I Quit Sugar for 7 Weeks. Here’s What Happened.

In my twenties, weekend mornings were spent on the couch with a juicy book, a box of sandwich cookies and a cup of instant coffee. I am literally hanging my head in shame as I write this. I mean, instant coffee?

I’ve since ‘healthied’ up, but I have fond memories of those decadent times. I can’t go back, obviously, but I sure do miss them. That’s the thing about ignorance. When you pull back the curtain, bliss flies out the window.

Fast-forward to January 2018. My 50th birthday is looming, and I can feel it. Not in a major way, but the years are starting to weigh a little. Specifically, around the midriff. At 52, my partner was in a similar boat. Only with the added annoyance of perimenopausal symptoms.

Time for a Body Reboot

I Gave up Sugar for 7 Weeks. Here's What Happened.

With our somewhat ambitious goal of living to 100+, this impending halfway mark seemed like a good time for a reboot. Just like your car has minor and major services, we figured a similar approach with our bodies would be beneficial.

Using Ben Greenfield’s book 30 Ways to Reboot Your Body for guidance, we set about eliminating pretty much everything from our diet. Grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, coffee, alcohol and sugar were summarily removed from the menu.

I’d barely gotten my head around the idea of not bookending my days with caffeine and resveratrol when I discovered that fruit was limited to one or two pieces a day.

Wait, what?

In one fell swoop my go-to sweet treats were off the table. I bid farewell to everything from banana nice cream and date balls to those ‘idea-generating’ bowls of raisins and dates I snacked on while writing.

That left my daily fruit quota. Freezing the biggest banana I could find (nobody mentioned size) and blending it with half a mango and a tablespoon of maca root powder, breakfast quickly became the reason I got up in the morning.

The Lowdown on Sugar Cravings

I Gave up Sugar for 7 Weeks. Here's What Happened.

My body loved the new diet, and my mind begrudgingly adapted. I learned to savor and appreciate those morning smoothie bowls, eking out every last spoonful of sweet deliciousness.

Did I want more? In the first few days, yes, absolutely. But then an interesting thing occurred. My sweet tooth up and left.

Food cravings are the body’s way of alerting you to a deficiency. Unfortunately, our brain invariably misinterprets the message. The body wants magnesium and we give it chocolate, for example. Not helpful.

However, when we eat magnesium-rich foods like spinach, kale, asparagus and Brussel sprouts, the chocolate cravings disappear. Our reboot diet was almost all vegetables, so it’s no wonder my sweet tooth went AWOL.

Choose Your Sugar Carefully

I Quit Sugar for 7 Weeks. Here's What Happened.

Rather than placing a blanket ban on all sugar, a more doable approach is to eliminate the icky processed variety. Focus on healthy sweet treats like raw truffles and nice cream instead of Oreos and candy bars.

If you enjoy baking, alternative sweeteners like date jam or applesauce both work really well. Sugar-free baking is not as tricky as you may think, and it has the added benefit of being healthier, as well.

That’s not to say there aren’t still a significant amount of calories involved, mind you. They’re just less processed and not as bad for you. Something to keep in mind if you’re tempted to eat than entire batch of cookies you just made.

Everything in Moderation

I Gave up Sugar for 7 Weeks. Here's What Happened.

Our reboot exercise proved hugely beneficial. It helped us shed the extra pounds and it made short work of my partner’s perimenopausal symptoms. It served its purpose.

Extreme diets —even the healthy ones— aren’t sustainable in the long term. Our bodies thrive best on a well-balanced diet that includes all the food groups in moderation. The world’s longest-lived cultures know this well. It’s why they routinely live longer, happier and healthier lives than the rest of us.

Reducing my sugar intake so drastically helped me realize just how much of it I was still consuming. I may have graduated from the overly processed variety, but let’s face it: too many dates balls is still too many date balls.

If you have to avoid sugar completely for health reasons, these documentaries will help keep you on track. If you’re simply overindulging like I was, quitting sugar for a while is definitely beneficial.

For one thing, it will help get you back in tune with your body and teach you how to eat a normal amount of sugar again. In short, it’ll help you stop being addicted to it.

It worked for Sarah Wilson —author of I Quit Sugar— and it definitely worked for me. Give it a try. Life, it turns out, is just as sweet without sugar.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

96 comments

Barbara S
Barbara S8 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Ellie L
Emma L19 days ago

thanks

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Richard B
Richard B24 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Daniel N
Daniel Nabout a month ago

tyfs

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William T
Vincent Tabout a month ago

Thanks very much

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Frances G
Past Member 1 months ago

thanks

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Barbara S
Barbara S2 months ago

Thank you

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Alice L
Past Member 2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Hannah A
Hannah A2 months ago

Thanks

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Gino C
Gino C3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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