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Confession: I'm Breaking My Sugar Addiction

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/4/2010 1:00 PM   :  165 comments   :  20,174 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

  • 115
    I have been addicted to sweets my whole life, and of course have been very over weight also my whole life. I have finally found a place where i can allow myself a small amount and be satisfied, needless to say the pounds are starting to come off. i believe it is all about moderation and a desire to be healthy. I have found this place thanks to the spark...thank you to the spark community - 5/5/2010   7:13:13 PM
  • 114
    Yea, I admit that I am a sugar addict :( Mine goes back to my childhood when my father would always bring us something when he was away, and it always seemed to be something sweet. It even continued into my adult life, when he would visit my house, he would bring cakes, pies, donuts, just about anything sweet. It must be an Italian thing I'm guessing, since a lot of my family pushes food at each other. It is definitely a very hard habit to break, but I keep trying! - 5/5/2010   7:13:12 PM
  • 113
    I've noticed that when I'm 'in the zone' of living a healthy lifestyle, my cravings for sweets lessens considerably -- I'll (I hope) never NOT love sweets and want them, but their lure is not so important to me any more. - 5/5/2010   5:19:21 PM
  • 112
    Jen- WTG on leaving the frosting alone even after it was staring you in the face for a few days. Icing would be my worst night mare! I LOVE IT. It's great to recognize the changes in us, reaching for a cold apple instead of thinking about a cookie. Well some of the time anyway. Thanks for sharing. - 5/5/2010   4:39:42 PM
  • 111
    I am happy to say that I am no longer addicted to sugar. I've managed to lick (pardon the pun) my habit. I actually didn't realize I was addicted to sugar until I started paying closer attention to what I was eating. Back in my eating days, I used to put ketchup on everything. I had no idea the ketchup was almost all sugar ! high fructose corn syrup in this case.

    Well, once I started eating more fresh veggies and eliminating highly processed processed foods not only did my weight go down, but my energy levels went up ! I'm convinced I ate too much sugar.

    Now, I haven't completely eliminated sugar. I still love my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and kisses. I just don't eat mass quantities of them anymore. I indulge, but I don't over indulge.

    How did I do it ? I slowly cut back the mass quantities. Cold turkey doesn't work for me. I had to slowly reduce the quantities I ate. Before long, I noticed that I really didn't need any ketchup anymore. I just didn't crave the excess sugar. I still enjoy it, but these days I eat significantly less of it.

    - 5/5/2010   3:26:59 PM
  • 110
    Thank you for sharing your journey to cut down on sugar. Was addicted to chips any kind and that was the first thing to go from my food list and now am working on the sugar too. If I do not buy it find that it is easier however have a DH who has Alzheimers and he needs to eat to maintain his weight so do buy some cookies and make cake for him and try try to use my will power to not eat too much of it myself. Taking one day at a time. - 5/5/2010   3:25:21 PM
  • 109
    I love sweets. I recently decided I had to remove them from my kitchen - and that really helps. But - I need to decide not to buy anymore!!That will help even more!!! - 5/5/2010   3:05:00 PM
  • 108
    Cutting down on sugar is a tough one for me. I crave sweets throughout the day. I try to eat things with sugar added only in small portions, but even small portions add up if I cave more than once a day. Substituting naturally sweet foods (like fruit) helps some, but I definitely need to get rid of that strong craving. That will probably take cutting out added sugar entirely for a while, which will be very tough. - 5/5/2010   2:14:44 PM
  • 107
    Thank you for sharing your journey. Its motivating me to stick with mine (as per dr instructions :-( ) - 5/5/2010   1:50:21 PM
  • 106
    Yes, I've got a sugar addiction, too. I have decided that I can have a candy bar on Monday after my WW weigh-in. This way the statement is positive and planned. If I forget about it (yes, I have forgotten on occasion), then there's always next week. I've found that I'm much more successful with my whole eating program by allowing this treat at a specific time. - 5/5/2010   1:39:31 PM
  • 105
    Sugar is my main downfall. I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast but I have to have brown sugar on it to eat it!! After every meal, I want something sweet. My mom keeps M&M candies at her place just for me. I can't eat just a few!! I wish I had done this for Lent!! Do I need Lent to do this??? NO!!! - 5/5/2010   1:39:08 PM
  • 104
    I used to be a sugarholic, but during one Lent season I was able to go off for a long time. BUT then I went on a binge, and oh did my joints ache. There is also an herb called Gymnema Sylvestre that I take that helps tremendously with the cravings. Every now and then, I will get a sugar craving, but I am able to stay on track.
    - 5/5/2010   1:27:47 PM
  • 103
    I feel like I'm addicted to sugar. Chocolate is my weakness. I replaced chocolate candy bars with low fat chocolate pudding. I still get the taste of chocolate, but not with all the calories. Back in 2004 I did the South Beach Diet for two weeks which got my sugar cravings under control, but I felt like I had less energy and I gained back the weight in a month. I hope I conquer this addiction. - 5/5/2010   12:40:43 PM
  • 102
    I too have a sugar addiction, but not to sweets. I love sweets don't get me wrong. But Im addicted to the breads and pasta and FRENCH FRIES (especially McD's). So not healthy and not good for my hips/thighs. - 5/5/2010   12:04:58 PM
  • 101
    It IS hard to not fall back on high-sugar foods to fill out the high calorie needs of an active breastfeeding mom. That much volume of food can be intimidating.

    Prior to my pregnancy, I broke my sugar addiction with the carb-restricted first week of the South Beach diet. Since then I've decided that I don't want to rely on artificial sweeteners to satisfy my sweet tooth. I realized that it not only does using them not break the habit of "giving in" to the sweet craving, but I just don't care for the chemical profiles of most of the sweeteners.

    I am a long-term breastfeeder. I am still breastfeeding a toddler who nurses infrequently on busy active days where she is confident and frequently on days where she needs more mom time. My caloric needs fluctuate based on my milk production. I have been working on trying meet the greater caloric (sugar drive) needs with fruit, low-fat milk and whole grains. I DO still indulge in ice cream, but in MUCH smaller portions than I used to.

    I think because I have broken my addiction, I can have smaller portions and feel satisfied. - 5/5/2010   11:59:16 AM
  • 100
    Sugar is definitely a trigger for me. I don't like to call it an addiction, because that makes me an addict, and I will not be defined by a weakness for sweets. I will never cut sugar completely out of my life. That sort of "all or nothing" behavior has only led in the past to obsessive (unhealthy) thinking and behavior. I find there are 2 keys for me to eating sugar without going overboard: 1) eating consciously, and 2) giving myself permission to have small indulgences without guilt. - 5/5/2010   11:42:52 AM
  • MRSNELSON08
    99
    I know how u feel with the sweets. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 3 years ago. So what I do is try to cut it way down and when I do eat some try to make it a sugar free dessert. Sugar substitute has fewer calories and a lot of times the desserts are sweeter than sugar desserts. The only thing to watch out for is some people are sensitive to sugar subs and get diarrhea, but small amounts don't usually affect most people. - 5/5/2010   11:31:15 AM
  • 98
    I have cut down on sugar quite a bit since I am on the Spark but I still am having desserts a couple of times a week. - 5/5/2010   10:48:07 AM
  • 97
    I guess I am a sugar addict. Ice cream is my proplem.About a yeae ago I stopped diet cokes cold turkey.Ny habit on that was one every meal and all through the day.Even though they were diet drinks,I knew they were not good for me.I have one cccasionally now,but nothing like it was.Ice cream is another matter.For a year I have had a proplem swallowing,so I have to go with soft food,and what is the best soft food,ice cream.
    I also am am like the lady that said when she ate sweet food the more she craved it,that is where I am - 5/5/2010   10:35:39 AM
  • 96
    I am so addicted to sugar! Sometimes I have cravings for sugar that are so bad that I feel like a junkie that needs a fix. I try not to keep sweets in the house, but my cravings don't have a time limit and can last for a day or two. The other problem is that there is always candy at work and it is hard for me not to just grab a bite or two or three of whatever is after lunch. I am trying though and getting better one craving at a time. - 5/5/2010   10:16:36 AM
  • ERICA2287
    95
    I have a horrible sugar habit, which is probably what led to me gaining so much which I am now trying to lose. I always feel like I *have* to have dessert, especially after dinner. What I'm trying to do is eat dried fruit (which actually helps pretty well) or keep Hershey kisses around so I can eat something small without overdoing it. (Maybe I should try going without sugar for Lent next year...might help me!) - 5/5/2010   9:50:06 AM
  • 94
    I too used to be a sugar addict and had tried many times to get away from it. About a year ago when I was even more serious about losing weight, I decided to go with the 100 cal pack cookies so I could still have a treat. I stuck to the single servings (a couple of times I ate 2 pkgs), but they worked. I even brought one or two with me to places like pot-lucks where it would be easy to go crazy. I stopped buy the 100 cal packs last fall because they would just sit in the pantry until I threw them away and now that I'm eating healthy, well rounded meals with plenty of fruit, I don't have sugar cravings at all and I rarely even look at desserts or Chocolate (my fav). I have treated myself on occasion to a Hershey bar, I enjoyed it and didn't care if there weren't anymore to eat. That is SUCCESS!! Oh, and I can just eat one small serving of ice cream instead of 3 or 4!! - 5/5/2010   9:47:49 AM
  • 93
    I have been addicted to sugar, and became more aware of how much when I began eliminating it two years ago. The hardest part was craving sweets after a meal. Sugar's in everything, and trying to cut out all products that contain sugar in the ingredients list was too much for me. What has worked is meeting sugar cravings with fruit, and having to put it on the nutrition tracker. Knowing I can occasionally have sweets makes it easier to choose to not have them right now. - 5/5/2010   9:26:28 AM
  • 92
    OMG! I thought I wrote this re: sugar. I love sweets and prefer them over anything. Nothing like a bag of cookies for dinner. It is very hard for me to abstain. But I did get an idea from this. Just DON'T do it. I will try staying away from sweets during the week. Oooh, I am excited to make this a goal. - 5/5/2010   9:19:45 AM
  • 91
    I gave up pizza for lent and my husband said i would have to die and them lock the casket before i would give up pizza but since then i had a 7 inch veggie pizza and didn't really enjoy it so thats a good thing! This month i gave up chocolate i allowed my self 2-3 dark chocolate hershy kisses a night which is 20 calories each and eating grapes instead to get more fruit in so far i'm doing ok we will see at the end of the month if i will do it next month! But if the sugar is effecting your weight remember nothing taste better than losing weight at least i feel that way! GOOD LUCK ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY AND HAVE FUN WITH IT AS YOU WALK THRU IT! - 5/5/2010   9:15:54 AM
  • 90
    I LOVE sweets - cake (without frosting), chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, all of it. My healthier switches: I try to only eat fruits, sugar-free preserves (mixed in yogurt - yum!), things like that.

    Chocolate is my addiction - but I really like the 99% chocolate bars, just a few squares at a time - so I usually can keep my sugar to a minimum. Some days. Not all, but most days. - 5/5/2010   9:10:36 AM
  • 89
    I had never been a big chocolate eater until after I had my daughter. She is now 9 and I am still struggling with the addiction. I've had temporary successes with cutting out all sweets but I always go back to them with a vengeance. I like the idea of starting a streak-maybe instead of cutting them out all together, I'll just limit the daily calories to 100. So I can have whatever sweet I want, but only 100 calories of it. I'm starting today! Thanks for the great blog. - 5/5/2010   9:10:28 AM
  • 88
    I totally feel that I am addicted to sugar. I had a bad habit of picking up a small cake with my favorite icing and eating the whole thing. Then of course I would feet terrible, but yet the next day I would want to do it all over again. I finally got to the point where I just needed to stop cold turkey. It was very hard, but after about five days my craving stopped and went away. Now I make myself a fresh fruit smoothie when I'm craving something sugary and it does the trick! - 5/5/2010   9:08:22 AM
  • JAZZERCISEGENIE
    87
    yes definitely addicted and on a daily basis. I get the shakes and just grab the nearest sugar and especially bubble gum. I feel so guilty but that does not stop me? - 5/5/2010   9:07:26 AM
  • 86
    I am truly blessed NOT to have a sugar fix. Bread is my downfall! - 5/5/2010   9:03:18 AM
  • 85
    I am glad to know that I am not alone in my addiction! I have been a "sugar addict" for many, many years & it is the one thing that I have been unable to avoid. I will really feel like a success story if I ever am able to..congrats to you on being so strong! - 5/5/2010   8:55:02 AM
  • 84
    I have been off sugar for almost 2 months. I really do feel so much better. I rarely crave anything sweet anymore. Getting my fruit fix is enough for me. I've been told that taking a magnesium supplement will help with sugar cravings too. - 5/5/2010   8:53:55 AM
  • RAGEAN
    83
    My husband and I started the Atkins diet about 4 months ago and he's lost 44.2 pounds and I've lost 41. SUGAR IS BAD!! I've never felt better about myself! The best thing about this new lifestyle is that I no longer get the shakes because by blood sugar doesn't drop...I just get hungry. No more worries about diabetes either! - 5/5/2010   8:51:49 AM
  • GERRIT2
    82
    I'm not much of a sugar addict and if I don't eat any I'm fine and don't crave it. But once I start on a sugary snack, I find that I end up eating more, even hours later. So, for me it's best to ignore the sugar and just not go down that slippery slope - much easier in the long and short run. - 5/5/2010   8:10:29 AM
  • 81
    Wow, this post was written for me. I am a HUGE suger addict - not in coffee, tea or sodas but pastries, cookies and especially ice cream. Just writing this post is making my mouth water for sweets.

    I really must find a way to cut back too because this is what usually breaks my "good deeds" for the day.

    But I am so happy for you that you found a way to keep your sugar cravings at bay! - 5/5/2010   7:58:16 AM
  • DENI_ZEN
    80
    Good for you, Jen, especially since excess sugar has been implicated in the development of cardiovascular problems. I've done the same and now only get my sugar from fruit, though my reason was high triglycerides. I feel so much better - much more energetic. I'm glad this way of life agrees with you, too :) - 5/5/2010   7:49:32 AM
  • 79
    Great Article! Being a Sugarholic too I can relate. I used to use sugar to get myself into what I jokingly used to call a sugar coma. Joke was on me when i was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and my sugars were off the charts....who knew that the "sugar coma" almost became a reality.

    Keep up the good work. - 5/5/2010   7:39:28 AM
  • 78
    I absolutely believe that I have a sugar addiction. When I eat sugar on a regular basis, I crave it. I will eat anything with sugar in it just to get my fix. After going several days without sugar, the craving is gone. I have been on the wagon since joining SP. I indulge in a small amount every now and then, but never too much or too often. - 5/5/2010   7:36:48 AM
  • 77
    I've struggled with sugar addiction also. I have a really hard time balancing my ideas of addiction with reality. Part of me thinks I can never have any simple sugar at all or I'll go back to my addictive eating pattern . Part of me believes that now that I have been without simple sugars for months, I could eat a small portion and be ok. I don't know the reality yet, but I do know that I don't want to be addicted again. - 5/5/2010   7:10:59 AM
  • PKNITTER
    76
    I have been a self proclaimed sugar addict for years. Whoever said admitting to the problem is half the battle didn't have to fight the battle! Not only does sugar provide empty calories to my diet but can also launch me into a sweet/salty eating binge. I am currently sugar-free since the day after Easter. That Sunday I ate so many chocolate eggs and jelly beans I made myself sick, but that's the addiction. The next day I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started religiously logging my food. I seem to have a new found conviction and really believe I will do it this time! Sometimes you hae to hit rock bottom before you can move on. Hopefully, I am on my way. - 5/5/2010   6:38:57 AM
  • 75
    My sugar addiction is something I've been working on this year. I gave up sugar in my coffee and tea for Lent and have continued with that. I found that by not starting my day with something sweet, I was better able to resist the treats in the staff room at break and I didn't seem to crave it as much. I decided this past weekend that it was time to tackle the rest of the sugar in my life. It's amazing how much I crave it and need to distract myself by exercising, reading or sleeping, but I don't miss it. I don't miss the guilt, the crash or the crabbiness. I just hope it's sustainable. - 5/5/2010   6:09:18 AM
  • 74
    I, too, am a sugar addict. When my nutritionist said, "Try to limit desserts to two per week", I snorted and thought, "How about two per DAY??" I am working on trying to be moderate, because I found that a lifestyle banning all sugar was too lonely. The cravings did go away, and it seemed easier to resist sugar after several days, but I felt like I was missing out on many social occasions. It's a huge victory for me to eat a small dessert and not go nuts, either binging or feeling anxious about what I've just done. - 5/5/2010   5:39:57 AM
  • 73
    Yes I'm a sugar addict and I'm happiest when I quit it, no decision to make ( shall I eat it or not?). At the moment I'm on my 10th day of quitting chocolate and recently I also quit ice cream and frozen yogurt. I simply have no moderation with these foods.
    Claudia - 5/5/2010   5:08:15 AM
  • 72
    I'm totally addicted to sugar and can relate very well to this blog. I can't go a day without having some sweet treat. I don't think I could go off sugar (or at least sweets) cold turkey but I would like to cut down. I do find that if I don't buy ice cream (addicted to this more than any other sweet) I don't eat it quite as often. Unfortunately, I just bought some yesterday. :/ - 5/5/2010   4:18:24 AM
  • WHITENURSESHOES
    71
    I am also a sugar addict; I can do fine at home, then when I go to work,allthe "sweets" ,candy, brownies, etc are out for everyone. Sometimes I am strong, but other times, I have no self control// - 5/5/2010   4:12:23 AM
  • 70
    I know I was addictied to sugar as a Teenager and into college. Must have eaten about 5000kcal a day, but burned it all off, since I was also exercising a lot, at least once a day.
    Got over it when I had not much to eat at all, when times were tough. But do know that i need to be careful not to fall into the trap again. - 5/5/2010   4:08:38 AM
  • 69
    Hubby is addicted to sugar. His triglycerides are always high, and he refuses to believe there's a connection or a problem with this. - 5/5/2010   2:29:59 AM
  • 68
    I'm currently going through this now with getting rid of my "trigger foods", many of which are processed sugar snacks. I'm doing a personal challenge for the month of May and I'm on Day 5. So far, so good. I've had some headaches from the withdrawl, but I'm staying on track and slowly (very slowly) I'm feeling the cravings diminishing. My goal is to see where I'm at weight-wise and energy-wise by the end of the month after my experiment. - 5/5/2010   1:07:51 AM
  • 67
    OMG I am sugar. My fav indulgence is coca-cola . I am much better than I was 3 years ago but it is still my number one stress realease. The girls in my office no I am having a day when I get up and go out for a pop. My BFF can attest to this. I Love it so much I can't keep it in the house and only by it for special occasions. mouth is watering just thinking of it but I am strong:) - 5/5/2010   12:00:32 AM
  • 66
    I am currently on day 65 of sugar abstainence. It was tough at first but I am down twenty pounds. I feel better and have more energy now than when I ate foods high in sugar and carbohydrates. - 5/4/2010   11:55:11 PM

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