Me, Sugar-Free

Oct 1, 2009

For months I haven’t felt myself. Nothing life threatening; mainly constant fatigue and lack of concentration. I know, I know. We’re all tired. But this seemed to be an out-of-the-ordinary kind of tired. It was impacting my productivity and the quality of my work, not to mention my mood. Completely frustrated, I brainstormed possible causes. Stress, work load, inactivity, lack of sleep, diet, family changes, and even my increasing age were added to the list of (AGE?!?!?!).

For years I’ve exercised regularly, at least 45 minutes to one-and-a-half hours, five days a week. “Inactivity” didn’t seem to be the problem. So I went to bed earlier, making sure I had 7 to 8 hours a night. Check. Then I started making some job changes. Check. Relationship changes. Check. With those things in progress (and knowing I can’t do a darn thing about my age), I started taking a serious look at my diet.

In short, I noticed sugar and breads were taking up too much plate space. Time to make a change, the biggest of which was the complete removal of refined sugar. The first few days felt like … ah-hem, NOT GOOD. I dreamed of dark chocolate with my coffee and sweet jam on my toast. During the day I wanted to hurt someone, which lasted until I fell asleep again to dream of Candy Land and Willy Wonka.

On the other side of detox, however, I’ve begun to notice some changes. I wake up ready to go in the morning, rather than slowly coming into consciousness. My to-do list is more manageable and I’ve started tackling writing projects that have been begging for my attention. And I’m enjoying my day again!

Please understand that I’m the chocolate-chip-cookie-making queen around these here parts, which means making this decision required no small amount of effort. I’m now going on two weeks without a lick of anything sweet (even my oatmeal and pancakes are plain). No sugar, no sweeteners, nada. I plan to see this through for a few more weeks, after which I might allow myself the RARE cheat.

But then again, maybe I won’t. Because in the past two weeks I’ve felt more focused and productive than I have in months. And I’m turning into a writing machine!

Any diet secrets you’d like to share?


  1. Darcie Gudger

    I’m going on about two weeks of a sugar ban. My doctor took me off of it. Part of the no more headaches campaign. I can’t even have the fake stuff b/c it’s made from dangerous chemicals. I can have ONE square a day of raw dark chocolate (the organic kind). I probably only do two or three of those a week.
    Weird how we turn to sugar to ignite our engines when we’re sputtering and turns out it’s the cause of our fatigue.

    Wish I were a writing machine, though. Just a busy one.

  2. Tangie

    I’m depressed about your chocolate chip cookie ban… but SO impressed with your discipline!! And I know its a BIG deal about the cookies… I am not completely depleted of sugar, but have limited it recently much for the very same reason… (and to get rid of some “grieving pounds” — I made up that term, I think)… but I do enjoy some dark chocolate from time to time — and am in love with Trader Joe’s 70% dark chocolate bars. That’s for future reference if you do decide to bring a slight amount of sugar into your diet slowly…

  3. Jerolyn

    Wow, Michele. Yeah for you. I work hard on doing the same thing and it’s amazing how my body reacts when I’ve “cheated” a little too much. If you read the book Anti-Cancer, it states that sugar is the culprit for so many diseases and ailments. I did an experiment one winter in CO and made some amazing discoveries about my body when I cut back on sugar and carbs. However, there is a safe, sugar supplement. It’s actually from a root grown down in South America called Stevia. I put it in my tea to help satisy my sweet tooth. It’s actually good for your body. The FDA will only let them market it as a supplement. It doesn’t have the chemical stuff that the other sweeteners have in it. Check it out at Vitamin Cottage or Whole foods. I’ve also discovered that I can make hot chocolate with it using the cocoa powder. My desire for sweets has made me get creative.

    As a side note, Claire is doing her science project this year on the difference between sugar and stevia. So I’m going to be doing some experimenting with the whole baking thing.

  4. alece

    i’ve gone sugar-free before, too.

    not sure i noticed such an incredible change, though.

    maybe i need to try again…

  5. Michele

    Tangie, I KNOW you understand my suffering! I made chocolate chip cookies last week to put in some care packages for a couple college students. Didn’t even have a taste! Painful … horribly painful. 🙂

    I picked up some stevia the other day, Jerolyn. Thanks for the tip. I’ve been using a little agave nectar in my plain yogurt smoothies. Takes the edge off, without being “sweet.”


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