Heart-to-Heart with Diane

Hello and Welcome! Isn't raising a family the greatest!? I know I've got the best job in the world, just being Mom! I love sharing things I've discovered that make being "Mom" better, easier or more fulfilling, and that is what this blog is all about. Welcome!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

100 Days!

My daughter Louisa (13) and I

We made it, Louisa and I! Yesterday was our 100th day without sugar! Of course, we had to celebrate, so she and I went on a dinner date, and NO, we did not eat any sugar . . . hee hee.

How did we ever make it to Day 100? It seems impossible, but Louisa and I stayed sugar-free all summer long—through a graduation party, birthday parties, a camp-out, and 3 family reunions.

What have we learned in the last 100 days? We learned it is definitely not about willpower, it is about making up your mind! The book, Suicide by Sugar, really helped me realize (once again) that I was doing a "self-destruct" and as I treasure life, and value my body, I really don't want to harm myself, or cause my family to suffer the repercussions if my health is impaired. I don't know if God will remove the desire from us, but we can pray for God to help us with changing our mind, and once your mind is made up, the rest is comparatively easy—it truly is!

That first week can be a little rocky physically for some. My daughter Louisa felt better than normal. I felt dizzy, sort of ill, constantly craving sugar, shaky and headachey for about 3 days, proof to me that I was totally addicted. And I still thought about sugar continually and wanted it a lot for about a week or two. After 21 days though, (the time it takes to break a habit), it really became pretty effortless. I don't think about sugar or treats anymore. It's just not for me. I know that. It isn't good for me, it harms me, and I won't be able to eat it again. I look at the treats in the grocery store the same way I look at cigarettes or liquor. Not for me. That is that.

Before I started this crazy idea, I would talk to the weird people who had gone off sugar. I would think they were nuts and/or lying. How could they just be "over it"? Over something that had its hold on me daily? Last night at the restaurant, the waiter asked what we were celebrating, and when I told him "100 sugar-free days", he just laughed if off: "Yeah, right. Who can get through the day without it?!"

I don't care about dessert much anymore, now that I don't eat sugar. I'd like a cherry, a piece of watermelon, or a ripe juicy peach or something like that, but the whole man-made sweets thing no longer has very much appeal. Honestly, I don't know how it ever happened, and I sure didn't expect it to!

Do I still want sugar? Sure! I want all of it: the whole carton of ice cream, the whole jumbo bag of peanut M&Ms, the whole package of Oreos. A little sugar is not enough for me. One cookie does not work for me. I wish I could understand people who have a candy bowl in their living room. I'd have that finished off my 9:00 AM every day! I'd take a handful on the way to the laundry room and detour over to it for a handful on the way back, I'd stash them in my pockets . . . it would keep me coming back and back and back. Can you relate?

I don't tell anyone except my close associates that I am sugar free. I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty! Or spoil the party. Or make a political statement. Or seem unappreciative for a lovingly made dessert. Or give them (more) reasons to think I am odd. Louisa and I came up with some "rules" for dealing with social activities where sugar is served (which means, all social situations!):

How-to Instructions for Being Cool, Sugar-Free and Not Making Others Feel Guilty

1. Don't mention you are sugar-free.
2. Smile and say "thank you" when someone serves you dessert. Then just leave it on the table.
3. If someone comments, reply: "Oh, I've had plenty to eat, thank you."
4. Give it away. Most people (especially kids) will think you are being incredibly nice and generous!
5. If you are being served something when not seated at a table, just circle back and return the plate to the serving table nonchalantly.
6. Under extreme duress, cut a bite sized piece with your fork and move it around on the plate, and then leave it. It will look like you had intentions to eat it.

What has being sugar-free done for me?

Physically-
It has taken a huge load off my body. I feel so different. More stable physcially and more energetic. Lighter. Less draggy. I used to feel very fatigued, and easily dizzy or headachey. I looked at bed longingly. There were days when I felt "toxic". I don't feel that way anymore. I have lost about 10 lbs. That isn't much considering how long I have been off sugar. I have other body chemistry issues that keep my weight on. But others I know have lost dramatic amounts of weight. Depends on if you have a soda pop habit (which I did not) and how much junk food you are used to eating. I started out eating whole grains, veggies, etc. so my sugar habit was an occasional (to regular) indiscretion from an otherwise healthy diet.

Spiritually-
I removed an addictive substance from my life, and it has empowered me! Made me feel strong, able to control and direct my life. It gave me some spiritual freedom. Choosing to take in addictive substances seems to dull our sensitivity a bit, limits our freedom, and controls our soul to a degree.

Mentally-
Being sugar-free helps me feel in harmony. Self-betrayal is what happens when you know one thing and do another. And self-betrayal does not feel good to me. It has an element of shame with it, a feeling of living beneath my full potential. Since I teach my kids to eat healthily, I was acting pretty incongruently to feed them nourishing meals, and then break out the treats afterwards (or once they went to bed).

Emotionally-
I am so much more even in my moods. I generally feel happier, less uptight. Sugar can cause mood swings, irritability, and depression. I wonder why I always believed that sugar was a fix for those things, and that it would make me happy?


Some of my friends are undertaking this project on their own, and tell me what day they are on. And some of my blog readers. That is so gratifying to know we are in this together, and that we can take action to improve our health dramatically! If you have any question if sugar is affecting you negatively, try a 24 hour challenge. Can you stay off that long without craving it?

I asked Louisa where we were going with this, on day 101, since she has been the director from the start. She said we'll finish out the year and then go from there. Sounds doable to me!

Now, my mode of operation is "Diligence". Knowing that it is an addictive substance for me makes me feel determined not to get hooked again! Life is still great without sugar. Even better, really, as I am not a slave anymore. There are sweet things I can eat when I feel a need. Only I seldom feel a need. Dessert, sweetened with something else than my hook (sugar), just looks like more food to me. And after I've eaten a meal, I really don't want anymore food. No thank you.


Louisa and I decorated our paper table covering at the restaurant

P.S. I found another yummy sugar-free product that helps me along the way. This is a product of Brazil and it is rich, delicious, real chocolate cocoa powder mixed with stevia that stirs easily into milk. It's like Nestle's Quick for the sugar-free. Actually better, because it is not chocolate-flavored, but real chocolate! Just stir a teaspoonful into a big glass of milk and you'll have real chocolate milk supreme! For Louisa, it fills the need for sweets. I love it too! I am still debating if chocolate (without the sugar or fat) is good for you or not. In the meantime, it is ultra delicious and helping us stay off sugar!

See it here: Stevia-sweetened Chocolate "NesQuick"

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15 Comments:

  • At October 18, 2009 at 9:07 PM , Blogger Jen said...

    I have read that in some people, the "illness" that is experienced after quitting sugar is from yeast colonies in the body dying off. They live off the sugar, and when you stop eating it, they lose their food source. Lots of symptoms can be caused by the yeast, and most people feel tons better once it has died off.

    Congrats to you, for "kicking the habit"!

     
  • At October 18, 2009 at 9:15 PM , Blogger Megan said...

    Great job! How did you get around the everyday food items that have sugar in them? Like ketchup, tomato soup, jams, maple syrup and things like that. Did you cut out honey as well?

    I loved your ideas on how to say no to sugar without offending someone.

     
  • At October 18, 2009 at 10:22 PM , Blogger Diane Hopkins said...

    I try just to be careful without being fanatical. I avoid ketchup if I can. I buy a natural-sweetened ketchup at the health food store, or use canned tomato sauce on some things (meatloaf) and it works out. If I eat a hamburger at a restaurant, I end up eating ketchup.

    Homemade tomato soup is so easy to make and so much tastier than canned, and it doesn't use sugar.

    Jams: they make "fruit juice only" sweetened jams. You can buy them at Trader Joe's or Walmart. It is called "Simply Fruit" or something similar.

    I really don't eat much of the other sweeteners either, as they can have the same effect as sugar if you use honey, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrates and other sweeteners. Stevia is the only sweetener that does not raise your blood sugar and has no other bad effects. For jam, I usually slice bananas, a pear or other sweet soft fruits on top of my whole grain bread and peanut butter. It is really yummy! On pancakes, I use applesauce (no sugar).

    I know there is hidden sugar in other things, like salad dressing, mayonnaise, canned soups, etc. I try to make as much from scratch as I can, but I'm sure I get some sugar everyday by way of those types of foods.

    But the biggest intake of sugar is in breakfast cereal, ice cream, cake, cinnamon rolls, candy, desserts, soda pop, etc. and just having those out of my diet has made an enormous difference!

    Thanks for writing!

     
  • At October 19, 2009 at 6:42 AM , Blogger Debbie S. said...

    I am not certain I agree with you about your instructions for being "Cool and Sugar Free". It is not rude to simply say, Thank you, but I cannot eat sugar products." and leave it at that. Many people are diabetic and cannot eat sugar. It is not rude to say no. It's more rude to just leave something on a table untouched that someone gave you. Secondly, why would you give away sugar products that you know are unhealthy to someone else? That is not right either. You are passing on something you avoid because it is an unhealthy thing for yourself to give it to harm to someone else. That's not right. I really hope that everyone critically thinks about the suggestions you gave...

     
  • At October 19, 2009 at 7:44 AM , Blogger Cyndy said...

    Thank you for this post! I have known for a while that I am addicted to sugar but lack the courage to give it up. Reading your story has sparked a glimmer of hope in me but I find myself asking, "Should I start my 100 days now?" With the upcoming holidays, I am not sure I would succeed. What are your plans to get through Thanksgiving to New Years?

     
  • At October 19, 2009 at 9:24 AM , Blogger JJS said...

    I'm so interested in reading your post which came to me by a friend. Right now I have duties and children. (I'm 32 with a 18month and 4week old) I have been struggling with sugar for oh the last 3-4 years or so, I recognized a problem when I got off of antidepressants for bipolar disorder. I am still off the prescribed pills, but yet still have not kicked the sugar. I hope to find this article as a jump start to finally quiting for more than a month which is the longest I've gone. Sugar to me is a addiction, and prevents me to have stability with my mood. My marriage, children, and most of all my spiritial life will all benefit from me quiting. Lacking self control is another reason. Well and of course the doctor told me I was allergic to sugar and milk. Ekk. THanks for sharing.

     
  • At October 19, 2009 at 1:10 PM , Blogger JJS said...

    OK, I'm convinced. Now that I have read your article, I plan to read the book you mentioned and plan to do a 100 day challenge. It seems impossible at this point. Overwhelming and intimdating, becuase I relate almost exactly with you about how you feel about man made sugar. It consumes my thoughts daily. Please if you could suggest the best way to start. Thanks, Janna

     
  • At October 19, 2009 at 3:51 PM , Blogger Living The Life said...

    Diane,

    I decided to go off sugar the last Friday in August. As you say, the first week was hard. I had headaches and did not feel well. Then after that, it was not so hard. I was able to say no thank you, and mean it. I still would love to have treats, but I know what the addiction does to me. It is much better to be free.

    Kathryn Chapman

     
  • At October 19, 2009 at 6:45 PM , Blogger ka said...

    Congratulations to you and Louisa! My daughter and I have been off sugar 41 days today. We never thought we could do it, but your journey has inspired and motivated us. Thanks for the Stevia tips and the tips on not being socially inept. Those ideas will especially help as we move into the holiday season...when everything seems to be about sugar.

    We have your cookbook and love the unsweetened banana bread recipe. That has become our special treat...especially when we feel like baking. Thanks for that too!

    Good luck and keep us posted on the rest of the journey.

     
  • At October 19, 2009 at 9:33 PM , Blogger Queen Mother said...

    Congratulations to the both of you! My daughter and I went off sugar several years ago and had never felt better. Unfortunately, with six teenage boys in the house, I went back on (she's still off of it most of the time) and started having more lethargy and pain. So, I am going to try again since you have given me hope!

    Tina Crowder
    Orem, Utah

     
  • At October 20, 2009 at 7:08 AM , Blogger Donna said...

    I just started cutting out sugar over a week ago and it's great. I have lost 6.8 pounds! Sure I still want treats and things, but as I lose more weight, it will be so much more easier to say no. We've always had stevia in our house...use it for herbal teas, etc. (punch, if you use it). Another thing I have to do is stay away from cow's milk. Cow's milk for me personally keeps the weight on and makes me look like a cow ! he he he I try to keep my carbs low depending on the type of carbs...that too is my downfall, so staying away from what triggers these cravings helps me becoming stronger. Thanks so much Diane! I'll be ordering your cookbook soon!!

     
  • At October 20, 2009 at 9:07 AM , Blogger Glidewell Family said...

    another way to discreetly say no to your dessert is 1.) Ask for a small piece 2.) Put your napkin over it that way your not tempted to look at it and it looks like you are finished.

    my sugar hang up is coffee I buy sugar free coffee cream but still need some sugar in my coffee.

     
  • At October 23, 2009 at 7:44 PM , Blogger JJS said...

    After reading this post, I was absolutely amazed at how the similarities of my behavior is to what you have experienced. Ever since I left the medication for bipolar disorder, (4 years ago) I've been trying to eliminate the sugar out of my diet. I am allergic to sugar and milk (only found out recently of this allergy). Besides the allergy, my anger and mood swings are a bit unmanageable, not sure if you dealt with anger much, but when I don't get a fix, I'm a pretty ugly person. My 19 month old is allergic to the same which it shows through excema. Quitting it has been a very strong desire, but with poor support from my husband (meaning his desires of sweets tempt me to fall), I haven't conquered the addiction. It is a ugly, sin-filled addiction for me, and I know it's mentally and spiritually handicapping me. I think I must hate it as much as I do sin, and then maybe I can deny myself the emotional fix of a candy bar, piece of bread, ice cream...etc.

     
  • At October 24, 2009 at 7:48 PM , Blogger Kimberly said...

    I went off sugar in April and did wonderful until August (lost 30 pounds and felt great!)and thought I could handle a little bit now and then. WRONG!It is so terribly addicting to me. I have been having a terrible time getting away from it again! I have been challenged by your success and am issuing a challenge to a few close friends/relatives who are interested in this as well. Starting on Monday 10/26 we can get 30 days in before Thanksgiving. That is not as intimidating as 100! :) I am hoping that just having someone else to go along the journey with me will be enough to get me back on track. I do not intend to stop at 30! I learned my lesson!
    I have received your catalog for several years now but had never seen your website or blog. I love it and have already gained much from my visit! I will definitely be bookmarking both and returning for more visits!
    Thanks for your encouraging words!

     
  • At October 25, 2009 at 12:10 AM , Blogger Diane Hopkins said...

    Oooh, thanks for the insight! Louisa and I were just debating if we dared take off Thanskgiving Day. I wondered if it would be one day that turned into many, or if I could really just eat one piece of pie and be done and go back to sugar free. Now that I've heard your experience, I'm thinking that Thanksgiving is just one day, after all, and it wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't have pie. There is so much else to eat that I enjoy. You can do cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries and stevia. Gotta think and plan for this one.

    As for Halloween, I've told myself "NO!".

    We're on day 106 now and going strong! Had chocolate milk made from the stevia "NesQuik" stuff tonight while everyone had dessert and I feel happy and satisfied. I'm thinking if I froze some milk into ice cubes and put the chocolate powder in the blender with some creamy milk and added some milk ice cubes and a few sprigs of mint, I could make a wickedly delicious milkshake!

    Congratulations to you for trying again! You'll do great, I know you will. It is just about making up your mind. Do email me on day #30, will you, and let's talk!

     

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