Guide: How to Quit Sugar

I’m in my own self-made mini-hell right now, fighting my way back from a sugar bender.  The New York Times must have heard me complaining because they published an article just for me.

“Are You a Carboholic? Why Cutting Carbs Is So Tough.”

I went on vacation, ate a bunch of this and that, and now I’m completely obsessed with dessert.

I’m trying to get back on the wagon after being fine since January 4th. Sucks. It was easy for 7 months!

Here’s what I never, ever believed until I lived it myself. For me, moderation is actually harder than abstinence.

My entire life I’ve been a sugar addict, and then, in January,  I listened to an audiobook called “ The Case Against Sugar” and I just quit. Cold turkey. No biggie.

I do not have discipline. I’m always late, I miss deadlines, my house is messy and I love TV.

It didn’t take discipline.

Moderation, however, is pure hell. The sugar haunts me.  I can’t stop thinking about it. And this article explains the cruel biology of moderation.

And that’s where my kids live. In the land of moderation. No wonder they’re obsessed.

There’s no magical answer except that I still don’t bring sugar into the house, and that’s been the easiest way to make sure we all eat less. Recently I noticed my husband buys a pint of ice cream every time he goes to the store. Sugar is everywhere and creeps back in.

My kids are way too old and independent for me to control their food when they’re not with me. The harder I try to control it, the more they’ll want it.

There are these amazing keto kids, on an amazing keto blog, with amazing keto moms, and the moms claim their kids never beg for desserts.  And I thought, hmm, that’s nice. You’re lying, on the Internet, how novel.

But now I don’t think they’re lying. Maybe their kids abstain because it’s easy for them. Their addicted brains aren’t screaming for it.  Those keto moms are nicer than I am! Their kids aren’t craving anything.

My youngest is 8, so there’s no starting over. But if I could, here’s what I’d do.

1.     Feed babies meat, veggies and dairy. My baby niece eats this way.  Cottage cheese, plain full fat yogurt, meat, avocado, cheese, peanut butter, loads of veggies. Some berries, very little else. Not really any grains or simple carbs. What did I give my kids at her age? Rice cereal and Cheerios. Ugh.

2.     No sweets at home. We do this now, but it was a hard transition, and sugar creeps back in repeatedly.

Wish me luck as I haul my sugar-addicted brain back up on the wagon. I’ll report back.

Edited: It took two weeks and now I’m back. It’s fairly easy again. So weird.

You know those annoying bloggers with six-packs that proselytize quitting sugar? As in “Join the EXCLUSIVE 5 WEEK SUGAR DETOX PROGRAM!”

They’re so irritating.

And unfortunately, they’re sort of right. But you don’t need to pay them. Unless you want to. Which is fine too. Whatever works. Zero judgment here.

Here’s what I did. You’ll need to figure out the best route for you and what motivates you.

In general, I can motivate myself as long as I actually believe in it. If you’re like me, go to the library and get, “The Case Against Sugar” by Gary Taubes or "The Obesity Code" by Dr. Jason Fung.

If you need accountability, invite a friend over, throw out all your sugar, then repeat at your friend’s house. Check in with each other to see how it’s going.

For true sugar freaks like me, you should know that I counted my sugar-free efforts by the hour at first. So I would say to my family. “This is crazy. I don’t think I can keep it up. But I’ve gone 18 hours without sugar.” And then, I told my sister. “I know I can’t keep this up, but I haven’t eaten sugar for 4 days.” Then I told my friend Suzan.  

I always gave myself a way out. “Well yes, I’m still not eating dessert, but it won’t last. I live for dessert!"

See? I can’t recommend this method. I’m sure every motivational type in the country is groaning at the way I hedge.

I really don’t care. I may not be able to stay off sugar. I fall off the wagon every time a homemade caramel chocolate truffle is placed on the table. I just know I eat almost no sugar right now and hope to keep it up. At least through the end of day tomorrow.