It's been exactly 2 years, 2 months and 22 days since I gave up the white stuff. I don't enjoy saying it like that, though, because it doesn't feel like I have given anything up. It feels like I have been given energy, happiness, good moods, more time (less time sleeping/napping), better health, and a greater understanding of this little devilish, overly processed grain of nutrition-less sweet.
What started out as a test of my willpower became much, much more. At first I missed and craved sugar in all it's sweet and fattening forms. Oreos became the object of my lust, as did giant mochas and whipped cream, brownies and Ben & Jerry's. Thing is, when I began feeling wonderful and going through my day without any sugar crashes, I realized that I was happier than a taste in my mouth could ever make me. The taste was so temporary but the feeling of being energized lasted and built up my confidence. I don't question whether I have willpower anymore. I've proven to myself that I can do anything since I did what I set out believing was impossible.
People ask me all the time whether I miss things like cookies and donuts. Sure I do. Sometimes. But most of the time I'm not obsessing over food anymore. I don't fantasize about getting my sugar fix. The cravings have hugely subsided and when I do get a hankering for something sweet, the slightest sweet in my mouth satisfies me.
Overcoming such a difficult behavior to control (my former sugar addiction) is the best. Nothing I've ever put in my mouth compares to feeling in control and happy and healthy. I used to think all this was impossible. I read books and heard stories about people who had given up sugar and I kind of didn't believe them. Surely they had hidden stashes of donut holes or midnight runs to Mickey D's for chocolate shakes. No one can really go without sugar, I used to think. Now, it's a way of life for me and lots of others who have dared to test the limits of their willpower.
With the growing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other medical issues, I don't care to go back to sugar. I love a little drop of honey in my tea, and my date- and molasses-sweetened cookies or my rich and creamy peanut butter cups. All in moderation, which is now something I can do. Hooked on the white stuff, I could never understand the concept of moderation.
Instead of saying I've "given up" sugar, I need to start saying that I've streamlined my eating habits to reduce needless calories. Giving something up is what people do for lent. It no longer makes sense for me to use this phrase. It's quite a treat being satisfied with a juicy piece of fruit. I no longer worry about extra calories, which before always came in the form of something sweet.
I don't know if this is at all inspiring in any way. I hope it is. I just wanted to give a personal update and reiterate that being sugar-free is one of the greatest gifts I have ever given to myself. It's not only doable, it's packed with rewards.
(Thank you Marc and Angel for posting my article, "9 Timeless Nutrition Tips for Any Age" on their blog, Marc and Angel Hack Life.)