Confession: I'm Breaking My Sugar Addiction

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/4/2010 1:00 PM   :  166 comments   :  20,426 Views

My love affair with sweets goes back many years. I enjoy foods like French fries and chips, but if I never had them again that would be okay with me. However, if you take away my cookies, candy and cake, we've got a problem. The more I eat sweets, the more I want them. And usually I end up feeling guilty afterwards, knowing that I could have opted for the small dish of ice cream instead of the giant sundae. Too much sugar makes me feel sluggish, and for a long time I've wanted to break my sugar addiction but felt like I didn't have the willpower to do it. Recently I had the opportunity to make a serious commitment to cut back on sweets, and so far it's going better than I expected.

I'm Catholic, and typically we give up something during the season of Lent (which is 40 days long). I haven't observed this practice in a few years, but this year, on the first day of Lent, I decided I wanted to give something up. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to decide, right? I knew that sweets had to go--and that it would be a significant commitment because of how much sugar is part of my daily life. I got very anxious thinking I'd have to give up everything and was worried that could lead to failure (kind of like the person on a diet who never allows themselves a treat). So I decided I could still eat Tootsie Rolls, which is kind of a strange "rule" to make, but I knew I'd never get through the 40 days without allowing myself something small.

The height of my sugar addiction was about six months after each of my kids were born. At that point I was still nursing and began training for another marathon. It was hard to find the right balance of calories because if I didn't eat enough my milk supply suffered. Eventually I figured out that somewhere between 3,000-4,000 calories per day worked best for me. That sounds great, but it really is difficult to eat that much healthy food every day. So I'd end up eating a large handful of candy or a bunch of cookies at the end of the day to get me into my calorie range. And after a while, I got so used to that way of eating it was hard to stop. After the marathons were over and I stopped nursing, the habits continued. I knew I needed a serious reason to force me to quit eating so much of that stuff. It might not have been a large volume of sweets relative to what some people eat, but it was more than I felt comfortable having in my diet.

A week into my 40-day journey, we celebrated my mom's birthday. That was really hard because my husband made a beautiful cake with LOTS of icing (my favorite), and I couldn't even try a bite. Then my mom decided not to take home the leftovers, so I had to look at that cake sitting on the kitchen counter for another few days. But I successfully resisted the temptation, and slowly, it got easier. I got used to a new way of eating and stopped depending on a cookie or a bunch of candy after each meal.

Lent is over, but I've continued with my significant sugar cutback. I'm satisfied with one small brownie instead of two, or even no dessert at all. I've lost a few pounds, I have a little more energy, and I feel good at the end of the day knowing I didn't go crazy with the sweets.

Have you ever felt like you're addicted to sugar? What have you done to break the addiction? Did you notice any changes once you stopped eating so much of it?

Do you think you're consuming too much sugar? Check out last week's blog to find out!


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Comments

  • 166
    I gave up all sugar for one day and had the worst headache of my life. But I cut cravings, for awhile. Not the first time. How do you make it last? - 9/3/2014   9:56:03 AM
  • 165
    Also any sweeteners of any kind will trigger cravings, so I am off the sweeteners too, that makes it even harder. But they can be worse for you at times, like diet soda. Just get it all out. You will be happier and healthier. - 2/12/2013   7:52:00 PM
  • 164
    I have given up sugar many times in my life. It is hard but once you get past the first 3-5 days the cravings disappear which to me was so worth it. It's just getting past that point. You have to mentally ready. Right now I'm off sugar again but did have a small piece of my BD cake last week. I made the decision that I would give myself two days with the sugar so I had a small slice the next day. Funny thing was I wasn't that into it. Not like before. I've always said when I'm off sugar I feel like someone let me out of "food prison." When sugar is gone, you are in good blood sugar all day and you don't have those cravings. That is the best feeling. Anyone can do it. I never thought I could because I am a sugar baby, been addicted to sweets since I was very young. It is hard but after a while, it just feels like normal life. - 2/12/2013   7:49:59 PM
  • 163
    I have felt I am addicted to sugar and well unhealthy food in general. I have not given up all sweets like the author but I try to limit how much I have a day/week. My goal is to get to the point where when I am around sweets I do not have to have them and well stop craving them. Slowly but surely I will get there. :) - 1/18/2011   10:52:46 AM
  • KEENANLS
    162
    Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream - my achilles heel - how does one give up their most favorite sweet - does the craving go away after a certain amount of time??? - 12/20/2010   10:31:52 AM
  • SOULOFADANCER
    161
    Hey there Newbie here to the site. But wanted to say I gained about 30 lbs. after surgery. Noticed the bad habits coming back too and thought this would be a good method of getting back on track! I am sure you will be fine. The best thing is not to beat yourself up and just leave yesterday and move forward to tomorrow day by day. - 12/19/2010   10:51:56 AM
  • LOLALYONS33
    160
    Yesterday was my first day of getting rid of the sugar in my diet -- again. It's so easy for it to creep back in, and then you just want it more and more. I am finding that I can't have even a little bit of sugar without having rebound effects from it for days. Like SuzieQTips, I have the same issue with potatoes, and have had to basically give them up. Sadly, they are one of my favorite foods. What I tend to do is by the bagged frozen veggies -- mixes that have potatoes with lots of other veggies. That way at least i get a taste of the potatoes, and the other veggies help. Good luck! - 12/18/2010   7:50:07 AM
  • 159
    I used to like a lot of sugar but began eating less when my late wife developed diabetes. I haven't felt the need to return to my previous ways. At least not yet LOL - 7/29/2010   1:52:18 PM
  • 158
    Yes, yes, and YES!!! I've eaten whole boxes of cookies and not even known it until I hit the empty, lonely bottom of the box. When I first started trying to cut down on the cookies, I made up this bad justification for eating more: I still have more milk left, so I can eat like 3 more cookies! Horrible! Has anyone else done that or am I the only one in this one? To break the addiction, my husband and I only get 1 snack each from the grocery store. So, I have to make that box of cookies I picked out last for 2 weeks. Of course, when we started it, it didn't go totally awesome the first time. We both ate all of our snacks the day we got them, and had to suffer without snacks for the next 2 weeks! Hahaha! We had to keep each other in check. No buying more snacks in between. Now, I don't even have to have A COOKIE a day. I've lost about 5 lbs. since then. - 7/29/2010   4:21:22 AM
  • 157
    i am a sugar junkie too but am now,with the help of SP and the Sugar Buster Team and Raw Foods Team-trying to get out of fine sugar and use fruit instead.I am a diabetic so that makes it even harder but so far things are looking up!Thanks for the blog! - 7/17/2010   6:14:31 PM
  • 156
    Thanks for sharing. I am definatly addicted to sugar/sweets and need to GET OVER IT. My husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes and he has been doing great avoiding sugar. (I have been doing great in not eating it in front of him) Thanks for all the suggestions. - 6/6/2010   9:12:26 AM
  • 155
    After giving up as much sugar as I can find in my food, and anything that is obviously sugary, I've found my appetite beastie is basically tamed, and I was able to easily lose weight. I've also give up white refine flour, at least where I can find it in the food. I do go with Stevia and vanilla extract for my oats, and some diet sodas, but thus far, I've been able to lose enough weight that I never want to go back to the sugar beastie. Eating bits of it here and there just makes it worse. Its better to just never ever eat sugar in any form, if at all possible. - 6/5/2010   11:26:39 PM
  • 154
    I gave up candy for fruit... oranges... strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi. blueberries, canteloupe. watermelon . I have more energy and the fruit is great... I crave fruit now.. especially grapefruit and oranges... - 5/25/2010   1:29:23 AM
  • 153
    I, too, recently decided that I needed to curb my sugar intake. Early on I found myself shopping with my sister in one of her gigantic supermarkets. What drew my eyes?? Yup--everything sugar and then I realized how strong a pull it had on me. I persisted and substituted fresh and dried fruit for my sweet fixes. It took a while but it is better. I still indulge but infrequently and only when the thought or craving is persistent for a while--like a few days--and is specific. I know that SOME is OK but not unlimited or unplanned. Also important is not to totally deny myself because that leads to BINGE. - 5/18/2010   4:05:43 PM
  • 152
    I know that breaking a sugar addiction is not easy! I love sweets, but what I love more is McD's fries and chips! so hard to NOT have sweets at the end of the day! I know I am cutting back everyday but it is seriously hard for me. I will do it though! Congratulations on your success so far! - 5/17/2010   11:04:40 AM
  • 151
    Congratulations to all of you who have cut out or down on the sugar. I know this is a huge problem area for me and I continuously make excuses why I don't cut sugar from my eating. I have made some changes such an apple for desert instead of baked good or not going to the staff lounge on donut day because one will lead to six .But I guess I'm not ready to totally commit to this. I hope to do it one day but now am focusing on other healthy lifestyle changes. When I do make that commitment, I hope all of your successes will be here to encourage me. - 5/16/2010   9:41:09 PM
  • SUZIEQTIPS
    150
    Well for me I had a different sugar addition in the form of potatoes,rice and pasta. I have to stay away from these foods as well I love them all very much. It`s been 2 yrs now since I bought potatoes.My whole family were potatoes,rice and pasta kind of people.We have really changed our eating habits.If and when we eat rice it`s brown only and if and when we eat potatoes ,rice or pasta it`s when we are invited out and it`s very small servings.
    It`s so hard to make changes but we do what we have to do . I tiry to eat to live not live to eat,
    I still have so much weight to lose but every positive step will get me there.
    Oh yes I forgot to mention I gave up buying coke about 7 yrs ago which I so loved and now drink club soda with leamon juice and I love it .
    - 5/16/2010   3:00:55 PM
  • 149
    You're right, you almost have to make everything from scratch to eliminate sugar. Eating consciously is on my list, we should savor every bite. I need to journal that, I need to enjoy and appreciate food. Thanks to all of you, thanks for being there, here, everywhere. - 5/13/2010   11:11:16 AM
  • LHOUSEAL
    148
    Another thing that floored me when I decided to eliminate sugar from my diet is that sugar is literally in EVERYTHING... or at least some form of sugar. It's no wonder that's all we want! It's in canned soup, it's in spices, it's in salad dressings, sauces, condiments. The more careful I am, the more offended my taste buds are by foods that may contain hidden sugars. I can almost smell the sugar now. I have to say that I have never felt this good, had such a clear head, or watched my clothes get baggy so quickly. No more bloating of feeling yucky! I love it! Eating whole foods with natural sugars has changed everything. - 5/12/2010   1:46:01 PM
  • 147
    I used to make icing and eat it straight up. I can now reflect on that behavior and recognize my emotional eating issues and the addiction I had to sugar.

    I had to cut sugar out completely to be successful in this new, healthy lifestyle. It's been about 6 months and I don't miss it. Once I thought of it as an addiction, I was able to deal with it.

    I'm 23 lbs. lighter and slim again. I don't plan to let sugar back into my life! - 5/12/2010   12:32:03 PM
  • 146
    Ok, so it is an addiction that some of us have. One day at a time. - 5/11/2010   9:01:55 AM
  • 145
    Yes, it is still amazing to me that I can pass up dessert, cakes and biscuits, even when others are having them right in front of me. Before deciding I had to lose weight, there was no way I could have sat by and not had my sweeties. I have come to the conclusion that it is mind control and determination that wins the day, combined with a certain period of time to overcome the addiction. - 5/10/2010   7:39:15 PM
  • MSBREHOW
    144
    Yes I became addicted to sugar in my peri-menopausal stage and it was beginning to overtake me. Then oneday I developed a rash on my neck. I went to the dermatologist and she told me something I had never heard before that it was yeast. I knew that we all have yeast in our bodies but never thought it would manifest itself in that way. After much research on what could have cause such an imbalance in my body. I discovered it was the sugar fringe that I have been on for the last couple of months. The sugar, plus alcohol, and not to mention the intake of yeast, mainly in the form of bread, had cause this flare up. Well I recently changed my diet and eliminated sugar and alcohol and am trying to eat foods that are yeast free. This has really made a huge difference. I am not saying that anyone else will develope this negative effect from over indulging in sugar as I did but I know that after changing that behavior I feel 85% better and slowly after about a month am just about clear of flareup. I will occassional have a sugar free popsicle. That seems to do the job for me. - 5/10/2010   4:20:17 PM
  • 143
    sugar free/fat free chocolate pudding-I AM SO THERE!!!YUMMY!!! - 5/10/2010   2:09:53 PM
  • 142
    Congratulations on your committment to yourself. If it works for you and you can do it easily, then who is anyone else to criticize?

    Yay YOU!

    - 5/10/2010   1:20:22 PM
  • OZARKMARY
    141
    For Lent this year, I gave up all sweets and snacking between meals. The anticipation of Easter Sunday was two-fold...the Resurrection of our Lord and my Easter basket!! I bought only special chocolates (2-4 each) that my dh and I would share. Lots of chocolate for breakfast that day and again for dessert at dinner. BUT, I had found as the days and weeks went by that I was feeling better and clearer headed, which at my age is recognizable. I had pondered my situation with food and prayed. I finally admitted that I was a sweets addict and also realized that it was okay to feel hungry...something that I used to feed. I have been consistently losing and eating healthy choices. I rarely have processed food, but I try not to totally deny myself of junk. I have the occasional handful (not bag full) of chips and I love my air popped popcorn with spray butter and a slight sprinkle of grated parmesan. My next "treat day" will be June 4th and although I look forward to it, I look more to how much I will have lost. Almost 30 lbs and counting, since the end of Feb. Life is good, I CAN live like this the rest of my life and Sparkpeople has been an important supporter. - 5/10/2010   11:01:57 AM
  • VANANDEL
    140
    I gave up sweets for Lent last year. And the biggest change that really surprised me was that my cholesterol went down significantly, especially the LDL cholesterol. Lately I've seen articles stating that sugar affects cholesterol levels, but that wasn't known when I did my Lent thing and then just happened to take a fasting blood test! It really made a huge difference.

    I also noticed that I didn't crave sweets nearly as much as I had. I wish I could say I've given up sweets, but I haven't. I do eat them more in moderation, however, and that's a big step in the right direction. - 5/9/2010   11:45:43 PM
  • 139
    Cookies were my addiction, the big home-made over-priced types at the store. When I started SP, I went cold turkey on them, as well as all desserts. I have actually been shocked at how little I miss the sweet stuff, and sometimes I think it's because I am watching my protein intake more, as well as other nutrients. I can't say I'd ever been a sugar addict or sweets addict because high amounts of sugar has always made me feel sick, which was enough for me to not over-consume.

    Another factor in my life is that over 3 decades ago when I was 11 or 12 -- young and impressionable -- I voluntarily read a book called "Sugar Blues" that scared the heck out of me because it was all about the negative effects of sugar on humans and society. I never forgot that book.

    And more recently, I have dear co-workers who've been diagnosed with diabetes. One, who is a young father of two darling girls, is losing his normal eye-sight and is terribly heavy. I worry that his choices may leave his girls fatherless. Another had diabetes, had his leg amputated, and then, very sadly, he died. I hope all of us stay in good health and we do not suffer this way. Be well! - 5/9/2010   1:16:06 PM
  • 138
    Isn't Lent awesome, bet you never thought you'd hear that. But I have given up a lot of things during lent that make me feel really good in the long run. I am a carbaholic, I admit it, but I can control myself. I gave up soda for lent which has a lot of sugar (real or substitute) and as far as soda goes the carbination really feels me up artficially and I have decided that I can substitute soy milk (choc), which I know has sugar but it has calcium, protein and I need those the most in my diet. So moderation is the key for me and just the knowledge that there are things I need in my diet and others I don't has made all the difference. - 5/8/2010   9:05:27 PM
  • LYNSHE
    137
    I rather have sugar (candy) than food. This is a hard habit to break. It goes back to my grandmother who loved candy and she would feed it to me. It was our way of "connecting". She was obese also. It's a daily struggle. - 5/8/2010   7:38:29 PM
  • KIRSTEN
    136
    I am a sugar addict, no doubt about it. A strung-out junkie even. I have been since I was a toddler and my mom put Kool-aid in my bottle to keep me quiet. (true!) There were many times in my life that I ate nothing but cookies, cake, candy, etc. for days on end (usually around Christmas). I would feel sick, but still eat more, I had absolutely no control at all. I really wanted to change this, diabetes runs in my family, and I got scared. So, now I treat added sugars like a drug, and I avoid all of them: cane sugar, corn sweeteners, fruit concentrates, honey, agave nectar. I am learning to like my food natural and unsweetened. Fruit now taste so sweet to me! When I feel really emotional, I still crave sweets and occasionally give in, but I always feel terrible afterwards and I get heartburn. My goal is to eat completely added sweetener free. - 5/8/2010   6:30:23 PM
  • 135
    Yes!! I am such a sugar addict! Years ago I gave up real soda and switched to diet. But now I hardly ever drink it at all; diet or regular. Now I just want all the other stuff-- cookies, candy, cake, pie, etc. I feel like I can't go a day without something sweet; horrible I know. In a lot of cases I try to moderate it and go with 100 calorie packs or sugar free pudding. It helps a little. - 5/8/2010   3:38:29 PM
  • 134
    I am giving up baked goods and candy for ten days. All the bags of M&Ms are keeping me from reaching my weight-loss goals. After the ten days, I will probably either extend the challenge or add something else to it. - 5/8/2010   1:57:04 PM
  • 133
    I did the no sugar thing for Lent for the first time, too. I made some concessions--no white refined sugar, so that meant substituting with agave, honey, stevia and the occasional Splenda. I barely made it out alive. LOL I have managed to limit my sweets more than I had before, but Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are still my Achilles' heel. I have to make a conscious effort to either walk past them in the store or stock up when they're on sale and hide them to limit my intake. - 5/7/2010   10:34:33 PM
  • 132
    I do like my sugar BUT I find that I am more addicted to things like potatoes and more of a salt addict. - 5/7/2010   4:37:10 PM
  • LEEZER2
    131
    Thank you all for such honesty about your sugar addictions. I have craved sugar, mostly chocolate since I was a child and have never been able to show any control with it. Recently I realized that my "planned" daily treat of chocolate covered raisins had grown into another addiction. I was consuming more than 1,000 calories a day just with that treat. I am on day 4 without my treat - headaches, moodiness, fatigue, all this started yesterday but I am struggling through. I have heard that it will take 3 to 4 weeks to feel better and break the habit. Hopefully starting small with this one treat will motivate me to continue with other problem areas. - 5/7/2010   8:54:15 AM
  • 130
    I have always thought I had a carb addiction....specifically sugar. I can't eat one Hershey's kiss. Several years ago I did the South Beach diet and had pretty good success. I lost 22 pounds in three months but then went to my Mom's who made my favorite coconut cake. I was sure I could have a small piece with no ill effects but....that was the end of South Beach. Starting today, I'm going to make a conscientious effort to cut it out again. Thanks for the reminder! - 5/7/2010   1:12:47 AM
  • 129
    When I give up sweets I find myself drinking lots of milk, eating corn & carrots....peas, lots of fruit etc! I am so bad!!! I find sugar any way and I can and I have to stop! Right now if I want something sweet I usually suck on a few M & Ms one at a time. - 5/6/2010   8:44:31 PM
  • KBLOOMFIELDMI
    128
    I have the same problem, I can give up chips, fast food,etc no problem but candy bars, cookies, cake...not so easy. I know I can't just quite so about a month ago I started buying Fiber One oats and chocolate bars and I allow myself one a day. It gives me a little "sugar fix" but in a healthier way. - 5/6/2010   3:57:53 PM
  • 127
    I'm the same way - a sugar girl, not a salty girl! What I decided was that for awhile, when I wanted a sugary snack, I would eat something protein instead. I can't eat as much protein as I can, say, cake! Suddenly my protein intake is higher up in the healthier range and my calories are fitting into my proper range. Funny how that works! - 5/6/2010   3:13:37 PM
  • 126
    Yep! That is just like me! Last year I slowly gave them up and didn't crave them at all. I would have a cookie or a brownie wants a week and while I wanted more at the time I didn't think about it much in between. Then I hit my goal...went on a two week camping trip and after every night of s'mores and ice cream the addiction came back and I have yet to stop it! It is hard because I sooo want it! I have never been addicted to anything else in my life and this is truly hard! Good job on your commitment! I will do it again, when I am ready. I don't think I am there yet... - 5/6/2010   2:52:52 PM
  • 125
    I used to be horribly addicted to sugar. I don't think a single day went by that I didn't have some sort of sweet. Dessert was a necessity. All that sugar started to take a toll on my heath. I swelled up like a balloon, and my fingers were stiff. My engagement ring started to dig uncomfortably into my finger. Finally on Easter I decided that I had had enough and just cut the sugar out. I still allowed myself little things like fruity yogurt and the occasional flavored instant oatmeal or juice. There was no candy, no cookies, no cakes, etc.

    It was really hard, but gradually it got easier, until now I don't crave sugar at all! My body and fingers deflated, I lost four pounds, and I felt more energized that I had in a long time. Another positive side effect was reduced gas and related bloating.

    It was hard, but I feel so much better that I haven't looked back. - 5/6/2010   12:28:04 PM
  • 124
    I do enjoy sugar, specially when I bake, but diabetes runs around my mothers' side and I have always banned sugar from my daily life, - 5/6/2010   10:24:41 AM
  • 123
    I LOVE sweets!! I would rather have sweets than meals most days. I try very hard to limit them as dessert (then I'm filled up on healthy food & won't eat as much). As for going cold turkey & giving them up completely, I won't do that for fear of feeling deprived & then binging on them. - 5/6/2010   10:21:05 AM
  • 122
    I think a lot of women have the same addiction. I too have that problem and am trying very hard to keep it under control. When I was eating very poorly, lots of sugar, I had no energy and felt really awful. Now that I am eating so much better, and curbing the sugar, I feel more in control. I have replaced a lot of the sugar I eat with fresh fruit. I find that really great strawberries work wonders. I save my sugar cravings for evening and eat a chocolate fiber bar. Works for me. - 5/6/2010   7:58:33 AM
  • _MAOMAO_
    121
    I'm so impressed, Jen! I'm such a junkie. Over 10 years ago, I saw this dietitian I'd met, Vesanto Melina - she's the author of Becoming Vegetarian and several other books. She was amazed at my combination of healthy foods and healthy junk foods. I'm still that way, really. This is a really hard one for me! - 5/6/2010   1:34:34 AM
  • 120
    I know that my daughter and I both have a HUGE sweet tooth. Who am I kidding? We have a whole mouth full of them. LOL. I have been trying to really set a better example for my daughter. When I explain to her that we are having watermelon for dessert, I take the time to explain to her that it's a healthier choice. I also try to point out that she can have so MORE watermelon than ice cream and it won't make her belly hurt, etc. Now she is trying to point out different fruits in the market. I feel like I am going through detox in a way. I am moody, crabby, crave it like crazy. But its all about making small changes and incorporating them into our daily lifestyle. Thanks for the shining example.:-) - 5/6/2010   1:04:43 AM
  • 119
    Another sugar addict here! I didn't realize how much I was eating until I started tracking my food and realized how I was just taking a "kiss" here and there and a cookie later, then dessert. Wow! I especially love candy. I have kids, so Easter, Halloween and Christmas are the worst times for me. I try to get them to keep it out of sight, and even buy the kinds I don't particularly like, but when push comes to shove, I eat it anyway!!! So, I started with just the candy. Anytime I reach for it, I just tell myself "no candy". It sounds silly, but for some reason it works for me. It is a little challenge I've made for myself and have been able to stay away from it. And like many of your comments, I've found now I don't even crave the cookies or other sweets that were my demise. Thanks for the blog today. - 5/5/2010   10:57:34 PM
  • 118
    I am addicted to sugar as well...I have went cold turkey, only sweets from fruits, and I have been moody and experiencing headaches....I never knew I was addicted until I stopped and realized how much I felt like I NEEDED them....off to day 3! Can't wait or the energy to kick in! - 5/5/2010   9:12:36 PM
  • 117
    I am definitely addicted to sugar! I haven't really tried to cut sugar out but I have tried to cut down. I don't have a lot of success eating a small piece when there's a whole cake in front of me either! - 5/5/2010   9:02:50 PM

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