I decided to do a zero sugar diet for 30 days.
Pregnancy put my sweet tooth into overdrive. I discussed the ugly world of my prenatal Ben & Jerry’s addiction here. But if I’m being totally honest (raises hand at meeting): I’m Dana. And I’ve always been addicted to sugar.
I’ve just always loved a good cookie, you know? Or slice of cake, or Twizzlers, or Reeses Pieces. No, actually, my favorite treat of all time are those tri-colored, chocolate dipped Italian cookies. You know, the ones with yellow, pink and green inside? Omg. (Sigh. O.m.g.) I’m only mildly embarrassed of the fact that I used to stop at the bakery on my way to high school and buy five of them, “for later” I’d tell the baker. And then eat them in the car before I got to school.
When I went to nutrition school and learned about all the healthy things, my sugar addiction eased up a bit. As I started eating healthier, I avoided it more. But not entirely. My new treats were all of the old ones dressed up in fun, new outfits and labeled ‘organic’. You’re familiar with Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups, right?
The first few weeks after Foster was born, I basically ate whatever was at an arm’s length. It really wasn’t the time to think about getting my body back or eating healthier or cutting out sugar. It was the time to survive. And since time ceases to exist when you have a screaming newborn, I justified my 9:30 am handfuls of organic, dark chocolate covered almonds by telling myself that it might as well be 6 pm according to my fucked up circadian rhythm. I knew I had a problem but, I figured I’d deal with it later, like when I’d slept through the night again.
But then I did sleep through the night, like a lot. By seven weeks Foster was snoozing happily on his lopsided head for 10-12 hours a night and I could no longer play the sleep deprivation card. I was out of excuses. It was time to face the music.
So on March 21st, I started my 30 day zero sugar diet.
I had one rule: no added sugar for 30 days.
I didn’t want to be crazy about it. I allowed wine. And I wasn’t too strict if I wasn’t cooking. For example, we’ve been ordering our favorite pizza on Friday nights and I’m sure there is a little sugar in the tomato sauce but, shrug emoji. And I also had some peanut butter pretzel nubs that had a little sugar in the ingredients, and I added a teaspoon of maple syrup to one recipe I was making but, that’s it.
Trying to be too strict would’ve probably lead me to fail and my goal for the experiment was to eliminate my cravings and break my habit of reaching for sugary treats. I figured none of the above exceptions would interfere with reaching that goal. They didn’t.
The First Week
Holy hell, I felt like crap. I was the most tired ever. I basically just laid around watching Outlander Season 1 in between taking care of Foster. But I just dealt with it. I didn’t need to be anywhere or doing anything. Most days I only saw Joel anyway (who was really interested to see if I could actually do this). And I resigned myself to being a sweatpants monster and going to bed at 8:15 pm.
The Second Week
I felt way better. My energy was back up. I was sleeping much better. And it didn’t seem to be that hard.
I’d had a few cravings, of course. For instance, the grocery store checkout line. You’re basically just standing there surrounded by sugar for five minutes while you wait. But I would busy myself with reading up on Khloe’s cheating scandal or Joanna Gaines pregnancy in the tabloids to distract myself.
The cravings at home were easier to avoid. Because I literally got rid of all of the sugar in our house and didn’t buy more. Joel was a little annoyed that there wasn’t any ice cream one night but, he coped well. He was genuinely interested in whether or not I could do this as he’s always made fun of me for my sugar addiction. And he did prevent me from eating the cheesecake at Easter, showing the power of accountability partners once again.
The Third Week
I basically forgot about it. I was in a good groove of not eating any sugar and feeling really good, and I didn’t even notice. Sugar just wasn’t a thing anymore. It was out of my routine by this point.
The Fourth Week
It still wasn’t an issue. I actually forgot about the whole thing and made it 32 days without. I remembered when we were away visiting Joel’s family and proudly announced to him that I’d succeeded. And then I ate one of those Justin’s things we talked about earlier.
The Final Verdict
I’m really happy to say that it was a success. I haven’t gone back to shoving chocolate covered anything in my face during the day. And I no longer look for sweets after dinner. I did have some ice cream recently. And I’ve had a treat here or there but, nothing like it was. I’m not trying to live sugar-free entirely, but I do believe I’ve broken its hold on me.
I feel better, I have more energy and I broke through a little baby weight loss plateau during those weeks too. All in all, a great experiment. It reinforced for me that quitting something cold turkey always seems to work better than attempting moderation or reducing incrementally. And it was also an excellent reminder that simply setting the intention to do something, making the decision and focusing on it for a bit, is all you really need to make changes for the better. Sometimes. Not always but, you know what I mean.
What about you? Ever tried to do a zero sugar diet? Are you addicted? Do you wanna quit too? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!