My (First) Year Without Sugar

I am one of those people who are all or nothing. I don’t really do moderation. I quit drinking seven and a half years ago as a six-month trial but liked being teetotal so much that I never went back. I still know how to be outrageous, I just don’t need to lubricate the process.

At the end of May 2013, I finally committed to getting off sugar. It was long overdue. My weight had topped the 100 kilo (220 lb) mark (I’m tall but still…) and I was concerned about my health. I’m highly intolerant to fructose so I had stopped eating fruit eight years ago. Sugar is part glucose, part fructose which meant that quitting the white stuff was the last part of my fructose detox journey.

I decided to start my break from sugar in Spain on a trip with my colleagues and within a few days, I got the flu, probably what naturopaths call a ‘healing crisis’. I couldn’t shake the flu for a couple of weeks, even though I had to travel to California and then Canada for business.  But I supported my body with green juices, salads and full-fat dairy products.  Normally, whole foodies don’t recommend dairy but I wanted foods that were high in fat like cheese and Greek yoghurt with chia seeds to keep me feeling full. And I seem to do ok with dairy.  I also ate loads of almonds.  For the first few months, I used some stevia until I didn’t need to taste sweetness.

As I got off sugar, I noticed that I wasn’t as hungry.  For as long as I can remember, I have always been starving.  I would tell myself I was “eating for energy”.  But I would just eat foods that weren’t supporting me then when my blood sugar crashed, eat more.  When I quit sugar, my carb intake went down dramatically.  I started eating breakfast.  I stopped eating a big meal at night, preferring to have salad, nuts, cheese, healthy snacky foods.  Not because I was starving myself but because I just wasn’t hungry. Life became about more than food.

I was away for three weeks and when I came home, I had broken the sugar habit.  When I walked past the cake shop or the corner store where I used to buy ice cream, I wasn’t tempted. Within three weeks, I was over sugar.

Weight fell off me.  All in all, I’ve lost 25 kilos (55 lb).  I could still lose more but I feel great.  I have more energy and feel even more empowered.  I always felt sexy but having a new shape gave me a new lease of life.  

I started making tough decisions.  I cut my hair then ended a relationship of nearly ten years. I was strong enough to make the difficult calls and to weather the storm by eating greens not sugar.

Much of the process has been charted on this blog.  It’s been over a year now and I can’t imagine eating sugar. Some friends have also cut sugar and are feeling good.  I’m not used to inspiring this kind of change but when I look at old photos, I hardly recognise myself. Kathryn who ate sugar was not as vibrant or energetic as sugar-free Kathryn.  I have more fun.  I AM more fun.

I’m so happy I decided to quit.  It took me a long time to get my head in the right place to quit but once I was ready, I haven’t looked back.  If you’re tempted  to try, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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