I gave up sugar

“If you had to ask  my friends  to describe me the word “sweet” would be used for sure.  Unfortunately they might not say “Lana is really sweet” , in fact it’s far more likely they would say “Lana has a very sweet tooth”

And they ‘d be right.  I am the kind of person that can’t  sleep if there’s chocolate in the house because it calls me while I’m sleeping, wakes me up and forces me to eat it.  I am the kind of person that can drink Diet Coke for breakfast and jam with my toast and sugar in my tea.  I am the person that goes into the petrol station to pay for my petrol and comes out with a chocolate.

So what on earth would propel me to try and give up sugar?”

I’d been doing a bit of reading because I was feeling stale, de-energised and  like I was carrying too much weight.  But most worrying was that I was obsessed with food.  Food was on my mind all the time – recipes, meal ideas, chocolate/bread/noodles, what I could eat for snack/lunch/dinner/ just because I deserved it.  I loved and resonated with all the books on emotional eating and many times I sat in front of my fridge literally pleading with Geneen Roth, author of Breaking Free from Emotional Eating to help me. I understand my emotional issues with food – I even explained them to my open fridge but it did not help the fact that I spent too much time obsessing.

I came across David Gillespie’s book The Sweet Poison Quit Plan mainly because I was drawn to the delicious looking cupcake on the cover and then I opened it and I read his opening sentence “Sugar makes you fat.  It is converted directly to fat by your liver and it destroys your appetite control so that you want to eat more of everything.”

I was hooked, I know that I always want to eat more of everything and I wanted to know why my appetite control was basically non existent and whether my sugar consumption was part of my obsession with food.  The book explains how sugar is metabolized and illustrates how sugar is added to almost every single thing on our supermarket shelves but it also offers a plan to give up sugar (and thereby regulate your appetite) and  I do so love a plan.  I planned to get over  my obsession with food.

Turns out the plan was simple.  I was to stop eating anything that tasted sweet and spend what seems like eons in the aisle every time I went shopping to check the sugar levels in packaged foods because there is sugar in almost everything you eat so you need to check the content is really low.  Like  really really low – less than 4gms per 100grams.

I have been off sugar for 10 days and it is as hard as David Gillespie told me it would be.  Well he didn’t tell me that as such but his book certainly suggests that sugar withdrawal is hard.  I feel exhausted, I am still highly emotional (this may just be me), I feel a little bit edgy and somehow unsatisfied – like I just want a cupcake with icing.  Lots of icing. And little silver balls .  But it is not hunger and I only feel this dissatisfaction after I have eaten.

But, there are pluses – heaps of people (well three) have mentioned that my skin looks clear, fresher, more vibrant (and I haven’t even asked them).

And there is this: the exact thing I was looking for.  I don’t think about food all the time.  I just forget to think about it.  I eat of course but more out of hunger and less out of habit.

I would still love to dip my teaspoon in a jar of nutella and inhale (Gillespie reckons it takes most people 3 to 4 weeks to withdraw totally and get over those cravings) but this desire for liquid chocolate is not knocking on my head all day long.

It worries me a little because I realise sugar was a crutch.  Just like nicotine was once.  Now I don’t smoke and I am not eating sugar I am not sure how I will deal with a crisis, but hopefully soon my sugar levels wont be quite so crazy and life will seem less crisis filled and more even keeled.

In the meantime I am discovering a new way of eating, not feeling fantastic YET but at least my focus is expanding (and hopefully my waist isn’t)

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  1. More power to you Lana, because try as I might, the voice in my head isn’t ready…YET…to do the deed you’ve embarked on.

    As I said, recognising ‘the call’ wasn’t what you wanted to hear, and finding the BOOK…says a lot about the substance and power of Lana’s brain than mine.

    Well-done, and I am very happy for you (sort of jealous too) D xx

  2. I have never even considered giving up sugar, in much the same way I have never even considered entering the Hawaiian Ironman. I’m simply not up to it. Your post, though… Hmmmm. Much respect!

  3. Go Lana! I have the book but gave up after about 10 pages. Much in the same way as I did with Skinny Bitch. I just love sugar and meat too much to give them up (obviously not together). I do know some people who have done it and had amazing results though. X

  4. Lana that’s great. I started this week & was feeling quite stabby until today when I donated blood. They have loaded me up on so much sugar I could climb a wall. Back off it tomorrow. I shall feel disgusting I fear. I’m so glad you are getting there. You will feel so much better. You can bet on it.

  5. I read this just before I went to the supermarket – the first thing I checked was the fabulous seed bread loaf that we all eat here, you know the one right Lana? Oprah said South African Woolworths seed loaf was the best in the world I am told regularly. It has 4.5g / 100grams of sugar. There was no hope after that. None at all. I salute you, wish you the best.

  6. Good on you!

    I did it for a month over a year ago now to see if I could and if it made me feel better. I was constantly tired and craving sweet things at the time, breastfeeding and thinking it was bad for me and babe, and needed a change.

    Result: it made me feel better, but gee it was hard.

    I slowly reintroduced sugar after that, and managed to keep the levels pretty down for a long time. Which was still better than where I was at before that.

    Now I just try not to buy chocolate or anything with straight sugar, and if I do eat it the rule is I have to have cooked it myself. Which takes time. So icecream and biscuits are home-made only.

    And yes, I obsess over the labelling in the supermarket too.

    Now, trying to convince my in-laws that feeding any kind of sugar-enhanced product to my 1.5 year old in NOT ok, has been nigh impossible. “Oh, Chocolate milk doesn’t have sugar in it!”… right.

  7. Wow, I think just the planning, shopping and thinking about what I can eat is what scares me off the idea..
    Good on you, I look forward to hearing how you are going in the weeks to come.

  8. That is it. You are the 5th person I know who has kicked this habit. Thanks for giving me a kick up the ass. Am going to do it too xo

  9. It takes a damn strong will power to do this Lana. I commend you.
    I’d do it but my family don’t need a crankier, snappier more desperate lady in the house than they already have. Best for all if we just keep the status quo. Good luck!

  10. Well done! I need to do this. Have been hitting the sugar a little too hard lately, I think to compensate for lack of sleep. I think I shall follow your lead.

  11. Oooooh so tempted. Coke and chocolate are my drugs of choice… Any time of day!
    Thinking I should hunt down this book but also veryyyyy fearful lol sounds crazy doesn’t it?!
    Eeeek to kick the habit or not to….

  12. I am so going to do this once I get this little person the hell out of my body. You see, this little person is a cinnamon donut pusher. Because of her, I now need a hit everyday, sometimes two or three times.
    Need to go into detox. Get this monkey off my back.

  13. Lana, I have a couple of questions. I read something similar in the paper on Sunday about Sarah Wilson…but she has also given up fruit! As there are large amounts of fructose in fruit…have you had to part ways with this too? I am intrigued. So what can you eat now? What do you have for breakfast/ cook for dinner? Is muesli out of the question?

    • Hi Amy

      The book Sweet Poison suggests you don’t eat too much fruit (maximum 2 pieces a day) but he also suggests you should only eat fruit like berries, kiwifruit and pears. Muesli is a NO NO

      I haven’t been eating fruit up till this point but I am going to start. I actually feel decidedly unhealthy at the moment – 4 weeks in.

      I think also because I am a vegetarian I seem to be eating mainly carbs and I feel blergh!

      Not a good advert for my own post am I :-)

  14. I have just borrowed this book from my library today. I sort of want to try it, but am a bit afraid of the EFFORT. I’m already checking out salt and fat contents on everything … I know it will be better for the kids though.

    I’d love to hear about how you get on as the weeks go by!

  15. you should read ‘the sugar blues’ by William duffy.
    That will put u off sugar for life.

    • Yes…I would also highly recommend this book. Although it is quite an old book it is a fascinating insight into what sugar does to you over time. William Duffy went on to marry Gloria Swanson who was herself a ‘no sugar’ person. I love her quote when she met William and he offered her sugar..she said: ‘I won’t have that stuff in my house let alone my body’!! :)

  16. freedomtights says:

    Lana you are amazing! I was reading something about sugar addiction and the article said “do you get withdrawals if you don’t have sugar within 24 hrs?” and I thought to myself, “What?! I never go without sugar.” It has thus I have realised that I feeding my sugar addiction (like a crack addict) to get through each day.
    I gave up chocolate for a week once, that was hard. I don’t think I can give up sugar at the moment, its a staple food. I have given up Facebook for lent though!! :)

  17. Congrads! I gave up sugar on advice from my Natropath due to Hypoglycemia and adrenal gland problems, and it’s really changed my life. I feel so much better and so different, after 10 years of suffering with fatigue and moodiness I am a new girl again…there’s even 3 muffins sitting on my counter that I am not even interested in! Too much sugar and processed food has brought so many problems and illnesses to our society- I am bringing back whole, slow foods, with no additives or preservatives, ‘fake’ sugars or high GI sweeteners. Eating the way my parents and grandparents always did, fresh veggies, beautiful meats, and gorgeous herbs, with the standard 2 serves of fruit per day of course! I even made my own Ketchup (store bought is full of sugar) and it tastes great! Good luck and stick to it, it’s really only natural!

  18. I was just thinking about giving it up myself…scary, but scarier that it’s so scary to give up! Definitely an addiction. And I heard there’s really a cancer link with eating all the sugar that Americans eat. So, we’ll see how it goes…!

  19. Emily Carter says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write and well done. sounds like you were describing me at the start, the “not being able to sleep if there is choc in the house” part. But…..I gave up chocolate nine weeks ago and my appetite has definitely decreased. I feel much more in control of my life and happier, so strange thought the reverse would be true! I now need to move on and eradicate sugar from my diet. I have type 2 diabetes and know that this will improve my condition immensely, especially if i want another baby. The books you mention look interesting, i am totally aware that my eating habits are due to emotional issues so may give them a read.
    E x

  20. I had given up sugar just after Christmas and after initial week or so I was really pleased I did. I lost weight and then around my birthday in February I thought I would be able to have some choccy and biscuits and be able to be in control . Not so and have put weight back on so starting again now , 1/05/2012. Will come back to this site for encouragement.

  21. I gave up sugar January 2nd (except fruits) and by the 3rd week I wasn’t craving at all. I feel better as well. Keep it up, it will get easier. :)

  22. I just realized this post is really old! Lol thanks google!! Haha


  1. […] am not new to giving up sugar, I gave it up once before and wrote about it here. At the time of writing I had given up for 10 days and I ended my post with the words “I am […]

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