Letting Go of Sugar: One Cookie At a Time

Chocolate chip cookie night always looked the same at our house. My mom would mix the ingredients together from scratch. In between watching The Goonies or some other amazing 80’s kid flick, my brother and I would gleefully hop around the kitchen, glaring at the dough and then back at her.

My mom always told us to wait and stop hovering. We’d hover some more and she’d eventually cave, giving us each a thimble full of dough.

“Oh, come on, Mom!” we’d protest.

“That’s enough! Now go sit back don’t and wait for these to bake. You’ll get sick on that dough,” she’d always say.

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest I’ve Been Thinking]

When the cookies came out, we’d burn our fingers grabbing as many as we could.

I remember steaming dough stuck to the roof of my mouth, biting into those extra chocolaty spots, the happy cookie dance I’d perform around the room and, of course, the post-cookie-euphoria-trance. (Can you tell I like cookies?)

To this day, there are few traditions that give me more comfort and joy than eating fresh-baked cookies. I truly wish that last sentence read: “There are few traditions that give me more joy than competing in triathlons,” but it doesn’t.

Sugar plays a monstrous role in my life. It holds me in its arms when I’m anxious, bored, happy, sad and every other emotion in between. Sugar takes up so much space in my head that I’ve decided it’s time to give it the ax for good. I am breaking into a sweat even writing that, which is confirmation our relationship has become too dysfunctional to continue.

[Related — Calories Don’t Matter; Here’s Why]

Reasons For The Split:

  • Sugar brings me up to a high that is more exhilarating than anything. Within a couple hours unfortunately, I crash to a low that feels shaky and confusing. The only way to get rid of the pain is to go back and get more sugar. The addictive cycle continues and I never end up feeling good for long.
  • Consuming sugar leads to bottomless eating. For instance, those cinnamon and sugar pita chips from Trader Joe’s have about a 24-hour shelf life in my house.
  • Sugar makes my face break out. Depending on how much I eat, my face has the ability to transform back to my thirteen-year-old self halfway through a box of Junior Mints.
  • I only get those terrible hunger highs and lows when sugar is a factor. When I nix the sugar I get hungry, but never that scary hungry.
  • I can’t find any redeeming qualities in sugar (besides the fact that I would like to swim in an ocean full of melted Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake). I’ve read over and over that it’s a toxic drug that makes us fat, irritable and generally unhealthy. That’s good enough evidence for me.

The longest I’ve gone without my granulated best buddy is about thirty days. I never know when I am going to break the chain of restraint because sugar is a tricky bastard.

I can go to dinner with a friend, fully intent on resisting dessert. When my friend innocently asks if I want dessert, to my own disbelief, I sometimes answer, “Yes!”

[Recent — The Pump: A Nursing Mother’s “Breast Friend”?]

Within a couple minutes, I’m mindlessly downing flan like a zombie who never gave up sugar in the first place. Lately, I tell friends about my sugar detox before dinner so I can stay accountable.

To help in this process, I’ve adopted a healthier eating plan that includes breakfast, less caffeine, a lot of protein, exercise and a supportive group of women who are going though the same thing. Attempts to go at this alone haven’t worked before, so I am trying something different this time. It also helps that I removed all forms of sugar from my house, including honey (because one time I tried to drink it).

The more space I put between sugar and my mouth, the happier I feel.

Giving it up has been one of the hardest things ever (single tear). I think if I say it here though and stick with my plan, I can succeed this time in kicking that sweet and sultry bitch to the moon.

More Posts from Architects of Change