quitting sugar: the how & why.

by Janetha on December 18, 2012

in guest posts

as promised, i have an awesome guest post for you today. it comes from my GPP buddy, candice s. she is one inspiring lady! not only is she fit and fabulous, but she is also very diligent and dedicated! she recently cut sugar out of her diet and has had life-changing results, so i asked her to share her story with you today. here she is!

candicehalo

I met Janetha at GPP this year. I had a similar conversion from Gold’s Gym to GPP over 3 years ago.  I was super flattered that Janetha asked me to do a guest post. She is a celebrity on the world wide web and a very popular member of GPP. I feel a little silly writing this post because this isn’t a big weight loss story and I have no dramatic before and after photos. I am just a normal person trying to stay as healthy as possible despite my love for food. Here’s my little story take what you will out of it. 

photo
Mid-Race Feeding. The excitement on my face gives you a little insight into my love affair with food!

In October of 2011, I was 3 months away from turning 30 years old. I was weighing in about 5 lbs heavier than I ever had in my life.  I know it isn’t much, but I knew I couldn’t afford to gain 5 lbs every few years. Luckily, the gorgeous and talented GPP trainers introduced a “Crash Course Challenge” – a 6 week long health challenge where you set your own goal and commit to reaching it with a $50 buy in.  My goal was to lose 5 lbs and I planned to do that by sticking with the “Burst Cycle Diet” and an extra 30 min of cardio 5x per week. It took me 3 weeks before I even lost 1lb, those were some stubborn pounds. But by the end of 6 weeks, I had lost 5lbs and reached my goal.

The challenge ended Thanksgiving Day and December was casting a big scary shadow over the momentum we had gained. So, those crazy GPP peeps and our trainers talked me into another 6 weeks of hard work.  At the end of 12 weeks, I had lost 9 lbs.  It was a slow go and really tough, but I was proud of what I had done.

After all that work, I was determined to maintain my new weight. So, for the past year, I have weighed myself daily and tracked my weekly average weight.  I know that seems obsessive and may not work for everyone – but it worked for me. I needed something concrete to look at and I love spreadsheets and data. So, that is what I did all of 2012, tracked my weight meticulously and maintained it all year (within 1-3lbs).

One year later, and in true GPP form, they throw another challenge at us. The Turkey Day Challenge which included no sugar until Thanksgiving. I was scared. I had never given up sugar.  I had lived my life cutting out calories from cheese, salad dressing, gravy, and butter so that I could eat dessert. Nothing is too rich, or too sweet, or too much – it is all yummy.  I didn’t want one cookie, I wanted 6 or 7 cookies.  But… I love a challenge, especially a GPP challenge.  So, on Oct 28th at midnight – I was scarfing down homemade caramel chocolate pumpkin bars…

photo.JPG
Actual Item. I took a picture in memoriam!

…and sadly tucked away my tub of Cutler’s cookie dough in the freezer. I was committing to No Sugar until Thanksgiving.

On the first day, I looked through the kitchen at work to make my usual turkey sandwich for lunch.  Checked the bread – sugar added. Checked the turkey – Sugar added.  I ended up eating lettuce and dry tuna because there weren’t any other options in the entire kitchen with no added sugar. Let’s just say I had to start doing my own shopping and lots of label checking.

10 days into the challenge and without one cheat –I hit a number on the scale that I hadn’t seen all year, and probably hadn’t seen in at least 8 years.  I was ecstatic. 6 weeks later, I hit 2 lbs lower than that.  My weekly average weight is now down 3 lbs which I thought was impossible.  My enthusiasm in these numbers has less to do with the actual number and more to do with my body reacting to this change in my diet. The weight loss was a big surprise and a small vanity bonus to this entire challenge.  The real benefit is feeling in control of my life and my body. I’m totally empowered by the fact that I am no longer a slave to chocolate chip cookies. I feel like I can do anything. 

Now, don’t be fooled.  I still drink too much diet coke, and indulge on salt and vinegar chips – I have not conquered all.  But I have beat sugar, and I don’t plan to ever go back.

Here are a few things I have learned through this process:

  1. Just because it says wheat or multi-grain does not mean it is the best option – I found that most of the time these were the items with the most sugar added
  2. Fat is good – I had lived my whole life afraid of high fat foods.  Now that I am eating more of them instead of empty sugar calories, I feel full and am still losing weight.
  3. Getting older doesn’t mean you get weaker or fatter – age has helped me understand my body more and appreciate it and take care of it.
  4. I can do hard things – I don’t have to give into my greedy appetite. I can do things that I never thought were possible
  5. Declare it! – Tell people what you are committing to and enroll those around you for support.  I probably did this too much, but it worked and I had tons of encouragement.

Go ahead a give it a try. I think you will be surprised at the results.

-Candice S.

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance December 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Excellent guest post! I love the idea of giving up sugar . . . and really feel there is much to gain from doing so. I have drastically cut back on how much sugar I consume. I’m not sugar-free, but I’m okay with that. When I do indulge in something with sugar, my body lets me know right away when “enough is enough”. Which is awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. :)

Karey @ Nutty About Health December 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Candice, congrats to you on all of your accomplishments! You rock. I felt like you were describing me in some of your words… especially how you described your love-affair with sugar & sweets. I completely agree that fat is good… so many people are afraid of it. I’m currently eating a ketogenic style diet, so very low carbs (pretty much no sugar) & high fat… & I feel WONDERFUL!! I have seen some weight loss, especially initially & am slowing losing a pound here or there. Thanks so much for sharing your story, very inspiring! :)

Erica December 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Wow! That is awesome. Congrats to you! I know sugar is my biggest enemy. I keep thinking I need to try to give it up….you may have provided some inspiration for AT LEAST a major cut back

momma b. December 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Hi Candice, I loved this post!! It’s great to feel empowered and it sounds like you are a really determined and dedicated lady – I admire that about you from reading your story.

I’m an “at home” GPP peep and love the workouts! Janetha helps keep me motivated too!!

xo

andrea December 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm

anyone that can give up sugar is my hero!

Lindsay's List December 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm

come take this cookie out of my hand! :)

BroccoliHut December 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm

It was great reading about your experience, Candice! You’re so right that you really have to read labels. I once did a similar challenge (although I gave myself a daily sugar “budget” instead of going cold turkey) and realized how many of the allegedly healthy foods I eat have added sugars!

Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Congrats! I really struggle with sugar and need to really learn to cut back. When i’m on my own I can do pretty well but living at home right now means there’s more sugar around and more processed foods than I would normally eat. I try to do my best, but it’s definitely a challenge and one I’m looking to work on.

Danielle December 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Wow! Great job cutting out sugar completely. I would have made a turkey sandwich without even thinking there would be added sugar. Keep up the good work!

Lil Kate December 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Candice! This is so inspiring! Awesome work- you have earned every freakin pound lost. love this. love you.

xoxo

Calee December 19, 2012 at 6:22 am

I’m so glad that you had Candice post this. Thanks so much Candice for sharing!!

When J posted about the t-day challenge I was all like, “Psh. I can quit sugar. I don’t really eat all that much sugar anyway.” Yeah. that was like a recovered alcoholic saying that he doesn’t drink a 30 pack a day anymore, just a 12-pack.

I have a side-blog that’s super-secret (literally password protected, most of which turn into real blog posts eventually) for all my crazy ramblings, and yesterday I posted this to it:
“I am no longer chained to sugar! For now. It’s like nicotine, so I’m sure the next time I have refined sugar I’ll want more of it, but I can’t remember the last time I was FREE.

There was some sort of concoction in the break room today that looked like chex mix. I investigated to see if A) it was the homemade classic kind that is totally awesome or B) it was edible. It was probably edible, but it was coated with layers and layers of clear sugar, and my stomach turned.

my stomach. turned. for sugar.

what??

I feel like I just got out of rehab.”

I’ve been doing this 15-day juice-only (well, mostly) reboot in hopes that my weird GI problems go away, and a side effect is that I’m not hopelessly devoted to sugar anymore. I don’t get hangry when I get home from my workouts. I’m not exhausted every day. I don’t mow down cookies, chocolate, or anything sugary. I seriously just feel FREE. I, like you, Candice, am determined not to let sugar get a hold of me like that again.

Also, I’ve been reading “Intuitive eating” and that’s been helping this process. I’ve been making peace with food, ironically, while doing a juice fast.

Katie December 19, 2012 at 6:43 am

This is just the kick in the a that I needed! I have been thinking about it for a long time and tried the Thanksgiving challenge and failed the first day and then again the next day.
I WILL complete a 30 days sugar free!

Amanda @ Romancing the Unusual December 19, 2012 at 6:56 am

Very inspiring! I have tried cutting out sugar but I LOVE my sweets. Do you ever indulge? Say, like on Christmas?

kendra December 19, 2012 at 7:28 am

I need to reset my sugar beast. I’ve eaten more sugar in the past week than I have all year. A little goblin living inside of me is inviting friends over and I’m hosting their sickly sweet tea parties.

If you can do it so can I! Especially as we roll straight into the sugariest gift giving time of year. I’m a December birthday-er too, we’re a strong bunch.

Kimberly @ Healthy Strides December 19, 2012 at 9:02 am

Great post! I have been avoiding sugar and sweetener as part of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Holiday Challenge, and I was really shocked by how much had added sweetener. As Candice said, bread does as does all of those popular Greek yogurts, tomato sauces, flavored almonds, milk alternatives. It’s insane! I also gave up artificial sweeteners – no Diet Coke or stevia in my oats. It’s shocking how sweet I used to eat things. I am not incredibly stringent, indulging on a dessert on Thanksgiving and my anniversary, but my need for sweets has changed as has my diet. I’m eating more whole foods, feeling better and incorporating more protein.

Emily December 19, 2012 at 9:24 am

Can someone link to a post or website that details HOW to do a sugar free diet? Like, can I have as much fruit as I want? Cook with dates, etc to sweeten baked goods? What about adult beverages? This sounds like something that would make me feel SO good, but I want to go about it RIGHT. Thanks, Candice and Janetha, for a great post!!

Janetha December 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

Oh I hope someone has a link! When I do no sugar–I just do no ADDED sugars.. so I can eat fruit and other items with naturally occurring sugars. I do try to limit my fruit, though, to a couple pieces a day. Otherwise my sweet tooth is raging.

LG December 19, 2012 at 9:26 am

Thank you for the great guest post! Very interesting and the pictures are funny!

I’ve been eating more fat this year and have noticed I feel much more satiated and get far less cravings for sugar because of it. I think I look less “puffy” too. Yay for fats!

LG December 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

Hey Ms. Janetha,

How are you doing with that oil face cleansing you were trying out? I’m curious because I’ve been thinking of trying it myself. No pressure to write about it anytime soon though…it’s crazy Christmas time and I totally get that. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Janetha December 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

sooo funny.. it’s going up in an ask me anything post later today haha

LG December 19, 2012 at 9:48 am

Oh my. Sorry for my impatience. You must have certain commentors that annoy you to no end…I don’t want to be one of those but sometimes I think I am! Gahh!!! :0) Sorry about that. I guess it’s just because I am a devoted groupie but that is NO EXCUSE lol!

Merry Christmas to you and your fam!

L.

purelytwins December 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

totally agree about eating more healthy fats helps with sugar. we notice when we eat more fat we tend to want sweets :) we are not perfect as we love our sweets but we notice it helps!

Yana December 19, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thanks for the great post, Candice. I can so relate to that ‘loosing last 5lb’ thing! Except for me it slowly became 6, then 7, then 8 last pounds over the last 10 years. I am finally on the way to taking control over that, I think. I found GPP through Janetha’s blog and fell in love. This is the fourth week of me (remotely from CA) doing GPP workouts full time and the third day of a week-long Burst Cycle diet sprint. 12 weeks of GPP will bring me to my 44th birthday and I am looking forward to the present I am giving myself this time. No plans to give up sugar yet, however. As a matter of fact, that pumpkin chocolate caramel bar looks very attractive right now, especially at the end of the day of consuming only 1000 calories.

Annette@FitnessPerks December 19, 2012 at 10:22 am

Great post!! NICE work. Hard work does pay off, for sure :)

Over the past year or so, my sweet tooth has diminished dramatically–I just can’t handle the higher sugary things as often, which is a good thing, I guess! It has a lot to do with lots of weight training & adding muscle–i just don’t crave the sickly sweet stuff hardly at all. I am way more about salty foods now ;)

candice s December 19, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thanks Janetha. I really loved doing this! It was out of my comfort zone a little because I’m a little shy on social networking. But I have just fallen in love with your fabulous online world. What a great network of support and good peeps. I’ve been reading the blog for a long time and is a huge part of the reason I decided to try this no sugar thing. I love all the resources and recipes and reading your story.

Bonnie December 19, 2012 at 11:35 am

That’s awesome, Candice! Way to embrace social media! Lots of good can come from it. :) Great post and thanks for getting out of your comfort zone to encourage us with your story! (and yes, Janetha’s amazing – one of the reasons we all keep coming back for more!)

julie December 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

LOVEEDDDDD this! i did a whole20 – cracked on day 21 and had some hot chocolate and i cut out ALL sugar (well except fruit) but freaking sugar is in EVERYTHING! i stopped using any kind o fsweetener for 20 days too – even stevia which i am crazy addicted to – i felt amazing! i plan on doing a complete whole30 after the holidays but tomorrow i’m having a big fat bowl of oatmeal hahah

Bonnie December 19, 2012 at 11:31 am

GREAT post, Candice! I feel like I’m where you were before your challenges – about 5 lbs over where I should be and just not as tight or lean as I’d like. I think I could cut sugar out but even I don’t think to check everything like bread and meat for sugar (although I’m aware it’s there!)…there’s no way around it, cutting sugar BRINGS RESULTS. You’re a great example of that.

Question: do you ever get cravings or have a sweet treat, or are you pretty reformed for that type of eating? Just curious. :)

WELL DONE!

candice s December 19, 2012 at 11:47 am

Bonnie,
Everyone does this a little different, but I just cut out refined sugars. So honey, agave and natural sugars are okay. Its been 8 weeks and I still get cravings for sure and I don’t think total reformation is possible. The great thing is there are so many options to satisfy that without going for refined sugars. I had a warm scone and honey the other day and it was delicious. I’ve been eying tons of recipes online to try when I just need something baked and sweet. I just need to figure out how to bake :) Most readers here are pros at that kind of stuff.

tiffany December 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm

just curious, how much weight total did you lose from going refined sugar-free?!

Candice Sherman December 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm

3lbs in about 6 weeks.

Lindsay December 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Just curious, did you cut out all sugar including fruit or just added sugar? What about artifical sweeteners (diet coke, for ex). Wish I had the willpower but know I couldn’t last not being able to at least eat fruit! Way to go. Thanks for sharing your story!

Janetha December 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

She is in Thailand right now, but I believe it was just added sugar–she still eats fruit!

The Healthy Hostess January 5, 2013 at 4:55 am

I loved this post! I need to do this challenge and start it with my clients. I was caught on your recent posts and saving these for when I had time to really read them through – she is an inspiration! As you are everyday!
:) xoxo
Happy New Year!

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