hope my experience is helpful for anyone that also struggles with eating too much sugar and wants to learn more about how sugar affects the body.
My Sugar Addiction
Although I try to eat healthy, exercise often, and take care of myself, I know I was addicted to sugar. I had gotten in a very bad habit of going to Starbucks every.single. afternoon for MONTHS! and ordering a tall Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso.
Not only is that Starbuck’s drink expensive, it took time out of my day to go there and although it’s only 100 calories, it has 10 grams of sugar. AND, I’d find myself thinking too much about it. Like, when would I go?? and then I’d want to structure my day around when I would be able to drink it.
I had the nagging feeling for years that if I could just quit my sugar cravings, I could really be in better health.
I was so afraid to commit to going sugar free because I really didn’t think I could do it.
I would eat so healthy, and then binge on sugar. On James birthday, I ate half his cake. I can finish a whole pint of ice cream by myself, and I’ve been known to eat 2 pints in a row!
And, I was eating too much “sneaky” sugar during the day. A chewy chocolate chip granola bar (or two) after a meal, teriyaki sauce in my Asian meals, sweetened almond milk, etc.
SIGNS OF MY SUGAR ADDICTION
- You crave something sweet after every meal – YES, ALWAYS
- You reach for sugar when you feel stressed – YES
- You describe yourself as having a “sweet tooth” – YES
- Your taste buds are dulled to sweet foods – YES
- You get bloated after meals – I would wake up bloated after eating ice cream at night
- You have dramatic energy dips and spikes during the day – YES
- Once you start eating sugar, you can’t stop – YES
DECIDING TO GO SUGAR FREE
Then, I also started reading The Blood Sugar Solution, 10 Day Detox Diet by Mark Hyman.
Both of these resources were so good at helping me understand what sugar does to our bodies, why it’s so addictive and how to quit.
The premise of The Blood Sugar Solution is that you can begin to change your life in just 10 days by changing:
- What you eat
- How you move
- How you rest
- How you recharge, and
- How you connect.
Learning about how highly addictive sugar is helped me understand that I do have a true addiction.
But, learning about Leptin Resistance was an eye opener and explained so much. I’ve mentioned before that when I start eating Rhonda’s Chocolate Chip cookies, I literally cannot stop. I can honestly put down 10 at one sitting or over a couple of hours, coming back for more and more.
In Sarah’s book, she explains these important facts about sugar (fructose):
- Fructose makes us eat more
- Fructose converts directly to fat, as opposed to being used right away for energy
- Fructose makes us sick by inhibiting our immune system
- Fructose speeds up the aging process
- Fructose has been connected with cancers
- Fructose is linked to dementia
- & can cause a rapid rise in adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety and loss of concentration
NO SUGAR FOR ONE WEEK
MY NO SUGAR RULES
I kept it super simple.
Don’t eat anything with ‘added’ sugar.
Fruit is okay because it’s naturally occurring and has fiber to go with it, but I didn’t eat any just because I was trying to wean myself off of anything that tasted sweet.
I’ve heard your taste buds will adjust over time and that’s what I was hoping.
DAY 1 SUGAR FREE
The italics are from my journal entries:
Can I go one day without sugar? I doubt I’ll even last one day. I WANT to quit this Starbucks habit. I’ve been getting one everyday. I’ll grab an iced tea from the gym this morning and make a hot tea tonight- without any sugar.
The YouTube video girl said that she wanted to be able to decide to eat sugar, just not crave to it. I’m similar and also crave sugar at night when I’m stressed out or trying to relax, not necessarily because I’m hungry.
First day, I realized how much added sugar is in almost everything!!
The BCAA powder I add to my water had sugar in it as well as my gummy vitamins. I had to pour out my water and order new vitamins. The muscle egg I used to drink (chocolate flavored egg whites) has sugar so I won’t be drinking it.
I usually eat oatmeal with almond milk for breakfast, but my almond milk is sweetened, so I couldn’t use it.
The hardest thing is giving up my vanilla caramel creamer. I LOVE it! But I’m really at the point where I don’t want to drink that artificial sugar stuff in my coffee everyday. Especially because I use so much of it. It can’t be good for my body.
I had a bad headache when I went to bed.
DAY 2 SUGAR FREE
I woke up with a terrible headache and I felt pretty yucky.
Had a headache all day.
But I feel like I’m doing something good for my body so that’s positive.
Got regular iced tea for my afternoon “treat” instead of my Starbuck’s. Didn’t use any sugar packets, drank it black and it wasn’t too bad. I would normally add a Splenda.
Elliott grilled steaks in the cast iron pan I bought and they were delicious! We had them with grilled zucchini, squash and asparagus plus real butter. I wouldn’t normally eat butter, but adding in some fat helped me feel more satisfied. I absolutely loved this meal and didn’t even want dessert after.
I also had a glass of red wine, yay for no sugar there. See video at 30:16 for the explanation.
DAY 3 SUGAR FREE
I woke up with another headache.
Bought nut pods for my coffee.
Continued watching the YouTube video and it’s really helping me stay the course.
Worked out and felt really good afterwards. I can’t believe I’m actually on Day 3.
Went to Walmart and found Sola bread that doesn’t have sugar. Also bought unsweetened almond milk. I’m really loving this breakfast- two whole eggs cooked in a tiny bit of coconut oil and Sola bread toasted with a little bit of Kerrygold butter.
Also bought Jordan sugar free ketchup and I’m making fresh pico for grilled chicken Tex Mex.
Went to dinner with friends and ordered the salmon salad with no dressing. The menu didn’t mention that the salmon had a sauce on it, but it looked like it, so I scraped it off.
Soooo hard watching everyone eat dessert, but I didn’t have a bite! I actually went home feeling good, not hungry and very proud of myself for not giving in to that dessert that looked so good!
DAY 4 SUGAR FREE
Saturday morning and I was craving an iced coffee, but still determined not to have the tall Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso. I made my own iced coffee at home with unsweetened almond milk, a little half and half and a nut pod. It was really good! I cannot believe I like this!
DAY 5 SUGAR FREE
I can’t remember this day! & I didn’t write anything in my journal.
DAY 6 SUGAR FREE
Mad chocolate cravings, but still not giving in. I’m sad the cravings haven’t really diminished. 🙁 But, I’m also surprised/excited I’ve made it this far.
I can’t believe I’ve gone 6 days without sugar! It’s really incredible. Even no sugar in my coffee. I NEVER thought I could do that. I put nutpods and half and half instead.
My coffee tastes more bitter, but also creamy. I add a dash of cinnamon too. I still prefer some sweetness, but I want to quit my sugar addiction. The book I’m reading says it will take about 6 weeks. So I will go beyond week 1 into week 2. Then, sweet things should taste sweeter- more unpalatable. I don’t want to be ruled by sugar with such intense cravings.
I’ve added in more fat to my diet to help me feel more satisfied- things like butter, coconut oil, steak and hamburger and my scale says I’m down three pounds?!
Here’s some of the things I ate this week:
DAY 7 SUGAR FREE
I freaking did it! 7 days with no sugar! I can’t believe it. Only creamer and nutpods in my coffee. Wow. I feel like I’m doing something good for my body and my body responded by letting go of fat – I’m curious to measure today and see my results.
My tummy feels tighter and toned instead of waking up feeling/looking bloated. I’m quitting my sugar addiction. Taking it one day at a time toward a 6 week goal.
I’m still craving sweet things like chocolate, but replacing and adding in fat, whole eggs, butter, avocado and coconut oil is helping.
This is the first time in my entire life I’ve been able to go without sugary creamer in my coffee. That’s a huge accomplishment! I’m actually enjoying my coffee this way. It’s supposed to be better for you to not start your day with something sweet – that sets the tone for your day.
If I keep this up, how will I look and feel? I’m excited to see. Maybe my skin will look more vibrant and clear.
RESULTS ONE WEEK SUGAR FREE
Starting in January 2023, I was tying to lose some weight. I had gotten up to 113/114 after the holidays and I feel best around 105-107. In December, I make all my favorite yummy treats like Chocolate Covered Toffee, Rhonda’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars . . . and I don’t really hold back- but that always results in a weight gain I want to lose come January.
This year, to keep me accountable, I would measure myself with the InBody Analyzer weekly. That gives me info like weight, body fat, muscle mass, etc.
I had good results for the first month, but in February I had plateaued.
What this shows is that I weighed 108.9 lbs on Day 1 and weighed 105.6 lbs on Day 8 – losing a total of 3.3 pounds. That’s a big loss for me. I usually lose about 1 pound a week if I’m trying.
The awesome thing is, my muscle actually increased a tiny bit – 2 pounds.
I went down 2.2% body fat. From 21.8% to 19.6%
I was ECSTATIC with those results! I felt SO GOOD!!!!
WHAT I LEARNED BY GOING SUGAR FREE
Sugar is in so many foods, sauces, and drinks.
But, if you stick to mostly whole foods, things not in a package or bottle, there are many sugar free options.
Adding fat to my meals kept me more satisfied and less hungry between meals. Also, it’s better to eat whole foods (like whole eggs) and not “low fat” options.
Eating sugar makes me want to eat more sugar!!!
Sugar substitutes like erythritol hurt my stomach. After my no sugar week, I tried some keto ice-cream that was sugar free, but the sweetener gave me a stomach ache.
I realized that I like to eat sugar (sweet things like ice cream) at night as a way to cope with stress.
My body let go of fat when I went sugar free.
One of the biggest things I noticed though, was that my energy levels were more stable. I didn’t have those highs and lows that I typically have. Often, I used to want to take an afternoon nap or felt really sleepy. That didn’t happen while I was sugar free. My energy felt so much more “even” throughout the day. I was less irritable and anxious.
HOW I’VE CHANGED SINCE GOING SUGAR FREE
I pay much closer attention to food labels and the amount of sugar in my food.
I don’t eat as much sugar in my daily diet anymore.
I don’t add sugary creamer to my coffee anymore. This one surprised me the most. For over 20 years, I’ve been adding a lot of vanilla caramel creamer to my coffee. And when I say “a lot” I mean 3 tablespoons. Yep, I used to measure it out.
Since my sugar free experiment, I haven’t been adding sweetened sugary creamer to my coffee. I think that’s the biggest change. Now, I add 1 tablespoon of half and half and 1 tablespoon of nutpods with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
FALLING OFF THE WAGON
After my week going sugar free, my family went to San Antonio for Spring Break. While we were on the Riverwalk, I ordered and really enjoyed a big scoop of ice cream in a sugar cone. It was so good!! But, when I was finished eating it, I felt so bad physically. I could tell how low my energy dropped and I felt extremely bloated.
The biggest takeaway was realizing WHY I want to eat ice cream at night. It’s truly how I like to relax and unwind at the end of the day, BUT, I leaned that when I eat ice cream, it’s incredibly difficult for me to eat it in moderation.
When you eat sugar, you crave more sugar. It’s a vicious cycle for me.
I tried to go 30 days sugar free and around Day 12 I did a major binge on ice cream. That started me on eating ice cream again almost every day!
Back from Spring Break and it’s rough Ate way too much ice cream. Binged Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Not even sure why. Last night, I ate two pints in a row! I wasn’t even that hungry. I should’ve just went to bed. I think I was trying to decompress.
In retrospect, when I reflected on the rest of those journal entries at that time, I had a lot going on that week and was extra stressed. I was also exhausted and not getting enough sleep. I think that led me to those sugary decisions – I just wanted to numb out and my vice is ice cream.
Bottom line is, I still struggle with wanting that ice cream at night.
The good news is, I eat MUCH less sugar throughout the day now and haven’t gone back to the sugar in my coffee. #smallwins
I’m more aware of what sugar does to my body, mood and energy. I’m trying to not beat myself up about the sugar cravings that I do still have, because I now know that sugar is really addicting.
I’m really glad I did this challenge. I didn’t think I could do it and I’m still surprised that I made it one full week. I didn’t make it a month, but I’m still very proud of those 7 days!
What I’m trying to do now is stop eating after dinner. If I make dinner my last meal, I won’t eat ice cream because I really only want it later in the evening. Then I try to go to bed early and wake up early. It’s great for my productivity, but also helps me avoid late night eating.
I wish I could snap my fingers and not crave sugar anymore. But, as I’m writing this, I’m recalling that it takes about 4-6 weeks sugar free for your body to adapt to less sugar cravings.
I don’t want to set myself up for failure by even attempting to go that long without sugar. It’s almost like it would be too much pressure on me and I’d feel worse about myself if I failed.
So, I try really hard to make healthy choices (eat whole food) during the day, and not give in to temptations at night. I should stop buying ice cream and just have two squares of dark chocolate. That would be better.
I did love how much body fat I lost when I went sugar free, so that’s encouraging to know that if you want to lose weight for a trip or occasion, cutting out sugar is one way to guarantee results!
I’d love to hear your comments on this post. Was it helpful? Do you have a similar sweet tooth? Have you struggled with eating too much sugar? Have you been able to go sugar free. Gimme all the tips in the comments!
Now let’s go kick Monday’s booty!