Last year I gave up sugar. It was not a choice I was ready to make.
It was the last thing I wanted to do.
But now I love my sugar-free lifestyle.
Most of the time I try really hard not to do things that I know I should be doing.
I’m kind of a rebel.
Maybe you can relate. But for some reason your interest in a sugar-free lifestyle keeps nagging at you and something is prompting you to look into it further.
Why would someone give up sugar? Isn’t that what makes life worth living?
Here’s what I gave up sugar for and what happened as a result.
Gave Up Sugar for Health
What is something you would hate to have taken away? Your job? Your house?
Would it be your family and friends?
Maybe the person closest to you?
For many people, sadly they realize after a long and hard battle, that their health is something they value.
You can’t put a price tag on feeling good.
When you realize that something you’re doing is affecting you in a bad way, more than likely you are going to take steps to fix the problem.
One day I was eating oatmeal and noticed I didn’t feel so good after eating it.
I had put honey on it and after a couple of hours started to feel very tired.
Realizing only later that the honey was affecting my blood sugar. It would spike, and then my energy would crash. Like, I’m done with the day crash.
Began to Eat Low Glycemic Foods
Fast forward to the present day. Low glycemic foods make up the majority of my diet because they work for my body. Because I have a thyroid condition, which mysteriously affects my blood sugar very easily. Now I have to be extra careful of what kinds of foods I eat.
Related Content: “What is a Thyroid?”: The Question You May Be Asking
So instead of wolfing down a plate of French fries, (I still have them on a rare occasion) I will eat a pile of buttered broccoli and get the same satisfaction from it.
My favorite food as a kid was chicken fingers, but the breading is made with flour. So when I found out I was highly sensitive to wheat, I needed a solution for days when we would eat fast food.
Now I’m a bit obsessed with salads, but find I can get pretty full if I add enough salad dressing.
Gave Up Sugar for Fat
No, fat didn’t make me gain weight. Well, it did at first, before I had a handle on portion control.
Let me be honest. Portion control is not something I really worry about too much.
Eventually when you dial in your diet and grab the reigns on your sugar consumption, portion control will come naturally.
Fat is essential for healthy hormone production, your skin, hair and nails and so many more things in your body.
When you eat a low fat diet, you are asking for health issues down the road.
I was vegan for eight months, and I screwed up my hormones terribly.
Now I eat fat again, and in careful amounts. I don’t need to use three tablespoons of coconut oil in my eggs anymore because I’m getting the nutrients my body needs.
Fat is wonderfully satiating. It doesn’t come with the side effects sugar unfortunately has.
When paired with protein, fat makes things taste even better.
Think about a cheeseburger for example. Aren’t they so satisfying because of the fat content?
You rarely feel hungry after eating a cheeseburger because it covers all the bases. Fat, protein, veggies, yummy sauces… Well, for a gluten-free person it is missing the bun, but hey it can still be pretty delicious!
Recently, my husband gave me the ultimate lesson on making a cheeseburger.
It was so good I could cry, seriously.
Sugar Can Be Your Body’s Enemy
When you eat sugar, for many it can cause all sorts of problems.
Because sugar can become a wild beast that must be tamed.
When I found out I had a case of candida, a yeast overgrowth in my gut, I knew what I needed to do.
My body hated me and the root cause was my diet, which at the time was high in starches and sugars.
I wasn’t really even eating white table sugar. I had coconut sugar on occasion.
But just cutting refined sugar hadn’t been enough. I’d been doing that for the past couple of years.
Sugar is sugar, plain and simple. Honey, molasses, agave syrup, whatever you call it, it all has the same affect.
When you have too much of it, your body will eventually let you know.
My only goal became to hunt this candida down, starve it and kill it.
Sugar feeds candida so that was definitely off the table.
I did this by implementing clean eating.
This included lots of healthy fats, tons of greens, lean proteins like chicken breasts and fish, red meats, soups, smoothies, nuts, seeds, and the occasional treat while out and about.
My sensitivities to food were though the roof at this time so I had to get my gut in order.
I also took natural supplements and worked with my doctor and a specific candida diet to get it under control.
I did enjoy sweets on occasion. But not with sugar or honey.
What Changed In One Year?
I’m glad you asked.
Better Blood Sugar
For one thing, my blood sugar is on its way to becoming much more stable.
While I am eating very differently now, there is definitely a difference.
Stevia is almost exclusively used now because it has 0% impact on my blood sugar so it’s safe for me to use.
When I first tried it, I was not impressed.
You very well may have had the same experience yourself.
The trick is you have to get a stevia that is not bitter.
Sugar has been cut from my diet almost completely. You can do the same.
I’m talking about sugar by itself in all of its forms.
You may have noticed that I’m not touching on other foods here that have sugar in them. Like fruit, and high-glycemic foods like white rice.
Gave Up Sugar, But Not Deprived
Realistically, you might have a cupcake once in a blue moon and that’s fine. But don’t let it get out of control because as you know sugar is mighty addictive.
Let’s say you have to have ice cream and feel left out when everybody else is eating ice cream sundaes, here’s a tip. Get the smallest size of whatever it is that you want, like a kiddie cone for example. (Wait… hold the cone if you’re gluten free.)
You decide that the idea of giving up sugar sounds like a good fit for you. Make it fun; and make it as easy on yourself as possible to stick to it.
If you say you’ll never have sugar again, you probably will disappoint yourself.
Leaving room for a treat now and then takes away the desire to devour a whole box of cookies.
Weight Came Off Easily
Gaining weight is one of the things I don’t miss about sugar.
Unfortunately, you can look at all the excuses in the world to keep eating the stuff.
Everybody has a different journey.
When I let go of sugar, I lost about twenty pounds in four months.
Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot to you. But when you have a thyroid issue, it’s a pretty big deal.
I have been able to maintain that weight loss since then.
Also, my confidence has been better since I’m not focused so much on losing weight.
Getting sugar out of your diet may be the best decision you could make.
Gave Up Sugar, Gave Up the Bloat
If you are sick of being bloated then sugar might be the problem.
Sugar gives your body this kind of “puffy looking” appearance.
When you stop eating it, you’ll notice that maybe your face slims down, and your tummy starts looking a little flatter.
Being bloated all the time can really make you miserable.
If sugar can increase gas and bloating, that’s a good reason to cut it out too.
I had a “puffy face” for years and always wondered why.
Hello thyroid problems, gluten intolerance and sugar!
Those things were the problem all along.
No More Sugar Headaches
Now if I eat something with sugar, almost always will I get a headache right after or the next morning.
This saps my energy dramatically in what would otherwise be the start to a good day.
It’s just not worth it for me to cheat, and I try not to as often as possible.
Sugar headaches are the worst because they can last for hours and don’t go away very quickly.
Productivity drops and often so does the mood of a person.
Now that I’ve been eating sugar free for over a year now, it feels so normal.
I took a while to get used to it.
Now it’s a whole new lifestyle, but I embrace it because it’s working for me.
You have nothing to lose, and you may find that the day you gave up sugar everything started to change.
Expect the following to possibly happen:
- You’re going to realize that sugar may have been affecting your health for a long time. Pin-point a time when you feel sugar may have first been the culprit.
- Eating more fat may become a part of your routine because you aren’t eating sugar. Fat is very satiating and good for you when eaten in careful amounts.
- Sugar is sugar, whether it’s honey, maple syrup, agave or coconut sugar. It doesn’t matter what it’s called as long as it’s causing you problems.
- If you give up sugar, have a plan in place for those emergency situations. Be realistic and don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up.
- Notice you are losing weight easily and all you did is give up a few of your favorite treats. Your confidence will grow as you lose the weight you may have gained.
- See the difference in your face and body as you may lose the “sugar bloat” in both. You may realize that your bloat was caused for many years before by sugar and maybe gluten.
- Your headaches may become a thing of the past. When you eat sugar you may begin to make the connection that it is the cause and not worth the cheat.
What do you think? Is sugar one culprit in your life and have you given it up for something else?